Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tears in Church

This morning in church was very emotional for me. We were singing a Mercy Me song many of you know--

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin

Tears came to my eyes as we sang, for two competing ideas were bumping into each other in my mind.

First, gratitude welled up in my heart and teared out my eyes, for I am that “erring child He reconciled and pardoned from his sin.” Jesus died for me, and I have been set free from the bondage of that sin.

Second, my thoughts flew ahead to Sucre, Bolivia, where we’ll be going in a couple weeks. Many people there live in fear, not in gratitude. They worship Pachamama (Mother Earth), who they believe rewards or punishes people based on their rituals, festivals and sacrifices. They also fear other spirits, as described in the Area Handbook for Bolivia by Thomas Weil and others—

“The [Indian] world is densely populated with spirits that are constantly influencing everyday events. They are related to and explain his economic state (in griculture), his health, his personal relations with other members of his community, and the fearful unknown. Most commonly, spirits are place spirits, living in the air, in or around a natural phenomenon, or wandering with no fixed dwelling. . . .

“Other supernaturals include ghosts, demons, the souls of the dead, and Roman Catholic saints. These spirits are considered ambivalent, if not malevolent, in their attitude toward the Indian, concerned with his affairs but not necessarily with his welfare. For this reason the individual must attempt to remain on good terms with them through
propitiation and the use of magicians and diviners who can speak with or interpret the actions of the supernaturals for him. . . .

“God and Christ, as the Indian envisions them, are white men who are not interested in his affairs and who are potentially threatening.”

I yearn for many to put their complete trust in Christ, and be freed from these fears. Would you join me in praying and fasting for them over the next few weeks?


Mike Jorgensen

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

God’s Math in Bolivia

Can you really plant a church in a week? No . . . but God can!

Last week God started 7 new baby churches in Bolivia! “How in the world did He do that,” you may ask. By the end of this week-long mission trip, some of the new baby churches had over 100 in attendance! Here’s how God’s “math” worked out for this team.

· 29 US team members working with . . .
· 149 local Bolivian believers from . . .
· 6 local churches working in . . .
· 7 barrios (neighborhoods) to start new churches saw . . .
· 783 people pray to receive Christ as their Savior and there were . . .
· 78% follow-up discipleship contacts made during the week.

During the week, our US team worked side-by-side with Bolivian Christians and translators sharing the Gospel using the EvangeCube. As people said “Si” to Jesus, they made follow-up appointments to visit them the next day to begin the discipleship process. They also invited the new believers to evening meetings in the homes where the new groups will begin to meet.

As 9 year old Ben Parsons said the second day of the trip, “I thought I’d be nervous, but I’m not. This is FUN!”

Behind each of these stats is a real person. Click on the link to the left that says "Bolivia Family Camp" to see a short online slide show where you can catch a glimpse of God’s glory in Bolivia.

Mike Jorgensen

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bolivia Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.

You are the Lord of the Harvest, Father. You raised up the 29 US members of our team, plus the 149 Bolivian believers with whom we worked. You are Jehovah Nissi, the Lord our Banner, under whom this army marched last week in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

May Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

You promised that You would build Your church, Lord Jesus, for You are Head of the Church. You expanded Your kingdom in those 7 areas where new baby churches now are growing.

Father, You are the One who draws people to Yourself. You are the One who gave faith to the 783 people who prayed to receive Christ as their Savior. May Your will now be done as the local believers go back to follow-up all these new believers to obey Your command to make disciples.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Lord, You promised—

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Lord, enable each of us on Team Bolivia to wait on You now at home. May we not return in our own strength, but trust in You this week for all our needs. Renew our strength. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. In all ways, and especially in all relationships. May we mount up with wings of eagles. May we run and not grow weary. May we walk and not faint. Give each of us wisdom as we continue to seek Your kingdom purposes in the midst of “life as normal” back home.

Forgive my sins as I forgive others.

