It started with a “chance” encounter and a book.

At the 2014 PRMI Missions Conference, I met a missionary family from Bolivia. We got to know each other before I returned to Panama where we lived.

Two weeks later, I returned to the Community of the Cross for some down time.

Coincidentally, the missionary’s brother, Pastor Jose Luis, was in the area with his family, visiting from Bolivia. We tracked each other down. Our families met at the Community of the Cross.

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Sowing Seeds

As we sat on the front porch where a lot of ministry has occurred, chatting away in Spanish, Jose Luis learned about Dunamis.

I gave him the only Spanish language book we had in the office: Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Our families prayed for each other and they returned to Bolivia with a book in hand. Seeds had been sown and began to take root, unbeknownst to me.

What started in secret…

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Pastor Jose Luis took the book back home to his church in Bolivia. He read it and shared it with another leader in his church. The second leader devoured the teaching in it. The book was like a new breeze filling the sails. It answered questions, raised hope, and created a thirst to learn how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit.

Spreading the Word

This leader secured unofficial copies (as happens when access to resources is hard) and started distributing the book to more church leaders. Conversations took hold. Groups began to study. The pastoral staff studied the book as part of their meetings. Intercessors began to pray: would a teaching team come? Pastor Jose Luis was tasked to make an inquiry and sent me a text message to talk.

Stirrings in my prayer time

About three weeks before this text message, the Lord stirred my heart to pray for an opportunity in Bolivia. Imagine my joy to receive a text message inviting me to talk. Jose Luis asked me:

“Would Dunamis send a team to Bolivia?”

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Headed to Bolivia

Left to Right: Chris, Earl, Jeanne, Roger
Left to Right: Chris, Earl, Jeanne, Roger

A team was assembled. Chris Walker and Jeanne Kraak came from the US. Pastor Earl Rutledge and Pastor Róger Luna came from Nicaragua.

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Shortly after our arrival in Bolivia, we heard the stories of how God prepared the way long before we actually got there. We heard of the book studies. We heard of the book copies being passed around. Would this conference be a kairos moment for their church?

The Conference

On the first morning, their intercessors were there praying. We met their leader, the one who passed out copies of the book. As he shook my hand that first day and looked into my eyes, the tears of gratitude added a heavy emotional weight to what he whispered in my left ear, “I’ve been praying for this day for nearly a year. Thank you.” About 40 people went through the teaching.

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An Interactive Format

The teaching gave a vocabulary and framework on cooperating with the Spirit. Lab times gave people a chance to experience it firsthand. Young adults led worship. Debriefs helped process what happened. People told stories of how they encountered God and received ministry.

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A Kairos Moment

During a time of worship on Friday afternoon, we found ourselves waiting on God in some silence, when the church’s founding pastor declared, “This is a Kairos moment for our church.”

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Our team had served its purpose

Our team had served its purpose. Church leaders now have a theological grid to live out discernment as they work through some of their internal struggles. They have a new way of walking in cooperation with God’s Spirit. Of course they have challenges in front of them, but now they have a way to proceed. And it all started with sharing a book on the front porch at the Community of the Cross.

Earl translates for Jeanne
Earl translates for Jeanne

A word of thanksgiving

I want to thank those of you who prayed for this trip. I also want to thank those of you who financially give to support work like this in Bolivia, Nicaragua, and other countries where we serve.

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