GOING TO BOLIVIA 18
¡IMPASSE IN SINGAPORE!
Michelle and Elijah were a welcome sight after not seeing them for more than 2 weeks.
Michelle listened to my stories concerning the trip and my descriptions of the place with great interest. I remember commenting on the similarity between Bolivia and parts of Malaysia as I tried to help her picture Bolivia. She had never been to that part of the world and was anxious to know about the conditions and the medical facilities available.
By God's grace we go to know an Australian missionary couple in Singapore, Patrick and Wendy Marman, who had served in Bolivia. The Marmans were teaching at the Discipleship Training Centre and gave us some valuable tips and information concering life in Bolivia.
NEED FOR CLARITY
Bishop Moses and I had left South America with a sense of ambiguity in 1991. There was an expectation on the part of the Bolivian church for me to serve at a congregation in La Paz, a city in the highlands of Bolivia. I was however convinced that I was called to serve in Santa Cruz, a bustling city in the lowlands. The other hurdle was to agree to a condition of the Bolivian church to serve 2 terms of 6 years in Bolivia. I could not see a commitment beyond 2 years. 3 appeared to be bearable but a 6 year commitment was not within our radar screen. We had to pray and seek assurance of the Lord's leading in moving forward. Bishop Moses although keen on us to commit ourselves for 6 years, spoke to me about the importance of having peace in our hearts as steps of faith are taken.
There did not appear to be a way through this impasse until my wife Michelle shared with me her insight concering our future. She suggested we commit ourselves to a term of 3 years with a promise of doing another term of 3 years if the Lord were to lead us in this direction. We sent a letter to Bishops and Moses and Winstanley with our proposal. After a few months of deliberation the Bolivian standing committee accepted our proposal. We received a letter from the Peruvian - Bolivian church in my mail box, stating their acceptance. We were overjoyed!
CHURCH I WAS PASTORING
The question of finding a pastor to replace me in All Saints english congregation needed to be looked into. Till then, I was their longest serving pastor and was concerned for them to have a pastor beforeI left for South America. This was the prerogative of Bp Moses Tay and he appointed Rev Henry Seow from Holy Trinity english congregation to replace me. Henry was fellow seminarian at St Peter's Hall where we trained for ministry. I was happy with the Bishop's appointment because of the fit between Henry and the congregation. Henry however felt he was not ready to move and wanted more time to work with the congregation at Holy Trinity. Wthin a month of his appoinment he resigned and felt called to lead a new work in a non anglican setting. This difficult situation however was resolved when Rev Rennis Ponniah was appointed the Pastor a few months later. Rennis was a very active layman in the congregation and his presence had a calming influence on the congregation.