Bolivia Update #5
Dear Gateway Family…
Simeon Trust Conference
The conference finished yesterday with approximately 30 men in attendance in total throughout the week. Some of these men had difficulty getting time off of work or had struggles in attending the conference every day, but we typically had a core of 20 guys in attendance every day with some coming and going as they could. It makes for a difficult dynamic, but that is simply the context that we have to work with, so we adjust accordingly.
At the end of our teaching time we spent about an hour and a half both sharing testimonies about what had impacted them the most as well as evaluating for improvement the conference itself. Some of the comments we heard were as follows:
I have preached from the Old Testament all my life, but I have never been challenged to see how my text points to Christ and the Gospel. This is new for me and I now see that I must begin to do that.
I am now understanding how important it is to find the structure of the text, especially in Old Testament Narrative, and that without it I cannot properly come to understand the theme of the passage.
Each year I continue to grow in my understanding of the principles of exposition. I don’t want to be a drunk preacher (Ramiro, Samaipata)
One of the constructive evaluation points was to take time after the small groups to review the passages we have studied as a class, with the instructor helping us understand how to approach the passage.
All in all this was a great Workshop on Biblical Exposition. The brothers were very attentive, our small group leaders competent, and the discussions were robust.
As you may know, if you live south of the US border one of your loves and passions is Football (Soccer to those of you who still think that Football involves holding a ball and passing it with your hands). Well, during our time here the Copa America (America’s Cup) has been going on. It is an international competition of the national teams in South America.
Bolivia typically loses against their opponents, but this year, in the group stages, they won against Ecuador and tied against Mexico (who by the way crashed out of the cup in the group stages). That put Bolivia into the next round and they were to play Peru. So, on Thursday night of this week that game took place. The atmosphere was much like a Warriors playoff game, but across the whole of Bolivia. Unsurprisingly they lost against Peru, but it has been fun joining our brothers in their love for Football and cynicism about their own national team.
We are all healthy, praise God! We are all fully fed, go figure! There is much more of us to love when we come home, except for Adam.
Both Dennis and JD did well in their teaching times and both will be preaching this Sunday in different places TBD at this moment. It has been a joy to partner with them in ministry, to get to know them a little better and to see and hear their love for God and His church in this context. They are both insightful and careful with how they handle the text. In his spare time Dennis has been working on his sermon for the Sunday after we return – The Church in Philadelphia. JD has been working on some seminary stuff and having Wifi here has helped him there.
Adam has been taking it all in. Some of the things that we had hoped that Adam could do have not taken place because the main Mojica vehicle has been in the shop. He has, however, spent a lot of time with the Mojica boys, helping them where he can while learning the Bolivian lifestyle. The Mojicas are already asking if he can stay with them for the summer – and my response is, “only if you will take him for the whole year.” Seriously, I am thankful for the things that he is observing. They will be lessons that will shape him for years to come.
Since we left California there has been a shooting in South Carolina, Donald Trump has announced his candidacy for President, and the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of gay marriage. It feels like we have been gone for over a month. Although we are removed from the US we continue to pray for the seismic shift in the foundation of our country remembering even more that God has called us to be shining lights in the context of self-justified unbelief.
Friends, the events and decisions that are taking place in our country should not shock us,, so don’t panic. Rather, dig into the Gospel and determine that with God’s help, you can press on and live for His glory.
We don’t know the specific implications of the Supreme Court’s decision on our church. We may be challenged to vacate the School we are worshipping in. We may be hated now in a more public and vicious manner because the ungodly now have some legal authority behind their immorality that will fuel their agenda. We may have to rise up and be seen as faithful followers of Christ who are despised by this world. No matter what, God will give us strength for this day and we can be sure that His church will march on. Having said that, prepare your heart for people wandering away from the faith, for compromise of the Gospel under the heading of “love”, and for an ongoing twisting of God’s Word.
Pray for us this weekend as we serve in the different churches.
Pray for us as we debrief both as a team as well as with the Mojica family about this year’s ministry and the upcoming ways that we can help the churches here be firmly established in His Word.
Pray for Freddy, the pastor from Oruro who travelled two days to be here. Something happened in the church where he was pastor and he is no longer there. His wife is working part time, but he longs to be back serving God as pastor. Pray for him as he returns that the Lord would make his will clear and that Freddy can continue to serve as a pastor.
We love you all and greatly appreciate your prayers.