Tuesday, September 13, 2011
FROM 2010 TO 2012
In 3 months, 2011 will make way for 2012. "Time" as the saying goes, waits for no man. Much has happened since we returned to Bolivia in December 2009.
Michelle and I had to re-inculturate ourselves in Bolivia after two and half years in Singapore (We were in Singapore helping our son to cope with his 2 year national service obligations. During this period Raphael was assigned to work at Christ Church parish - Diocese of Singapore). We put aside our Singapore conditioning as we set up home once again in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. It was and is not easy. Inculturation is a process. We are moving forward step by step as we find our bearings in the new situation we're in. Bolivia as well as the Diocese have gone through profound changes during our stint in Singapore. Our Bolivian colleagues and friends went through definitive life changing experiences without us. And this is a good thing although we need to rebuild our rapport with them!
The Bolivia of 2006 was not the Bolivia of 2010. A new constitution was put in place by the President and the constitutional assembly. We had read about this fundamental change in the Bolivian political landscape during our stint in Singapore. And now we were a part of this grand experiment in nation building. Bolivia according to the new constitution is the Plurinational State of Bolivia (Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia). The constitutional provisions include autonomous rights to the various indigenous groups within the framework of a centralized national entity.
The growth in the Bolivian diocese, a blessing, has at the same time exposed our vulnerabilities: lack of trained leaders, finances, ecclesiastical structures etc. This of course is stark contrast to the Spore diocese (which is sometimes characterized as a a well oiled machine). Working in a context where the rules and boundaries are not clearly defined is a challenge which requires lots of patience.
At the beginning of the 2010, the churches in Santa Cruz organised a successful diocesan youth camp. Participation from all the churches in the Diocese helped to contribute to the success of the camp. Michelle played a key role in the organization of the camp. The theme was seizing the kingdom.
The churches we had started and helped to build in Santa Cruz, before our move to Singapore in 2006, learned to move on without our guidance. This was a happy development. Missionaries hand over the work to local leadership and move onto the next phase in church development i.e leadership training and improving the quality of the churches programs. Since returning to Bolivia, I has been focusing on leadership development. I ran an intermediate course on homiletics for lay preachers. I regularly mentor pastors and meet up regularly with the leadership teams of the churches. I am currently training six couples to run a marriage enrichment program and disciple teachers in the children ministry. Michelle continues to work in the area of the creative arts and her latest efforts in bringing banners and flags have brought lots of excitement and enthusiasm.
Michelle and I, by God's grace are the longest serving missionaries in the Bolivian Anglican Church. We've come a long way. At times discouragement sets in but we continue to trust Him in our journey to the New Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!
2012 promises to be an eventful year. My the Lord grant us the grace to move in his plan and purposes!
Keep in touch!!