Tuesday, April 21, 2020


BOLIVIAN CV-19 UPDATE 3

"...Israelites...cried out...God heard their groaning" - Ex 2:23-24

A CRY FOR MERCY...
We pray for Mercy - somewhere in the genetic depths of lost humanity we know God is Merciful.
Lord have mercy on us! Christ have Mercy! Lord have Mercy!
Bolivia gets a mention towards the end in this surprisingly ideologically-free report from THE GUARDIAN, below, on the impact of the pandemic amongst the poor in Latin America.
The Anglican Church in Bolivia helps to serve the needy in our midst. The Lord uses the little we have to reach out to the masses. I try and keep in touch with the clergy and lay leaders through Facebook and Watsaap as they try and minister to the community around them.
Please pray for church leaders and their families. This has been a stressful time for siblings n marital relationships. Pray for families to turn to the Lord in prayer and for peace to prevail in their homes as the stress of the confinement takes its toll.
Pray for the Lord's mercy to take charge of impossible situations in families where buried resentments and unforgiveness surface in these times of uncertainty and impotence. Christians and their leaders on all levels are not exempt from bust-ups in the present crisis.
Pray for the Lord to provide the necessary wisdom, faith, healing, meekness, and finances to meet the present and future challenges in the life of the Church. Prayer for a new generation of hands-on leaders to serve the Lord in a fallen world of selfishness.
Pray for the government to find a way through the competing needs of safety from the pandemic and for people to earn a living. This article below from THE GUARDIAN deals with this issue, from the perspective of the poor.
There doesn't appear to be a centralized "one size fits all solution" from the top but a more community-based approach with direct help and coordination from the municipality and the central government appears to be the way forward. To some extent, this is already happening in the midst of a situation without any precedent, in Bolivia.
Pray for the Bolivian governing authorities to find resources and to persevere and to not buckle under the strain of this growing pandemic.
And pray for us to not fear the darkness of CV-19 but to plead In Christ, from a place of brokenness, in a heartfelt cry for His Mercy.

Monday, April 20, 2020

BOLIVIAN CV – 19 UPDATE 2

“SOUND THE TRUMPET” 15th of April 
first angel blew his trumpet, there followed hail and fireRev 8:7
Pray for us as we pray for all of you…we’re in this together – the Lord is blowing His trumpet and rallying His Bride around a fresh revelation of His Glory in the midst of great upheaval and suffering.
In South America, the presidents of Bolivia and Paraguay have publicly in their speeches pleaded for their people to trust the Lord and to pray to Him. In Ecuador over 7000 have the virus and more than 700 have died.
President Añez of Bolivia announced yesterday the decision to extend the national quarantine till the 30th of April. A new minister of health took over last week from the previous minister - he resigned for personal reasons.
In Bolivia, we’ve registered 354 CV-19 cases and 28 deaths. Santa Cruz, the region where I serve, has the highest infection and mortality rate. Relative to other countries our casualty rate doesn’t seem high; but the government rightly fears a catastrophe of massive proportions that would rip apart a frail national health system, if the disease spreads exponentially.
Hence the decision to err on the side of caution, apply the sledgehammer of a national curfew with very limited movement to only buy groceries and to do basic banking.
Various communal self-help initiatives have surfaced spontaneously led by the police and the municipality to feed the needy. Our congregations have tried to help out as well in this pandemic. One of them put together a plan to reach out to the elderly and to the more vulnerable in their communities.
Ministry opportunities in this period of uncertainty have opened up opportunities on the internet for small groups, personal counseling, and teaching clips. The confinement has either brought families together or divided couples and caused grief in families.
SO, IS CV-19 GOD’S JUDGEMENT? – The contours of biblical judgment, with fear and trembling, suggest a “Yes” and reflects our failed and incomplete accountability to a moral God in control of humanity, nature, and the historical processes.  
The gamut of His judgment includes eternal punishment, restoration, redemption, retribution, cause-effect, vindication, separation, discipline through plagues, natural disasters, and endless human folly and pride.
God, faithful to His righteous love, not only shatters human pride in judgment, but he also identifies deeply with those who suffer, through Christ’s Death on the Cross. An exclusive emphasis on the latter at the expense of the former sounds palatable, to the world and to liberal Christianity, partly because God comes across as a benign, long-suffering and therapeutic relative who nurses us back to health.
The biblical revelation, however, also speaks of propitiation on the Cross that permits salvation by Christ, the conviction of sin, a call to repentance and the thrust to disciple the nations.
May the Lord grant us grace to speak and sing boldly to the sound of His trumpet

Sunday, April 19, 2020

SOUL-LIKE BOLIVIAN MOMENT

Her child-like Bolivian charm:

a sense of hope colors her face with a well-proportioned smile, the almost perfect design of her cheeks and teeth hide a beauty yet to be seen;

her innocent eyes hint to unformed tragedy,
invite us to dance with the
soul-like Bolivian moment of her hair
blown by the wind.


