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 the love you have for all God’s people—the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.” Colossians 1:3-6
What a blessing it is to not only hear and see what God is doing in Bolivia, but to be challenged by our Bolivian brothers and sisters to envision the gospel breaking into new territory with new energy and new vision!
On January 17 & 18, over 60 people from Canada, Mexico, Belize, Paraguay and Bolivia attended meetings in Hacienda Verde, and participated in tours that were designed to show the many opportunities and challenges of ministry among the Mennonites in Bolivia. During these meetings we heard the history of EMMC involvement in ministry development and the ways the current ministries came to be. Not everyone attending the meetings had been a part of the ministry of MEM, but you could sense a common desire and passion for bringing the message of hope through Jesus to more Old Colony Mennonites in Bolivia.
As a part of the meetings, we toured Nueva Esperanza, a colony that has been very difficult to gain any significant gospel breakthroughs in recent years. We also got the chance to accompany Ben and Bertha Kauenhoffen to the Belice Colony where they have made several significant connections, and have begun to fellowship and study with several families at an old abandoned clinic. It’s a difficult work that needs the prayers of the EMMC family.
Seeing the developments of Villa Nueva and Hacienda Verde were examples of what can happen when people receive the gospel. Not only can they experience freedom from spiritual bondages, but they are also freed to pursue Christian education, music, healthcare and business. It was amazing to see the many local people who had also been discipled and were now taking part in church leadership and mission.
As a conference, we are seeing the need for better and more far-reaching partnerships to continue the ministry in Bolivia. Over and over, the missionaries told us that the best way we could support their ministry was to pray. Prayer breaks barriers. Prayer connects our churches in a significant way to the ministry in Bolivia. While we don’t know where these meeting will take us in regards to other partnerships, I am convinced that these types of exposure trips can help us all understand better how to partner with our missionaries in prayer. So let’s pray, for workers for the harvest, our missionaries and for gospel breakthroughs in the dark places of the Mennonite colonies in Bolivia.
Blaine Dueck serves as pastor at Spanish Lookout EMMC, Belize and is a General Council member
This article was originally published in The Recorder Vol 60, no. 1