Saturday, September 30, 2006



The Sunday service after the VBS was packed out; extra chairs had to be brought and the service spilled out into the dirt road. Parents and relatives of the children came along for the service. Wish it was like this every Sunday!

We do follow- up through home visits and are planning to invite the parents for dinner to re-establish links and to share with them our future plans. The dream of course is to purchase a property and start family enrichment programmes, workshops on personal development and a special tuition programme that will help children who are lagging in their studies. We hope to evangelise and make disciples of children and their families through these activities. The key is of course to train and motivate the leadership as we seek to improve our facilities in a better place. The leadership is praying for new premises. We saw a piece of property that is available for about $US60, 000.

Some of you have been faithfully following this series of 8 postings entitled REACHING OUT diligently. It began with a write up on the beginnings of Pan De Vida and ends with a future projection of the work. My task is to build the leadership, mentor the pastor and to help in the search for new facilities. A Christ centred gospel empowers converts and gives them hope and a future. Time and again we’ve seen the Lord do remarkable things in families, individuals and children. Praise the Lord! Please contact us at if you wish to help in the areas of prayer and finances.

Friday, September 29, 2006


So What's Next?

Cristo Pan De Vida (Christ Bread Of Life) meets in a shed with an improvised roof. And that’s where we held our first Vacation Bible School in the neighbourhood, 2nd of April. In terms of attendance, families reached the programme, the VBS was a success. Close to a 130 children filled the shed; we just could not take any more.
We struggled with the lack of adequate facilities and were grateful that our neighbour allowed us to use her large patio for some of the games. The piping in the kitchen is worn out; roof leaks when it rains; the electricity at times cuts off during Sunday service.

This boy behind the locked gate was probably one of the many children who did not take part in the VBS. He seems interested but can’t get in. Many families and children are bound by the enemy and there are still locked out of the kingdom. Next year, God willing, we hope to do another VBS at 2nd Of April. This will require finances, planning, training and scheduling – its a lot of work; it will be worth it however if children like this boy can get in and hear the gospel!!

Jesus said, "let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these". When he placed his hands on them, he went on from there. Matthew 19:14-15

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Anointed Leadership At Work In the Vacation Bible School

The Lord uses leadership to move and shake His plan into being. Here are only some of them. There were many others who deserve a mention. My apologies to them. Jack Mcdonald deserves some mention but I could not get a photo of him.

Rosie Bascuñan on the extreme left leads the children's ministry in Cristo Luz Del Mundo. On her left is Christine Frank; she teaches children and is a strict disciplinarian. Belisario Soleto, our deacon, has built a great rapport with the children; for some he is their surrogate father.

On your left is Marlene; She's the one with the white t-shirt helping the children with the craft work. Marlene's children came to our breakfast programme about 5 years ago. She accompanied her children to the breakfast and linked up with the church. She recieved Christ and began to serve the Lord. Marlene now heads the children's ministry at Pan de Vida.

Blanca Ortiz is the one with a black t-shirt. Blanca's ministry is in logistics and food. She, together with an army of helpers, fed the children at the VBS; we're talking about snacks, drinks, and lunch. The kitchen facilities at Bread Of Life are wholly inadecuate to the task of feeding 120 children and adults. We work with what we have; Blanca simply rolled up her sleeves and got the job done!

Mary Mcdonald on Blanca's right and her husband Jack were the ones who put the VBS together together with the leadership of Bread Of Life and Christ Light Of The World. Mary is an evangelist at heart. She evangelises thru the gospel cube and trains people to use the cube.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


The children are taught bible stories. Deacon Belisario, the pastor of Pan De Vida tells a story.

The children are seated quietly! Unbelievable but true.

Deacon Belisario is also in charge of the weekly Saturday breakfast programme. The children who attend the programme are called Hijos de Luz (Children of The Light). Through this programme the parents of the children have also been evangelised.

Wow look at the craftwork! They made their own plates. Don't they look like proud owners of what they've just made! The gospel honours Christ and empowers those who believe.

