This update comes from Dan and Mary Sue Reed, GMI missionaries serving in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
A few months ago we mentioned our desire to work alongside a team of Bolivian leaders at a church plant called Carlos Laborde. Our whole family had really enjoyed our experience several years back working with the Km 14 church plant which later became the Casa de Misericordia Church. We talked with Pepe Yucra (our Bolivian mission president) and Pastor Santos Ortega (our Bolivian mission vice-president) to discuss this new possibility. We also shared with different leaders our desire to work with this church plant and we finally received official approval by the leadership committee. We believe we can work well together as a team with Bolivian leaders. This ministry falls right in line with our purpose in being here as GMI (Grace Ministries International) missionaries. We want to encourage and empower our leaders to do the work of the ministries that God has given them. It has really been a joy to be part of this ministry! On our first Sunday afternoon there, we had to park our 4-wheel drive Mitsubishi half a block away and walk in because of all of the water and mud in the road. Since then some work has been done but the church plant is still on a very lumpy, dirt road. For now it is an afternoon kids club similar to AWANA. We have slowly been learning the kids names and building relationships with them. We are finding out that not only are these kids coming from unchurched families, but some of them come from very rough backgrounds. I’m sure you can imagine that some of these kids can be challenging from time to time. It is interesting that they choose to come back week after week. We hope it is because they feel accepted and loved by the leaders. Our prayer is that they will see God’s love shining through us and that it will ultimately draw them one step closer to accepting the Lord as their personal savior. Another aspect that Dan and I have enjoyed at the church plant is the time that we have been able to spend with the family that takes care of the property. Often in Bolivia people arrive late to events, it is considered cultural. That has often been the case with our kids club at the church plant. Dan and I have taken these opportunities to sit and visit with Adolfo and his wife, Jimena, and their three kids as we wait for everyone to arrive. It has given us the chance to build a relationship with them. We pray that the Lord would use us in bringing them closer to accepting the Lord.
Last Sunday we had the privilege of attending one of our mission churches, Dios es Amor (God is Love) Church. Near the end of the service they had a time of recognizing and honoring all of their leaders who taught in some capacity within the church. They had all of the teachers come up to the front and then Pastor Herland asked Dan to share a few words with them and to pray for them. As Dan shared he emphasized that their work as teachers, sharing spiritual truths from the Bible has ETERNAL VALUE! Their teaching will help children and adults to make choices or decisions that will change their lives. It’s not easy but as they say here, “Es vale la pena!” It’s worth it! Then he prayed for all of the teachers. At the end of the service the pastor asked Dan once again to share some words of encouragement with the congregation. It was a good morning to worship the Lord together with our Bolivian brothers and sisters in Christ. After the service Pastor Herland and his wife, Veronica, invited us to be part of a special lunch that was being provided in honor of the teachers. We had a wonderful time of fellowship and good food around a table in one of the classrooms at the church. These people are precious and they love the Lord with all their heart. We left with smiles on our faces!
Dan has recently had several opportunities to preach on Sunday mornings in our different mission churches here in Santa Cruz. Tomorrow, Mary Sue will be heading to Vida Abundante (Abundant Life) Church along with the women’s committee to encourage the women in the church. They will be presenting a program for the women during Sunday School. We have several church anniversaries coming up that we will be attending. Next week we will be meeting with Yermi Castro, a lady who helps us with our paperwork. We will be finding out from her exactly what will be needed to renew our Bolivian ID cards and drivers licenses.
Thank you for your interest in our ministry in Bolivia. We appreciate your prayers and financial support. Thank you for partnering with us so we can work alongside our Bolivian leaders to encourage and train them, so they can move forward in their ministries. If you would like to donate online to our ministry through Grace Ministries International, please click here.
1. for patience and genuine love as we work with the kids at Carlos Laborde.
2. that our renewal process for our ID cards and drivers licenses will go smoothly.
3. for our Bolivian pastors and their families.
4. that we would have an opportunity to get to know the neighborhood and families around Carlos Laborde.
5. for our health and safety.
1. for the growth in the lives of the young leaders at Casa de Misericordia (House of Mercy) Church.
2. for the example of our fathers in family life and ministry. (missions and pastorate)
3. for our faithful prayer warriors who cover us with prayer.
4. for the Church, the Body of Christ, here in Bolivia and around the world.
Serving through Christ,
Dan & Mary Sue Reed