The Bolivia Industrial School, (BIS) is a volunteer-staffed, faith-basedboarding high school and non-boarding primary school that provides free Christian educationin northeastern Bolivia, South America. This experimental project forms part of Gospel Ministries International, an organization that provides medical, educational, and media services worldwide.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
MOVE REPORT #1
I have heard it said that the faster
you move the slower you age.Here at
MOVE, however, time seems to rocket right along with us. We are halfway through
the first three-month training course. The last six weeks have been a blur. I
am teaching English classes to the nine Spanish speakers out of our group of
fourteen students. Additionally, I am in charge of off-campus evangelism, and
am taking mechanics and welding classes as well as a leadership class, all as
part of the mentorship program. Among other things, we have learned how to
inflate a truck tire without an air compressor using gasoline, and Friday Jeff
showed us how to weld with nothing more than welding rod and two twelve-volt
batteries connected in series! Talk about a practical mission-outpost skills. I
tried it and it actually welded up smoother than his AC welding machine!
Today it is
our turn to watch campus while everyone else is gone on Sabbath-afternoon
outreach with the local churches, and I am taking advantage of this breather to
write you a quick update.
It wasn’t my turn to speak, but the
person on the schedule wasn’t able to make it for our Wednesday night prayer
meeting at our church-plant project in Chan Pine Ridge, a village about fifteen
minutes away from the MOVE campus. As I stepped in last minute, I asked the
Lord to guide the service. We started with song service, and I asked for
favorites. As we sang “Lamb or God,” “Behold what manner of love,” and “The
Love of God” the Holy Spirit spoke powerfully to my heart through those
beautiful lyrics, and between songs I began to comment on the immense need of
our suffering world, and the astounding sacrificial love of God. I shared how that
very morning I had been asked to substitute teach for the director’s world
mission class, and part of the lesson was a slide show of heart-wrenching
images. One pictured a teenage boy slumped beside the yellow ribbon of a crime
scene, his mouth agape, his countenance twisted with an anguished cry that
transcended the page. Nearby stood an officer who had just informed him that
his only brother had been shot and killed in gang and drug-related violence. As
I spoke, I could see I had Enrique’s attention. Enrique is a lad of 17, and
beyond his occasional church attendance with his older brother Danny (one of
our deacons), he doesn’t seem to have much interest in spiritual things. Often
he whispers and laughs with friends, or passes much of the service distracted
with his cell phone.
But tonight was different.
“Please pray for my friend. His
brother was found dead in the river yesterday.” Enrique said when it was time
to share prayer requests. Suddenly I understood his intense interest, and I
marveled at how God had answered my prayer to guide the subject of our meeting.
should talk to him afterward and share Deuteronomy 33:27. I felt impressed.
But after prayer there were announcements and preparations for the health expo
we were organizing for the following Sunday. The village chairman had invited
us to have a booth at the annual village anniversary fair. We had a lot of
planning to do and I forgot to speak to Enrique until the impression returned. As
I glanced around, I spotted him standing alone, and I seized the opportunity
without further delay.
“Hey Enrique. I’m so glad you could
join us tonight. Sorry to hear about your friend’s loss. May I share a couple
of verses with you that meant a lot to me when my mom died?”
“Yes please” Enrique responded. “I
want to help my friend, but I don’t know what to say.” As I read, he pulled out
his phone and asked me to repeat them so he could type them into his phone.
“So do you know what happened?”
“His brother was into drugs and gangs and
stuff.” Enrique replied. “I’m worried about my friend too. He’s not a bad
person, I can talk to him just like anyone and he doesn’t even use bad language
with me, but he hasn’t been back to school since they found his brother, and
I’m afraid he’ll try to take revenge.”
“I will definitely be praying” I
responded. “In fact, can we pray right now?” He nodded. “What’s your friend’s
together and I prayed for Wilbert and for Enrique, that God would give him the
opportunity and the courage to bring some hope and comfort to his friend.
