“Quedandonos en Casa”
“Staying at home.” This has become the automatic response when people ask us what we’re up to, since Covid-19 restrictions have kept us mostly inside these past few months. However, we’ve learned that the quarantine doesn’t mean rest and relaxation as life has, in many ways, become busier!
United at a Distance
As the lockdown continues, we are all looking for ways to stay connected and show love to one another. Bolivian Baptist churches have mobilized themselves to reach out to the most vulnerable in their neighbourhoods.
In a massive collaborative effort CBM is partnering with about 90 churches in 5 distinct regions of Bolivia. These networks of churches are discovering creative ways to purchase and deliver groceries to some of the country’s most at risk families. This is particularly challenging amidst strict lockdown regulations and the prohibition of private vehicles.
Yet, it’s beautiful to see and hear stories of church volunteers bringing good news of love and compassion to several thousand people who are currently navigating extremely difficult circumstances.
CBM has also been able to support the national denomination in providing care packages to some of their pastors who are particularly struggling right now.
Distance Ed. & Discipleship
The seminary has also made a major push to continue courses online. Many professors feel most comfortable using video conferencing but there is a growing interest in online education platforms which may mark a shift in the longterm. Kallie was able to quickly transition her in person course online but has found some students struggle with access without the ability to use on campus resources.
Moreover, we have both been able to continue virtually connecting with our discipleship groups and student mentees during the lockdown. Its been great to see these ministries continue and even thrive as many have expressed an increased desire to connect and grow during this unique time.
Covid-19 Situation in Bolivia
While Bolivia doesn’t have significant numbers of confirmed cases, national restrictions have been heavily imposed since the first cases appeared. Concerns regarding the capacity of the health system to accommodate spikes in hospital admissions has prioritized preventative measures.
Since March, we have been under strict lock down. For instance, each person is only allowed outside their home one morning a week from 7 until noon to purchase supplies. Your day is determined by the final number of your ID card. No one over the age of 65 or under the age of 18 are allowed out at all. All public and private vehicles are prohibited, making mobility very difficult as everything must be done on foot.
With these restrictions in place and the suspension of all non-essential work, many of the most vulnerable families have fallen into extreme poverty. Violence against women and children has also risen, as many are without support systems or options for leaving.
Continued Political Unrest
This all comes after significant political unrest that occurred several months ago, when previous election results were contested, leaving the country under an interim president. A re-election was planned for early May but was postponed due to the pandemic. The inability to move forward, in addition to the stress of quarantine measures, has resulted in the rise of protests and blockades in the past few weeks.
Please pray for the country, its many churches, and the active ministry leaders who are seeking to provide council and leadership during this challenging time.
- Pray for us as we explore new ways to serve and stay connected during these unusual times.
- Pray for the 90 churches who are working to care for those in their communities. There are many moving parts to this initiative, and it is new territory for many.
- Pray for Bolivian Baptist leaders as they seek to serve others amidst a challenging and evolving context.
- Pray that Bolivia would experience peace as they navigate the realities of both this ongoing pandemic and political unrest.
Tim & Kallie