Building, Serving and Loving
OKLAHOMA CITY – The airport gate area began to fill with excitement and mystery as team members started showing up for the flight to Bolivia. Eleven of our 42 members were new to the team and there was a lot of getting acquainted to do. None of them had ever been on a short-term mission trip and seven had never done any type of overseas missions. The bonding was almost immediate however, leading one person to say, “I was just delighted with watching the joy of people who had never traveled before see new things, and enjoy the camaraderie of working together to build the buildings.”
Upon arrival in Bolivia the team found that because of unseasonably cool temperatures and rain, there were only five days to frame, block and roof two church buildings in the suburbs of Cochabamba. It seemed an impossible task but God controlled the rain just enough and Maranatha had all the supplies ready. On Sabbath morning in the continuing rain, an excited congregation entered their new sanctuary. We were greeted by a brass band, the pastor, the conference secretary and a lot of warm smiles. It was a tremendous Sabbath celebration.
We build however, knowing that our time on earth is temporary as we look to the Second Coming of Jesus. People are what really matter, so we asked the congregations how we could help. We led an evangelistic meeting, family life sessions, healthy living seminars and children’s programs. It is fun to watch the children on the first day as they tentatively peek through the fence or around the corner and then later in the week are running up to the staff and giving them big hugs.
Here is how one person summed up our time together: “It was our first mission trip. I did construction and my wife and daughter did VBS with some construction in the mornings. A friend told me that once you go, you will want to go again and again. He was right! It was a perfect mix of hard work, serving and making new friends, both with the mission team and in Bolivia. It was an awesome opportunity to serve and have a lot of fun.” Contact Bill Norman at 405.208.1289 if you are interested in serving with us next year.