The following is written by Emily, who was interning with the EFCCM in Bolivia. She was serving at the Talita Cumi orphanage.

“God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” – 1 Corinthians 1:27

As my time here in Bolivia comes to a close and as I think about all the different things that I have seen and learned during these four months, this verse seems to sum up so much of it well. I find myself realizing more and more that God’s primary purpose for sending me to Santa Cruz was not for me to teach these people profound things or for me, myself, to impact their lives in any special way – in fact, it’s turned out to be quite the opposite. And what better a person could God have chosen to confound and teach me than that whom the world considers to be the very weakest?

Fany has done just that.

This special girl has challenged me, surprised me, made me laugh until I cried, and made an impact on my life that I never expected. Between trying to get free of her death grip hugs (watch out, or she’ll get you too!), searching the house for one or both of her missing shoes that fell off along her journey, finding her fast asleep on the toilet, or simply sitting and talking with her (which usually consists of me just listening, because she’s not always the easiest person to understand), she has added much joy and excitement to my experience here.

I’ve enjoyed working with her so much that I’ve even changed my direction and I’ve decided to study disabilities studies this coming September in university. Who would’ve thought that this 26 year-old, wheelchair-bound girl would have impacted my life in such a way! I thank God for Fany’s life and I am so thankful that He has brought her onto my path.

Maybe the Lord will bring me back to Santa Cruz someday, but until then, I wish all the interns and everyone else who walks through these doors after me a wonderful, blessed, and life-changing experience. May you see Jesus in the form of these 30 smiling, running, caring kids… and may they impact you to such an extent that you can’t help but be transformed from the inside out. Have fun!

With love,
Emily

 

Internships with the EFCCM

Would you like an intern experience like Emily has described? One that will expose you to some real needs in the world, and which will give you a way to meet some? One which will open your eyes and your heart? One that will change your life?

Get in touch with Lisa (lisab@efccm.ca) — she’ll lead you through the steps to get you there.

Specifically, Talita Cumi is looking for people who are engaged in what’s happening in and through the orphanage, and who can keep supporters up to speed on their Facebook page, through letters and other correspondence. If you can speak Spanish, you can be involved right away in a much deeper level with the kids. And if you don’t know Spanish yet, you will certainly learn some while you’re there!

December and January are the months that Talita Cumi feels the greatest need for volunteers.

Here is a fun little video presentation from Agua Yaku in Bolivia. Having seen this firsthand, I can honestly tell you that it doesn’t really go this quickly. :-)

To keep up with Agua Yaku directly, check out their presence on Facebook!

Verna is an EFCCM missionary serving in Bolivia. She provided this update for us.

What has been happening regarding the Mennonite work?

In many ways I have been rewarded. I have sat with my laptop, working on editing material that was translated into Plautdietsch (Low German) by someone else. There has been material such as SEAN which is a course of theological education by extension, and also “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. As of the beginning of this year, the church in neighbouring Villa Nueva is using the Sunday School Bible stories that I translated.

When education/administrative consultants, John and Naomi (faithful EFCCM Mission Associates) were here, they gave a seminar to SS teachers. And that was very helpful, as many SS have had very little training.

In church we have divided into small groups for our Thursday evening Bible Study. I am in charge of leading the study in my group, for which I chose to use the recently translated “The Purpose Driven Life”. At first I was quite apprehensive about the groups, but I feel that the group is adjusting and that we are becoming a ‘family’.

The most recent activity was the exciting arrival of the 9,800 Gideon Bibles in Plautdietsch. The tiring part of that was driving a group of Gideons from Canada to distribute those in the colonies. There were 11 of them who spoke Plautdietsch. It was hot, dusty and/or muddy. As many are afraid of outsiders bringing them a false doctrine, they are stand-offish or even refuse to come out to talk, especially the women if they are home by themselves. But I was pleasantly surprised that many came to talk, and even invited us to sit with them.

The Gideons also placed Bibles in hotels and hospitals in Santa Cruz where Mennonites stay.

Going into the colonies I again was impressed with the creative and mechanical abilities that we saw in their inventions of an ice cream maker, a hot water tank for warm showers, and the steel wheels on their tractors.

Please keep praying that those who received the Bibles would read them with open hearts and minds.

Can you imagine what having no safety net would look like? These are the conditions Talita Cumi Children’s Home rescues kids from. Perhaps their parents are too impoverished to raise them. Or perhaps home life puts them at risk of abuse or neglect. Some only know a life on the streets, where they are likely to be victims and perpetrators of crime, and where they are susceptible to disease.

Without intervention, they would be trapped in the perpetual cycles of poverty and injustice.

As a ministry of the EFCCM, Talita Cumi provides children with:

  • basic necessities like food and clothing
  • safety
  • nurturing role models
  • educational assistance
  • training in a variety of life skills

Talita Cumi is currently facing a financial shortfall. They operate with a budget of roughly $7,500 per month to support staff and to supply the children’s needs. This month they are $1,500 short. Sadly, that’s not all.

The Bolivian government insists that at Christmas time, employees earn a 13th pay-cheque as a bonus to cover the end of the year. This further puts the squeeze on Talita Cumi’s limited resources.

We are asking for $5,500 to cover the ministry’s most pressing needs. But Talita Cumi is requesting donors to join their efforts on an ongoing basis. You can sponsor children starting at $50 per month.

Please help Talita Cumi continue its important protection and nurturing of children in Bolivia!

By the way, Talita Cumi is one of the projects covered in this year’s World of Hope. You can see more about that by clicking here.

Also, lots more information is available about Talita Cumi on its website.

New Update From Talita Cumi:
A BIG thank-you to all who responded so very generously to our urgent need for financial support and prayers for the kids of Talita Cumi Children’s Home. The body of Christ in Canada and the United States stepped in and bridged the financial gap we were facing this Christmas season. Not only have our projected needs been met, it appears we may have a small reserve for the months ahead!

Thank you for giving; you have blessed and encouraged all of us who work and live at Talita Cumi. It is our hearts desire to honor God in this ministry. With our hands we labor, with our hearts we serve and we push ourselves to give all of our love, care and attention daily to these wonderful kids. If only that was enough to fill the hole each child feels, however their sad memories and real scars will take more than just time to recover from. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to reside in each child, so they will be filled with Christ and they can learn to trust the Father for all their needs this Christmas season.

Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and praise the Lord for you!

Merry Christmas,
The Talita Cumi Family xoxo

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.