Bolivia Missions Work

Low German Bolivia Ministry

EMMC’s initial vision in the 1960s of offering help to the Low German Mennonite people of Bolivia had mixed results. Now several decades later, with a growing number of colonies and a larger population, work among these Mennonite people is progressing. There are many needs.

EMMC works together with the Evangelical Bergthaler Mennonite Conference of La Crete Alberta as MEM, Misión Evangélica Menonita. The EMC Conference provides staffing and other support, and help is also coming from Paraguay and Mexico.  MEM has as its goal to encourage those people who for one reason or another have disassociated themselves with the church system of the colonies. Primary efforts are in spiritual, academic and economic areas.

Ministry efforts are taking place in Villa Nueva, near Pailón, and in a more recent economic development project, Hacienda Verde, near San José de Chiquitos. The help offered comes in various forms.

Pastoral leadership is vital to establishing healthy churches. Bible studies and singing evenings provide spiritual encouragement. Personal counseling and mentoring help with specific needs.

Education plays a big part in helping an academically impoverished group. MEM’s work with the national Ministry of Education has resulted in schools it administers being recognized by the government. Currently, the Unidad Educativa school in Villa Nueva has around 150 students, and in total over 300 children and young people, mostly from Low German Mennonite backgrounds are enrolled.  An adult learning program has resulted in several parents of students graduating with their high school equivalency.

Spanish Bolivia Ministry

EMMC missions outreach into Bolivia began in the late 1960s. What started as a work among Low German Mennonite people migrated into a work that included outreach to Bolivian nationals. In the following decades that ministry to Spanish speakers has grown into what is today known as LIEAB, La Iglesia Evangélica Anabautista en Bolivia. LIEAB currently consists of over a dozen churches primarily in the Santa Cruz area of the country. It is mostly an autonomous conference with a deep and continuing appreciation for EMMC and the workers that have been a part of their spiritual journey.

     LIEAB

(La Iglesia Evangélica Anabautista en Bolivia) strives to grow leadership from the inside having a number of youth and College and Career age leadership development programs that include youth from other Latin countries. LIEAB leadership is committed to an aggressive church growth program with a goal of planting churches in every Bolivian department (province) in the next few years.

La Fortaleza School in Santa Cruz Bolivia is administered by LIEAB. Annually over 700 students get the opportunity for a quality education that changes lives.

SETA (Seminario por Extensión Teológico a las Américas) is an arm of LIEAB distributing and administering S.E.A.N. materials in Spanish to train pastors and leaders in Bolivian churches.  Annually several hundred students take part in this theological training by extension program, available even in remote regions.

Campamento Chorovi. This is where the EMMC work initially began in Bolivia. What was formerly a clinic and ministry centre is now being developed into a multi-use retreat facility run by LIEAB. The LIEAB vision for Chorovi is that it will be used by many organisations for teaching and training purposes.

RIMI or La Red de Iglesias Misioneras Internacionales, is another ministry connected with the LIEAB organisation. This international missions outreach program came about as the result of LIEAB sending one of their own leaders as a missionary to Mexico City some years ago. It involves an annual missions conference involving up to a dozen mostly Spanish speaking pastors and missionaries from various countries.

     Low German Radio Worker- Bolivia

The radio ministry in San Jose, Bolivia is an important part of a larger ministry to Low German-speaking people in that part of the country. Preparations are being made to go on-air in the next few weeks.
Full-Time Radio Worker For Radio del Campo Boliviano
In San Jose de Chiquitos, Bolivia

Job description:

  • This person or couple will be well grounded, born again believers in Jesus Christ. They will be members in good standing in the church they attend. They will come with recommendations from their pastor and from the members. They will feel the call from God for this ministry.
  • This work will involve living and working in the town of San Jose de Chiquitos, Bolivia. They will come with financial support that will provide housing, transportation and their every day living.
  • This couple/person will be very fluent in Low German. Spanish would be an asset. Spanish training can be provided.
  • This couple/person will be working under MEM direction and support.
  • They will be working 75% of their time directly with the radio of which there will be about 60% studio time. This is live on-air spending several hours per day with the audience. They will be on-air every Sunday afternoon and evening with the help of a few volunteers. They will also spend some time in preparation as in interviews and downloading news and other programs.
  • The other 25% of their time will be spent in connecting with their audience. As in going to the colonies and getting information and promoting the radio. They may also be asked to help in the Hacienda Verde church according to what their gifts may be.
  • They must have the ability to communicate clearly and articulate their words well. As the listeners are mostly Old Colony background it would be preferred (not a must) that this worker also have an Old Colony accent.

