Gateway's Blog

Update from Pastor Rod: The Other Side of Bolivia

Update from Pastor Rod:

Ministry in Bolivia isn’t always taking place in the churches.  There is always down time -- time to relax, time to shop, time to visit some places near where we are ministering.

Travel to Samaipata

On Tuesday we traveled three hours on windy mountain roads to get from the city of Santa Cruz to the mountain town of Samaipata.  It was a beautiful day and a wonderful drive in the Bolivian countryside and the bold and sheer mountain landscape.

When we arrived in Samaipata and got settled in our rooms, dinner was ready for us and we rested from the day’s journey.

Photo: Road between Santa Cruz and Samaipata
Sam House.JPG
Photo: Outside our home in Samaipata

The Inca Ruins

On Wednesday, we decided to visit both the Inca ruins as well as the waterfalls near Samaipata. God gave us a gorgeous day in the high 70s and a light but firm breeze.  As we journeyed through the Inca ruins, we were brought face to face with some of the significant history of Bolivia and, in particular, the history of Samaipata.

Matias, always full of knowledge, told us about the theories as to why the vast Inca people were so quickly overrun by the small band of Spanish invaders.  He told us that the Incas had a prophecy that their deliverer would one day come in power riding on a white horse.  So when the Conquistador rode into their region with a white horse, rather than fight him, the people thought their deliverer had arrived.  The result was a divided and confused people, and the Spaniards took full advantage of that.  Also, horses were not indigenous to Bolivia, and the beasts were new to the people.  Their weapons and resources were extremely inferior to the muskets, spears, and swords of the invaders.

We learned that the Inca people were both very orderly and extremely moral.  They divided the peoples into numbers of 100, having one leader to represent each group.  In that group, there were 10 leaders over groups of 10 people.  Matias told us that the Inca leadership knew exactly how many ears of corn and bushels of wheat they had because of this orderly oversight and governance of the people.

They did not tolerate laziness, immorality, or stealing.  If people were caught, not only would they suffer the consequences but the leader over them would suffer, too.  If a young person was found to be lazy, both that individual and the father would be publicly beaten, which motivated the fathers to instill order in their households.

It is amazing to stand in a place where a civilization once thrived.  It is a reminder to me of the various civilizations that are recorded in the book of Daniel: Babylon, Medo Persia, Greece, and Rome.  We still have lingering influences from those civilizations, but all of them are now gone.

There is one Kingdom, however, that will last forever: the Kingdom of God and Christ, in which we have our citizenship.






The Waterfalls near Samaipata

After the Inca ruins and a good lunch, we went to the waterfalls that are about 20 minutes away from Samaipata.

As you walk down the path toward the waterfalls, you feel like you have moved from the mountains of Bolivia to the tropical setting of Costa Rica.

We enjoyed good fellowship and the beauty of God’s natural playground.  We especially enjoyed the second of the three waterfalls, and Matias showed us his monkey skills by swimming and climbing the rocks.

It was a great day of enjoying God’s creation before the formal ministry of the second conference in Samaipata.

Photo: Alicia and JohnE by the waterfalls

Photo: Alicia playing near the waterfall

Photo: JohnE by the waterfall


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