Partnership Conversations in Bolivia
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and...
MEM, (Misión Evangélica Menonita), is an outreach ministry of the Evangelical Bergthaler Mennonite Conference (EBMC) out of La Crete, Alberta, and the Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference (EMMC)
with offices in Winnipeg.
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.
EMMC works together with the Evangelical Bergthaler Mennonite Conference of La Crete Alberta as MEM, Misión Evangélica Menonita.
The Evangelical Mennonite Conference (EMC) provides staffing and other support, and help is also coming from Paraguay and Mexico. MEM has a 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 counselling 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 170 students and the Unidad Educativa Brillante school in Hacienda Verde has around 80 students. In total over 300 children and young people, mostly from Low German Mennonite backgrounds, are enrolled in government recognized schools. An adult learning program has resulted in several parents of students graduating with their high school equivalency. Already education is paying off as a number of formers students of the Villa Nueva school are on the teaching staff at these schools.
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.
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?
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.