Saturday, May 26, 2007


Elijah And His Parents!

Elijah graduated with American and Bolivian diplomas; he looked dashing in his robes and mortar; dad's tie was a winner and so was mum's bolivian handcrafted necklace.

Mum is thrilled; dad looks kinda serious; Elijah has great teeth

Thursday, May 24, 2007


A parishioner was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her brain. She's a bright lady with 2 young girls. Her husband abandoned her for another woman 2 years ago. All attempts at reconciliaton since then only yielded more heartache. Its also been tough at work; she lost her job recently as a result of a power play by a colleague. A week later she felt a pain in her back and a constant throbbing headache. She made several visits to the hospital and did the necessary tests. Just when you thought it could'nt get any worse, doctors diagnosed a cancerous brain tumor. Her world fell apart.

Talk about a modern day "Job".

We prayed for her 3 weeks ago on a Sunday night. It was a moment of personal restoration and a coming to terms of what had been going on in her life. Jesus is always in charge but that night He stepped into the situation and took over. God's calvary love poured into her heart; her smile and a sense of deep peace said it all. A few hours later she complained of headaches to her parents. They rushed her to the hospital; the doctors performed an emergency surgery to remove the tumor.

The doctors, to the surprise of many, discovered a non- cancerous tumor. The quick pace of her recovery surprised everyone. But the doctors remain puzzled about their initial diagnosis and are trying to make sense of what happened. Maybe they made a mistake. They're not taking any chances and have prescribed low key chemotherapy treatment. Pray for a total recovery.

God is great...Jesus in miracles of healing and consolation offers us redemption -the blessings of new creation.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Grant, we pray, almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens, so we in heart and mind may also ascend and with him continually dwell; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.


Oh God the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Yes, wakes are great opportunities to talk about Jesus and His love for lost sinners.

Yesterday, I was asked to preach at a funeral wake. Don Marcial, the deceased, was 72 years old. He had only recently received Christ. His son in law was soundly converted; a few of his relatives have been attending church services; the rest were unsure and hesitant but open to the claims of Christ.

And so I took the opportunity to evangelize. These days I don’t get overly hung up about presenting gospel truths in a formula; I simply proclaim Christ. There is something so liberating and powerful when Jesus is mentioned in the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the message.

Christ breathes life into dead souls. Just mentioning His name and the titles which accompany his person and works is powerful stuff; drawing out the significance of His exclusive claims and uniqueness from the gospels is life giving.

Many responded positively to Him at the wake.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Last week I shared the gospel with a lapsed Jehovah Witness. I did'nt have time to attend the meetings and I gradually slipped away, he remarked. It was quite obvious, after having conversed with him for a few minutes, that his grasp of JW doctrine was not superficial. We worked our way through JW end-time beliefs and his understanding of Christ. It was tough but worth the effort. He did not appear to cede any of his beliefs.

I sensed however an openness as I shared the Trinitarian faith with him from the Bible and began to kick into proclamation. At some point in any evangelistic encounter there has to be a confident declaration of Christ's uniqueness in human history and his work of salvation and redemption of creation.

He looked pensive as I shared with him Christ's divinity; its not the church nor an enlightened sect that saves but Christ, the eternal Son Of God. A human or adopted "christ" is impotent and unable to save anyone, be it on a cosmic or existential level. I sensed a crack in his "works-salvation-gnostic-sectarian" mental grid. Sad to say it was only a crack.

He did not reject Christ but could not commit himself to pray and deepen his knowledge of our Lord. Evangelism is more than an intellectual encounter but a collision of spiritual forces. Maybe the Lord will send someone to help work through the issues which prevent him from taking the vital step of faith in Christ.


A visitor at our sunday service recently made a very incisive observation concerning her worship experience. She said,

"When I closed my eyes I was in a Pentecostal or Charismatic church

When I opened my eyes I was in a Catholic church

When I heard the sermon I was in an Evangelical church

Yup...a very accurate perception of the Anglican church in Bolivia.

