September 2019 Update

August was an incredible month with many changes. After a quiet July, with all of the university students on break, things got busy fast. I opened up two English courses, one for beginners and the other for intermediates. The beginner course quickly filled up to capacity.

The students are energetic and lively, and they’ve really taken to heart our faith conversations. One evening, in particular, stands out in my mind. We were discussing 1 Corinthians 1:30 about how Jesus Christ is our wisdom. We chatted about how there are two paths in life: one that is guided by human wisdom with faith placed in the things of this world, and the second path that is guided by wisdom found in a relationship with Christ. I could see the students reflecting upon that choice.

In the intermediate course we read Paul’s mini-autobiography in Philippians 3 about how he considers his own righteousness from the law to be rubbish compared to the righteousness that he receives through his faith in Christ. We compared Paul’s treatment of righteousnes in Christ with the popular fallacy that “being a good person” means that you will go to heaven.


The first day of the beginner class.


The beginner class chatting in groups about John 3:16.


I recently attended a fundraiser for Life Center–a ministry that works out of the El Alfarero building. This ministry provides counseling for women who are considering abortion or have already aborted their child and are in need of help.

I’ve experienced quite the learning curve at Talita Cumi the past several weeks. First off, I led the children in a couple of dynamic art projects. The kids really got involved with both the art and the biblical application. For example, in the first project, the kids learned about how they are parts of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Then we related that to how art is made up of a family of different parts too like lines, dots, and curves. Each part of art plays an important function to make a masterpiece, just like each child plays a special role within the body of Christ.

Second off, I am assuming some new responsibilities at Talita Cumi. In short, I will help maintain the relationship between sponsors and their children by translating the notes and e-mails going back and forth between them. I am thankful to fulfill this role because I get to witness the joy that the children experience when they receive a note from their sponsor. In addition to translating, I’ll also be posting pictures and updates of the kids on the Talita Cumi Facebook page. Please “like” our Facebook page if you would like to see more pictures of the kids and know more about what’s happening at the home! If you are interested in blessing a child through sponsorship and letter writing via e-mail, please let me know. It’s a simple process to get started and the children would love to get to know you.


The children working on their art projects. A friend of mine from the U.S. put the art projects together. (You know who you are! Thank you!) We still have a few more art projects to go.


Jennifer was quite happy with her lion.


Translating mail for Rosita from her sponsor as Yamil looked on.


Last month we said goodbye to Daniela (in black and white). She is 19 years old and had lived in Talita Cumi for 10 years. She will be moving in with a missionary family (to her left). She told us that she had been praying for 11 years for God to give her a family and that she is thankful that He answered her prayer.

Thank you for all of your prayers for the students and children! The Lord is miraculously answering them one by one. I’ve seen so much spiritual growth among so many of the children and students.

Prayer requests:

~ Please continue keep my students’ souls in your prayers, especially those who do not have a relationship with Christ.
~ Please pray for the leadership of El Alfarero as we are facing complex financial challenges. Our conviction is that El Alfarero belongs to the Lord and He will guide us through this storm.
~ Please pray for an end to the raging fire that has already destroyed 2.5 million acres of forestland in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
~ Please continue to pray for the children of Talita Cumi and the leadership team that works so diligently to shepherd their hearts.

August 2019 Update

July was a month of unique experiences, both in terms of ministry and personal time.

A couple of weeks ago, a team from Argentina arrived in order to establish and cultivate relationships by serving in numerous ministries in Santa Cruz. I was privileged to share lunch with the team and train them on El Alfarero’s method of evangelism. After the training, we went to the main plaza, divided into four groups, and evangelized for nearly two hours. While no one came to the Lord at that time, we prayed for many people and invited them to get to know our community here at El Alfarero. I spoke to a number of university students who are interested in learning English, so I am hoping that those interactions bear fruit.


Training the Argentinian team on evangelism.


Members of the Argentinian team, along with some others from this area.

During the entire month of July, all of the university students were on break, so my English classes were also on hiatus. Children in grade school and high school also had a couple of weeks off as well. During this time, the children of Talita Cumi went on a few field trips around the city. I was able to accompany them on one such trip to the zoo.


Brayan and Yamil standing by a fish tank.


Mateo, Benjamin, Yamil, and Jhon.

With more time on my hands than usual, I put in a lot of work on revising my English books. Reflecting upon the past several months, I cut out material that did not work and revised and improved other sections. In particular, I made strategic changes to the faith integration sections in a way that I think will promote even more conversation and contemplation among my students.

Beyond time dedicated to my ministries, I was grateful to visit other parts of Bolivia for the first time. With a few friends, I traveled to the departments of Cochabamba and Oruro to visit a couple of large cities and some small towns. It felt as though I had entered another world. While Santa Cruz is quite cosmopolitan and Catholic, Cochabamba and Oruro have monolithic, indigenous populations with strong religious syncretism; that is, ancient indigenous religious beliefs mixed with Catholicism. 


In Oruro, I took a tour of a mine, located strangely enough underneath the cathedral in the town square.


Many mines in Bolivia are populated by several statues of the “tío.” “Tío” literally means “uncle,” but in this case he is “the god of the underworld,” and many Bolivians I’ve talked to affirm that tío and Satan are synonymous names. Bolivian miners daily give cigarettes, alcohol, and coca leaves to the tío in a bid for protection. These same miners above ground will offer up prayers and petitions to Jesus and/or Mary, but below ground, according to their understanding, the tío reigns.


The main plaza en Cochabamba. Construction for the cathedral behind me, San Sebastián, was started in 1701 and completed in 1735.

I’m looking forward to August with great anticipation. The English courses and university evangelism will resume and I’m excited to see who the Lord puts in my path.

Please continue to pray for my students and the children of Talita Cumi. In particular, please pray that:

~ Students who do not have a relationship with the Lord would be saved by Him.
~ My Christian students would grow in their ability to love the Lord even more with their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
~ God would give me wisdom as I mentor three young men a week.
~ The children of Talita Cumi would truly experience the Lord’s presence in their lives and that they would ultimately find their identity in Him. Please pray for energy and wisdom for those who volunteer and work at the home.

Thank you!