Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bolivia Tears

Andrew was the youngest member of our Bolivia team at 16. His team had a tough start to the campaign. For the first couple days they didn’t have a place to meet, or any workers to go with them.

Then things turned around as God answered prayers. Several workers from a local seminary showed up to help. Local believers in a nearby neighborhood offered their home for the evening meetings.

I visited the second night they had the meeting place. The small room was full of new Quechua believers singing Quechua praise songs. As my eyes swept the room, I noticed Andrew standing up against the back wall. His face was grim so I worried that he was sick or something.

Then I noticed a tear roll down his cheek. “You OK?” I asked. He nodded yes, but his words choked in his throat. With a bit of time, he was able to speak. “For this one hour, they look so happy,” Andrew whispered, “even though they are so poor.”

Andrew was experiencing the joy of seeing God use his life to touch others. The kind of experience that can change the direction of a person’s life.

As you prayed, God touched many lives—

• 696 professions of faith
• 116% follow-up of the people we talked to in the neighborhoods
• 139 Bolivian believers catapulted into ministry, so on average each US team member was the catalyst for 9 Bolivians to be involved in ministry
• 4 new churches started, 1 young church strengthened, and 2 mother churches strengthened

If you’d like to see the faces of some of those touched, including the evening meeting that brought tears to Andrew’s eyes, click on this picture to see a short online slideshow.

Thanks for being a big part of our Bolivia team as you prayed for us!


Mike Jorgensen

Friday, June 13, 2008

Light in Twilight

I´ve been struggling how to express how enthusiastically people have responded this week. How do you communicate something that is so unlike what we see in US?

The best I can come up with is--

¨Free iPods to first 712 people who open doors to our reps!¨

People would be standing on their doorsteps waiting to get this blessing, wouldn´t they? In many areas that is how our team has been received this week as we have shared the truth that God loves them and Jesus died so they could have eternal life.

Bolivia is a country of uncertainty. Will the pro-gov´t people protest and blockade? Will the pro-democracy folks demonstrate and strike? If I go to the next city, will I be able to get back? Will we end up in civil war? Or will things stay peaceful?

In the midst of this, the Light has shone into the twilight of this uncertainty. This picture symbolizes what God has done this week. The kids are meeting in the lighted room, with the lights of the city in the background, as the adults and teens meet across the street.

712 people prayed to receive Christ! Their desire to learn about how to follow Christ shone through as we saw 106% follow-up as we visited them again in their homes and they came to the evening meetings. We are praying that disciple-makers will teach each one how to walk in the light the the Lord Jesus gives them.

4 new LifeGroup-style groups were started, which hopefully will grow into established churches in the next few months. 3 other churches were strengthened.

The Head of the Church is keeping His promise in Bolivia to build His church.

Thanks to everyone who has given and prayed for our team. Your time and treasure has yielded much fruit in Sucre, Bolivia.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Do They Understand?

People often ask ¨do they really understand, or are they just being nice to foreigners?

Mary, Joyce and Geanie were invited into a school to talk to 11th and 12th graders. Here´s what some of them wrote. What do you think?

Roxana says: I accept Jesus, and because he died for our sins, and loved us so much I want to know more about him. Thank u for make me think about the good values.

Alicia says: I accept Jesus, and I see how he worked in their lifes, and I want the same too with mine. Thank u to come.

Juvenal says: I accept Jesus, thanks for the reflexion u made its was very usefull to me.

Juan says: I accept Jesus, I would like to know how to improve my lidership’s skill cause I want to make a group of bible study.

Maria says: I accept Jesus, and I would love to know more about Jesus, its interesting to know that some body loves me as much that died 4 me.

Juan says: I accept Jesus, I want to know how to love Jesus cause he loved me first, diyng 4 me at the cross.

Felipa says: I accept Jesus, thanks for show that is some one that loves and I’m important to somebody. Thank u I love U

Coming Down Off The Mountain

Today is last day of work in the 5 areas. So there will be lots of ¨goodbye¨ tears tonight. Pray for the discipleship to continue long after we leave.