Lord, forgive us for any thoughts that this is any way attributable to our team, our methods or our materials. Without You, we can do nothing. Everything that happened last week was Your hand at work.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another . . . .
Isaiah 42:8a

Deliver us from the temptation of stealing any of Your glory, Lord. This is all You.

Deliver the new believers and the new churches from the evil one, the father of lies. Bring a strong disciple maker to each of the new believers.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen!

Thank You for allowing us to see Your glory this past week, Lord. Continue to make Your name more famous in Bolivia and around the world.


Mike Jorgensen

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bolivia Wed Report

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Today’s our last day of work in the field. There’s gonna be lots of tears tonight as our teams say goodbye to their new friends here. The church members with whom they have walked these dusty streets. The translators who have been by their side house and after house after house. The ladies who have cooked banquets for them each day. And the new believers on whose dusty cheeks they have seen tears roll down. Whose smiles they have witnessed as they came to understand the glory of Christ’s love and sacrifice for them. Whose enthusiasm during the discipleship visits and meetings they have seen grow. Already one of the youth with us has told me “I wanna stay here.”

God has given our teams the privilege of seeing over 700 people pray to receive Christ in the 7 new church areas in which we are working. So please continue to pray for the follow-up discipleship. It is the key to the ongoing health and growth of these new baby churches.

Interesting impact story I heard from two different people. Before my first campaign here four years ago, my host put me up in a 5 star hotel when I came early to do leadership training. He didn’t realize that our budgets do not cover that kind of expense. So during my stay I asked to go look at other hotels for the team coming a few weeks later. His response was “why not here?” So I explained our more frugal standards and budget. To which he replied, “what’s your budget? Let’s go talk to the manager.” Much to my shock, the manager was a Christian and agreed to allow us to stay in this condominium suite hotel for our normal budget! To give you an idea of what it’s like, the 5 person family that’s with me told me they have a spare bedroom in their suite that they aren’t even using!

But I was also concerned about what impression this hotel would give to the nationals with whom we work. As I’ve asked this question multiple times of multiple leaders here, each time the answer has been the same: “God has provided this blessing, so enjoy it.”

The assistant manager told Enzo this week that they love to have us here because the hotel always fills up around the time when we come because God blesses them. Another employee told me that when our team arrives, the peace of God falls on the whole hotel. It gave me great joy that both these staff members were giving God the glory, and not attributing this to our team. Hallelujah!

The online slide show has been updated with some more pix. Click on link below. Please keep praying for us.


Mike Jorgensen for Team Bolivia

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bolivia Family Camp II

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Tuesday morning / 6.12.2007

Last year Samantha came with her dad. This year she brought back her mom, Sophia, to “Bolivia Family Camp.”

Sophia is the children’s leader at Austin Chinese Church, and she and Samantha have had the joy of serving the Lord together her. During the day they do evangelism and discipleship. God is using the kids on the team as “kid magnets,” and through the kids more adults are being reached, too. Already God has given Samantha the joy of helping lead 19 people to Christ! Then Sophia and Samantha together minister to dozens of kids during the evening discipleship meetings.

Check out the updated online slide show with more action from Bolivia!

We’ve begun returning to those who have made professions of faith to start discipling them. Continue to pray that everyone we’re working with here will catch a vision for making disciples, and not just making converts.

Already the power of the gospel is changing people. A couple days ago one team witnessed to an alcoholic. He was living in total squalor. Yesterday when the team returned to start the discipleship follow-up, they saw that he had worked hard to clean things up. Step by step Jesus is changing lives.

Another answered prayer involves the “dog incident” with Winston. One of the big questions is whether the dog is healthy. Yesterday the local church members introduced him to the owners. First, it was a blessing knowing the dog was a pet, and not just a wild street dog. Second . . . he had led the owners to Christ about 30 minutes before the dog nipped him! So they can watch the dog for the next few days to make sure it is healthy. Plus Winston is modeling Christian love to these new believers in spite of their pesky pet. “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”

Continue to pray for all the churches to wholeheartedly commit to following up all the new believers.

Thanks for standing in the gap for our Bolivia Team.

