M. Paul Moon's Bolivia Short Term mission report
Philippians 3:10 “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,”
I went to Bolivia on January 10th this year with the hope to have a deeper relationship with God -- to get to know him better. I prepared material for a 10 step bible study, as my prayer to plant God's word in Bolivia. . When I first got to Bolivia, it was really hot and humid. All the mosquitoes of Bolivia welcomed me. They loved my blood so much that I got 20 new bites each night.
On Sunday, I attended the worship service. They talked to me in Spanish. I thought only some couldn't speak English. But I found that no one could speak English except shepherd Abraham. I began to wonder who would then be joining my English Bible studies. The next week, one student shepherd scheduled four -- not English Bible studies, but just English classes. Though I didn't plan for it, I had English classes every day.
My life in Bolivia was to wake up and go early morning prayer, come home, prepare for English classes, and then teach the English class -- then go to a prayer meeting in the evening and then sleep. This pattern went over and over. I really enjoyed having these classes. But I felt like I didn't have a clear direction or plan. So I prayed before God to know what exactly I should do to get to know God better during my stay there. God clearly told me and taught me what I should do. I realized that I should have God’s heart and God’s love to love people around me. When I found this direction and plan, I was so happy, and my heart was satisfied. And I started trying to practice God’s love for people. I decided that my English classes would be a way to get to know people and love people. Sometimes, I had classes from 4 to 9 nonstop and I was tired and hungry. When I was tired and hungry, I just taught English without loving people. I realized that I could not love even one person with my limited, human love. So I prayed to learn Jesus’ love by remembering that they are God’s precious sons and daughters.
They all love to play soccer and so do I; So we played soccer pretty often on Sundays. One Sunday, we played soccer when it was raining. I was really thirsty after soccer so I drank water from the washroom, I got a stomachache. On top of this, I got a cold. This was a very difficult time. I was in great pain. I had to go to the washroom every 2 hours because of diarrhea. This went on for 4 days. There were cats by my room. I really hate cats. I was allergic to cats. So when I heard them crying or making noise, I was very annoyed by them. However, when I was sick, I couldn’t move, so all I had were the cats. I watched them playing each other from my bed. They were pretty cute. My heart slowly changed, and even when I wasn't sick any more, I found myself wanting to pet them. And when they criedor making noise, I opened my door and took some pictures of them.
I realized then that I had a little more than a month left before I was scheduled to go back to Chicago. This one month seemed really long. I suddenly had a strong urge to go back home early. I realized how lonely I was when I found myself giving cats food and talking to them. I began to miss my friends. Though I had a good relationship with the brothers and sisters, I couldn’t really talk to them nor have deep conversations with them. I was annoyed by all the mosquitoes’ bites, and by the hot and humid weather. These things, I could overcome. But loneliness was overwhelming. So going back to Chicago became my hope. However, at that time, I thought about missionary Esteban Cho. I had a question how missionary Esteban could stay there for so long. There is only one missionary family there. When I asked him, he said that he was lonely but in this lonely time, he went to God. Specifically, he went out to campus everyday to cry out by the big tree. Through prayer and meditating the word of God, he could have a real relationship with God. Through talking with him, I learned that this was God’s training for me to really depend on God only and have a deeper relationship with God in this lonely time. I began to pray to have a deeper and real relationship with God.
God abundantly blessed missionary Esteban Cho’s family and his ministry when he loved and served God fully. First of all, God granted them a new, big and beautiful center. Near the new center, there were so many gangs. They were drinking and doing drugs. There was also a rumor that the neighboring house was haunted. People said that they saw things moved from one place to another in that house. The neighbor's baby saw a ghost and cried for a month. This didn't seem to be a good place for the center. But when missionary Esteban and Paulina heard this, they went to their house and put their hands on the wall and prayed to drive out the demons boldly. And after that, they told missionary Esteban that their baby did not cry and nothing strange happened. The missionaries worried for the sisters because of the gangs. But when they had worship service, all the gang members disappeared. The place became very quiet and peaceful. God protected all our brothers and sisters so that they may come to the center freely and serve God. Also they did not have enough money to finish the center. So they were going to just finish the room for worship service. However, though they never asked for help, they got money from other countries as an offering for building the center. So they were able to finish center completely.
Now there are 6 fellowships and an average of 55 Sunday service attendants. Bolivian students and shepherds give themselves fully to God’s work. There are about 60 one to one Bible studies each week. They are praying to grow to have 100 one to one Bible studies each week and to bring 70 people to come and worship God each Sunday.
God really blessed my short-term mission trip to Bolivia. Through evening prayer time, I learned how to bend my knees and cry out before God. Also through the brothers and sisters, I saw that everyone there has such pure and sincere hearts to love God and serve Him. Even though they live far from the church, they come faithfully to pray in the church. I also thank God that God changed my view of living as missionary. I thought it’s unnecessary to be a missionary in a poor country because I could serve God where I am as long as I share the gospel to people around me. But while I was living with missionary Esteban’s family, I learned missionary life is such a blessing. I saw that they are so happy. It seems like they are risking their lives. It seems like they would have so many worries and is stressed because of the different culture, financial and education problems and so on. Also they had to leave their family and friends and live a lonely life. It seems very difficult and not a good life from a human point of view. But because of this hard life, they had to depend on God fully. This is what God wants from us. God wants us to depend on God fully instead of depending on our power or things in this world. Why? Because it is the most blessed life to depend on God and through this we can have a real relationship with God. This is such a beautiful life.
So now I have the desire to be a missionary to any country where I can grow to depend on God and have an awesome relationship with God. I thank God for sending me to this beautiful country Bolivia to learn God and meet wonderful servants of God there. Also I am so thankful that I could have deeper and closer relationship with God through prayer.
I thank God that I could see the God of Bolivia who is working in and loving each one of them so much. I pray that God may bless Bolivia as a kingdom of priest and a holy nation and grow all the brothers and sisters as shepherds and even missionaries to send various countries to preach the gospel for the glory of God.
Prayer topics for Bolivia
- that Bolivia center may be a place where disciples of Jesus are made
- Praying for 24 house churches, pioneer CBBA and La Paz by 2015
- reach 70 worship service attendants and 100 one to one bible studies within this year
One word: love God and love people to know God better