Greetings from… Sucre, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, Buenos Aires… and everywhere else that we’ve been or will be during this time! What a year this has been for us so far! I never would have dreamed living the life that we are living currently. Let me explain a little bit more about all that is happening here in our lives and ministry!
Since February, we have been traveling weekly back and forth between Sucre and Santa Cruz. We have several small groups in Santa Cruz, and on April 10, 11 and 12 we held an evangelistic event in a small coliseum close to the center of the city. We’ve had quite a bit of success. In the event we held on Easter weekend, 55 people received the Lord. We’ve been working hard trying to visit all of those people and, in some cases, start new small groups in their homes.
Our GOAL is to begin having weekly celebrations (services) on June 14th, although we have 2 small problems. 1) We don’t have a place to meet yet… and 2) We don’t have any chairs or sound equipment, etc.
In our letters, many times I stress the importance of the small groups, but I believe that a small group can’t prosper on its own. It needs to be part of a larger family. We put a lot of emphasis on our weekly celebrations in Sucre, and in our short time with our work in Santa Cruz, I’ve found this to be so true. It’s been very hard for us to really “Take off” and “fly”. The small groups are reaching more and more people, but without the worship that can only be reproduced in the services, the move of God’s Spirit through the word, and the feeling of being part of something important together with many other people, we haven’t been able to reach and do what we hoped to do up to this point.
We’re not really sure how we are going to do it… but we are praying HARD that God would provide the place AND the finances, and we are looking at ALL of our options, so that we can start on that day just over month away. In any case, the start has been very successful, as we have close to 40 people in our small groups and meetings… hoping to add on to that in the coming weeks.
Something very interesting happened last December when we announced to the church in Sucre that we were opening a new church in Santa Cruz. I’m not sure what it is about expansion, but people love it. Since then, the church in Sucre has caught on fire. Over the years we have had several growth spurts, and we are in the middle of one right now, and it is exciting.
It’s quite interesting pastoring churches in different cities, different cultures, almost like different worlds at the same time. We travel to Santa Cruz on Thursdays for a meeting that night, hold several different cell groups and meetings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday afternoon we fly back to Sucre for the weekly celebration. We have meetings with our leadership teams on Monday and Tuesday, and we rest on Wednesday, and then we do it all over again on Thursdays.
Norah and I have slowly been delegating more and more responsibility to our leadership team. They are now planning and organizing almost everything that happens in the church in Sucre. They organize the services, the cell groups, the retreats, fund raisers, events, etc. Norah and I arrive in Sucre basically to preach and minister to our team personally… then they do all of the work. Of course, they present their plans and activities to us for approval before they actually do them, but they are doing most things. We were worried that all of this change could cause problems in the church, but have seen something totally different. It’s obvious that God has His hand in all of this, because we can see His work in every aspect of our work in Sucre and in our work here in Santa Cruz. God is great!
As a family, we are all doing very well. Derrick is getting bigger and ornerier, Jordan seems to be getting better and better with his speech, and Erynn… well I’m not sure how to explain it… but she seems like an adolescent already, although she’s only 9! We brought the kids down to Santa Cruz for a week back in April, and they all just LOVED it here. We also used that week to get Erynn and Jordan signed up for their new school. Erynn went to classes for half a day, and afterwards Erynn said to me… “DAD, I don’t like my new school… I LOVE IT”. So that was a great sign.
Our plan is to move permanently to Santa Cruz on June 8th, less than a month away. We are currently looking for a house, and have been for several months. Until now, we haven’t found the “perfect” place. Sooner or later we’ll have to make a decision.
Please continue to pray with us and for us during this time. We have SO many things going on, it’s almost impossible to keep everyone up to date on it all. We love AND appreciate everyone so much for helping us to do God’s work here in Bolivia. Help us pray for the move, both churches, and for a financial MIRACLE that God knows we need so much.