Friday, March 22, 2013

Witnessing - From Theory to Practice

These past few weeks our congregation has been studying an evangelism course.  We have dedicated time to learning some basic passages and how to present them to others in a witnessing opportunity.  Now that we can all recite the verses, we have begun practicing witnessing in the Bible class. 

Each person takes a turn practicing the presentation.  In the meantime, everyone else has a chance to listen to the presentation.  We all get to review the presentation while observing the different techniques each person uses to present all the verses.  After each presentation, we encourage each other to go out and witness to other people.

These "practice" sessions have given all the members more confidence to do more witnessing to others about their faith.  The desire is to be faithful in speaking to others about the Savior, to share with them the joy of forgiveness and the hope of eternal life in heaven.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Market Makeover

These past few months the main market here has been under construction.  The cobblestone roads were removed and blacktop put in its place.  Water pipes were also changed.

Here are some photos showing what it was like to go shopping while the construction was underway.

The construction was to be finished before the rainy season began, but things got behind schedule and we had to trudge through muddy streets while the work advanced.
High piles of dirt, gravel, tractors and fresh blacktop were daily encounters until the work was completed.

Even though the work took longer than expected, it is now finished and we do not have to climb over any more piles of dirt or gravel in order to shop !

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Right Relationship with God.

We have been studying evangelism in our weekly Bible studies.  One of the main questions we focus on is: How can I have a right relationship with God?

The answer starts with the Law - God is holy.  Can I, a sinful person, keep his law perfectly? What happens if I don't?  The answer is that God cannot except anything less than holy.  As sinful humans, we are unable to meet his demands.  We have nothing to offer a holy God.

What is the answer?  The answer comes outside of sinful man.  The answer comes from someone who was able to fulfill all of God's holy law.  The answer comes from someone who was able to pay the price that God demanded for sins committed.  That answer is - Jesus.

The presentation emphasizes two important things Jesus did.  The first was in His life.  During His life Jesus was fulfilling the Law of God.  He kept all the commandments - perfectly.  He did all this as my Substitute.  The second thing Jesus did was in His death, when He paid the price for my sins.  This He did as my Substitute.

These are the points we want to communicate in our witnessing opportunities to others.  God's law-which we cannot fulfill, and God's Gospel, Jesus lived a perfect life for me and died an innocent death to pay the price for my sins.

How can I have a right relationship with God?

The only answer is - Jesus.

Saturday, February 2, 2013



Last week La Paz celebrated the festival of the Ekkeko god.  Thousands of people showed their dedication to the Ekkeko by purchasing items to be blessed by the shaman and later blessed a second time with holy water by the priest.

Virgen - La Razon

This week was the inauguration of the largest religious statue in all of South America.  Bolivia now has a statue of the virgin Mary, larger than the statue of Jesus in Brazil and just slightly smaller than the Statue of Liberty.  Again, thousands of people flocked to see the new statue.

Rainbow - La Paz

As we observe the multitudes participating in these activities the thought occurs, "How can Jacob (believers) survive?  He is so small?" (Amos 7:2)  While pondering on these things, I happened to look out the kitchen window and saw a beautiful rainbow encircling the city of La Paz.  The rainbow reminded me that God is still in the heavens, He is still controlling all His creation, and He is still faithful to all His promises.

"The Lord knows those who are his",  2 Tim. 2:19.
"He that believes and is baptized will be saved", Mark 16:16.
 "I give them eternal life... no on can snatch them out of my hand" John 10:28.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Alasita, 2013


Shaman blessing purchases
January 24 is the day Bolivians celebrate their worship and dedication to the Ekkeko god or the god of abundance.  People crowd around vendors to purchase what they hope to receive in the coming year.  According to their traditions, if they have enough faith, the Ekkeko god will bless and grant their desires.

Miniature money
After purchasing a miniature of what you hope for in the coming year (money, cars, diplomas, food, trips, etc) , it is taken to the shaman who blesses your gift, giving you a better chance of receiving this gift.

It is saddening to see the multitudes of people flocking to purchase their miniature items and have them blessed by the shaman.  Even more distressing, is to see them going from the shaman to the church to have the priest add his blessing.

So many people, looking for guidance and direction in their lives, but being led astray by false beliefs.  God, in His infinite love and mercy has given us the truth.  Please pray with us that many more people hear and believe His message of hope and forgiveness in Jesus our one and only Savior.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Faithful - To Whom?

Carnaval-worshiping the Virgin
Living in a foreign country gives one the opportunity to observe traditions and customs and see how these are reflected in the lives and attitudes of the people.  Recently we have been able to see the festival to the god Ekeko who is said to bring good luck and prosperity.  After that we watched carnaval groups as they danced in honor of the virgin promising her their devotion.  Then came the Challa Tuesday in honor of Mother Earth who is also said to be the giver of all good things.  The following day many people went to church in honor of Ash Wednesday where they bowed before Jesus-whom they also call Savior.

Ekeko, the virgin, mother earth, Jesus - devotion and worship is varied and divided between different deities.  All are seen as means of receiving blessing and all are seen as valid.  The more gods you worship the closer you are to attaining eternal life.

Challa to mother earth
 "I have been a member of this church all my life".  This is another kind of devotion that is thought to result in merit.  Even if the church does not have a solid doctrinal base and any pastor is welcome to come and teach his views, I still have been faithful to my church.  This results in devotion to a building - and not to any belief or doctrine.

People are searching for peace and the hope of eternal life.  They hope Ekeko or mother earth will give it to them.  They are more faithful to a building more than to maintaining true teaching within the building.  When belief is so divided how can they find the truth?

Paul had the same dilemma when he came to Athens.  So many altars, so many gods - but no truth to be found.  Paul presented the truth of God's Word and prayed the Holy Spirit would work in their hearts.  With God's help, we are doing the same here.  Many false gods, many traditions, many voices are calling out to the people's hearts.  Only the truth of the true gospel can sound a clear call in the midst of all the babble of the false teachings.  We pray daily that God would reach into the hearts of those who are hearing the preaching of His law and gospel and create true faith in the Savior and the strength to resist and reject all the false teachings that surround them.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Offering to Mother Earth-Pagina Siete
The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is known as "Martes de Challa" which is the day dedicated to honor Mother Earth.  Offerings, petitions and thanksgiving are given to Mother Earth because "she is the one who provides and blesses everything we have in this life and she makes everything better" said one faithful follower.

The traditional offering consists of candies, flowers, fruits, spices, cereals, nuts, a llama fetus, streamers...sprinkled with rubbing alcohol and then set on fire.  As the offering burns, one dances and sings around the offering.  The president offered a challa in front of a newly purchased property where a new government palace will be built.  They thanked Mother Earth for this property and asked that she bless the new construction.

Challar van
 A more modern version of this offering is to decorate your house or business with balloons and streamers.  Rubbing alcohol is sprinkled in all the corners of the home.  Then prayers and petitions are given to Mother Earth.

Many people who work in the transportation business will decorate their taxis or bus in dedication to Mother Earth.  They are hopeful that this will guarantee them success in the coming year.

challar house

Candies to challar home

 Another way to worship Mother Earth on this day is the throw hard candies on the tin roof of your home.  The loud noise this makes is said to frighten away any evil spirits.  The modern version of this is to set off fireworks.  In their efforts to keep these evil spirits away we heard fireworks going off from before dawn until the late hours of the night.