The church in Paititi
Pastor Marcos leading worship
Kids playing in Paititi
This past Sunday, I drove to a small town called Gran Paititi to preach at the mission church Iglesia Evangelica Bautista Dios con Nosotros (God With Us Evangelical Baptist Church). When I arrived about 10 minutes early I pulled up to kids running around and playing. I later learned they were a part of a popular children’s evangelism and discipleship program from the United States that involves scripture memorization, games and teaching. I come to find out that it begins at 10:30, and preaching usually isn’t until about 2pm. Fortunately for me they then told me that they changed it around so they could have lunch with me and we would be starting the preaching much earlier. I was relieved.
We walked in and Pastor Marcos stepped up to the mic and led all of the kids and adults in some great worship music to get them all “into the mood” so they would be ready to hear God’s word. As we sang, I tried to run it all through in my head, but as the music played, the words of the songs and the words on my notes seemed to jumble together and I kind of got lost somewhere. In about 3 seconds Pastor Marcos gestured to me and it was my turn. I prayed for God to lift the fog and help me to understand this beautifully frustrating language (it seems to be a common prayer for me these days). I stumbled and muddled through my sermon which to me seemed painful. At the closing AMEN, Pastor Marcos came to me and said something like…”Stay here, I want our church to pray for you.”
I guess you can take that two ways. The first thing that came to my mind was, “Oh my goodness, what did I say?” That was followed with, “No, I don’t think I said anything offensive.” This conversation continued in my head for what felt like about 10 minutes, but was more like 2.5 seconds probably. And then it happened.
Marcos began to pray. He thanked God for my willingness to be there and for the obvious time I put into the sermon. He thanked God for our family and our sacrifices to be a part of the life of the church in Bolivia. He prayed for our kids that they would find good friends and for our family back home that we couldn’t be around because we were here. Then he closed with a simple sentence that wrecked me.
“Bless them Lord, they have been such a blessing to us.”
God’s amazing love poured out to me by a young pastor’s prayer humbled me. I thanked God for allowing me to see that it isn’t important how broken my Spanish is, but how broken I am and how willing I am to let God fill me with his strength in challenging situations. I was definitely humbled.
We are excited to let you know that Pastor Marcos’ church in Paititi along with two churches in Yapacani, and one in Montero will be beginning the School of Leaders project this week. I leave tomorrow to train those four churches on how to use technology to earn a certificate from the Seminary here in Santa Cruz. We officially have begun our quest to help resource and train leaders and pastors here in the Asocación del Oriente and the Unión Bautista Boliviana. Thank you so much for your partnership to help us.
We have bought and distributed 20 tablets as of this week and we have at least 4 other churches that will begin the program in the coming months. Our goal for this program was 40 students, and it looks like we will meet and surpass that number. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
If you would like more information on this program or if you would like to provide a scholarship for a pastor to receive theological education, please click here for more information.
We are excited to begin to see leaders grow and develop. We are excited to see what God will do through them in the coming years.