Friday, May 11, 2007


One of the 7 wonders of the world is eating steaks in Bolivia! Yeah ok I'm exaggerating!

Bolivian steaks, when prepared well, are juicy, tender, tasty and thick; eating steaks in Bolivia is a heaven on earth experience. Singaporean meat is imported and doesn't have the texture or the meaty feel of good south american meat.

The men's ministry yesterday decided to barbecue some meat and sausages at our monthly social. Gabriel Martinez, prepared the meat over a charcoal-fired grill. A Peruvian, Hilario, was in charge of the salad: a large helping of bright red tomatoes and pepsicum chillies mixed together with olive oil, salt and vinegar. Another side helping were white coloured onions cut in a circular shape dipped in a special sauce. Someone bought fresh steaming french bread from the bakery. Most of the men prefer to keep the food simple in not having vegetables or potatoes. I think its got something to do about men declaring their independance from wives who take delight in controlling the menu.

Sometime ago, the men decided not to have wine with our steaks as a sign of our respect and solidarity for recovering alcoholics in the ministry. So we wash the food down these days with coke or lime juice. The conversation was diverse - covering politics and the significance of death for the Christian.

The meal cost us 21 bolivianos each ($US2.8 or $Sing5) A great bargain, I'd say! Would'nt you?

Monday, May 07, 2007


Church Members Robbed


Yesterday, during Sunday service, robbers threatened the church's security guard with a gun and stole an expensive spare tyre attached to a jeep. The victims, a missionary family, were worshipping at our church and had bought a short term team with them. And get this: someone busted the window of their jeep while they were having lunch after the service with same team. No prizes for guessing the sort of impression that was left on our visitors!

It’s been a horrible month in terms of robbery. Some of our youths were accosted and robbed of their cell phones. Another person was also threatened and robbed at gunpoint by thugs who raced away in a car. All this took place within the vicinity of the church grounds.

There was a time when some thieves avoided robbing worshippers because they respected the church. Those days are gone.

Come Lord Jesus! Maranatha

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Undoing Prejudices And Stereotypes

Don't expect anyone to return stuff you lost or left behind in Bolivia, we are warned repeatedly.

3 Bolivian heroes – a cashier, a taxi driver and a security guard - successfully challenged this stereotype.

My son left his spectacles in a restaurant. We returned the next day to retrieve it. It seemed ridiculous to even try. There was nothing to lose anyway. I approached the cashier and explained the situation. She looked at me suspiciously and asked us to describe the spectacles. My son said the rim was white.

She opened the drawer below her desk, fished out my son's spectacles and asked him, is this it?

Elijah, my son, happily said, yes.

Two days later, I asked a taxi to deliver my son's expensive shoes to his school; he was taking part in a rehearsal for a play and needed the shoes to get into the character he was playing. Clear instructions were given to the taxi driver. The shoes never arrived. Elijah, with his adolescent hormones on overdrive, was hopping mad. We were very anxious. We called for a meeting with the taxi driver. He swore that the security guard at the school took the shoes and had promised to give them to Elijah.

Did the taxi driver simply make up the story and steal the shoes? Maybe the security guard stole them?

In Bolivia everyone is a thief until proven innocent! (oh dear...Lord have mercy on us when thoughts, similar to this cross our minds)

The next day was May 1st, a public holiday. All the schools were closed. So the taxi driver and I went to Elijah’s school on the 2nd. We quickly found out that he had mistakenly gone to another school and not my son’s. The miracle however was that the security guard from the other school kept the shoes safely in a locker. He had not given it to anyone and was waiting for the owners to turn up. We took the shoes, thanked the security guard and left. The taxi driver heaved a sigh of relief. He, visibly sweating from anxiety, apologised for the trouble. No podia dormir toda la noche pensando en los zapatos (I could not sleep the whole night thinking about the shoes).

I was happily surprised not only by the security guard’s honesty but also the taxi driver’s willingness to apologise and take responsibility for the mistake.

So these are my Bolivian heroes: a cashier, a taxi driver and a security guard. God bless em all.