We began our Easter celebration with Maundy Thursday at El Salvador church. Pastor Gustavo had the pews arranged in a large oval with a long banquet table filled with fruits and breads. After we celebrated the Lord’s Supper we were invited to the table to share the food in fellowship as a congregation.
On Good Friday, Bolivia’s most important religious holiday, we had a united church service with the nine Methodist churches in the Cochabamba area. We divided into groups and we discussed the seven last words of Christ and then gathered as one group to share our thoughts. Each church presented hymns and choruses and then we shared a meal together with one of Bolivia’s finest foods, peanut soup.
Easter Sunday morning at 6:30am we had another united service in the garden of El Salvador Church. We celebrated the resurrection of Christ on this frosty fall morning and then warmed our bones with a breakfast of api and bunwelos (hot purple corn drink and fry bread). Like Methodists everywhere we remember the great and terrible crucifixion of Christ and his glorious triumph over evil and death. And we always have special food to eat.
Thank you Trinity United Methodist Church for sending such an excellent team to represent Georgia and Mississippi: Dianne, Paul, Michael, Kelly, Lil, Kathey, Tasso, Grethen and Carrie: All of us at the Tiu Rancho Center talk about you, share about our experiences with you, laugh about our time together, and especially miss you. We are so grateful to you for sharing your skills and your hearts with all of us.
May God continue to bless your churches and all the ministry that happens within those walls and outside of those walls. We are, together with you, growing in Christ’s love.
The community of Cotani has a new church and it’s just beautiful! Luz del Pueblo. Light of the People. Theirs is the largest Methodist church in the Central District with over 140 members. Both services during the week are held in Quechua.
To buy the chairs for the church, each family sold guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are native to Bolivia, high in protein, and eaten mainly at celebrations. Today was a day to celebrate!
I am so very grateful that Pastor Gustavo, Gordon and I were able to organize a discipleship course for the young people in the Methodist Church in Bolivia. The course happened the third week of January. We were hoping and praying that 12 young people from the ages of 15 to 18 would be able to come, so when 24 showed up we were thrilled.
The course was incredible as we focused on challenging them in their commitment to Christ and to their churches.
We will be forever grateful to Monica, Bladimir, Alex, Carla, Mari and Edwin for their continuous presence with these folks and for their love and encouragement to them.
Monica, we are always so happy, excited and blessed when you come. Your energy, enthusiasm and commitment touches all of us. Thank you for supporting the discipleship group; for all the late nights and early mornings, for all the encouragement to them and for sharing your beautiful testimony with all of us. The Zubieta family will never stop talking about their times with you.
I am so impressed and so blessed as I am able to spend a week to 10 days every year working with the young people in the Sunday Schools across Bolivia as they wrestle with, write, and produce age appropriate, culturally sensitive, Biblical materials for the children in their classes.
They pour their hearts and souls into preparing these materials and I believe that God blesses each of their efforts and will help renew the Bolivian Methodist Church through these young teachers and through the children.
I love Christmas at Tiu Rancho even though it never seems like it is Christmas because we don’t have snow like our home state of North Dakota. We are able to do special things for the staff and the children in the Payacollo community and surrounding communities that we don’t do at other times of the year – like having a special meal together, taking popcorn and treats to the children who have no chances to celebrate Christ’s birth to the south of our community, making bunwellos (fry bread) and api (hot corn drink) for the children who come to the library, having Vacation Bible School with them, and sharing a live Christmas program where the staff share a drama about Jesus’ birth with Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds, a sheep, a rabbit and a little pig.