Here are two girls looking very happy after having printed their own t-shirts. This activity was a winner from the start. The recurrent theme of this VBS was that the children got to keep the stuff they made.
Children in Bolivia love t-shirts, especially when its made by them.

Lets not forget the new songs they learned with actions!!

The youth of Cristo Luz Del Mundo were heavily involved in the area of music and teaching songs. Here they are kneeling on the floor.

Under the watchful eye of the members from the short term mission team, the children get down to work on craftwork. Ahh...the diligence and the concentration!

Friday, September 22, 2006


Like never before, the young people were involved in the minstry at the Vacation Bible School
Here are some of the youth dressed in a traditional Bolivian dance costume. Bolivia is a very "young country" in the sense that the youth and the young adults form the largest demographic.

Yup..Bolivians love to dance. Check out the cool costumes! I'm still trying to figure out what these dancers were doing at the VBS.

Here are a bunch of youth from Christ Light Of The World hanging out with 2 young people from the short term mission team. The blonde in the centre is Kelly Grainger - a SAMS USA missionary. She leads the youth ministry and is doing an outstanding job!

from right to left: Olgita (studying to be a physiotherapist), David (a student), Gabriela (a student - She's David's sister), Kelly, two youths from the US short term mission trip.
- Evangelising Children-

Jesus reached out to children and received them with open arms. Many of us came to Christ because of contact with Christians when we were young. Bread Of Life is an extension centre, from the parish Light Of The World, dedicated to evangelising and discipling children in poor neighbourhood called 2nd of Apri. Together with our mission partners from the US we reached out to about 100 children and their families through a Vacation Bible School

Here's a great photo of all the children in the neighbourhood at the Vacation Bible School. Children are a vulnerable demographic; they are, at times, subject to all sorts of abuse. It has been our priviledge to not only meet some of their basic needs but to also lead them to Christ.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006



In July a short term mission team from the United States arrived in Santa Cruz to help Bread Of Life (Pan De Vida) put together a Vacation Bible School. The VBS was held in the neighbourhood, 2 De Abril (look out for more details on the VBS in the next post).

Here's a neat photo of the short term mission team. Jack Mcdonald and his wife Mary put the team together and provided on site training. Jack (the guy on the far left in a sea green t shirt) and Mary are missionaries from Truro Episcopal Church. Jack works with World Concern (A Christian NGO) and Mary, a veterinarian, has a finger in just about everything: from running Alpha courses to birthing calves. They have 2 teenage children - Ashby and Jack Jr. The Mcdonald family have been tremendous! God Bless Em!

I'm a firm advocate of multi-lateral missions i.e the whole church reaching the whole world with the whole gospel- Although this is a title of a book, it captures in a nutshell, the Lord's end time missionary enterprise. He is raising a network of fervent Christ centred churches and mission agencies dedicated to the expansion of the gospel and the consummation of His creation.

Many members of this short term mission team came from various churches in the States and we warmly welcome them as our mission partners. This is multilateral mission at work!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


CHRIST LIGHT OF THE WORLD, a parish under my charge as Archdeacon, started an extension centre named, BREAD OF LIFE (see picture...Pan De Vida means Bread Of Life) about 5 years ago.

Here's the story: We started a breakfast programme with some of the poorer children from the neighbourhoods near the parish. The work began as an initiative by the lay people and grew rapidly.

It was only a matter of time before the parish saw the need to not only feed the children but to also meet their pastoral/spiritual needs. This got us involved with the families of the children; we saw first hand the destructive impact of poverty over families and neighbourhoods. Most of the children come from a neighbourhood called 2nd of April (in Bolivia, some of the streets and neighbourhoods are named after significant dates in the country's history).

