Bolivia’s rivals begin peace talks

By September 22, 2008

Bolivia (MNN) — Peace talks
quietly began five days ago between Bolivia's president Evo Morales and the
opposition governors. It's one of the
early efforts to bring to an end the deadly violence that has crippled the
nation and created profound mutual mistrust.

Morales' proposed reforms are
being met with outrage and protest. Protesters last week stormed government buildings, sabotaged natural gas pipelines and clashed with
the government over autonomy.

However, there are concerns that
the talks could deepen the rifts if the opposition moves forward to force the
government to amend a new constitution. 

Nita Zelenak with New Tribes Mission
says the worst of the unrest happened in parts of the country where they do not
have personnel. That's the good
news. The flip side is that "whenever there's civil unrest in a
country, it affects their ministry to a certain extent. They have concerns
about safety issues, so they have to divide their attention between the two
things."

Even with the distractions of a
national emergency, she notes, "Most of our folks work in rural areas that
are quite a ways away from where most of the unrest is, so they've been able to
continue with their work." 

New Tribes has teams in
Bolivia working to establish indigenous
New Testament churches among the unreached people groups. Specifically, they want to see churches
established in the eight tribes they've targeted and to see three other groups
reached who are without a clear Gospel witness in their heart language.

The vision is to see this job
done by assisting New Tribes' sending churches, the local church in Bolivia, and the
tribal church. Contrary to rumored
reports, the field is not closing down, and there was no confirmation from New
Tribes over the possibility of a government-ordered missionary expulsion.

New Tribes continues to evaluate
the danger, keeping a careful watch on changing conditions. Zelenak says, "Pray for the civil unrest that is in Bolivia. We're seeing some
encouraging steps that maybe it's getting better, but that would continue for
the good of the people in Bolivia. [Pray] that the work can continue
there."

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