“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord
who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful,
putting me into the ministry,”
(I Timothy 1:12 NIV)
(I Timothy 1:12 NIV)
Early on the morning of February 14, 1981, Valentine's Day, we touched down for the first time in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The view of the Andes Mountains from the plane's windows was breathtaking; they made Pennsylvania mountains look like molehills in comparison. Tucked into the mountainside and throughout the valley, we saw little mud huts; that also was a view that made us realize we were in a foreign land.
We were met at the airport by a mission representative, then climbed into the back of a truck and headed to the mission home. This was Cochabamba, the second largest city in Bolivia, but to call it a big city was a stretch. We felt the dust from dirt streets on our tired faces, and bounced around when an occasional pig or cow darted in front of the truck. Our kids, then ages four and 12, were taking it all in and loving every minute. I was wondering why we were told Cochabamba was a big city, it looked more like a town in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I had no idea this trip would seem like a "kiddie ride" compared to our next few weeks.
Our first bus trip to the mission school eight hours from the "city" confirmed that Bolivia had some of the most dangerous roads in the world. I tried not to look over the cliffs; they had no guardrails and a view of 1000 feet drop-offs. And I can't forget to mention the drunk bus driver who drove as if he were in the Indy 500.
In our first month in Bolivia, Chuck was arrested in the market place for not having ID (his passport was in the capital city with our visa applications), a bomb went off down the street from the mission home where we were staying, and the president of the country threatened to cut the fingers off all missionaries in the country. Before having to be evacuated, there was a government overthrow, and a new president was chosen who was more sympathetic to missionaries. We still have all our fingers.
Our life has continued to have the same thrills for 38 years. So why do we stay here? There can only be one answer; God put us in the ministry. And, in fact, God has opened a new ministry for us through Worthy Words Press––printing books in Bolivia to gift my children's books in Spanish with Bible principles for underprivileged kids––kids with no resources to buy books and who live in remote areas of Bolivia, many who have yet to hear of Jesus.
For God so loved the world... Someday we'll have a view in heaven of those we came to serve and accepted God's free gift, Jesus.
Happy Valentine's Day
We're thankful God enabled us and put us in the ministry,
so we can share the
Greatest Love Story of all time.