Grace Ministries International schools may be impacted by law changes.

By September 29, 2006

Bolivia (MNN) — Christians in Bolivia are playing a waiting game. Earlier this year, a new president came to power. It was the first time that a president was chosen from a minority, tribal group.

With that change of power, many possible changes are being discussed. A commission of over 200 men and women has been appointed to study the revamping or rewriting of the constitution.

Christians are waiting to see if the new government will rewrite the constitution and possibly limit freedom of religion. Grace Ministries International has worked in Bolivia for more than 50 years. GMI missionaries gave this report: “If the current administration wins the discussion, we will see drastic changes in the country and a probable reduction in ‘freedom of religion’.”

GMI’s Sam Vinton says changes would impact their schools. “Some of the issues that have been brought up, and especially one that would be very detrimental to the Christian churches would be the idea that there’d be no more private schools. All our schools would be nationalized and taken over by the government and we would not only lose the schools per se, but it would be a matter that Christian teaching could not be taught because schools would be under the authority of the government where none of those Biblical teachings would be allowed.”

Many other Christian groups and churches have schools, universities and seminaries providing Christian education, making this issue one of even greater significance for all of Bolivia. Everything awaits the results of the commission.

While nothing has been decided yet, Vinton urges prayer for continued religious freedom. He also says prayer is needed for their Christian schools and the missionaries and national teachers who work there. “That all of them together would just continually focus on that purpose of spiritual life for our students as well, of course, as academic excellence that we want to provide for them.”

GMI missionaries are working with the 24 national churches 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.

Pray for the commission to uphold religious freedom and allow private, Christian schools to continue teaching.

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