EPILOGUE - ADIOS!
This series entitled "GOING TO BOLIVIA" comes to an end with this post.
I began to share my story of the circumstances from 1991 of my call to serve in Bolivia in June 2007 and have only now in 2016 brought that part of my story to a close in the previous post, "Going to Bolivia 19".
Perhaps I should start on a new series of posts which relate my experiences from 1993 onwards? We shall see.
THE END AND A NEW BEGINNING
The post "GOING TO BOLIVIA 19" ended on our safe arrival in 1993 January in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. It signaled the end of my ministry in Asia and the beginning of a leap into the unknown in South America. It has taken me nearly 9 years to put together a series of events which covered a three year period from 1991 to 1993.
I am tempted to redo these posts with a fresh perspective, in the form of a book. Much has happened since 1993 which has given me a deeper understanding of our journey.
Michelle and I didn't plan for a long-term missionary service in Bolivia. Ironically we've been in Bolivia now for more than 20 years! During this period the Lord's done some awesome stuff. We've seen him transform families and individuals. He's raised a fledgling national leadership to replace missionaries and it has also been a joy to witness the growth of the church.
On a personal level, it would be disingenuous for me to say its been easy for us in Bolivia. No. Our families have paid a price. For instance, we were not there for our parents when they needed us and not being there during their funerals was difficult. The distance between Singapore and Bolivia made it impossible for us to hop on a plane and return to Singapore. The Lord has been faithful and good to our loved ones in the midst of our trials and disappointments.
TIME TO LEAVE?
Yes, there have been moments when the time to leave Bolivia and return to Singapore had finally arrived. And 2007 appeared to be the right moment to move on. A local clergy, whom I had worked with and trained, took my place, as Pastor of the church. It seemed right to return to Singapore, for good. Michelle and I planned to return to Singapore for a 2 year period in 2007 with the aim of providing support for our son, Elijah's endeavor to fulfill his National Service obligations.
We hosted someone who encouraged us to consider returning to Bolivia after our stint in Singapore. John Sutton, the then Secretary General of SAMS UK, visited us in Santa Cruz a few months before my departure. He told us of the dire need for experienced missionaries to help guide the new pastors and the national leadership. He made a convincing case.
We prayed about the matter and Michelle, my wife, and I felt the Lord's peace to return to Bolivia, after our stint in Singapore. She has a heart for the Bolivian people and John's appeal for us to help raise a mature national leadership made sense. And so we returned in November 2009.
May the Lord grant us the grace to humble ourselves and to seek His glory in all our decisions.
¡He is faithful and trustworthy!