Tomorrow is a vacation and shopping day. Then Saturday we head back to Santa Cruz to catch the plane on to the US.

Pray for us as we readjust to coming down off the mountain--physically, emotionally and spiritually. Physically it is just as tough coming down from the Andes as it is going up. Spiritually and emotionally it is difficult leaving the myriad spiritual and physical needs here to return to the land of plenty.


mike j for team bolivia

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Answered Prayer

God is answering your prayers, Prayer Team.

Earlier I wrote about Philip/Lettie/Andrew/Woodlyn`s area, and how they had no workers and no place to meet. God changed all that yesterday. Six students from a local seminary came to help. Plus, the leader took them to a different neighborhood. Not only are the people much more receptive there, but they also have a nice home to meet in! A local believer volunteered her house for the new group. Picture below is new ¨LifeGroup¨in neighborhood after one day´s work in the new area. People are hungry for hope here!

Prayer changes things, and it is not limited by time or distance. You are making a difference in Bolivia as you lift our needs to our loving Lord.

God has blessed our meetings with our Bolivian church planting coaches. They are from all over Bolivia, from the jungles of the northeast to the Andes of the southwest. To see each other, they would have to travel hours and hours and hours. Many of them have mentioned how they now feel like they are part of a family, and not so alone as they did before.

As God has directed our agenda, yesterday we talked about other denominations and ministries we can partner with here. It was amazing to hear the positions they hold in those types of organizations. One of our coaches has two earned doctorates, and is the leader of several provinces of his denomination. Another is the director of a Bible institute. Another leads the Bolivian work of a ministry that distributes audio New Testaments. Another is a leader of a group of 150 pastors. They are seeing more clearly how we want to partner with others, not just build our own organization.

Today we challenged them to ask God how many churches in their respective networks might want to be trained with our methods and materials. We also challenged them to raise up others to be church planting coaches within those networks.

Please ask God to enable these dear coaches to hear His plans clearly as we finish our meetings tomorrow.

And as before, please beseech the Lord of the Harvest to raise up disciple makers for every new believer. What they do next week is more important than what we are doing this week for the long term health of these new groups, which hopefully will grow into churches in the coming months.

Thanks for praying.

mike j for team bolivia

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Terrific Tuesday

Trouble on Tuesday. Trouble on Tuesday. Trouble on Tuesday.

Everywhere we went, that´s what we heard. From different leaders in different places. Even from a soldier here, who gave one of our ministry partners (translators) his cell number in case he needed help. The local officials had declared several days ago that they were going to shut down Sucre to protest the national government´s policies. Road blocks. No taxis or busses or anything on the road. Total shutdown.

But the first thing I heard this morning when I saw the hotel owner on my daily pilgrimage for coffee was ¨todo normal.¨ (Everything normal)

Proverbs 21:1 says that God holds the hearts of kings in His hand. We have seen him turn those hearts in a way that allows us to continue our work.

3 of our areas are going great. Lots of workers, lots of decisions, lots of follow-up. We thank the Lord for that.

But 2 of our areas have some major obstacles. One, where Philip, Letty, Andrew and Woodlyn are working, does not have any workers. Even the pastor has been gone almost all the time attending to other things. They have seen many people say ¨Si¨ to Christ, but they need workers to follow-up.

Another area where Doug, Catherine and Lori are working has a huge spiritual obstacle. There was a church in the neighborhood that broke up a couple years ago. So there is a building there for anyone who wants to use it. But the community is very much against whatever happens in that building, or anyone they think is connected with people from there. Evidently there was an issue that split the church, and now people don´t want to have anything to do with it or anyone on the other ¨side¨ of whatever the issue was. Pray for God to bring down the obstacles of bitterness and anger.

We have a couple folks down with some tummy trouble, and a couple others with bad colds. So please also pray for our health and stamina as we continue our fun but long days.


Mike Jorgensen for Team Bolivia

Drunk Person of Peace

Our teams always pray for a person of peace in each area. A person of peace is mentioned in Luke 10, and is a well-known person in the area who is a believer, or open to Christ. Whole neighborhoods can be reached quickly because persons of peace are known by a lot of people. They can be famous (with a good reputation) or infamous (have a bad reputation).

