Yesterday was our first day out into the streets of Cochabamba. As usual, the people we met were gracious and welcoming, the lunch we were served by our host church was delicious and very filling, and the views of God’s creation breathtaking and reassuring. I am thankful for all of these things and more as it was a great first day out in the harvest fields in Bolivia. But what I think I am most thankful for as I arise early this Sunday morning is a profound lesson I learned while driving with a pastor yesterday.
As one of the team leaders (and being the odd-man-out since we have three team members working in three different areas), I will be rotating between all of the teams this week. Since the vehicles that are taking us out to these areas can only accommodate 6-9 people, Pastor Edwin drove me and my interpreter to where we would be working. And before I even got to where “the work” was to take place, God begin “working on me.”
Getting to know one another better over our 45 minute ride to Cobal, I quickly discovered I was riding with a man of God who is willing to give up everything to reach his beloved people of Bolivia.
Case in point, Pastor Edwin, his wife Lydia, and their two children Sarai and Samuel, not only serve a growing church near the business district of Cochabamba, but are seeking to make more disciples of Christ who will help start new churches all over Bolivia. Since my coleader, Ryan McFarland and his bride (and my daughter, Abigail), met with Pastor Edwin and did our initial training with him and the leaders of his church eight months ago, they have practiced the tools that they were given and are now working towards starting four additional churches on different sides of Cochabamba. Our team is working with 3 of these new works this week. Thinking about the receptivity of the people that we encountered on Day 1, I believe Pastor Edwin has done a great job of preparing the fields for this season of sowing and nurturing.
But maybe what has struck me most about the uniqueness of this man is the extent to which he is willing to go to reach people with the gospel.
Just last week, he and several in his church spent 7 nights (midnight to 6:00am) praying for the work we are doing beside them this week. Yes, I said 7 all-night-prayer-meetings, asking God to move in the hearts of people we encounter this week. And just a month ago, Pastor Edwin and his church participated in a 21-day fast, preparing themselves spiritually for this coming harvest, giving up food to cry out to God to pour out His blessings upon the people of Bolivia.
As great as everything has been so far (trainings, travel, our team, where we are staying, food, interpreters, first day results), I am pretty sure that God wants to use Pastor Edwin’s example to change my life. And unless I am misunderstanding the whisper I believe I am hearing from God in this, I know what I need to do next – SURRENDER all that I am to my Savior and Lord, just as I heard a Pastor in Bolivia doing during a ride to Cobal.
For all who are praying for me and our team, thank you. We are seeing God change lives – Bolivians and North Americans. Please keep praying.