From July 5 to 11, 2014, six persons from Restoration (Endel Liias, Kate Raymond, and the Wallin family) joined with 14 members of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Boston on a mission trip to Cochabamba, Bolivia. The purpose of the trip was twofold: (1) To learn about Niños con Valor (NCV) and engage with the children and staff in the three group homes for children it oversees and (2) to explore a possible relationship and provide practical help to La Trinidad, a local Anglican church. Endel Liias, a Restoration vestry member, is a founder and board member of NCV.
Preparation for this trip occurred during the Tri2 Bolivia Small Group, when we learned about Bolivia and its culture as well as struggles (it is the poorest country in South America) and began considering opportunities for RAC to connect with Bolivians and other Latinos in our area.
The trip to Bolivia provided a wealth of opportunities to serve, learn, and grow. The tightly packed, well organized schedule included several sessions of activities and relationship-building with the children, maintenance projects at the NCV homes and La Trinidad, two large gatherings at parks, and a “reality tour” of three orphanages in the city. We traveled on a “Partridge Family” bus to activities, and each day brought multiple new experiences to both bless and challenge our team. Endel was our group leader with the assistance of several members from Christ the Redeemer. Kate and Mitch gave a talk to La Trinidad leaders and other childcare workers on basic first aid. Susie, Evan, and Carson showed the NCV boys how to build LEGO cars and the girls how to make rubber band bracelets. Making kites, painting, and playing soccer were loved by all the children. In between were meals and fellowship at NCV group homes, times of reflection, and singing and prayer with the 20 mission team members.
We worshiped at La Trinidad, which has a similar service structure to RAC (except in Spanish) and met with Rector Tammy Firestone, her husband, and other church leaders. We learned several things from them: (1) They are currently focusing on discipleship, (2) they are interested in planting a church themselves, and (3) they are in great need of children’s ministry support, especially in light of the fact that the NCV children have recently begun attending La Trinidad.
We look forward to discussing and sharing our trip with others at RAC in the coming weeks. God is working in Bolivia through the Anglican church and NCV. We are praying and dreaming for potential next steps as God leads.
-Mitch, Susie, Endel, Kate