Friday, May 18, 2007

Bolivia: Blessed My Socks Off

Remember the old saying—“that blessed my socks off”?

The Biblical equivalent is in Ephesians 3—

20Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

We saw those verses come to life last weekend in Bolivia as God blessed our socks off.

First was our Leadership Conference in Sucre. Sucre is high up in the Andes at about 9200 ft. It is a beautiful place, and one of the least westernized places I’ve been to. One of the missionaries said there was only one “supermarket” in town, and it was only the size of a 7-Eleven. Everything else is sold in small shops and outdoor markets. It was fun watching the colorfully clad little Quechua ladies walking down the beautiful streets lined with beautiful Spanish colonial buildings.

We expected 30 to 40 people to show up, which is the norm the first time we go into a new small city. When we arrived, I was shocked that 130 already had pre-registered. Then 170 ended up attending. All very enthusiastic. Over half were college aged “jovenes,” for Sucre is home to several universities. Definitely “exceedingly abundantly above what I asked or thought.”

Second was a meeting called by Tito Ramos, the Bolivia national director for Campus Crusade. We have become good friends over the past several years as we have gone to him for advice and counsel about how best to do ministry in Bolivia.

Let me give you some background to that meeting. Our goal in each e3 country is to work with nationals who have a vision and plan to cover their country with churches. We prefer to partner with them in their plan, not to come up with a plan of our own, for they know their country and culture better than we ever will. But when we entered Bolivia 4 years ago, it was like many other countries in which we work—initially we could not find anyone who had a national vision for church planting.

So it blessed our socks off when Tito Ramos asked us to partner with Campus Crusade and others to plant 1600 churches over the next 4 years! Their plan essentially is the e3 method of church planting, to which they have added Jesus film evangelism and ongoing leadership development. We are looking forward to hearing more about his plan and asking the Lord how He wants us to be involved.

Praise the Head of the Church for giving this vision for building His church in Bolivia. Pray for God's will to be done in this plan as His will is done in heaven. Pray for wisdom for us as we discuss how to work together for God's glory.

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