Dear Mission Supporters,
I imagine you can tell from the picture that this month is all about FLOODING. November through February is the rainy season in Bolivia. When it rains more than normal in the highlands the water comes down out of the Andes and floods the plains of the department of Santa Cruz in eastern Bolivia. I’m sure this has been happening for millennia, but only recently, in the last 10 to 20 years, have poor farmers begun to settle in the flood plain near the lowland rivers. The government gave away 75 acre tracts of land to highland quechua farmers if they would relocate to the unoccupied lands of Santa Cruz. Whole communities and towns have sprung up where only 20 years ago was a vast wilderness.
World Concern has been working in the area of these quechua colonies for over ten years. We have more than 20 micro-credit groups in the flood prone areas and two other projects promoting agricultural diversification and livestock production, water well drilling in many other communities. There is usually some flooding every five years or so, but this year has been especially bad. In fact the Rio Grande river has completely left is old channel (which is now dry) and has cut a new river right through the heart of the colonies. The last I heard, 12,000 families have been left homeless and 500,000 acres of crops have been ruined. They are predicting even more rain for the month of February. Tent cities have sprung up along the highway on the periphery of the flooded area and people are desperate for food and clean water. In the short-term the government and local NGO’s (including World Concern) are responding with relief supplies. We are trying to come up with a development strategy that will help farmers take advantage of these rich agricultural lands without putting their homes and families at risk every time there is a flood. In the short term we will offer emergency low interest micro-loans so they can replant as soon as the water recedes. In the long-term we will help them with relocation to less flood prone areas. A regional disaster such as this is not as dramatic or visible as the Asian Tsunami or Hurricane Katrina, but for those affected it is just as devastating. Please pray that World Concern can respond quickly and correctly to this emergency and that God will be honored and revealed in the lives of those affected by this disaster.
On a more joyous note, one of our close friends, Carlos Cruz, accepted Christ several weeks ago. Pray for him as he begins a new journey in Christ. Carlos is from Colombia. He left his home several years ago to escape the political violence and economic instability of his country. He sort of wondered into Bolivia and has decided to stay. We met him in the home of some friends in the mountains where he was working as a hired hand on their farm. Carlos is university educated with an engineering background and when he heard about what World Concern was doing in community development he wanted to volunteer to help. He came to a water well drilling workshop in San Julian and shortly thereafter decided to use our methods to drill water wells in poor communities in the mountainous region west of Santa Cruz. Carlos was also searching spiritually. I have seen how God has put a number of Christian brothers in Carlos’ life in the last six months. Carlos said it was hard to deny how God has been speaking to him and working in his life. He had been reading “Purpose Driven Life” (in Spanish) for a number of weeks, but still hadn’t made a firm commitment. Finally, vanessa sat down with him and worked through the last of his doubts. He enthusiastically prayed and made a sincere commitment to follow Christ. He is excited about reading the Bible, fellowshipping with other believers, and being involved in ministry. Pray that Carlos will continue to grow in his relationship with Christ and that Vanessa and I can help disciple him in his new faith.
Vanessa and I thank you all so much for your prayers and support. We received a lot of extra gifts in December that went along way to catching us up with our budget. That was an answer to pray. BUT, we are still short. We are still $3000 behind budget for the year (the fiscal year beginning in July) and need another $1000 a month in monthly pledges to maintain our ministry. If you are one of those people who read our newsletters regularly and pray for us faithfully, but have not made a financial commitment, why don’t you make a pledge of $25 or $50 a month? God will surely use these resources to impact the lives of physically and spiritually desperate people of Bolivia, and he will also bless you for making this commitment.
In His Grace,Danny
Daniel and Vanessa Beams
Parapeti #146 -- Casilla 3681
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Office Telephone: 011 591 3336 3664
Home Telephone: 011 591 3352 9156
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org