In motion, but never quite there, seems to describe many aspects of our lives these days. We’d like to get back to Bolivia, but they are experiencing a second wave of Covid infections. We’d like to get vaccinated before we go back, but that’s not happening just yet. We’d like to be able to make firm plans and see people in person, but we’re not quite there yet. Meanwhile, we stay in motion; we keep busy.
In Motion in Bolivia
We had been hoping to be back in Bolivia by this time, but it appears that more plans need to be made for virtual meetings. I started the year by calling Baptist pastors and leaders to inquire about how they are, what their needs are, and what plans they have for discipleship and Pastoring of Pastors ministry. This was followed up by a Zoom meeting with Alberto Coarite, the President of the Bolivian Baptist Union, and three other key leaders. We went through all the needs and what could be done to facilitate ministry. We put together a time schedule of all training events we could promote, new groups we would start, who would start them, who would do the trainings. Access to internet seems a major obstacle, so we will provide cell-phone time, where needed. Another idea that came up was that we include the discipleship/Pastoring of Pastors groups in the denomination’s 5-year strategic plan. As it turns out, the new President of the National Pastors’ Union, leads a Pastoring of Pastors group, understands their value and how they work, is totally on board, and asked me to share the vision for implementing the ministry through the national and regional groups. Our emphasis right now is on micro-groups and churches that intentionally make disciples.
We are actively making plans, but the “not yet” moment came when Pastor Juan Goytia, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Cochabamba, a flagship church, passed away from Covid-19, on the same day as our ministry planning meeting. He was one of four key leaders that passed away in a couple of weeks. We keep going, but with constant threat, grief, and disruption, in the background. In motion, but not there yet.
Janice continues to be in touch with the Emmanuel Foundation in Bolivia, which ministers to children in the “red light” district of Cochabamba. Because of the close relationship of Foundation staff to the children, and private funding from outside of Bolivia, they have been able to adapt—delivering food to the families, setting up a whiteboard and conducting classes in the street, dressing up a van festively to celebrate Christmas and holidays with colour, balloons, and music. So, we remain in motion, although everything still seems to be “not quite there yet.”
In Motion at CBM
Plans at CBM, stay in motion as well–evolving and changing. CBM started inviting all staff, worldwide, to weekly chapels. I (Bill) am now in the group organizing those chapels and lead one of the groups. We’re working through a 24-7 prayer course by Pete Grieg. I’d highly recommend it. Both Janice and I have attended and taken part in CBM training events where we have been able to learn from other staff, especially around workplace ministry. CBM created interest groups and I have joined the Creation Care, and indigenous rights groups. While in Canada I have also been involved in mission events in churches, and even invited to preach in Bolivia. Janice looks after a lot of correspondence, with the office and supporters.
In Motion in Canada
While in Canada, we have been invited by churches to record an update, do interviews, and even preach and be present at a missions conference in Swift Current, but we consider it providential that we’ve been able to be closer to our daughter Marigan as she has been dealing with Covid-19 and longhauler’s symptoms. It would have been hard being in Bolivia, for us concerned about Marigan and family, and for family concerned about us in a country with higher risks. We have yet to be able to visit most family members, including Janice’s Mom, but are thankful for having been able to be here for our children.
In Motion, Back to Bolivia
The main question many people probably have is, “When are you going back to Bolivia?” CBM leadership directed us to stay in Canada until after we have been vaccinated for Covid-19. We were in total agreement with that decision and happy that they made it for us. We still don’t know when that will be. Realistically? October, maybe? Mentally, we’re ready to go back, although Janice would like to see her Mom before we go. In the meantime, we are getting more comfortable with staying in motion while not being there yet.
Praise and Prayer
- Health. Bolivia is experiencing a second wave of Covid-19 infections. Restrictions are not as tight, the media doesn’t pay much attention to it, but the first words of recent conversations have been, “People are dying here.” Pray especially for our CBM colleague, Patty Nacho, who recently lost her father to Covid-19. In all, 13 of our Baptist pastors have passed away from Covid-19 this past year. Pray for prudence, safety, medical help, recovery, healing for those who have not totally recovered, and God’s peace for those who have lost loved ones.
- Denominational and Seminary leadership as they seek to carry on routines while promoting safety and caring for those affected by Covid-19. Pray that these organizations can overcome the challenges of doing ministry and training virtually and even thrive.
- Pastors. Pray for their finances, for family, for health, for perseverance in ministry as it might be without financial support, for their ministries, creativity, and for mental health.
- Vaccines. Pray that Bolivians get needed vaccines quickly and fairly.
- Janice and Bill. Health. Safe travels. Adjustment to working from home in Canada. Ongoing concerns in Bolivia. That we get our vaccines soon and can begin making definite plans to return to Bolivia.
Thank you so much for your continued support!
Bill & Janice