Building the Bridge

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Here is an update from Rudy and Erna in Bolivia:

“We’ve had a wonderful time this last month celebrating God’s faithfulness. Easter Sunday we not only celebrated that we have a risen Lord but that our God is faithful in bringing things to completion according to his will and timing. We had a dedication lunch and service for The Bridge Ministry Centre. It was a time where we remembered and gave thanks to all who have contributed in one form or another in bringing this dream to reality.”

The Bridge officially opened its doors just over a year ago, when the building wasn’t even completely finished. Now people are starting to ask them to provide dorm houses to facilitate larger, longer events.

Let’s summarise what the Bridge has had going on:

“This past year we’ve hosted a two week Bible school, marriage/family retreat, a youth event, a counselling seminar, a church fundraising event, and a family gathering. The wonderful big kitchen has also been used to cook large quantities of food that then have been brought to other locations as it was this past weekend for the Harvest celebration. It fills our heart with joy to see that this centre is being used for the purpose that is was designed for.”

This facility has been the result of so many people’s investment in time, energy and money. We celebrate with Rudy and Erna what this facility has accommodated, and what new opportunities await it. They are also excited about the new church in Ibnias, one of our two founding churches in the emerging ADIEL (EFC of Bolivia). They were on hand for a time of celebration.

“The harvest season is almost over and it was time to give God thanks for His goodness. Not only did the farmers have a tremendous harvest this year but so did God’s church. The building is over full most Sundays and it’s time to build bigger. The new church building is well on it’s way and with the money that was raised it will help bring this dream to reality as well.”

This is an exciting time of developing relationships with colony Mennonites, and enabling them to take practical steps to learn, to explore their new faith in Christ, and to share fellowship with Christians who have a rich understanding of grace and truth.

Sometimes Journeys Start with Making Legs

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This update is from Jean-Pierre and Virginia in Republic of the Congo.

“Two of the most lucky amputees in the whole region are here at the hospital, and another man is on the waiting list to get a new leg! Kyria, physiotherapist from France, our niece, has been working on a new leg for Joselyn, a young man in his twenties. It is so exciting to see how it has taken shape! Every day we saw the leg ‘grow’ towards completion. More than once she had to throw it to the scrap pile and start again. With plaster, varnish, a few socks, tape, leather, and a piece of bamboo that we went out to cut down ourselves, and many hours of work, Kyria has been creating a prosthesis. Never had she made a leg before, but with the encouragement from Christine Groves, a short term re-hab doctor who was here for only 3 weeks, and with the help of a book, Kyria has made a leg for Joselyn and he is walking without crutches, only a cane, with his new leg. The first day he wore it only 10 minutes and will increase the time everyday. Joselyn reads his Bible every day and with the help of a patient-pastor, is growing in the faith.”

We pray that as he learns to walk with this new leg, that he will also learn to walk faithfully with the Lord.

“Another amputee is 10 year old Sammy, the most smiling boy you have ever seen. His leg is almost finished but in the mean time he has been busy playing frisbee, football, and can do almost anything that we do with both feet. I could go on to tell other stories of different patients, like a little girl named José who accompanies Sammy everywhere, who gave her life to Jesus…”

“All these people will stay ingrained in our memories as we leave. Saying goodbye to the patients, nurses and doctors, friends, disciples and fellow missionaries is not easy. One chapter ends and another begins. God makes all things work together for our good and we know that He is leading us on to other pastures. We have been enriched and immensely blessed during our time here seeing the hand of God working wonders in and through us and in the lives of many others. Jean-Pierre has taught so many and now it is time for them to disciple others. We will leave but who will obey His voice and come help?”

As Jean-Pierre and Virginia make preparations to return home, we pray that God would clearly speak a new dream into their lives, and that their valuable contribution would be picked up by others.

As If There Weren’t Enough Changes in Bolivia…

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Heather’s recent correspondence reflects a lot of changes in Tarija, especially with the Candelero Kids. She is excited to see the positive changes in some of the children and youth that are joining them. Particularly, Heather shares the following about Jesus (pronounced HEY-zoos), who is living at the house in San Blas, and who is responding to the love being shown him:  “He’s a great kid with a renewed hunger to learn.”

Jose is another boy who also moved into the house in San Blas on April 19, and began school soon after. He is 9 and struggles with his school-work, and with fighting with his school-mates, but despite the setbacks and the acting out, she sees potential in him to grow and develop.

The Candelero Kids house was dedicated on May 2nd, and Steve (Area Director for Latin America) and his wife Myra were on hand to celebrate with them. That was a real highlight. But there are growing concerns too.

Some of the “regular” kids haven’t come to the Candelero Kids Support Centre for a few weeks. We pray for protection for Eyber, Mirco, Esteban and Paola as there are many bad influences around them. We found out a few weeks ago that Rodolfo, another kid who used to come, is now in jail because of drug-related problems.

You don’t have to listen to Heather for too long before you become aware of both her big heart, and the litany of problems she and her ministry partners are up against. The kids have very few positive role models in their lives, and as a result have little capacity to trust even themselves let alone anyone else. Despite their youth, many of them are in adult-sized trouble with the law, and with substance abuse. And yet, they are image-bearers of God who need compassion, teaching and stability. And we pray that with wisdom, patience and the constant flow love from Heather and the other staff at Candelero Kids, their young lives would be transformed.

In related news, we’re excited to announce that, having just graduated language school, Helen is on her way to Tarija to join Merle, Rachel and Heather. We know that God is going to use her energy and passion to bless the EFCCM’s ministries in Tarija!

The Latest Chinese Pulse

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This is the latest version of the Pulse that has been translated into Chinese. Please share this with anyone you think would be interested, and of course, who can read Chinese.

You can read the edition by clicking here (and if you desire there’s a downloaded pdf version that you can get from there as well).

PulseTV — Church Planting Boot Camp Report

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Follow along as Charlie, our Church-Planting Cayalyst chats with two couples who attended the recent Church-Planting Boot Camp put on in conjunction with the EFCC and Trinity Western Seminary. In this video he also refers to the church-planting assessment process. If you have any questions about any of this, please drop us a line.

If you want to download your own copy, here you go:
PulseTV — Church Planting Boot Camp (Windows version). ~26MB
PulseTV — Church Planting Boot Camp (Mac version). ~41MB