Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Growing Seeds

I began this post when we were in Bolivia. Due to slow internet connections and lack of time, I did not finish it until now. May it be an encouragement to each of you as you read how God is moving in the lives Bolivian young people!

When Gerson and I left Bolivia to serve the Lord in McAllen, Texas, it was bittersweet. It was bitter because Bolivia holds a dear place in our heart. Gerson is from Bolivia, and it is where he and I met, dated, married, and started our life of marriage and ministry as a couple. It was sweet because we knew the Lord was leading us, and we knew God doesn't make mistakes.

More often than not, when one is in full-time ministry, it is hard to see the results of one's labor. I remember leaving Bolivia wondering what seeds we had planted and how those we had had the privilege to disciple would fare, since our departure from Bolivia was very sudden due to my high risk pregnancy with Jayden. (If you want to read more of THAT story of God's faithfulness, go to and click on the posts from the fall of 2008!)

Coming back to Bolivia after several years has opened my eyes to how the Lord is working in the lives of His children here in this country. The greatest joy for me upon our return has been to see how God is growing the seeds He planted while we were here. I'd like to share some of these with you, praising God who is the One who is doing the work in these individuals!

The first group of people we had the privilege to meet with was the Boanerges or "Sons of Thunder" cell group from the University Church. Gerson was the founder of this group of young men. When we left, he left Limber, one of the young men in the group, with the baton of leadership. Limber has done an incredible job with these young men and the group has grown. (There was a small group our first evening with them due to several conflicts that night.) There has been so much growth that it was decided to split the group into two cell groups --- one for married men and one for single men. Another man from the original group, Gonzalo, now teaches the married men. What a joy to see not only the growth of numbers, but the  depth of growth we witnessed spiritually in these young men. Several came by the house and talked with us one on one about what God is doing in their life. What a joy to hear the testimonies! I'm excited about how God is using these young men to impact Bolivia! Pray that the Lord will bring the single men a godly wife who will join them in ministry. That was a concern on many of their hearts as they spoke with us. 

 Limber with Edson --- they became fast friends.
Another joy for us was to see Gabriel and Angelica. We met them back in 2008 because Gabriel's brother attended the Boanerges cell group. He had shared with Gerson that his brother and sister-in-law were going through a hard time and he was concerned for them. Gerson reached out to Gabriel and we began meeting with this young couple in our home. They were struggling in their marriage, and Gerson and I had the amazing privilege of sharing God's perspective of marriage with them. They had had a civil wedding ceremony, but as they studied God's Word, they really had a desire to have a religious ceremony to consecrate their marriage to the Lord and renew their wedding vows. December of 2010, they had a beautiful wedding to do just that!
We were unable to return to Bolivia to attend their wedding, but while we were here in Bolivia this time, Gabriel and Angelica invited us out to eat one evening, and then the following week cooked a traditional Bolivian meal for us. During that time of fellowship, they showed us pictures of their wedding and gave us the video of the special event! What immense joy to see this couple grow in their love for each other as their love for the Lord grows! They also shared with us that Gabriel is feeling the Lord's leading to formally study the Bible, even though he is a successful businessman. He doesn't know what the Lord has in store for him, but he wants to be prepared to serve Him completely! The fact that he is willing to be obedient to the Lord in so many huge areas of his life is a testimony to how God is working in this man and his family!
Another couple we were able to see was my best Bolivian friend from Trinidad, Blanca Elena, and her husband Roberto. They made the sacrifice to travel overnight by bus to spend a weekend with us. When I lived as a single missionary in Bolivia, God sent Blanca across my path through our church Sunday School class. Blanca quickly became a close friend, and I was thrilled when she and Roberto, with whom I was on the praise and worship team at church, began to date. They got married 4 months after Gerson and me. This couple has an incredible passion for the Lord and have become leaders in a small church plant in Trinidad. Blanca recently quit her job, allowing her to plunge freely and whole-heartedly into ministry! What an incredible privilege to see how God is using this couple to further His Kingdom!

There are just a few of the people who have impacted our lives and who we see God using in ways we never imagined when we lived there. The seeds fell on fertile ground and grew fruit. Now that fruit is sowing seeds and others are coming to know Christ through them. Our joy knows no bounds! Praise the Lord!

Please pray for these young people. As they shared their ministries with us, they also shared their struggles, hurts, and desires. Pray they will remain strong in the Lord, focused on Him, and that He will continue to bless their lives and ministries. 

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