Who am I?

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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.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wedding Bells, Acts of Congress and Anniversaries

Weddings are always a fun affair. Smiles and best wishes, fancy clothes and fancier food. A late start usually happens in Bolivia. At this particular wedding the groom was there in good time but the driver of the car bringing the bride couldn't find the church. And someone really should have informed the master of ceremonies that she wasn't there yet before they began the procession. O well. It all works out in the end.

This little flower girl was intrigued with her dress.

No one hardly noticed that the bride was missing her train. It came off in the hands of the little lids who were supposed to be helping her down the aisle.

It was a very pretty night for a wedding reception held at the brother of the groom's home. Not an overly large affair, there was still a good representation of family members from both sides of the couple.

Cake anyone? We didn't have any. We left at mid-night. The party didn't break up until around 3 am.

The one thing that really impressed me was that the couple seemed happy. Bolivians often seem to wear solemn expressions at even very joyful occasions. And the groom seems to be a more serious type yet that evening they were all smiles. My prayer is for all the best for them as together they seek and serve the Lord in the years to come.

Many congratulations to the happy couple.

Then came the congress. You have heard the expression that it will take an act of congress to . . . . Well the congress of the Bolivian Evangelical Holiness Church met in La Paz for its annual meeting to take care of business and to pass a new three year plan for the church. After some debate and give and take the new plan was indeed passed. It comes as the result of an intensive study that the church did the year before to get a realistic look at where it is, its strengths and weaknesses. The new plan tries to build on the strengths and correct the weaknesses. It is an intensive and deliberate effort to improve the church's ways of bringing believers to maturity. If successful and taken to heart it has the potential to revitalize the church. Time will tell. But we do pray that God will bless this initiative and bring real fruit as a result.
The banner of the church was brought in with pomp and circumstances at the beginning and retired at the end of the congress.

Vice president, Cesar,  speaks to the congress. He was later re-elected for another term, as were all the members of the national board up for re-election.

Fried trout was lunch one day.

Pastor Fimo Ramos of Santa Cruz was ordained at the congress.

Praying for new graduate pastors.

I was privileged to preach at the closing meeting on Sunday morning.

These pretty hand made shawls caught my attention.

Cristian was among the new officers elected this year. His father, now deceased,  was a very active minister in the denomination. It is good to see one of his sons sharing his vision.

Anniversaries come in different sizes and shapes. The first anniversary was of the Dios Es Amor (God Is Love) Church. It was a nice celebration of another year of ministry. The festive spirit was enhanced by the new windows finally installed after many years of only having holes in the wall. And a fresh coat of paint made everything look new.

Decorated for the occasion.

I preached.

Dedicating children is always one of my favorite things to do.

The second anniversary came about 10 days later when the pastor of the church, along with his wife, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Their children planned a surprise party for them which, against all odds, they managed to pull off without the parents suspecting anything. Every successful marriage deserves a celebration and 25 years is a special landmark. I pray that their example is not lost on their children and friends.

Topping off this string of events was the district junta which also happened to be scheduled for the Dios Es Amor church. Lots of music, preaching, celebration of the Lord's Supper and installation of the new officers for the coming year filled the allotted time for the event. It has been a good year in the district (not without some challenges) and I anticipate that the coming year will show continuing growth and maturity among the churches.

New officers being installed.

Bryan and Molly gave out certificates of appreciation to the volunteers that helped at the tutoring center.

One of the volunteers receivers her certificate.

Niki and my little girl friend. Masiel Saraí, the daughter of a single mother, always has a  hug and or kiss for me. Pray for a loving father for this little girl.