Mike Jorgensen

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bolivia Family Camp

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Monday morning / 6.11.2007

Over the years Woodlyn and I have savored the times we were able to get away as a family on a trip. When the kids were little, it was a time to “make memories.” As they got older, our times away also got the kids off the phone and internet and more connected with us. Many of you do the same with family vacations and family camps. Wonderful times developing family relationships in new surroundings, doing fun stuff.

This week we have a bit of a family camp here. Dave and Jenny are here with their 3 boys—Kyle (16), Luke (13) and Ben (9). Mike and his daughter, Kaitlyn (13), made the trip, along with Jeff and his daughter, Carla (12).

Saturday I had the privilege of going out with Dave and Jenny and their boys. When I asked Jenny why they had decided to do this as a family, she said “we talk to the boys about serving the Lord, but it is even better just to show them.” They had a hum dinger of a day! All 5 had translators, so they formed 5 teams. Each of them had the privilege of many several people say “Si” to Jesus, from 9 year old Ben on up. Among them they saw 63 people make a profession of faith! They now are working with the local church members to follow-up with as many of those people as possible to start the discipling them. Don’t you agree that they making some hallelujah hum dinger memories!

Sunday morning I joined Kaitlyn, Carla, Mike and Jeff as they worshipped at their mother church. While the two dads preached and taught, their daughters were working with the kids. They, too, are having a hallelujah hum dinger week.

Take a look at this short slide show and rejoice with us at what God is doing through these families, and our whole team, here in Bolivia.

Many, many people are coming to Christ. Please pray for God to raise up Mark 4:8 disciples from these new believers—those who multiply themselves 30, 60 and 100 times.

Please also pray for Winston, who was nipped by a dog while he was sharing Christ with someone. Our enemy will do anything to disrupt the work. This has not caused any problems for Winston, but we want to take the appropriate steps to prevent this from developing into a problem.

Thanks for standing in the gap for our Bolivia Team.

Mike Jorgensen

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Bolivia: God's Rearranging

Santa Cruz, Bolivia / Saturday Morning 6/9/07

I used to get pretty frustrated when things didn’t go according to my plan on a campaign. Perhaps a pastor or two didn’t show up to greet their team. Or a pastor showed up who wasn’t on our list. Sometimes they showed up at the welcome meeting for our team. Or maybe they even showed up on day two . . . or three. Used to drive me crazy.

But usually by the end of the campaign it became apparent that “my” plans had not been God’s plan, so He rearranged things for His glory! So now it is exciting to see “surprises” happen as we deploy the teams. I trust that each change in “my” Team/Area Chart is God blessing us with His answer to our prayers of “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

So I was not surprised, or frustrated, yesterday when one of the pastors who had committed to work with us did not show up for the initial meeting. When Pastor Enzo, our Bolivia coordinator, called that pastor, he said he couldn’t come to the meeting because he was working on a problem and was busy with some legal papers. Then when we called him back a few minutes later to see if we could at least take the US team out to the area to prayer walk, he said “I guess I’m not going to be able to host the team because of these legal problems.” Thank You, Lord, for reallocating the team away from someone who was preoccupied with something else!

Yesterday the teams met their host churches and then prayer walked the neighborhoods where they are working this week. Today the evangelism begins. Please pray for these teams as they share the love of Christ with people today (click on names to see pix of teams)—

Bob / Sue / Mary Team

Kaitlyn / Carla / Mike / Jeff Team

Parsons Family Team

Alex / Teresa / Winston / Pedro Team (Pedro reassigned to team after picture taken)

Greg / Jocelyn / Mike / Kip Team (Kip reassigned to team after picture taken)

Steve / Simon / Faye / Emily Team (Emily reassigned to team after picture taken)

Samantha / Sophia / Gaylord / Steve Team

We especially are praying today--

· For the veil to be removed from the hearts and minds of those we meet today (2 Cor 4:3-4)

· For our teams to meet a person of peace in each neighborhood (Luke 10:5-7)