Thursday, December 27, 2018

Reformed faith in Bolivia

Last month (actually Oct.29- Nov.2) I taught a course, "Science and Christianity", at the Seminario Reformada Latinoamericano, in Cochabamba, Bolivia, for ITEM (International Theological Education Ministries).

ITEM aims to provide Biblically-based, Reformed teaching and training worldwide to indigenous church leaders for ministry. It sends leaders (often retired professors or ministers), from a variety of Reformed and Presbyterian churches, to teach short courses at various seminaries in a number of countries.

There were about 25-30 students in my class. My translator, Jario, was a Brazilian studying medicine in Cochabamba. The students were eager to learn, taking many notes and asking thoughtful questions.

My lectures were in the mornings, in the evening a course on Eschatology was taught by Dr. Tim Trumper, from From His Fullness ministries. Since we stayed in the same hotel, we had much interaction.  I greatly enjoyed my fellowship with Tim, who was accompanied with his wife Brenda. I much appreciate them and their ministry.

Dr. Tim Trumper, his wife Brenda, myself, and some of our students in Cochabamba.

On Thursday afternoon, Nov.1, I gave a special lecture at the public Universidad Mayor de San Simon on "Did Science Kill God? Naturalism versus Christianity." This was attended by about 150-200 students and faculty, and was well received. There were lots of questions and good discussions afterwards. It seems that the university courses are mostly technical, with little time spent on foundational worldview issues. Thus I encouraged the students to think more deeply about the basic questions of life.

I found the Bolivian people to be very friendly and hospitable. It was good to discover that there is a growing Reformed presence in Bolivia. About 20 Reformed churches, with about 1000 members, are joined together in an organization called Gracia y Verdad [grace and truth]. Within these churches is a zealous desire to learn more about Gods' Word and the Reformed faith.

Shortly after my course was finished, on Friday evening, I boarded a bus to Oruro (a 4 hour ride). There I transferred to another bus to Iquique, Chile, where I arrived Saturday afternoon. An interesting drive through the Andes Mountains and the Atacama Desert to the Pacific coast. On Sunday, not being to locate a suitable church, I went for a walk. Providentially, I happened to pass through a side street where a church service had just started. When I went inside, it turned out to be a small Reformed Baptist church (about 25 people), led by Pastor Samuel Lee, a missionary from Korea. They invited me to stay for lunch afterwards, and we enjoyed good fellowship together, despite my rather limited Spanish. The next day I flew home.

May our gracious Lord continue to bless the proclamation of His Word, throughout the world, and give that many will turn to Christ, our only Saviour. 


Steve Drake said...

"How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS!"" (Rom. 10:14-15)

JohnV said...

Dr. Byl:

I share Steve’s joy in the news about the gospel message in Bolivia and the growing churches there. Just in time to close the old year, and usher in a new year: what great news!

Thank you for the report.


john byl said...

Steve and John

Thanks for your supportive comments. May our gracious Lord grant you, and other readers, a blessed Anno Domini 2019. As we enter a new year, we rest assured that, whatever may happen, in these unsettled times, happens only as the sure unfolding of God's perfect plan.

Unknown said...

I live in Loja, Ecuador and am active in Reformed gospel missions. How can I contact Pastor, Samuel Lee in Chile?