El Alto, Bolivia For Pastor Cristian Calvi, serving God is an all-consuming passion! He sensed God’s call on his life as a young teen. Later, in 2012, he started Llevando Vida Church. Pastor Cristian challenged his young congregation to not only learn God’s Word but to practice it by going to the poorest neighborhood in El Alto—Ventilla—to evangelize and serve its inhabitants, especially the children. They started a child support center three days a week where they care for more than 120 children, teaching them about God’s love, serving them a healthy meal, and providing help with their schoolwork.
Looking back on his church’s ministry in Ventilla, Pastor Cristian said: “From the first day I [visited] Ventilla, I knew that God had great plans for the people who lived there. Even in a very simple place where conditions were extremely precarious and uncomfortable, the [kids] were happy praising God, listening to the Word, and receiving a small snack at the end. What most caught my attention was that they had never heard the word of God and knew nothing about Jesus, absolutely nothing!”
In order to sustain the ministry in Ventilla, Cristian began to look for monthly economic support. Cristian met Munir, Bright Hope’s country director in Bolivia, and Llevando Vida became a Bright Hope church ally. Their proposal was to develop an economic enterprise—a hydroponic farm—whose income would finance the children’s center and much more.
Over the last three years, through big challenges and lots of prayer, that idea has become reality!
After almost a year of construction, in June 2018 the hydroponic farm was ready to receive the lettuce seeds. By the third week of August, the first lettuce harvest was ready. Pastor Cristian reflected: “The growth of our lettuce, in its first harvest, was really the key moment to be able to experience the hand of God on each of the projects in which He guides us… We learned that God blessed the work of our hands, as He gave us strength for more than a year, and He opened the doors we needed.”
Since then, production has remained strong. Although the hydroponic farm is not yet working at full capacity due to lack of personnel to control and harvest the large crops, Llevando Vida Church regularly sells its delicious lettuce to two local supermarkets. By June 2019, there were five harvests of 800 heads of lettuce each. Although they encountered setbacks with the July-August harvest, they’re thankful for God’s mighty and generous provision that allows them to support the children’s ministry in Ventilla.
In the life of Pastor Cristian and the members of Llevando Vida Church, the biblical promise of Galatians 6:9 has come to life: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”