Thursday, May 15, 2008
GOING TO BOLIVIA 14
1991 EXPLORATORY TRIP TO PERU & BOLIVIA - Part 3
Personal Crisis In La Paz
We were taken, after some rest at the Blaxland residence, to a swirl of events: a pastor's meeting, a city wide intercessory meeting, pastoral visits, church services camp; meetings, special luncheons etc..we were kept busy. I preached a sermon on the prodigal son at a Sunday service.
The church council interviewed me in extensively in an attempt to assess my suitability for the work in Bolivia. Most of the questions centred on my ministerial experience as a Pastor in Singapore. Would I be able to cope with the rigors of missionary work in a faraway land? The missionary attrition rate was high in Bolivia, especially in the Anglican Church. The possibility of having an Asian to serve in Bolivia had never been explored until now. Some reservations had been silently expressed because of the cultural differences between Asians and Latin Americans. Most of the missionaries were from Europe or the US.
Doubts however about my sense of calling to work in La Paz surfaced and continued to consume me. I felt trapped, embarrassed and uncomfortable in Bolivia. Was my sense of discernment to serve the Lord in Latin America flawed? There were clear indications in Singapore directing me toward South America. Had I made a mistake?
A lot was riding on this trip. Bishop Moses had invited me to go along because of a common conviction of the Lord's leading to serve Him in Bolivia. The thought of disappointing him was also beginning to gnaw away at my soul. Valuable resources had been spent on this trip! It would have been easier to catalogue my doubts as negative feelings and to move on. My conscience however did not leave me in peace; sharing with Bishop Moses about my sense of emptiness for La Paz was inevitable. And so with a a sense of trepidation, I approached him one night and opened my heart. He looked stoic and did not respond directly to my comments Cynthia was sympathetic. He urged us to focus on the activies at hand and complete the programme which the Bolivians had prepared for us.
I went to my room feeling deflated. My heart cried out, Lord what are you up to? Had I made a mega mistake?
I found His comforting presence in Psalm 23. The 2nd verse touched me deeply: He makes me lie down in green pastures , he leads me beside quiet waters. His hand was over my life; there was still something which I had yet to see and experience.
The activities of the day and the high altitude fever left me tired and breathless. A restful sleep would hopefully give us some peace of mind for next day's activities, which included a change of scenery.
We were going to the lowlands of Bolivia, a place called Santa Cruz!