Who am I?

My photo
Monrovia, Liberia
I live in Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa with my wife and youngest son. We are recently arrived in Liberia where we are serving as missionaries with Evangelical Church Missions working under the Liberia Evangelical Mission. For most of the last thirty years we have served under ECM in Bolivia, South America. We are the happy parents of four children and the proud grandparents of two grandchildren.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oops - I Missed

Oops, I missed a week of writing. With all the extra activities and travel I never did get a blog update done. Sorry. I will probably be a bit erratic these next four weeks. This week we head to La Paz for the Easter junta and then I will be off to the US for three weeks to attend our son Daniel's university graduation. More on those topics later on.

This past weekend I traveled to La Paz with Daniel and Naomi to give Naomi, especially, a chance to see the city. We had been scheduled to go the weekend before but Naomi was sick with dengue fever. It was a good weekend. We had a chance to take the city tour bus and visit Mayallsa, the valley of the moon. It is an amazing bunch of stone shapes formed by erosion. It reminds me a lot of Brice Canyon in Utah.

On Sunday we visited one of the churches in La Paz and enjoyed the service there. I was invited with about thirty seconds of advanced notice to preach. But I am kind of used to it. In the old days I often didn't know until it was announced that pastor Gordon would now bring the message. You learn to go prepared.

Yesterday Daniel and Naomi left to return home. I am very proud of my son and his wife. They seem to have good hearts for the Lord and for the children of Bolivia. I am excited about what the future may hold for them. If you think of it, pray for the Lord's guiding them as they make decisions about the future, also pray for a job opening for Daniel. While they wait on the Lord's guidance they will need to eat and begin to pay off debt. Thanks a lot.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Friendly Word (From a Friend)

My name is Samuel Anacleto Laura Calle. I was born in the highest city in the world, El Alto, La Paz, on July 13, 1970. My parents were christians and they dedicated me to God when I was a baby. I attended [church]  every Sunday without fail with my parents but I did not understand the Gospel until I was 16 years old and decided to give my life to God. Since then I have served in the work, first as a teacher for children and later with youth. Also, since I like music, I learned how to play the guitar and the keyboard and in that way have helped with the music in the church.

Samuel Laura

In 1992 I was elected to be the church secretary and so I found myself in the middle of the adults, listening and writing down everything they were saying. In 1993 I was named as a deacon of the church. Being a young man I was a bit afraid to take on the responsibility but I did it. After serving my time I returned being the youth teacher and adviser for several years.

In 1997 I began to work at a financial institution. It required so much time that I neglected my spiritual life and ministry. But that passed and again I was active in the ministry. In 2000 at its youth convention, the La Paz district youth elected me to be the treasurer. I began to meet other youth from other churches and in 2001 I was elected to be the national youth organization treasurer. In this same year I had plans to get married and had two possibilities. Sadly I chose the worng person and we were unable to get along and so the relationshiop was ended leaving me sad and frustrated. But the following year I returned to my church where I continued to teach young people for several years.

In 2003 I was elected to be the president of the national youth organization. This was a great surprise and for two nights afterwards I was unable to sleep because of the great responsibility that I had. I prayed to God to give me strength and courage.

The time passed rapidly and we held the first national youth camp that we planned together [as a board]. It went well but in 2005 when we organized our second camp that was to be held in Cochabamba we ended up with a deficit because bus ticket prices went up. This saddened and discouraged us but, thanks to God, there were pastors and other youth leaders that encouraged us to continue on and I remained until 2006.

In 2007 I returned to my church and the pastor asked me to become the youth pastor. It was a great joy for me becasue when I was president of the national youth my dream was to see youth pastors in our churches and now my dream was becoming a reality in my own life.

En 2009 I finished my studies at the Holiness Bible Institute to become a credentialed pastor recognized by the denomination. I continued pastoring in my home church. One year before this I had resigned from the financial institution in order to dedicate my full time to the ministry. Now I only work occasional jobs. At the same time in 2009 I was named sub-director of the Department of Publications and Archives [for the national church] and then later named director. I happily accepted the position. Thanks to God and to other dedicated youth we developed two projects for the Department of Publications and Archives: One of these is computerizing the registry of marriage and child dedication certificates. The other is the opening of the Holiness Book Store to sell Bibles and books.

Selling literature at a district event in Santa Cruz.

I will never forget the difficult moments in my life, times when I was discouraged and sad, including times when I was in sin. From there Christ was able to raise me up, forgive me and cleanse me so that I could continue in his work, just as it says in the Scripture in Romans 8:37: In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

As long as I live I will continue to serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because he paid the high price of dying on the cross of Calvary for my sins. It is for this reason that being a pastor is a true honor and great privilege. I hope in God that he will do his will in my life and continue using me in his work until the day that I die and have the privilege to say like Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7 . "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have guarded the faith . . ." May our God be praised.