On Thursday February 27 Braeden Friesen and I took off from Saskatoon, SK to join other team Prayer Exposure Team members in Chicago later that evening. All of our flights went as planned and the excitement
grew as we landed on the ground in Santa Cruz, Bolivia the next day.
We asked for exposure and man, that’s what we got! Our time with the Low German Ministries (MEM) was quite interesting to say the least. We toured several colonies and very quickly we saw a hidden people group with deep needs. It seemed like a blast from the past. Coming from our high paced society in Canada to a horse and buggy and very bumpy dirt roads just seemed weird.
Bill Kehler, MEM Field Director was our tour guide for the MEM ministries in Hacienda Verde, and Abe and Margaret Harder for Villa Nueva. Their hospitality was great and we had some amazing home cooked meals.
For me a highlight during the MEM exposure was seeing the group of ministry leaders so united and working together to see people coming off the colonies to find freedom in Christ. Freedom from the bondage of an empty, lifeless religion of works, to a life filled with joy, and a future where community worked together to help each other along the way. A place where education mattered, and a hop
e of thriving economically.
I really loved listening to the stories of the people who came off the colonies of how God gave them the power and the protection to leave their old life behind. It isn’t an easy road for these new believers to leave, but when they do they are filled with a joy that is not from this world.
The love that they have for the families left behind is amazing.
We spent quite a bit of time with Abe Harder (left) and Bill Kehler (right). They shared the needs of the community with us and we spent time praying for:
- Spiritual growth in both Hacienda Verde and Villa Nueva
- Leadership development in the community and church
- Long-term sustainability
- New leaders to rise up within the community
- Vision for another church plant nearby
- Someone to run the radio station near Villa Nueva
I learned a lot about MEM, seeing God at work in so many ways in Bolivia. I would encourage those who are interested / invested in this ministry, to GO TO BOLIVIA and see it for themselves!
The second half of our trip took us into Santa Cruz to visit the people from the Spanish churches (LIEAB). This is where our team leader Darrell Kehler lived and worked as a missionary with his family for over 10 years. Darrell brought us to so many churches that we lost track. Thankfully, Darrell was able to take down language barrier and translated everything so that we could relate to them quite well. At every stop we were welcomed with such wonderful hospitality and never left us hungry. I think all of us would agree that we ate too much food every place we went!
We spent much of our time getting to know the needs of the LIEAB churches and praying with the leaders of each of the churches. Just by meeting with them, I could tell that they took discipleship more seriously than most of us do in Canada. They put an emphasis on leadership development and when the new leaders are ready, they were already thinking of planting a new church. Sounds like a vision we know of!
We did a lot of driving in Santa Cruz, and Eddy the bus driver took care of us on the roads. We found out that he didn’t go to church and it was by God’s design that he was going to visit a lot of churches! At the end of our trip we decided as a group to give him a Bible and then we prayed with him.
A couple of highlights of the trip for me were:
It was truly a trip I will never forget!