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Cochabamba, Bolivia, January 2007
--11,097 Heard Gospel
--59 New Believers Classes Started
“We have cancelled your hotel reservations.” “Don’t come. There is rioting in the streets.” “Roads are blocked. Planes are not flying between La Paz and Cochabamba.”
One day before we were to leave with our team to go to Bolivia, South America, these were the kinds of reports we were hearing. Yes, our team of eight had already purchases airline tickets; advertisements had been made around the country for our up-coming training; and, deposits had been paid.
Yet, in light of all the negative reports, the only sensible thing seemed to be to cancel the trip which would mean a one year delay in ministering in Bolivia.
After wrestling with the decision all day and after many phone calls to various contacts in Bolivia, we made the decision to believe the good report we heard that things were getting better. We left the next morning under the cover of much prayer from supporting friends and churches.
One of the highlights of this three week period was our time in La Paz, a city of one and a half million and almost 12,000 feet in altitude. Personally handing out hundreds of Gospel tracts to Indigenous Indians, police and shoe-shine boys was a privilege. But, the ones who won my heart the most were Alex and two other shoe-shine boys.
Shoe-shine boys or young men in La Paz are quite menacing in appearance. They wear dark ski masks over their faces and baseball caps pulled low over those. Only the slits of their eyes show as they bend over one’s shoes polishing them for a few cents worth of Bolivianos.
On our last morning in La Paz, we decided to get our shoes shined. My husband, Danny was standing while getting his shined. One other man who we didn’t know was in the middle; and, I was to his side. As the young men worked, we talked to them and presented them with Gospel tracts.
Alex, who was shining my shoes, lifted his ski mask so we could see his face and began asking us questions. He stated that most of the people around them drink and that he and his two friends wanted a better life. We talked to them some about Jesus and then said goodbye. As we walked away, we both felt we should have asked to pray with them. When we returned, a crowd of about eight more shoe-shine boys gathered to listen.
What a blessing to lead Alex and his two friends in a prayer to receive Jesus Christ as Savior! Upon their inquiry, we left them with the phone number of a pastor friend of ours who could guide them in where to go to church and to grow in Christ.
We are so thankful that we went and that the ministry was performed! We had a total of one hundred eighty-three teachers who came to be trained for five days. On Thursday, we took all the students out to a park to do a training evangelism. On that special, joyful day, one hundred eighty-three adults, youth and children came to Christ!
Following the week of training, the students were sent out on thirty teams to thirty churches around Bolivia. In spite of some roadblocks, torrential rains in the north and unaccustomed altitude for some of the students, over 11,000 heard the Gospel during 220 evangelism events. Over seven thousand responded to the invitation to pray for salvation. And, fifty-nine new believers’ classes were started to follow up with the new believers.
We believe this time in Bolivia was an ordained time by God and that there is now more of the light of the Gospel in this country that is in the midst of political unrest. No matter what the future holds for Bolivia, the fruit that is there will remain and will grow to the furtherance of the Kingdom of God!
© 2007 Beyond Ourselves.