Wednesday, April 01, 2020


A BOLIVIAN CV-19 UPDATE 1 
Bolivia locks herself down in a life n death struggle with, CV-19, an unseen enemy!
We’re allowed to shop at the supermarket for our daily needs but we can only do it once a week. The police and the military patrol the streets. My barrio looks abandoned … there’s nothing for the dogs to bark at; cars have disappeared from the streets, and all shops and banks remain closed. It’s different in the poorer districts at the periphery of the major cities of Bolivia - markets here are open and people mingle with little understanding of social distancing. Slowly but surely people are adhering to the rules.
President Añez declared a 3-week quarantine that will hopefully be lifted on the 15th of April. In terms of church-life, congregations meet through Zoom for bible studies, Sunday services, and other meetings. It’s a novel experience for many – sadly not everyone has a smartphone. The President has chosen the health of her people over the nation's economic well-being. Mortgage payments have been deferred. Financial handouts together with social benefits have also been announced.
I shudder at the economic impact of CV-19 on the Bolivian economy and on church finances. We´ll not only have to tighten our belts after this crisis but we’ll also have to think through how to function, as a church. The Lord’s putting us through this crisis to radically change the way we think about ministry and outreach.
Missionaries left an expensive and complicated ecclesiastical machinery for the national leadership to manage, and early missionaries with more resources got away with a strong paternal approach but it’s a different scene these days. This is not a criticism but a historical observation from mission fields around the globe. The emerging national leadership needs support and encouragement to fulfill their calling, and there is a still place for older more experienced missionaries to mentor and coach those willing to listen. Pray for us – CV19 has brought to surface issues that require focused attention and the gumption to make tough decisions.
On a personal level, Michelle and I stay in our home, listen to music, cook n clean, play with our dogs, read, watch TV for the latest updates and stay abreast of what's happening - in the nation and in the world.
The present crisis has been an overwhelming and heartbreaking experience – the poorer sectors of society clamor for food, the savings of the middle class will disappear and the elite will hunker down. 
We’re a bunch of “Tower of Babel” builders who’ve reaped what we’ve sown.
Oh! for the mercy of God - times like this when the Kyrie Eleison resonates powerfully in all our hearts:
Lord have Mercy
Christ have Mercy
Lord have Mercy
People look to us for easy answers on their terms, but the gospel provides a Way or better said HIS WAY– a journey on the Lord’s terms.
Our celebration of Holy Week takes on greater significance, - beginning this Palm Sunday!

Friday, September 06, 2019

THE PROPHET'S MORSEL

Prophets nibble at
magic moments - their
eyes open to hidden
wonders under the
spell of mouthful
delights.
 
Up and down,
jaws move like ships
on tossy waves; while
food-filled cheeks
sway to gestated thoughts
in palates chock full of
revelation.

And inside? - the prophet's
incisors slice the hidden
enchantment from holy
flesh, nibbling at
glory and to then be
consumed by sacred
reflections.

He serves himself, as
sacred morsel, for others
to nibble at.







Tuesday, August 27, 2019

¡NO EXCUSES!

Azkargorta replied in no uncertain terms - "No Excuses" 

I had asked him to share a helpful insight I could take away from our encounter. He didn't flinch - the words "No Excuses" slid from his lips easily. He cited an example: he fined players who turned up late for training sessions, never accepting the argument that coming late was part of our Latino culture.

 We are more than our carnal self-imposed limits. 

The bible talks about the excuses we use to justify our lack of commitment and trust in the One we serve...Moses said he couldn't speak well; I'd probably have said something similar if I had to take on Pharoah - this dude crushed people for a living! 

Gideon told the angel he didn't come from an important family when given the charge to unite the Israelites and lead them into battle against the Midianites.

 And some folk told Jesús they couldn't follow Him cuz they had pressing family matters. 

Stepping out in faith can be kinda scary; fear-driven excuses lead us nowhere. Trust the Lord...He'll take care of us...
   
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deut 31:8

    

Monday, August 26, 2019


  CONVERSATION WITH AZKARGOTA 

I  bumped into the legendary Xavier Azkargota a few months ago at BISA, the bank near my home at Equipetrol Norte, Santa Cruz! 

Azkargota coached the Bolivian soccer team that qualified for the World Cup in 1994. I had just arrived in Bolivia as a young missionary and the thrill of sharing in the nation's celebration at qualifying for the World Cup was exhilarating!

We exchanged pleasantries, talked about the similarities of our roles as coaches - a diocesan bishop coaching the clergy; and him as coach of a soccer team. 

The Lord brings interesting people into our paths