2nd of April is a rough neighbourhood; children grow up in the midst of drunkeness, poverty and abandonment. Inspite of this we have seen the Lord move in wonderful ways; Jesus truly does heal the broken hearted; He gives hope to the downtrodden. We've had the priviledge of seeing lives change before our very eyes. Its takes time of course but the miracle of Christ's transforming power is not a gimmick but a reality! "Michael" (not the real name!) is the only male child in the family. He does not enjoy a good relationship with his mother nor does he go to school. He simply drifted in the neighbourhood; did some drugs and makes a buck or two cleaning cars. His sad and lost look used to make us feel impotent. The Lord however began to work in his life: he now attends church every Sunday and youth ministry; his infectious smile together with a changed atitude surprised many. "Michael" continues to struggle but we know that he is on the right path. Without Jesus he would have probably fallen into drug addiction and ruined his life. Praise The Lord!!

This is a first in a series of special posts concerning Bread Of Life (Pan De Vida).

Monday, September 11, 2006


Maintaining Our Focus In The Midst Of Social Convulsions

This is a decisive week for Bolivia; civic leaders in the East have given the central government until this thursday to respond to their appeals for changes in the constitutional assembly; some of the campesinos have retaliated by promising to block the roads that lead to the FERIA EXPOSICION. This is Santa Cruz's biggest and most prestigious annual international event. Business communities in Latin America, Europe and parts of Asia gather to display their products in specials cubicles/stands; relationships are built and deals are cut. Its a 2 week event which highlights Santa Cruz as the engine of growth in the Bolivian economy. This year however Bolivia's social problems have a cast a shadow over the event. People I talk to, especially the taxi drivers are pessimistic about the future. The alarmists are talking about a civil war (a bit of an exaggeration!). And the mass media has not helped with its emphasis on doom and gloom.

Jesus is building his church in the midst of the convulsion: people are won to Christ; members are discovering their gifts, and we receive short term mission teams and continue to plan for growth. This is the Good News that shines a light in the darkness. At church services and midweek meetings one can sense the anxiety of the folk. Although its always important to let people share their thoughts and feelings about the current crisis, we need to come back and fulfill the purpose of the meeting - be it a leadership or cell meeting. There have been exceptions. At a recent gathering of the men's ministry, we put aside the study and let people talk and pray about the national crisis. There is no doubt that the church cannot ignore its social realities but there is always the danger of losing our focus on God's purposes and plan. We are mobilizing the parish (its called Christ Light of The World) to double its membership in evangelism and follow-up; we are also gearing ourselves up for a building project which will thrust us into the community. Nehemiah kept his eye on rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem in the midst of opposition; his opponents were conspiring against him and his efforts. He did'nt allow the problems to distract him. Jesus grant us grace to imitate Nehemiah in this time of testing!

Although we take note of what's going around us, our focus - like the eye of the tiger- is on His divine purpose not only for the church but also for the nation.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


- Probably not but get ready for confusion & uncertainty-




Bolivia, like a boxer in trouble, is clinging on to the ropes! And here's why:

The constitutional assembly seems to be going nowhere! They've not been able to agree on the rules of debate! The assembly is a body of elected representatives; their task is to put together a new constitution which reflects the indigenous component in Bolivia and address deep seated injustices .

In the past, indigenous Indians were marginalized; they normally got what they needed as they hung onto the coat tails of the traditional political parties. All that changed when Evo Morales was elected as the first indigenous president of Bolivia. After taking office he tried to nationalize the petroleum industry and proposed far reaching changes in the educational system; teaching indigenous religious beliefs and languages were some of the ideas. The Christian community viewed this as an imposition and reacted; the president later backed down. A 30 page document which purportedly outlined the ruling party's proposals for the new constitution was leaked, it was based on the Cuban model of Soviet style central planning. Many, especially in Eastern Bolivia (that's where I serve by the way) are appalled by what they percieve as the ruling party's intentions to influence the Constitutional Assembly with fundamentalist socialist ideas. President Evo's close association with Fidel Castro has only served to confirm people's worst fears. The other political parties are therefore not sparing any effort to block the ruling party's proposals in the Assembly.

