The new church staff in Santa Cruz, Bolivia is excited about the inaugeration of Abundant Life Church. (Photo courtesy of Grace Ministries International)
Bolivia (MNN) ― Grace Ministries International is celebrating the inauguration of a new church in their Santa Cruz missionary plant of Bolivia. Located in the heart of South America, Bolivia has been the mission field of Dan and Mary Sue Reed with GMI for five years. Now they see the fruits of their labor with the official establishment of "Abundant Life Church."
Dan and Mary Sue Reed were both reared by parents in ministry: Dan being a pastor's kid, and Mary Sue living in Japan where her parents were missionaries. They both have a passion for reaching others for Christ, but it wasn't until 2002 that God put Bolivia on their hearts.
Mary Sue went to Bolivia in January of 2002 with another lady from her church on a two-week missions trip. She knew that Dan had visited Bolivia before, and when she returned, she was just as touched as he had been by the culture and the people.
After she returned, the Reeds did a lot of prayer and seeking the advice of others. But finally, they knew for sure that God was calling them to the mission field in Bolivia. So in 2006, they teamed up with GMI and set out to start a mission plant in Santa Cruz located in south-eastern Bolivia.
GMI had one other mission plant already started at the time in Cochabamba near central Bolivia, and they were excited to reach more Bolivians with Christ's love in partnership with the Reeds. They have fields based in 13 different countries and send short-term mission teams to hundreds of countries around the world.
Now they are excited to see further growth as God is working in the lives of the people of Santa Cruz. With the inauguration of Abundant Life Church, they hope this will become more than just a building, but a place of fellowship and unity for the believers there. In an update on their Web site, GMI writes, "It was a blessing to install the first board of deacons and view the plans the church has for construction in the future."
But the people in Bolivia are not without their struggles. Bolivia is known as the world's third-largest producer and distributor of cocaine and other illegal contraband. It is also one of the poorest nations in South America with 30 percent of its population below the poverty line. Many live on less than $2 a day. Lack of drinking water is also a problem in the rural areas of Bolivia.
This is the culture the Reeds came into to share the love of Christ and show these people that there is a God who loves them and wants a relationship with them. In a community where 95% of the people consider themselves to be a part of the Roman Catholic Church, the Reeds brought a new message of hope and love with the Gospel.
Besides church planting, the Reeds are also involved in youth ministries such as AWANA for school children. They also work to provide leadership training for Christians in the area who would like to step up in the community.
Please pray for the Reeds as they move forward with this new church in Santa Cruz, that they would experience continued growth and nourishment in the Holy Spirit.