International Ministries

What a Way to Start

December 21, 2003 Journal

What a Way to Start

By Tim Mellinger, Submitted by Steve and Francesca Crane, Bolivia

Dear friends in Mission:

We are pleased that Tim Mellinger is serving in Bolivia as an International Ministries ABC Volunteer.Tim is a recent college graduate (BA in religion & Christian ministry) and is presently serving in the city of Potosí, nearly 14,000 feet above sea level.His main assignment is to teach at the Instituto Bautista de Estudios Teologicos (Baptist Institute of Theological Studies), but he is getting deeply involved in ministry with the churches in Potosí.It has been a pleasure to work with Tim; we appreciate his presence in Bolivia.

Tim will come to Cochabamba to spend Christmas with our family.After Christmas he will return to Potosí to participate in an all Bolivia Baptist youth camp before continuing his classes at the Instituto.

Tim recently wrote these words, which we share with you.


First off, it was great to receive the emails in response after the last newsletter!Things are moving along here in Potosí, as I have taught about 7 classes now for Introduction to the Bible.The students really have an excitement to learn, even though they work all day or IM ABC Volunteer Tim Mellinger and Pastoral Studies Students in Potosí. attend the university and then come to the seminary for classes at night.It is amazing to see their dedication to learn in spite of busyness and life's circumstances.Anyways, I would like to share about another interesting occurrence this last weekend.

I was asked to attend a church's anniversary and baptism this last Sunday in Betanzos, a small pueblo about 45 minutes from Potosí by bus.While I suspected that I might be asked to assist Marcello, a national missionary in Betanzos, with the baptism, I didn't expect to actually lead it.I arrived at the location while the congregation was singing around the pool.Then, Marcello asks me if I am ready for the baptism.After briefly talking with

Marcello & figuring out what to wear, I ended up having a really amazing experience.Basically, I had 15 minutes to change into a robe, find a Scripture to speak from for a short message, and figure out what I needed to ask each person before they were baptized.You see, I did not know what customs the Bolivians might have for baptisms.As I entered the pool to give a message and then the baptisms, I clinched my teeth as I expected freezing water, but little did I know that the water in the pool was from a hot spring!How great is that!Anyways, I relied on a Spanish Baptist manual that Steve Crane gave me & I used Matthew 28:16-20 for a short message.With the blessing of God, we baptized 5 girls and I believe all experienced the Spirit of God during the baptism and later at the anniversary.This baptism was very special to experience because it was only the church's 2nd year anniversary.And wow, Bolivians sure can celebrate anniversaries of churches, as we arrived for the baptism at 10am & didn't leave the church anniversary until about 7pm.Even more significant for me was that this was my first baptism that I have ever done, so it was definitely quite a way to start!

I hope each of you has a Merry Christmas!

Tim Mellinger

I M ABC Volunteer to Bolivia

(P.S. Tim would love to hear a word of encouragement from you.)

Steve and Francesca Crane
Seminario Teologico Bautista