Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bolivia Thanksgiving

As we celebrate Thanksgiving in Bolivia, instead of at home, we have much to thank God for.

Bolivian Church Planting Coaches

Earlier this year we challenged Pastor Enzo to recruit a team of Bolivian trainers/coaches to expand the ministry here. His first response was “30 by the year 2010.” “Great,” I responded, “but how ‘bout this year?”

“Well . . . . maybe . . . maybe 5 by the end of 2006,” he reluctantly answered.

I told him that I would pray for 10 this year. He gave me one of those “well, go ahead if you want to, but . . . “ looks.

We are tremendously blessed this week to have 18 church planting trainers from 8 cities all over Bolivia! God has used Pastor Enzo to answer our prayers exceedingly, abundantly above what we asked or thought was possible. Today each of them committed to try to train at least one church and 50 people each month. Hallelujah!

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Two years ago Abigail Willett celebrated her 13th birthday in Montero. We praised the Lord when she ended up with a 13 year old translator named Amanda, who had just returned from spending a year in the US with her family.

Amanda, now 15, again is working with Larry and Woodlyn’s team. She has been at our leader training sessions bright and early every morning. She has been one of the leaders for the kids part of the evening meeting when over 80 kids have shown up!

Yesterday she wrote this on her evaluation form at the end of the First Steps church planting training: “I want to train 12 disciples (over the next year), and have each one have their own cell group, and they then also train 2 others, and those others each train 2 others.” Pretty great vision for a 15 year old, don’t you think?

Thanksgiving Team

I thank God for the special team he has given us this week:

· Edna Alexander, who lost her husband this year to cancer, spending her first Thanksgiving without him here with us
· Steve Anderson, who's been a campaigner with me more than anyone else on earth!
· Newlyweds Gordon and Yvonne Wu, spending their first Thanksgiving as married couple sharing about Christ here
· Larry Strickland, enjoying his second campaign to Montero
· George O’Leary, on his first ever mission trip
· Our daughter Joanna, who took time off from her job as a teacher to share this joyful week with us
· Our son, Philip, celebrating his 16th birthday far from his friends back home
· And my wonderful wife, Woodlyn, who gave up one of her favorite events—cooking a great big traditional Thanksgiving feast for our family—to walk the dusty streets of Montero showering people with the love of God

We thank our loving Lord for changing our lives, and allowing us to see His handiwork here in Montero. And we thank each of you prayer warriors for advocating our cause before the throne of the Most High God.

Oh, yeah, your burning questions about our menu here today! No, there isn't any turkey available. They said sometimes you can find it around Christmas time. Guinea pig (called "cuy" here--pronounced "coo-eee") is the delicacy of choice for many in Bolivia, but thankfully no one has "threatened" me with that today.

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