Greetings from Tim and Kallie
These past months have been filled with highs and lows as we have navigated the effects of the pandemic. Here are a few updates on Bolivia and our current ministry.
Accomplishments Worth Celebrating
Kallie served as a thesis supervisor for Eluid Mamani, guiding him as he researched, edited, and polished his final work amid all the Covid19 restrictions. One of the biggest challenges for seminary students has been the cut off from the physical library and learning to depend more on digital resources. This September, after months of working in lockdown, Eluid successfully defended his thesis, achieving his theological degree!
Ready for 2021… Kind of…
Every year during July to September, we as CBM work with our national partners to develop project proposals and budgets that will shape the ministry we hope to undertake together in the coming year. This is always a challenging and exciting process but naturally 2021 is an unusually difficult year to plan for as we’re not quite sure what ‘normal’ will yet look like. We continue to trust that God and our innovative partners will surprise us despite the uncertainty that lies ahead.
The inability to gather has been difficult on project beneficiaries, yet the incredible staff of Casa and Jireh are continuously working hard to connect and care for children, youth, and their families. We recently went with the staff to visit families in their homes, deliver food baskets and perform health checkups. The majority are malnourished with about 30% severely underweight. Recent lab work also revealed that more than 90% are suffering from parasites. We hope to provide treatment and more food baskets (including weight gain supplements) in coming weeks.
Connecting with families one-on-one helps staff to identify and address the needs of each family, taking the time to listen to their concerns, encourage, and pray with them.
Pandemic & Postponed Election Update
Bolivia appears to be slowly resurfacing after six months under strict regulations. March to May saw extreme measures which only allowed citizens out of their homes one day a week for 4 hours. June opened up, allowing for vehicle use and two outings a week; however, July went back into strict lockdown including an 11 day full quarantine stretch before returning to the 4 hour a week model. August allowed for two days a week and September is now largely open on weekdays with an evening curfew.
Bolivia has experienced some of the highest deaths per capita globally from Covid-19, as many health services have been overwhelmed. Many of our friends and ministry partners have contracted the disease, and sadly, some have succumbed to it.
Amidst this pandemic, the attention of many has been on the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming election. The 2019 election was disqualified due to suspicion of electoral fraud, resulting in an interim government since November. A new election was twice announced, only to be postponed due to concerns regarding Covid-19, upsetting many who feel a full year is far to long for an unelected president to govern.
This has provoked further conflict amongst various political factions, instigating several periods of protests and blockades, including the restriction of sanitary services, all further complicating the already severe pandemic crisis.
- Pray for us and our partners as we care for the sick and mourn the loss of friends.
- Pray for our Bolivia team as we undertake ministry planning for the coming year.
- Pray for Bolivia, its national election October 18th, and the general health of the nation.
Peace be with you,
Tim & Kallie