Queridos Hermanos (Dear Brothers and Sisters) —
Bolivia is in day seventeen of total quarantine, after a week or so of partial quarantine. This measure is set until April 15, but some municipalities are already requesting it be extended and tightened as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. As of now, Monday to Friday — those days being staggered based on the last number of our ID cards — from 8 am to 12 pm, one person per family can go out to buy groceries. Saturday and Sunday everyone stays in. Automobiles are restricted, so almost all movement is on foot.
I’d like to share with you how the pastors and congregation of La Trinidad are responding to this situation. Our mission is to “Be Salt and Light in Christ Jesus.” We are learning how to carry out this mission and share God’s love in times of quarantine.
Worship on Line: We are putting up daily messages, audio, and video on our church Whatsapp group and Facebook page. This has been quite a challenge due to saturated signals and limited data plans. Yet, we are becoming more tech savvy and creative! The mom’s Bible study is even growing as it meets each week virtually. Please pray for us as we walk through Holy Week together from our homes with soup and foot washing, Good Friday meditations and pan dulce, a movie night, and a Resurrection Sunday breakfast greeting and celebration.
Calls, Calls, Calls: We are reaching out to congregation members to see how they are doing spiritually and physically. We thank God for the technology that closes the social distances and even for the extra time for longer visits over the phone. As a pastoral team we are in constant contact with each other to coordinate needs and prayer requests. Our days are full.
The Salt Project: The quarantine has created a particular financial crisis here, with people unable to work and no unemployment program. Government subsidies won’t reach many families. After two weeks, some families have run out of savings and food. We have formed The Salt Project to get basic goods to needy families.
We have divided the congregation into zones. If a pastoral call reveals a need, the project committee approves the use of a small fund we have created from family donations. Then three things happen: we find someone in the zone who is able to go out the next day possible, an amount is transferred to that person from a congregation member´s bank account, and then that person buys and delivers the groceries.
Yesterday was Juan Cris’ day out, and there were two needy families in his Sacaba zone. He got up early, rode his bike several kilometers to the bank, stood in a long line to use the ATM, got groceries for the families — including his own! — and delivered them, and then made it home by noon. Praise God!!
We also helped an elderly woman living alone who is not a part of our congregation. Through various coordinated steps, Marcelo was able to buy her groceries and walk them to her house. The family member who had contacted us wrote last night that her aunt was so happy and kept repeating that God hadn’t forgotten about her — a handsome young man had showed up at her door with food! “What a beautiful testimony of loving our neighbor and of the love of God for all his children.”
Today we are mobilizing to help three more families in need. We are thankful that God is providing as we help others. I am heading up The Salt Project and coordinating other initiatives to address needs during the pandemic. If you would like to donate to this fund, please click on the button below.
God is showing us His purposes for us here during this particular time. As always, it is to be salt and light, sharing Christ’s love with others by all means possible. Thank you for showing that love to us and your hermanos at La Trinidad. Thank you for your prayers for Thomas, who is healthy again and doing well. Please continue to pray for health and protection for missionaries and foreign worker families separated from each other due to quarantines and travel restrictions, and please pray for the congregations and communities where we serve.
May you continue to be salt and light in your own communities.
Tammy, Rusty, Maddy & Thomas