Please help me pray for them both and for all the youth of Chan Pine Ridge.
another Wilbert I would like you to help me pray for as well. Mr. Wilbert
Valencia is a merchant from nearby Orange Walk who handles imports and exports
for the Mennonite communities here in Belize. A few months ago he began to
attend the Chan Pine Ridge church plant in answer to the fervent prayers of
MOVE staff that God would send some faithful members to assist in the work
there. He and his wife Ana have been attending faithfully every since. He was
much impressed by Lyli’s testimony about the plane crash, and he feels God
calling him to get more involved in mission work.
“When I told my son who is studying
medicine at Montemorelos University your wife’s story, he said ‘They already
told us that story here at the university! The pastor said those people are
‘Yeah, they are crazy for Jesus,
and I have them here with me in person,’ I told him.” Mr. Valencia grinned.
Tomorrow he will be joining us for our weekly Sunday afternoon visitation.
us tomorrow is Pastor Abimael Lozano, the director of student missions for the
theology department at Montemorelos University who arrived to visit us
yesterday. Pastor Lozano is passionate about missions, and although he began to
suffer from multiple sclerosis eight years ago, a rigid diet of raw fruits and
vegetables and the grace of God brought sufficient healing to keep him active
in the field. Over the last five years, he has been able to orchestrate a
radical shift in student missions at the university including curriculum
changes to focus more urban and intercultural evangelism. Current missionaries
are also trained in Arabic and Russian and most of the over thirty current
student missionaries from the theology department are now working in countries
from the 10-40 window in Northern Africa and the Middle East. The University also
sponsors students to come from those countries and train as missionaries to
return to their homelands. Last night pastor
Lozano told us about one of his Waldensian students who volunteered to go to an
extreme fundamentalist Islamic state as an exchange student and began to
carefully share his faith with others at the university. One day he noticed he
was being followed by a police officer, and turned to confront his persecutor.
“Why are you following me?” he
“I know why you are here. You are
here to try to convert us to Christianity, and I am going to kill you for it!”
the officer said as he brandished a knife. “But not today.”
The student was very afraid and
tried to avoid that officer from then on. One day he confided in a friend that
he was afraid for his life and told him of the incident with the officer.
“Which officer threatened you?” the
friend asked. When the student pointed him out, his friend said. “I know that
man. He is a friend of mine as well. Let me talk to him.”
“Why do you want to kill the
foreigner?” the friend asked the officer.
“Because he is a trying to change
us into Christians. I hate him!”
“That is because you don’t know
him.” Said the friend. “Come have dinner with us and you will understand.”
The officer did not like the idea,
but finally he agreed out of respect for his friend. At the dinner, the officer
put his knife on the table and said
“If you do not convince me in this
meeting, I will kill you.”
The student missionary did not say
much about Jesus at that dinner, but he behaved like Jesus and was kind and
courteous to his would-be-murderer.
At the end of the meeting, the officer said,
“You know, you are actually a very good Muslim (which means “believer”). I want
to know more about your Jesus. Can you get me a Bible?”
The student missionary was able to
smuggle an Arabic Bible into the country and give it to the officer. Not long
afterward, he was warned to flee for his life. He is currently
finishing his studies at Montemorelos. The officer has become a secret
On hearing this story last night, Sebastian an intelligent and active lad of 19-years was quite impressed. He is a doctor's son who is here at MOVE because his parents told him they would take him
to Cancun if he finished the missionary-training course, and up until know has been wavering between the world and a full commitment to Christ.
“I’ve finally found my purpose!” he
exclaimed to a friend. “I’m going to be a Bible smuggler!” Please pray for
Sebastian as he struggles to decide what to do with his life. Sebastian is in my advanced group in my English class,
and so I give them special homework projects. Tonight I downloaded the story of
brother Andrew, “God’s Smuggler” for him to listen to for his listening
comprehension homework. I am praying God can use it to deepen his conviction to
surrender his life in service to the gospel.