Trish and I are blessed with the opportunity to travel to Viña del Mar on an annual basis, to visit the church with whom we share so many wonderful memories. This year we spent 11 days in Viña, visiting with several members and sharing some insights from the Epistle to the Ephesians.
All in all the church is doing very well. They have had some struggles as they work through their process of organization and recognition of local leaders, but we believe that they have all grown through this.
Raúl and Cruz loaned us an apartment of theirs as well as a vehicle which made getting around so much easier. We were able to reminisce with many of our friends as well as share in some personal Bible study. On both Sundays I was able to preach and teach Bible class. Together we looked at the message of Ephesians from the viewpoint of the identity we share in Christ and how that should affect the way we live. As usual, we had a great time and are so thankful we are able to make these trips.
We then traveled to Mendoza to visit Trish’s family and took the opportunity to bring Trish’s mom, Lucy, back to Bolivia with us. She will be staying with us for the next few months.
Our trip was also marked by an invitation of the church in Palermo, Buenos Aires to teach at their annual church retreat. This year the theme was, “Walking with Jesus.” Together we went through some passages that show us how Jesus prepared his disciples for the mission He would send them on. As they “Walked with Jesus”, He taught them many valuable life lessons that we gleaned from also. Trish spent quite a bit of time sharing with some of the young women in the church with whom she has developed a wonderful relationship. It was a great weekend and we are grateful that Jonathan Hanegan and Jairo Díaz, who work with the church, invited us to be with them. We had a wonderful time on this trip, but it was so nice to get home.
In Bolivia all continues to go well. Upon our return we held our first Leadership Conference of the year. Jonathan Hanegan, from Buenos Aires, taught a wonderful series on the Parable of Jesus called, “The Pedagogy of Jesus.” He shared with the group how Jesus’ favorite way of teaching was telling stories that emphasized how life in the kingdom is to be lived. We had between 40 and 50 participate from the cities of La Paz, Viacha, Sucre, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba. During the weekend, Alvaro (from La Paz), Emeterio and Johnny (both from Villa Pagador) were baptized into Christ. We are so happy for the three of them.
Everything continues to go well with the Downtown church in Cochabamba. The guys from the new Cochabamba Team (Caleb Team) have been helping out quite a bit with teaching Bible classes and preaching. We are grateful for their willingness to share with the church here as they prepare for the ministry Christ has given them in Tiquipaya, a neighborhood in Cochabamba.
I was able to finish up the study we were having on Hermeneutics - How to Study the Bible. I will be meeting with the group 3 or 4 more times to practice with them some of the things we learned in class.
Our Thursday C.A.F.E. group continues to go well. We are planning on moving our group to other homes periodically. This will get them used to opening their homes and leading the studies. We continue to work on personal growth, reading from and reflecting on different commands we find in the Scriptures that apply to each of us personally.
The children’s class which had been put on hold for various reasons, is doing well. Trish usually has between 8 and 10 kids in class. Some of the ladies from church, as well as Jordan and Timothy, have been helping her out quite a bit.
Our AIMers continue to do well. Raegan had to return to the U.S. due to personal reasons, but Jordan and Timothy continue to do really well. Our new AIMers, Neva, Marj, Cole, Kolton and Paul will be arriving on May 16th. We are excited for their arrival. Both Jordan and Timothy were able to participate in a medical mission in Ecuador and then accompanied us to Buenos Aires. They are enjoying quite the experience.
The church in Trinidad continues to be steady. I was able to travel and visit them the weekend of May 22nd. We met for Bible study on Saturday and worship on Sunday morning. We also had some time to just sit down and catch up. Juan will be coming to our next Leadership Workshop.
The church in Villa Pagador is doing very well. Due to health issues, Calixto has not been able to spend as much time as he usually does visiting and leading Bible classes. Some of the other men have stepped up and are doing a good job replacing him. Together with the guys from the Caleb Team, we have been teaching and preaching on Sunday evenings.
We continually make plans for future visits to Sucre, La Paz, Viacha and Trinidad. Please keep us in your prayers as we make ourselves available to the churches in these cities.
Trish and I are working on our next furlough schedule. We are planning on being in U.S. during the months of July and August. We will include that schedule in our next newsletter.
When Trish and I look at all that God has done since we have been here in Cochabamba, we are marveled. When we consider the awesome task of “making disciples of all nations”, and “preaching the Gospel to every creature” it seems impossible. And it is for us! But let’s never forget that “nothing is impossible” with the One who has commissioned us. We are a blessed people! Trish and I are honored to serve God as His co-missionaries here in Bolivia. We are grateful to all of you who help to make it happen. Your prayers, support, and encouragement mean so much. May God continue to bless all of us as we make His will our own. The glory will always be His!
B & T