The last 2 months have been fairly full. It seems that about the time I think things are going to slow down some, other things come up. We are thankful for the opportunity to continue to serve the Lord here in Bolivia.
As we mentioned in our last letter, the Fanning family has returned to Bolivia. This has allowed us to return their work to them and focus more on the other work in Cota-Cota. Cota Cota is the church that had their pastor leave and leave them in a rough situation. This work lost a lot of their members during the situation but those that remain seem very encouraged and ready to do something for the Lord. While the former pastor still has not returned the church documents or finances that he had in his possession, the remaining people have worked and saved and are almost in a position to run things on their own again. Since I entered, we have practically re-founded the church. It still has the same
name and location but they had to start all over. We have put in a new, more thorough statement of faith and Bylaws and voted in leaders.
In April, the church celebrated 29yrs of ministry. It is the oldest church here in La Paz. For their anniversary, I thought it fitting to have a revival meeting to try and encourage them. It seemed to do just that. There were people from 4 other local churches that came. Churches of which they have not had fellowship with in several years. It was great to see them all come together again. After the revival meeting the members seemed encouraged, ready to leave the past behind and move forward.
On the down side, we had a problem as we were preparing for their anniversary. The week before, we were painting the church, trying to make everything look new and different for their new start. While we were painting, someone broke into my truck (parked in front of the church) and stole several parts. By the time we replaced parts, repaired the damage and put up more lighting outside the church, this one incident has cost us about $2,000. My truck is a stateside truck, so finding parts here is very difficult. Thankfully, we were able to find most of the big parts through a missionary in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and have them sent here. The parts we couldn't find here were small and someone traveling here brought them for us.
We also mentioned in our last letter that we were trying to find where God wants us here in Bolivia. We couldn't get peace about our originally planned city of Oruro nor here in La Paz. We took a trip this month to a couple of the places we had been praying about and have now settled on the city of Santa Cruz. Honestly, the department (state) of Santa Cruz has several good works and some good missionaries. However, the majority of them are hours outside the main city which is where the majority of the people/souls are. Santa Cruz is the fastest growing city in South America and 2nd fastest in all of the Americas. Number wise, even with the works that are there, the city has the greatest need in Bolivia (except for here in La Paz). With this new development in our ministry, we are excited about getting moved. Lord willing, in a couple of weeks, I will go look for a house and then a few weeks later we will move there. My desire is to get there, and start looking for a place to start our first work before our next furlough. This way, when we return from our furlough, we can get started as soon as possible.
We would ask for your prayers as we make this move. So far, we have not found a lot of houses in our budget range. We really don't want to pay any more so, please help us pray about this. We know God will have a place just for us, as he did here in La Paz. We just need to make sure we follow His guidance to find the right one.
Again, thank you for your continued prayer and financial support. We could not continue to make it here without them. You are a vital part of our ministry.