Serving Jesus Christ Along Bolivia's Waterways
September 19, 2012
Thanks to the Lord's provision, the Bolivian mission group Serving Jesus Christ is continuing its vital ministry to the rural river villages of their country. Bolivia is a landlocked country located in the center of South America and is part of the Amazon River Basin. SJC is reaching villages located in the jungle area of Bolivia along the Beni, Mamore, Blanco and Magdalena rivers.
Over 60% of Bolivia's population come from various indigenous tribal groups, many of whom have mixed Roman Catholicism with their traditional animist religions. The current president, Evo Morales, has advocated for the strengthening of the traditional pagan religions of Bolivia, and the current constitution directly references Bolivia's pre-Christian past. It is against this backdrop that SJC engages in open air meetings and door-to-door evangelism in the most remote, impoverished areas of Bolivia.
In the last month, SJC was able to organize a youth retreat in Trinidad, the provincial capital of Beni, where several made a decision to follow Jesus. These retreats not only reach out to the youth of Bolivia, but give SJC an opportunity to share the gospel with their parents.
SJC operates a boat, which serves as a floating clinic, providing dental care and medical attention for several impoverished river communities. For some villagers, SJC's floating clinic provides the only health care they are likely to receive. While people wait in line to get treatment, they share the gospel one by one and distribute evangelistic material. Recently, SJC missionaries also provided Bibles and Sunday school materials to several riverside congregations, as well as performing 30 baptisms.
God has blessed the afterschool project of SJC, called Proyecto Refugio, where food and spiritual nourishment are provided to needy children. This ministry gives afterschool education to 60 children. Thanks to Christian Aid's donors, SJC will be able to continue feeding the children who attend their afterschool program. Christian education is fundamental to helping children overcome poverty. It also encourages them to be witnesses for Christ in their communities.
Bolivia is poor and under-developed, so many of its most destitute citizens turn to the drug trade to survive. By offering education in the name of Christ to Bolivia´s children, SJC missionaries address this overwhelming problem headon.