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!

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