Tuesday, April 08, 2008

What Did You Like About The Bolivia Trip?

Here's how some of our Mission Trip participants answered this question.

This has to be the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I saw a baby church plant another church and thriving only 8 months later. I will be sure to use up my 5 year visa in a big way. I love the Bolivian people and will do my best to partner with them to reach as many people as possible. Thank you JESUS! ~ Kip Childers / Fellowship Orlando

This trip was very interesting. It was very different from my last trip with e3. Being dramatically stronger in my faith, I have come to value what e3 does more. It was so encouraging to share the gospel and see lives changed. ~ Ellie Crossman / Fellowship Orlando

While planning this trip with e3 came with short notice, completing the campaign has left a profound, eternal impact. As I daily saw dozens of souls added to the Kingdom, I was reminded of the extravagant, unconditional love of God. During this trip, I didn’t just sense the heart of God . . . I felt it. ~ Canita Brent / Crossing Place Fellowship / Franklin, Louisiana

I am one who had reservations about taking this trip for a number of reasons: separation from our children, our safety, cultural differences, fear, leaving my “comfort zone”, work, etc. It took about 24 hours for the Lord to melt those away after I was used to lead the first 19 people to Christ. Seeing lives changed, relationships built, barriers broken down, families drawn closer together, are memories I will cherish until I see them again in heaven. The pastors, their families, translators, national, etc. are now counted as friends. I pray, Lord willing, that I may reunited with these friends again soon! ~ Mark Poole / Fellowship Orlando.

This trip has been rewarding at many different levels; from sharing the joy of watching grandfathers, daughters, husbands, wives entire families coming to know the Lord, to seeing Nationals grow as they learn to evangelize and teach others about the Bible. Watching my preconceived barriers and cultural differences melt away as you truly fall in love with your new brothers and sisters in Christ. By the last night, everyone is crying and hugging one another and you do not want to leave. ~ Catherine Poole / Fellowship Orlando.

Sitting underneath our cabana and watching the children’s group and then looking forward and seeing brand new believers doing a disciple lesson. Then the new believers were helping the people who just came. One lady was helping three ladies who could not read by reading the lesson to them. I saw God working and could not help myself. I just started praising Him. It was an incredible evening. ~ David Parsons / Fellowship Orlando

The moment that I will always remember is when I asked a group for 4 teenagers if they wanted Jesus to come into their lives and one of them said, “I want to have Jesus in my life, but I don’t know how”; so I said “that’s what we’re here to tell you.” He came to every evening meeting and even presented the cube to the schools on the last day. ~ Luke Parsons / Age 14 / Fellowship Orlando

The first day we shared the gospel with a young mother whose husband usually goes away for the week to work and comes home only on weekend, like most men in this neighborhood. She is lonely and has a drinking problem. As we were sharing with her, she told us that she was lonely and had family problems. During the prayer she began to cry. After the prayer she confessed her drinking problem. She came to the evening meetings and by the last day had finished the second lesson with the help of other ladies in the neighborhood church. (She doesn’t read.) She quit drinking the day she gave her life to Christ. The change in her countenance was obvious. The sadness was replaced by a joyful appearance. She has a new life in Christ. ~ Jenny Parsons / Fellowship Orlando

My most memorable moment was when the wife of a man was jumping up and down because her husband accepted Christ ~ Ben Parsons / Age 10 / Fellowship Orlando.

My most memorable moment was when we came across a man who was a recovering alcoholic. He changed his ways after the unexpected death of his wife months prior. Since then, he became sober and began reading his Bible every day, but still has had many questions about salvation. Our team had the honor of answering his questions along with eventually praying the prayer with him. Following his prayer, we presented the cube to his employee, who also received Christ. ~ Kyle Parsons / Age 18 / Fellowship Orlando

On the third day of evangelizing, we encountered a woman who was about 60 years old. She was raised in church and believed in God, but she hadn’t truly accepted Jesus in her heart until we were done talking to her. God definitely used us for His work. After accepting Christ, she shared with us that she recently had open heart surgery. She further divulged that her husband was not a believer and refused to read the Bible or go to church. God gave her the courage to accept Jesus and came to our Thursday night service. I do not know where her faith will take her, but I know God is working in her life. ~ Andrew Bonfiglio / Fellowship Orlando

The Don Bosco team had witnessed to his grandfather who made a statement of faith. Jose Roberto was only 7 years old, but also prayed to receive Christ. Two days later, we were witnessing to an older man who was very hard of hearing, Jose Roberto was playing nearby and came near us. The older man was beginning to pray, but still had a hard time with the words. Jose Roberto went right up to the man’s ears and repeated the words of an acceptance prayer – just 2 or 3 words at a time. The old man heard what was spoken by Jose Roberto – already a missionary at 7! ~ Robert McGough / Friendship Baptist / Poteau, Oklahoma

Monday, April 07, 2008

Bolivia Hallelujahs

God answered your prayers. Here’s how He displayed His glory as He worked through our team in Santa Cruz last week—

26 US team members working with . . .
. 139 Bolivia believers from several mother churches starting . . .
. . . 8 new baby churches and together they saw . . .
. . . . 990 professions of faith and then worked to have . . .
. . . . . 97% follow-up contacts (compared to POFs in neighborhoods)

While these stats are exciting, they do not communicate the depth of life change God was doing in people’s lives. For example, Bob talked to a man on a park bench one day. I don’t recall his name—let’s call him Juan. Bob learned that Juan had returned home to Bolivia from Spain to avenge the murder of his brother. A week before the same man had robbed Juan’s father. A couple days before Bob first met him, Juan had found the other man . . . and killed him. As Bob shared that God loved him and had sent His Son to die for him, Juan prayed to receive Christ.

The next day Bob saw Juan again on the same park bench (pic at left). Juan had decided to turn himself in to the police. When I met Juan and shook hands with him his hand was trembling. What a horrible situation he was in. But now he had the Comforter living inside him.

This week is even more important than last week.

Please pray for Juan and all the other new believers this week. Many will be making decisions about whether to walk with Christ, or turn back to their old way of life. Pray that they will take those first baby steps toward following our Savior. Pray also that God will raise up committed disciple makers to help them on their Jesus journey.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Don’t Want to Leave a Lame Example

Funny story. Great illustration.

There are two dogs that live at the house where Steve, Bob and Kyle are helping start a new church. The big one has a bad leg and gets around on 3 legs.

Bob shared with our team this morning that the little friend dog has 4 good legs. But it walks on 3 legs just like the big dog! It has been “discipled” to settle for only part of the blessings God designed it for. Literally and figuratively it is following a "lame" example.

We don’t want to leave behind a “lame” example for the precious people we have been serving here this week. Our heart cry is to model in a balanced way what the Apostle Paul did in his ministry. We’ve summarized his ministry with this diagram—

The big challenge is to leave them with an effective model for making disciples. Chris Horton and I interviewd many pastors this week with whom we have worked in the past. One told us that “our big challenge here is most pastors’ idea of ‘church.’ To most it is simply having a service of sing, preach, give and go home.”

We have modeled one on one discipleship as our teams returned to visit new believers in their homes. In the evening meetings we focused on teaching new believers how to study their gift New Testaments. Several new believers this week learned how to do evangelism by tagging along with our teams.

Next week is the most important week of the campaign. Yes, we return home on Saturday. But how they follow-up with the new believers next week--the model that they adopt after we go--will make all the difference in the world.

Please pray that those we have served this week will be gripped with a Holy Spirit “addiction” to obey Christ’s command to make disciples.

Team Bolivia