A short term mission to Bolivia in 2005 introduced me to Enoel Suarez, missionary from/to Bolivia, South America. Enoel and his wife Leisa (Canadian) serve the Lord in Santa Cruz. While on furlough in Canada his poeple suffered some major flooding. With the help of MSC and a couple of brothers he was able to organize a relief mission for a week in April. Northside Bible Chapel collected an offering to add to other funds and we helped him purchase some Physician Travle Packs (PTP). Below is his report of how it went.
Dear Partners in the Lord,
I was seeking a different word to address you; one that describes each and every one of you, but I could not think of another. I arrived from my trip to Bolivia on Friday afternoon and found the family well. I am so excited about how well the trip progressed that I would like to share some of the stories with you.
We ( Bill Letkeman, Len Venne, and I ) left on April the 23rd with four boxes of medicine and two boxes of clothing. Everything was going well until we arrived to Bolivia. As we went through customs, they tried to take the medicine away from us. Perhaps they thought that we might try to sell it, or they may have wanted to sell it themselves. After a long discussion, they finally let us into Bolivia with the medication. We knew that all of you were praying for our trip. We arrived to Santa Cruz on April 24th at nine o'clock in the morning. It took us seven more hours of driving to reach the affected area. I arranged for the purchase of food and clothing ahead of time, so when we arrived it was there. The next day, we sorted out the clothing and food to be distributed.
Our team had been planned out ahead of time, so all of the members met together in Santa Cruz. The team consisted of brother Brad Hallock and his wife, Dr. Placido Mercado, and two others. In Trinidad, three more young, local doctors joined us. They were Dr. Eric, Dr. Virgilio, and Dr. Dario. They accompanied us to the nine villages where we had the opportunity to treat more than five hundred people (including small children) with medication. All of the children received parasite medication, vitamins, and fungus creams. Many people were ill with fungus infections and rashes due to the dirty water. Some of the medical problems we encountered included heart problems, diabetes, and dengue fever. One lady named Rebeca needed heart surgery right away. We were able to help her financially. Another young boy, Sixto, needed some testing done on his heart right away. We were also able to help him. We also assisted a brother named Joaquin Ortiz with diabetes plus two others with dengue fever.
We were able to take almost three tons of food with us. This included main staples like rice, flour, beans, pasta, sugar, cooking oil, etc. We also took 1,200 items of clothing to be distributed. None of this would have happened if you were unwilling to share some of your own with those brothers in need. The help that I received from many of you was a true confirmation that the Lord was leading this project. We are so thankful because many of you, my brothers and sisters, were willing to share the blessings received from God with others. We are not able to find words to express how thankful we are to all of you. You were not just willing to pray, but also to take part by sending some money to those in need. 2 Cor. 8:3-5 says, "
Please continue to pray for those in need. Most of the people have returned to their homes, but they still have great needs. Many need to rebuild their homes and their lives. They are open to the gospel, and we were able to share the Word with them. They once had an evangelical church, but it was destroyed by the flooding. Many of us are busy trying to gain more material possessions, but they just struggle to survive and live day by day. The village people often have rice, so they will go and fish to complete their meal. Everytime we eat a good meal, we should be thankful for what the Lord has provided.
I could not go to Bolivia without passing by the camp. I was so pleased with the advancement of the facilities. The brothers had constructed one side of the diningroom and added a volleyball court for the young people and children. They also completed the construction of the kitchen. We praise God for using others for this purpose.
Now, we need to complete the other half of the diningroom, the washrooms, beds, and tables.
I went to visit Cynthia and Edilson....the ones in charge of the Fourth of February project. They are doing fine. They had a baptism service and an anniversary service. They are doing a great job.
Thank you for your lovely gift of money that was used for medication, food, and the camp. We appreciate your prayers on our behalf. We are very grateful for your interest in missions.