Thursday, March 14, 2013

Out of Darkness

"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19 (NIV) This past Christmas, we shared God's love in remote areas of Bolivia.

There were few smiles on the children's faces when our group arrived in their village, but they were all smiling after hearing about our "Reason" for being there.

Last December, our church group went into an area of darkness. Arriving near nightfall, the traditional festivities of the season were underway. Loud music, intoxicated people, and pouring rain were the welcome mats our group encountered. At first, some questioned if this was the place God intended us to be this Christmas season.

After problems on the road, and darkness falling, the ambience in the village didn't exactly shout welcome to our group or the gospel. Miles from civilization, it was evident that God intended for our group to be in this place to share the Good News.

Earlier that morning, supplies of food and gifts were loaded in a truck to be shared with the village. Now it was time to unload and begin the three day ministry of sharing Jesus with the unreached people of the remote parts of the Andes Mountains.

A sound system was set up and Christian music was heard throughout the area. The youth helped in the kitchen as they fried Bolivian donuts to share with the community. Soon there was a crowd eating donuts and listening as the gospel was being shared.

The next day the mood changed. The medical team began attending to the needs of the people and children. Many received hair cuts and pedicures, and many heads were washed and teeth were pulled. Some received medicines for their ailing bodies.

All the while, the gospel was shared. Peace flowed throughout the village this day. There was a different mood from the night of arrival.

The Bible says, "that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

Many children and some adults accepted the Lord. The people commented that no one had ever come to wash their hair or give them gifts before. They understood our reason for being there. Jesus was the reason, He had led us to them.

Bolivians have caught the vision and are taking the gospel to their own people. What a privilege to be part of God's work in Bolivia. This past Christmas in a remote mountain village, children received gifts and food, and people's needs were met. But above all, they now have The Light and aren't in darkness anymore.

I'm sure they would all send their thanks to those who made it possible for them to hear the Good News. Someday in heaven, they will be able to say thank you face to face to all who helped spread the gospel to their area of the mountains. God is doing great things throughout the mountains and valleys of Bolivia.

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