Bolivian Lessons

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel"....  Romans 1:16

I realized very quickly upon my arrival in Bolivia that I have a lot yet to learn.  The point of the trip was to train pastors in Bolivia and Paraguay with some practical tools on leadership, team development, and Biblical training.  I think it was a great success in the eyes of the national pastors and hosts, but it was also a lesson of sorts for me.

Our hosts were missionaries from an organization that works globally in the movement of Jesus Christ.  They are trained and gifted, yet they are so humble and full of faith.  I watched them closely and learned a few things that I want to share with you.

1.  They know what it means to live contented.   I found out that some of the missionaries are living on wages that would not get them anywhere in virtually ANY country in the world.........yet they did not promote their misery.  In fact, it was just the opposite....they were full of joy and excited about their lives in Christ and the privilege of serving in ministry.

2.  They hang on to every word of God.  It seemed to me that every time the Bible was taught or explained, they acted like it was the first time they had ever heard it (though it clearly was not).  They were serious about receiving the truth of God, and putting it into practice in their lives.

3.  Humility is a virtue. These folks were not trying to seemed that they lived to serve.  It was incredibly refreshing to be around people whose agenda was serving God and serving others with no thought or desire for personal acclaim.  They didn't have to posture or position, and they were not trying to be "sharp" or "impressive" in demeanor or communication.  They were impressive in that they exhibited humility as a core characteristic of their nature.

4.  Never, ever, be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.  I was blown away with the humble boldness that they demonstrated.  It seemed unintimidating for them to speak to anyone about Christ and His work on their behalf.  Their lives gave evidence of gratitude toward God, and of an unashamed claim to being a Christ follower.

5.  Faith is not theoretical.  Watching these people live every day relying on the provision of God was a stinging rebuke.  Though they are living the way God designed us to live (whether we have alot or very little), it still seemed so out of the ordinary.  That doesn't bode well for the state of modern day Christendom I don't suppose. Maybe worse yet for me personally.

 Truthfully, that list is just a beginning.  I learned much more from them, and from the people of those countries, than I can articulate.  I hope I pay just as careful attention the next time God allows me to travel and do ministry with others in a different culture.......because this trip sure altered some of my perspectives and gave me some new found gratitude - not so much for what I have (though I am increasingly grateful), but simply for Who God Is.

What if you and I lived the list?