July 2020

Happy Fourth of July to all of you! I hope that you’re able to enjoy some festivities with friends and family in light of the current pandemic restrictions.

Bolivia is still in a total quarantine, over 100 days of strict quarantine by now. It’s amazing to consider. Thankfully, we will be adopting some new measures by July 6 that will slowly begin to open up the country. On the one hand, this is a relief because it means that people can start to socialize and work again. The quarantine has hit the poor the hardest. On the other hand, the slow opening comes with some unknowns. Government projections indicate that we still have not hit our peak number of COVID-19 cases. We’re expected to do so in July or August. When we entered the total quarantine in March, we had 24 registered cases. Now we have over 32,000 confirmed cases (though experts acknowledge that the real number is likely approaching 100,000) and over 1,000 deaths. The hospitals are already overrun and a few people have been dying in the streets. Please keep our government officials in your prayers as they try to navigate this difficult time with as much wisdom as possible.

I continue to do ministry from home via Internet and Zoom. I mentor and work on English materials for a missionary course that we’ll be launching next year at El Alfarero. I’m also creating videos of myself giving lectures for a course I help teach on transformational discipleship. We’re putting the curriculum online so people can continue to take the course since we can’t do it in person. Even though El Alfarero has been shut down this entire time, thank God we continue to receive donations to help keep us solvent. Some of you have helped with that campaign, so thank you!

I recently spent four afternoons at the Talita Cumi home and I hope to return again in about a week on a more regular schedule. The boys were excited to have me back and I too was overjoyed to return. We created get-well cards for one of the tías who has Coronavirus, I led separate devotionals for the younger and older boys, helped them with their homework, and played freeze tag and soccer in the boys’ courtyard. Most of children tell me that they’re bored of being shut in at the home and that they can’t wait to return to school, see friends, and play at the park. A few of them are worried about the virus and their families. Please keep these things in your prayers as well.

Thank you again for your prayers and support. I feel remarkably blessed to be in Bolivia at this time. My prayers are with all of you too.3A2E4059-AEE9-444A-9D9C-6794298C764A.JPG5185868f-a181-460b-bf41-daa291da1a13db12b8e3-7351-4105-9353-b878dec66984e2e5796d-2f96-41ca-881a-58ee5c9fa0f4.JPG

June 2020

The latest in Bolivia is that our total quarantine requiring near, absolute confinement at home has been extended by at least 14 days. Today marks day 71 of being shuttered up.

Despite the great obstacles facing El Alfarero and Talita Cumi, both ministries are pushing forward by the grace of God. At El Alfarero, never before have we been able to minister to so many people through biblical counseling (conducted by Zoom). At Talita Cumi, never before have I witnessed so many letters of love and encouragement being sent back and forth between the children and their sponsors. Despite the financial challenges that we are enduring, the Lord continues to miraculously provide funds to keep both ministries alive.

On a personal ministry note, I’m delighted to be part of an international team putting together English curriculum for a missionary program that El Alfarero will be launching next year. I can’t wait to see how the Lord works through this course as Bolivian missionaries prepare themselves to be sent out. I’m also participating in converting our Transformational Discipleship course into an online format. We anticipate that social distancing regulations will likely prevent us from teaching courses in the classrooms at El Alfarero for some time.

One source of sadness for me since the quarantine started was not being able to visit Talita Cumi due to the Coronavirus rules and regulations. Nevertheless, I was thrilled to receive an invitation a week and a half ago to visit the home and celebrate a birthday party for one of the girls. Being with the kids gladdened my soul.

I leave you with this short message and ask that you please continue to pray for this nation: daily bread for the poor, health for the children and the frail, wisdom for governmental leaders, and perseverance for the body of Christ.

My prayers for the Lord’s grace, mercy, and deliverance are with all of you, especially now with the entire nation grappling not only with COVID-19, but also with the harrowing sorrows surrounding George Floyd’s death. May those who do not know Jesus Christ turn to him and may those who believe press evermore into Jesus our “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain” (Hebrews 6:19).