The New Year of 2011 had a pretty busy start with new opportunities for ministry. On the 5th, Fernando packed his bags again for another trip. This time the destination was Bolivia, where he was given the opportunity to chair 5 of the 6 District Assemblies in this Country.
The first Assembly was in the district El Alto Noroeste, and it took place in the city of El Alto located at 13,615ft. It was a two-day assembly, but I only came in from the second day. Besides the privilege of preaching and chairing the assembly business, I was also given the pleasure of doing a child dedication during the opening service of the Assembly.
The second Assembly was at the La Paz District, and it was in the city of La Paz, located at 11,942ft of altitude. It was a full-day Assembly. It was tiring due to the quantity of reports we listened to. But it was at the same time inspiring to receive a challenge to go out to the mission. During the assembly and closing service we had the opportunity to listen to two musical groups, "Mujeres Virtuosas" (typical Bolivian music with christian lyrics) and "Mariachi por Amor" (christian music with a Mariachi rhythm).
The third Assembly was in the Los Yungas district, in Palos Blacos, a small town in the middle of the Bolivian jungle, in the region of Los Yungas. To get there, we traveled through the famous road known as the "Death Route" due to the many fatal accidents that happen so frequently on this road. Although the route has a section that is really dangerous, the new asphalted road has helped a lot to improve the reputation of the ancient route between La Paz and Caranavi in Los Yungas. It was a 7-hour trip and it felt good to arrive and be so welcomed by our brothers and sisters that were waiting for us there.
The second to the last assembly was in the South district. To get there, we had to go back to La Paz and from there travel 3 hours to Oruro located at 12,159ft above sea level. With all the differences in altitude and the number of days spent in high altitudes, it helped to take some coca leaves' tea, as that helps the lungs to better process oxygen at these high altitudes. We also had to take some of the famous pills against soroche (also known as the disease of the altitudes). At this assembly we received the report of organization of two new congregations as Organized Churches.
Finally, on route to go home after 10 days of travel, we stopped at the beautiful city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Since this was a mid-week assembly, the assemly took place in the record time of 3.5 hours. But it was equally inspiring to listen to each pastoral report, and to the report of the development planned for the district.
This was an opportunity to be in contact with a reality very much different from the big cities and of the more developed Countries and see that we find there the same or even greater passion for the development of the church of the Nazarene even in the most remote places of our World. The Great Comission is being fulfilled not only in the places of easy access, but it is getting to the places that seem to be most inaccessible.
See more pictures here.