Wow, it is difficult to start this letter, the worldwide situation with COVID 19 has changed our lives in many ways. It is incredible to think of everything that is happening, so much uncertainty, so much desolation for the pain of the people who have left. It is a time where we are surrounded by uncertainty and doubt, but at the same time it is a time when we can fill ourselves with the only thing totally certain and true, which is GOD, our good Heavenly Father.
This is such a great opportunity to talk about how grateful I am. I want to share with you some of the good that happened last year and the beginning part of this year.
Highlights from 2019
We had 8 groups from different places in Canada, and with each of them we have been able to serve in the different projects that we are blessed to support as CBM.
With some of them we have served at Casa de la Amistad, Jireh, Chagas and / or IMI. Each team is so unique and special, each team brings endless skills and virtues.
It is nice to see how we can serve side by side with the brothers and sisters of Bolivia, since each team has Bolivian volunteers who accompany us during the team’s stay.
Being part of the body of Christ is something I have been meditating on a lot, particularly on what is mentioned in 1Corinthians 12:26 “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it”.
With thanks to God, during 2019 we have managed to live this biblical passage. We have cried together; we have laughed together and we have reflected on God’s purposes together.
We live in a broken world and in constant pain, and in the midst of that, we must be intentional in understanding that we can do something, we can be that bridge that many need to overcome their tribulations.
Of course, for all the SENT teams, it has been a blessing to be part of the different activities carried out. We have supported: Health Checks, Medication Provision, filling in at Casa Amistad, Jireh and the Seminary. We also had English teachers who spent two months in Bolivia teaching in the programs and with our partners. Also, in the middle of the year we hosted a Camp with the teenagers from Casa Amistad and Jireh.
On a personal level, I was able to travel to Canada for some vacation time. It was an experience of great blessing to be able to travel with a very dear friend (Goretty) and her mother and be able to share the Emanuel ministry with our friends from First Baptist Church in Listowel, ON.
We have had a visit from John Chan (CBM Director, International Partnerships), and it was good to continue reflecting on how we can work and walk together with our partners in Bolivia. We have had several meetings that allow us to continue projecting the work for the next five years.
Although everything was pointing that we would have another good year with several teams, to date we have only had the visit of one team (Whyte Ridge Baptist from Winnipeg, MB) in March, and while it was nice and great to be with them, I am very grateful that they were able to leave Bolivia just in time, since the partial quarantine began two days after they left.
As many know, I am originally from the city of La Paz, and although my residence is in the city of Cochabamba, to pass the quarantine dictated by the Bolivian government, I came to my hometown. I am currently with my family hoping that this situation will pass soon.
In Bolivia, no one is allowed outside, and in all our cities absolutely every person without government permission is required to be inside their home by law. According to our government, people would be allowed out one day a week according to their national ID card number, in my case Tuesday, so I can go and try to buy some groceries for my family.
I also have a special permit to be able to drive my family’s car and thus be able to take my mom to work, she is a nurse, so like thousands of other people, she is a front line worker in combating Covid-19.
During this time in my personal reflection it is clear that I cannot/do not want to return to what we are called “normal”. There are things that were not right within that “normal”, and I think this is a good opportunity to put our lives completely at the feet of God and I want to let his light shine on my dark spots.