by Andy & Andrea Baker 200 Lives Impacted El Alto, La Paz Department, Bolivia
Andy and Andrea arrived to Bolivia in 2001, committed to serving Jesus and living life among the poor. They came with innocent, but passionate dre...
Our church in Bolivia recently hosted a Mission Expo, honoring missionaries and calling others to the same. They walked us down the red carpet and applauded. “You’re our heroes! We want to be more like you!” says Pastor Mauri. All week long we and others were showered with gifts, accolades and prayers. It was all quite overwhelming and humbling. Never have we experienced such a great outpouring of love and support, even more so from a Bolivian church.
I crashed on the couch Sunday afternoon exhausted from the week's activities and ready to binge-watch Netflix in my pj´s for the remainder of the day. Interesting enough, the Grey's Anatomy episode was about heroes, and Merideth´s closing thoughts caught my attention:
"Our heroes aren't special.
They're just people.
They're like us.
They're just trying to survive.
They're trying to be happy.
Trying to do better, be better, feel better.
Heroes aren't more special,
more courageous than the rest of us.
After all, they're only human.
They hurt, they break, they bleed….
A hero is only human, but that's the point.
If they can do it, so can you."
The small group meeting had just ended and everyone filtered away to their homes. The matron of the family gathers us together around the table and begins, "We saw your call for help for Wanda,* and we want to help.” All the family nods in agreement.
“We have a stove that was a wedding present from my father. I’ve kept it all these years and it still works great!” She beams, "I began my catering business with this oven!”
We can see the tension in her. This piece holds great sentiment. A family heirloom of sorts.
But she gathers herself and says, “And the Lord said that we couldn’t just give away the stove, but that we needed to provide the propane tank and fill it too. So that’s what we did!”
And so we loaded up our little car and rattled all the way home on the bumpy streets.
Wanda was in great need. She came knocking on the doors of our drop-in center, clutching the invitation she received in our Christmas outreach 6 months earlier. Subsisting in the middle of urbanity, no one knew how she and her 3 children were suffering: a single mother prostituting, pregnant from gang rape, cooking on an open fire, and all 4 sleeping on one small mattress on the floor.
Little Jorge*, starving from hunger, complained to his teacher one day, “I danced for them, and they didn’t pay me like they said they would.”
The kids gobbled up the food we served them, gnawing even the chicken bones. Wanda explained they had gone a full year without eating meat.
The Church came together, providing clothes and toys, a bed, food staples and more. And Wanda and her children took advantage of all the resources the ministry could offer. Delaying her C-section to complete our intensive 6-week training, Wanda will soon begin working as one of our newest SutiSana seamstresses!
"I didn’t realize there were so many good people in the world,” she reflects with deep gratitude.
The sacrifice of missionaries is just one piece to the puzzle of restoration. Obedience in any form - like small gifts given with great love - brings so much Glory to the Lord. And people like Wanda and her children are blessed and cared for.
How might the Lord be calling you to sacrifice and be a hero?
*Names changed for respect.