From May 19-27, 2012, a group of college aged students and their leaders representing Calvary Church (Charlotte, NC) will serve Christ and the people of the eastern Bolivia lowlands during a short-term mission trip. This blog is meant to provide family, friends, and visitors alike with the opportunity to join our team before, during and after our time in Bolivia.
Upon arrival in Santa Cruz, Bolivia's largest city, the team will meet local South America Missions (SAM) missionary Dana Wilson. The team will spend two days in Santa Cruz primarily teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) with local college students. This will provide the students with an excellent opportunity to build relationships with peers of a different culture who are excited to learn English. This will also provide a great chance to share Christ with the students by word and deed.
The remainder of the trip will find the team stationed in the town of San Ignacio, an 11-hour bus ride northeast of Santa Cruz and near the Brazilian border. We will stay in San Ignacio by night and travel to small villages approximately an hour outside of San Ignacio by day. Spanish is the main language spoken here, although some Portuguese is spoken due to its proximity to Brazil, and the indigenous Quechua, Aymara, and Chiquitano languages are prevalent. Bolivia has the highest percentage of indigenous population in South America, and nearly all inhabitants in San Ignacio are indigenous. Here, the people are poor and the resources are limited, yet there is a great appreciate for the simple things in life. Family life is vital, and agriculture is the main form of employment.
In these areas, Christ followers are few, and the harvest is truly plentiful. Most of the population is either nominally Catholic (ritualistic) or animistic, and for the vast majority, God has nothing to do with day-to-day life. Yet Christ has been at work in this region of Bolivia, and the establishment of village churches is planned soon. As we head to San Ignacio and its neighboring villages, we do so knowing that there are many who desperately need to hear the good news of Christ and see the love of God. We enter into this field knowing we will encounter a spiritual battle raging on for the hearts and souls of the people. We also know that all authority in heaven and on earth belongs to Christ, and He is the One who is ABLE.
"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21