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Bolivia Low German 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.