The opposition and the ruling party are bickering over voting procedures in the new assembly. The former want every proposed article in the new constitution to be approved by a 2/3 majority in the assembly; they appear to have the law on their side. "A simple majority is enough to approve all the articles", say the the ruling party. The proposed new constitution will need to be approved by a 2/3 majority at a nation wide referendum . An absolute majority at the referendum will NOT be enough to put into effect a new constitution put together by the constitutional assembly.

What Does All This Mean?

Firstly, the ruling party is percieved as wanting to effect deep seated fundamental changes that will make Bolivia into a socialist indigenous state not unlike Cuba. They believe that they will never have a similar opportunity like the one they have now. They form the majority in the congress and in the constitutional assembly. Their majorities however are not enough to bring about the revolution they seek; hence, the need to make alliances and build a consensus with other political parties. This will not be easy because the radical wing in the ruling party show no signs of compromising with anyone.

Secondly, Bolivia has severe fault lines between the East and the West. People in the West are different from the people in the East when it comes to food, music, skin color, accent, political ideology. The voting patterns almost always reveal the cleavage between the East and West. The majority in the East will NEVER accept dominance from anything resembling a socialist indigenous state resembling Cuba. The present controversy has brought to surface the old talk of secession and the creation of a new political entity in the East.

Thirdly, the ruling party appears to be supporting the illegal migration of settlers from the West to the East; they squat on fertile land belonging to landowners of the East; this has only made matters worse. Almost everyone knows that a just land reform is inevitable where landowners will have to give up parcels of unused land but the presence of these illegal settlements in the East could very well provide the flash point that sends Bolivia into the black hole of violence and secession.

There are also indicators, thankfully, which do not suggest Bolivia's fragmentation. Bolivia, unlike Sri Lanka and Colombia, has never had to face armed insurrection from within; we have not seen this sort of internecine violence; people in the East also don’t have a secessionist leader ready to lead a revolt.

Although the overall situation is patchy, unpleasant and fragile we are prayerfully hopeful that a constitution respectful of everyone's rights (indigenous, property owners, foreign investors) will emerge from the constitutional assembly.

Pray that the elected members of the Constitutional Assembly will not seek division but consensus. Pray for justice to prevail as competing needs for indigenous rights and socio-economic cohesion slug it out! Pray for president Evo Morales and his cabinet to be driven by national interests and not sectarian ones. Pray against the work of the Evil one as he spreads seeds of violence and extremism. And most importantly pray for many to come to Christ through the present crisis.

Monday, September 04, 2006



Blogs buck the mainstream press; their take on issues is different; blogging is homespun and free from censorship driven propaganda. Some of it is also junk.

Bloggers interpret history; at times they highlight issues, events and people that never get a fair hearing; Some of the groundbreaking news surface in the internet first; mainstream press, at times, simply follow the lead of bloggers. Worse still is the definition of "news". Madonna and Britney Spears appear in the media because they’re "newsworthy" (And they call this mainstream media!). Newsworthy is sometimes a euphemism for notoriety. Ever heard of Stacy Orrico? She's is a great talent: fantastic singer and knows how to work the stage. The press don't stalk her. The reason is simple: She's a christian and is'nt into slutty antics. So she's not "news".

The gospel writers were bloggers in that they reported the Good News; the gospel narratives never made it in the Roman Empire’s mass media. No one reported Christ’s life - his birth, death and resurrection- the way gospel writers did. Josephus made a passing reference to Christ and his followers. Herod would never have ordered a positive write up on Christ’s birth. And Jewish religious leaders would never have soiled the pages of their history books with the name of Jesus except of course if they had wanted to do a chapter on loony prophets; Jesus would never have been interviewed by the CNN of his epoch. The gospel writers, ignored official propaganda, did underground journalism and changed the world. Remember the guy who posted stories on the Israelite exodus from Egypt in the Old Testament and Pharoah's humilliation; don’t expect to find anything from him in the Egyptian archives.

Yup...the biblical writers were bloggers! And that makes the Holy Spirit The Blogger In Chief because He inspired them to write as bloggers.