As members of the Deedra, Caroldean and Marisa team were witnessing one day, they came upon a man who appeared drunk, so they passed him by. Much to their surprise, the next day he came up to them and asked them to share with him about God. Deedra shared how she had put her faith in Christ, and how He had changed her into a different person. She shared that God loves him and wants to have a relationship with him. She went on to explain that was possible because Christ had died to pay for our sins.

Sobbing, Tomas prayed to receive Christ, and the team cried along with him. Then he took them to a large room in his home, which he offered for use as the meeting place of the new church just starting in the neighborhood. The picture above is Tomas and his family, with Deedra, Caroldean and Marisa in the back row.

Before the end of the week, this new house church grew to about 50 adults and over 100 kids. God uses ordinary people to accomplish His extraordinary work.

Please continue to pray for the discipleship of the hundreds of new believers we are seeing put their faith in Christ as Savior!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Trouble on Tuesday?

Sunday: most teams started day worshipping with their host churches, then headed to new work areas in afternoon. Beautiful day in this beautiful place.

Biggest obstacle so far came last night for a few of us who walked 2 blocks from the hotel to get some dinner. They were having what looked like their equivalent of the Macy’s New Year’s Parade! It was wall to wall people. People were so packed into the narrow colonial streets that there was no distance between the paraders and the spectators. Everyone was belly button to belly button. Only difference was that the paraders were moving and the spectators were standing, or at least dancing in place.

This morning I had the joy of going with two of our teams to their host church (Mary/Joyce/Geanie team and Scott/Sherry team). Scott challenged the members to work with us this week, and Sherry sang “Amazing love, how can it be, that You my King would die for me?” For some reason it brought tears to my eyes hearing that song sung so sweetly in this place.

So picture joyful teams in a beautiful place on a perfect weather day . . . but then imagine a dark thundercloud of caution drifting over the horizon.

As the service ended, a missionary came up and whispered to me “be careful on Tuesday. Be very careful on Tuesday.”

She went on to explain that more transportation strikes and blockades are being threatened for Tuesday. “Don’t ignore them,” she cautioned.

“Are they between cities, or in Sucre?” I asked.

“No one knows. Just don’t ignore them.”

I assured her we would be very, very careful, as we do with all our precious teams.

Please pray that everything will remain as tranquil as it now looks to us. Pray that the hand of the Almighty will continue to envelope us with protection and peace.

Please pray 1 Timothy 2:1-4 for our team—

--That God will direct the decisions of leaders here in a way that enables people to live quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and reverence, and

--For many to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Thanks, Prayer Team.

Mike Jorgensen for Team Bolivia

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Team Arrives in Sucre

Team Bolivia arrived safely and joyfully in Sucre—North American team, translators and Bolivian church planting coaches. More transportation strikes here, so please continue to pray.

Met with the pastors and leaders of the churches hosting our teams. They have 5 neighborhoods and villages where we will be working side-by-side with their church members.

We have several goals this week. One is to help these churches as they form LifeGroup-style home Bible studies in these 5 neighborhoods. Our prayer is that they grow into new churches within a year or two.

But an even more far-reaching goals is to provide more “on-the-job training” for our Bolivian church planting coaches. We hope they head home at the end of the week here saying “this is simple—we can do this with our own people—we don’t have to wait for the next North American team to come.” Please pray for that impact.

Please also pray for us as we acclimate to the 9,100 ft altitude here in the Andes.

Thanks for praying.

Mike Jorgensen for Team Bolivia

PS One of the mottos of our home church (Chase Oaks Church) seems especially appropriate here--see Tshirt below--

Scott / Sherry Team

Sherry singing "You are My King" in morning service.

Scott exhorting church members to work with us this week.

Mary / Joyce / Geanie Team

Deedra / Marisa / Caroldean Team

Doug / Catherine / Lori Team

Philip / Lettie / Andrew / Woodlyn Team