Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Journey to San Ignacio

Hola! Bienvenidos a Bolivia!  We have had an exciting last few days in the town of San Ignacio in the rural eastern region of Bolivia.  Following our day with college students in Santa Cruz on Monday, the GO Bolivia 2012 team boarded a bus destined for San Ignacio around 8:00 p.m Monday night.  The bus far exceeded our expectations.  The bus was a double decker with all the luxuries of an American tour bus…air conditioning, televisions (playing Spanish movies, of course), lights for reading, and a complimentary soda and snack (similar to Nilla wafers).  It was a far cry from the school bus-quality bus without air conditioning that would get stuck in the mud throughout the night that I was expected.  Although it did not meet expectations, it was probably for the better.  J

The team appreciated the comfortable ride, but it was difficult to sleep with the many bumps along the way.  The road was paved for the first half and then became unpaved as we approached San Ignacio.  There were several roadside “towns” with small marketplaces showcasing various items for sale (especially a lot of beverages for passing drivers).  As we passed through several of these roadside “towns,” my heart really beat for the Bolivian people.  This life is likely all they know, and especially for the people who live in these areas, there is very little (if any) true Christian witness.  Like most of the Bolivian countryside (and South America in general) most people have no personal relationship with Christ and have either never heard the entire truth of the Gospel of Christ, or the Gospel has not penetrated their hearts.   Beyond these towns, San Ignacio shines as a beacon of hope, as there are some churches proclaiming the truth of Christ and individuals intentional in both evangelizing and discipling.  There is great hope in this area as the few believers’ passion for Christ and sharing the truth is contagious and a beautiful reflection of God love.

Yet beyond San Ignacio, people are more and more isolated and the witness of Christ is even less established.  As the dim light of our bus illuminated a short distance ahead on the road to San Ignacio, I could not help but think of the many, many Bolivians, Paraguayans, Brazilians, etc. in the area who have yet to hear the beautiful truth of the gospel of Christ.  Romans 10:14-15 comes alive in an amazingly beautiful and surreal, and yet urgent way here: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”  The need is massive for the truth to be proclaimed and for believers to disciple those who have begun following Christ; yet, our God is great and good, and with Him all things are possible.  On the ride from Santa Cruz to San Ignacio, the words of Isaiah 61:11 ring out loud and clear:  “For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.”  We left Santa Cruz at 8:00 p.m. and arrived in San Ignacio at 8:00 a.m.  We spent the night (and 12 hours) on a bus, and most of us got little sleep.  And yet, the Lord sustains and provides energy…His presence provides unending joy, and when we’re intentionally walking in the Spirit and His truth, we stand out as His disciples…as His children

Sean Deneale

1 comment:

  1. Praying for a safe trip home and opportunities to share Jesus!