In the Dominican Republic (DR) Bruno attended the annual gathering of the Baptist Churches of DR (IBAREDO) and visited several member churches. All the churches except one have bi-vocational pastors and typically are located in small rural or poorer urban communities.
Nearly all the IBAREDO churches are actively engaged with their community – teaching kids music, engaging youth in learning a trade so they don’t gravitate to drugs or prostitution, counselling families, hosting small group bible studies, helping poor cane workers to understand God’s care for them, etc. In Sosúa, a community very near to Puerto Plata, a popular tourist destination for many Canadians, we met with a group of dynamic young people, meeting in a small church building of perhaps 4m x 8m. This church is 3 blocks from the beach but seems many miles away from 5-star resort hotels. The church members teach music lessons to dozens of kids – they have to set up on the sidewalk because the church building is too small. They teach teenage girls and boys, hairstyling and entrepreneurship – an attractive alternative to drugs
Several Canadian Baptist churches are already engaged with local DR churches. We are hopeful that in the next year CBM can help develop healthy relationships between DR and Canadian churches, and facilitate visits by Canadians, encouraging local church members and promoting ministry efforts that benefit the local churchin DR, and help grow Canadians’ understanding of mission and possibilities for engaging people in Kingdom work – locally and far away.
Bolivia STM News
Bolivia STM News
We have just finished an intense season of hosting Canadian churches and supporting their journey of understanding and experiencing faith through the lens of life in Bolivia. I recently accompanied Blythwood/Weston Park Churches to support the rehabilitation of adobe homes for the prevention of Chagas disease. This work extends beyond the cement and stucco used to seal homes and destroy the habitat of the Vichuga beetle that carries the parasite causing Chagas. Families hear the gospel message through stories, prayer and through the presence of the Canadian and Bolivian church members spending the week at their homes. Most importantly, our partners are in the communities throughout the year, facilitating medical testing and treatment, workshops around agricultural best practices and proper hygiene. Our partners are also committed to providing ongoing spiritual connections, through local church leaders. Helbert is a deacon of the Aiquile Baptist Church and is one of several dedicated professional albanils (masons) who ensure the proper construction of homes of people unable to complete the work themselves (widows, elderly, ill, etc.).
It bears repeating, Bruno and I are privileged to be working with dedicated and gifted CBM staff in Bolivia, who are walking alongside our partners;
Patricia Nacho facilitating Canadian and Bolivian church short term teams to consider how their experience can impact their lives and that of their churches, while supporting Bolivian churches.
Working to support the understanding and practice of Integral Mission by local Bolivian churches, literally throughout all of Bolivia, Tim and Kallie Hutton. Follow them through their monthly blog http://www.timandkallie.com/
And fast tracking language learning and cultural understanding while investing in the work and life of the Bolivian Baptist seminary and the pastors it serves, Bill and Janice Dyck. https://billandjanice.wordpress.com/
UBLA & COMIBAM
UBLA & COMIBAM
In Iguazu, Brazil we recently were privileged to attend the Convention of the Union of Latin American Baptists (UBLA), an annual gathering of Baptist denominational leaders from most Latin American countries. This was an opportunity for reflection and teaching around the theme of Transforming Cities, Impacting New Generations. As in many parts of the world, Latin America is rapidly urbanizing and our churches need to shift to remain relevant in their communities. COMIBAM (Cooperación Misionera Iberoamericana) is a larger gathering, held every 10 years, of 1800+ people working throughout the Spanish & Portuguese speaking world. Traditionally, most Latin American churches thought of themselves as receivers of missionary efforts. In 1976, 98% of missionaries throughout the world were from North America and Europe. Today, 78% of missionaries come from outside of NA and Europe; 15,000 from Latin America. In the last decade the Latin American churches have mobilized to become senders, with many Latinos having very effective ministries in all parts of the world. Perhaps because they already share cultural, linguistic, and worldview commonalities, Latin American Christians are especially effective in the Muslim world.
About Bruno and Kathleen Soucy
As Latin America Team Leaders Bruno and Kathleen work with CBM’s Field Staff and church partners in Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, Cuba and Nicaragua. They also support CBM’s work and relationships in Argentina and Costa Rica.