This couple will be considered long-term missionaries with MEM and will be paid according to the mission policy guidelines.

For more information about the position, please contact
Bill Kehler, Bolivia Field Director  bill@emmc.ca
or EMMC Missions Facilitator Abe Giesbrecht at  abeg@emmc.ca

Tuition Support for MEM Schools  |  Give to this Project

Parents in the communities of Villa Nueva and Hacienda Verde in Bolivia are aware of the responsibility they have to provide their children with a good education. Yet, because of economic realities they struggle to pay the tuition. Leaders in both communities are putting in place long-term plans to assure that local funding is available. In the meantime, the MEM ministry is committed to supporting these parents with a portion of the costs to operate the schools. With that in mind MEM has opened a project to allow you to share in the help we provide. May we ask you to consider helping with a financial gift as these projects take shape?

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MEM San Jose Radio Fund  |  Give to this Project

In their home in eastern Bolivia a family gathers around a radio to listen to messages that encourage and uplift. Programs, especially those in Low German, provide some relief from the day-to-day struggles. The Radio del Campo Boliviano station in the city of San Jose is operated by MEM ministry staff and broadcasts the message of God’s love and hope to a region that has an estimated 10,000 potential listeners in Mennonite colonies and additional thousands of mainly Spanish-speaking Bolivians in the area. Your gift to this fund will ensure Low German radio programming continues and lives will be changed, as the truth goes out.

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 Low German School Curriculum Project  |  Give to this Project

Several hundred students from Low German Mennonite families attend government registered schools which operate under the direction of MEM educators. These students study in Spanish, English, and Low German. MEM is providing funding to pay the salaries of two full-time linguists who are developing a Low German school curriculum. In time it is expected that this curriculum will be used not only in Bolivia, but in areas of Mexico, Belize and even Canada and the United States. Your donation will help cover the costs of salaries and supplies and printing of materials.

Missionaries in Bolivia

IRNA DYCK

Irna is part of the teaching staff at the Unidad Educativa Brillante school in Hacienda Verde. She also shares her leadership and teaching gifts in working with the youth of the community and in planning special programs and events. She is a member of the Blue Creek EMMC Church in Belize.

WILLIE & MARGARET ENNS

Willy and Margaret live in the new community of Hacienda Verde. Willy is pastor of the congregation that meets there and they contribute to community life with their enthusiasm and giftedness in hospitality and music. They are members of the EBMC from la Crete, Alberta.

NANCY FRIESEN

Nancy recently completed a year of Spanish language training and has returned to complement the MEM ministry as a teacher, and adding her experience to help with the ongoing ministry administration and documentation. Her home church is the Taber, Alberta EMC.

ABE & MARGARET HARDER

Abe and Margaret pastor the church in the community of Villa Nueva near Pailón. Their gifts of leadership development and hospitality are an encouragement to the people in the community and surrounding area. They are members of the Aylmer EMMC church.

BILL KEHLER

Bill is the Field Director for the MEM ministry to the Low German people of Bolivia. Along with leading the MEM team of workers Bill provides leadership for the development of the new community of Hacienda Verde near San Jose and to head up the radio station there.

HENRY & CAROLINE KRAHN

Henry and Caroline are your hosts at the Casa de la Amistad in San Jose. Their efforts and friendly smiles provide a home-away-from-home feeling to all guests. They also help with administration and additional responsibilities. They are members of the Picture Butte, Alberta EMC church.

RUBÉN & GUADALUPE MERCADO

Rubén & Guadalupe live in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Rubén provides leadership to the LIEAB church conference in Bolivia.

STANLEY & HEIKE NEUFELD

Stanley and Heike live in Hacienda Verde. Stanley is in charge of the administrative aspects of land management in this new community and Heike shares her teaching and musical gifts with the children and families. They are from the EMG Church in Sommerfeld Colony, East Paraguay.

ARLIE & EVA PETERS

Arlie & Eva have served in Bolivia since 2002. Arlie is the Director of Education and Low German Ministry. Their home church is Aylmer EMMC in Aylmer, ON. In the summer of 2018 Arlie & Eva and their family have moved back to Aylmer.

HERBERT & ALWIERA TOEWS

Herbert and Alwiera are encouragers and helpers to the new families making Hacienda Verde their home. In charge of economic development for the community, and with energy and gifts of music they provide stability for these newcomers. They are from the Menno Colony in Paraguay’s Chaco.