Why does Bolivia still need the Gospel? Since 2006 Bolivia has a socialist government. Among the many changes that our country has experienced, the ones that concern us as Christians are:
- Encouragement from the government to return to our ancient pagan religions.
- Support from the government to abortion and homosexuality.
- A visible increase in crime and wickedness among Bolivians.
- Encouragement to racism and hate between Bolivians in some areas of the country.
Brief Account about our country
Bolivia is a landlocked country in central South America. It is bordered by Brazil to the North and East, Paraguay and Argentina to the South, and Chile and Peru to the West.
Prior to European colonization, the Andean region of Bolivia was a part of the Inca Empire – the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century. During most of the Spanish colonial period, this territory was called Upper Peru or Charcas and was under the administration of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included most of Spain’s South American colonies. After declaring independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Republic, named for Simón Bolívar, on August 6, 1825. Bolivia has struggled through periods of political instability, dictatorships and economic woes.
The weather in Bolivia can vary drastically from one climatic zone to another. The summer months in Bolivia are November through March. The weather is typically warmer and wetter during these months. April through October, the winter months, are typically colder and drier.
In the highlands, the weather can be very cold and temperatures frequently go below zero at night, especially on the Altiplano. Snow is common in Potosi during the winter months and sometimes also falls on La Paz and Oruro. In contrast, winter in Sucre, Cochabamba and Tarija on the Cordillera Real is a time of blue skies and comfortable temperatures.
The weather in the rainforest is usually very hot and is often very wet. The drier period of the year is May to October. The section of the rainforest that borders the Cordillera Real of the Andes Mountains is a bit cooler, but still very wet. As altitude declines, the temperature rises.
These are the ministries in which we serve in Bolivia:
Evangelism & Preaching – For almost 40 years now, Jaime Sr. has been following the steps of Mr. Arturo Arana, a national evangelist who was his mentor in this ministry. They started together the idea of looking mostly for white fields, and pioneered together the outreach of groups who were omitted by other ministries like the schools, jails, police and military. Our commitment to present the Gospel and reach our fellow Bolivians is the driving force that propels all of our ministries.
Bible Distribution – We started this ministry, as a matter of fact due to the suggestion of a former minister of defense of our country, who wanted to give a bible to each one of his military officers and asked us to do it. After reaching as many officers as possible before they were ordered to change stations, we felt that another group who would benefit from the Word of God were the teachers. We have focused since then mostly on the teachers who work in rural areas, since they don’t receive a lot of material for their job.
Witnessing Through Medicine – This is a ministry that we pioneered in Bolivia. Since the middle of the 90’s with the help of CMM and teams of doctors from Roanoke, Virginia we served in our country giving medical attention and even building a clinic with the help of the Bolivian Air Force. Now recently this ministry has been propelled again by the interest of VIMM a ministry that does this kind of short term mission trips. They were with us this 2010 and plan to be back next year. Carola as a physician is a great help on this field.
Schools & Children – We started this ministry visiting schools and sharing the Gospel through Christian films. Unlike other countries Bolivia still allows their students to hear from Jesus. On recent years we have changed our approach distributing school supplies to the students in an effort to reach them. Due to the fact that TV is available in the city, kids are not as attracted to films as on the past, but on rural areas it is still a good tool to present the Gospel.
Youth & Youth Camps – Jaime Jr. Has been reaching the youth teaching encouraging and training them in different areas. There are subjects that many pastors are not updated with or issues that kids don’t feel confident to ask in the church. The lack of attention in these areas has promoted a lot of confusion in our teenagers and young adults in our churches.
Training Churches – Bolivia is suffering an acute lack of pastors, and many of the pastors who ministers are not well equipped or well trained. Due to this need we have been impelled to help on this area. Jaime Sr. and Jaime Jr. have been helping on different churches, conferences and camps training and teaching different groups of believers. This is an are where the enemy has been planting many false doctrines and teachings to hurt the church in Bolivia.
Military – This is another ministry that we pioneered in Bolivia. For many years starting on the middle of the 70’s through the middle of the 80’s Mr. Arana and Jaime Sr. were able to reach the soldiers and the sub officers on different military units on a weekly basis. After Mr. Arana passed away we started to have access to the high ranking officers, and on 1986 we had our first fruits among them with a Colonel. This started another stage of this ministry, and a couple of years we were able to start the Evangelical Military and Police Officers Association. This ministry continues to this day, although is independent from us. On September 2010 they had an international conference for Christian militaries here in Cochabamba where Jaime Sr. was invited. This particular ministry is an opportunity for prayer, since the change of Government, we have not been able to visit the military units with the same freedom as on the past. For this reason is really important to pray for this group of people, asking the Lord to use the military believers who are fruits of our years of ministry, to witness from the inside of their units, until the Lord opens these doors again.
Ministering to the Quechua – Quechuas are the descendants from the Incas. Many Bolivians still speak this language. Cochabamba is located in the quechua area, so many of our ministries are done among this people, on their churches and congregations. Jaime Sr. and Gaby speak the language fluently, and Jaime Jr. the basics.
Potential ministries we’d like to start – These are ministries we’d like to start or are a particular need in our country:
Pastors family Support – We’d like to help pastors who are involved in the ministry, by supporting their children with their school materials or other related expenses, and encourage them on their ministries in this way.
Pastors Kids – The Achilles heel of many pastors are their children, if they fail, they hurt their parents ministry. Jaime Jr. is praying to start a ministry among them and help them on their needs using his own experience.
bullet Encouraging retired pastors – We have started as a particular effort to encourage some retired pastors by giving them some food and supplies. We have done this as a once per year attempt.