In 1990 Trish, the kids and I moved to Santiago to work alongside the Bowen's with the Bustamante Church of Christ. Upon our arrival we met some wonderful brethren. One of those was Teofilo, a new christian and soon to be a new husband (but that's another story).
Teofilo had lived in Chile for a few years already, but was originally from Trinidad, Beni, Bolivia. He didn't talk much about his family nor about his past, just that he had family there. Teofilo was always one to enjoy talking about his faith and about his personal struggles, but always with a smile on his face. After years it had come time for him to visit his family and share with them the Gospel that had changed him. In January of this year he made it all the way from his home in Santiago to his hometown in Bolivia, the city of Trinidad. While there he spoke to his family members, many of whom he had never met, about the Gospel and about family. The result ended up being 9 baptisms. The sad part of the story is that he had to leave, although I can only imagine how torn he must have been to leave all of these young believers "on their own." Well, the church in Bustamante, told Roland, Roland told us and we decided to make that "house call".
As I have mentioned before, it never ceases to amaze me the ways God works. We met up with Nicolás, Teofilo´s youngest brother and he offered to take us to his home; "It is very humble" he said but that is where his family lived. That night we met with 6 of those who had been baptized and a whole bunch of little ones. We had a wonderful evening, talking about Teofilo and how he had brought them the message of Jesus. I asked them if they had a Bible and they responded, "Yes!" They ended up bringing me Teofilo´s Bible he had left with them. It was the only one they had. They didn't want to use it too much since it had gotten wet when the flood waters entered their home in February and left them out in the street for 2 weeks. Even though that was an experience that will be hard for them to forget, all they wanted to talk about was how they could continue to grow and learn. None of them have any Bible knowledge, only enough to have led them to conversion. We talked to them about how important it is for them to meet together and of they can't have a Bible study, at least they can read the Bible together. They have tried meeting on Sunday afternoon and when they do about 25 are present. What an awesome opportunity! (was my thought) But how are we going to help these new christians out.
What we are going to be doing for the next few months is in he first place, get them some Bibles. Secondly we will be lining up brethren from different parts of Bolivia to commit some time every month to teach some of the basics of faith to them. From there we will see how things go. Their needs are so much, but more than anything their need to the word is what really is urgent.
What an awesome house call we made this last week. We pray that God will give us the means to serve these new christians and their families. Who know, maybe our next church plant will be 400 miles away from the valley of Cochabamba. The glory will always be His.
Butch n Trish