Bolivia (MNN) — The annual flooding in Bolivia is expected
to continue through April. So far, four
months of high waters have killed over 70 people and affected 94,000 families. It's the worst flooding the
country has experienced in a quarter century.
According to the United Nations, an
appeal for more than $18 million to provide relief has not yet been met. Thousands of families remain in makeshift
shelters in 51 camps in either Beni or Santa Cruz department.
By their count, 400,000 Bolivians are
in need of urgent assistance in the wake of deadly floods, mudslides and
Because relief efforts have
been seriously underfunded, people have been left to their own devices in
getting aid to the survivors. Grace
Ministries International's Sam Vinton says their Santa Cruz church plant
responded. "The church got together
and took food and supplies, clothing, blankets and so on to one of these
settlements that had been flooded out and 70 families had to evacuate."
From this, Vinton says God shaped a new ministry. "One of the times that they went out
there, they had an evangelistic service, and 20 adults and quite a number of
children made professions of faith. Now, the congregation that has been doing this outreach bought land, and
they're starting to plant a church in that village using the nucleus of those
20 people that have come to the Lord."
GMI missionaries are working with the national church organization
in the areas of evangelism, church planting, youth, and leadership training.
Ministries to the youth are being provided through three schools (K-12) where
1,800 students are receiving Christian-based education. A year-round camp and
AWANA programs in the churches enhance the ministry with the youth.