On May 13th, we traveled to Tarija, Bolivia, where we had a mini-vacation and a meeting to attend. For the first day and a half, we spent time exploring the city and enjoying the beautiful, green plazas. With a population of 170,000 people, the smaller, calmer city was a refreshing change from the busyness of Cochabamba.
In one of Tarija's plazas
We attended a meeting on Saturday and Sunday with leaders from the Union de Jóvenes Bautistas de Bolivia (UJBB), the national young adult Baptist association. Hans is the official WorldVenture representative to the group and travels to their meetings a few times each year. It was interesting to see how the UJBB works and to hear what the local groups are doing across Bolivia. And it was great to get to know the leaders during down time – especially at night… the gals were up talking until 2:00am! (And I enjoyed every minute of it!)
All of the leaders went to a joint worship service with all of the Baptist young adult groups in Tarija. You can see that there were a ton of people there... not everyone had seats!
On Sunday afternoon we headed to Bermejo, on the border with Argentina, to visit missionaries from Argentina who are starting a church there. Hans met the family when he traveled to Bermejo in January, and I was excited to meet them. It was a great time of seeing their ministry and how God is working in their neighborhood, plus we had a blast talking with Marcelo and Ellie, and playing with their three girls.
With Marcelo and Ellie, missionaries from Argentina, who have been in Bermejo almost four years.
We had a blast playing with their three girls!
Grilled fish! Several members of Marcelo and Ellie's church decided we had to eat fish while we were in Bermejo, so they had a barbeque for us. The fish was amazing and the company was wonderful.
Since Bermejo is just across the river from Argentina, we wanted to visit. Ferries just like this one make trips back and forth all day long to bring people to and from Argentina. We may not have done anything in Argentina... but now we have been there!
Hans and Marcelo, as we crossed the border!
Pablo plays a song with a traditional Tarijeña melody at a prayer meeting, our last night in Bermejo. Just a few years ago, Pablo's life was filled with drunkenness like many in their neighborhood; now he's free from that lifestyle and an active member of the church. This is one of many similar testimonies of men and women in the church; lives truly are being changed by the Gospel in Bermejo!
Church members posing for pictures with us after the prayer meeting. This is about half of the church; in the four years that Marcelo and Ellie have been working there, it has grown to over forty members, nearly all new believers.