Five Countries

Five Ways to Bring Hope for Tomorrow


Bolivia’s Dream Team and Their Plan to Bring Sustainable Hope to the Extreme Poor

Bolivia, a country of more than 11 million people, is the poorest country in South America. Bolivia ranks at or near the bottom among Latin American countries in poverty, education, income inequality, malnutrition, and life expectancy.

Of all the countries where we work, Bolivia’s government has enacted the strictest pandemic restrictions. As a result, our church partners have struggled to continue ministry, especially as many church members have lost their jobs and gotten sick from the coronavirus.

But even before the pandemic hit Bolivia, extreme poverty characterized the Riberalta community where our church partner, Maranatha Church, works. The church owns a piece of land with a spring of very pure water that can be ionized and bottled for mass consumption. So, in order to provide a sustainable way for the church to finance ministry and provide clean water and jobs for the surrounding communities, a group of faith-filled friends started to dream.

And guess what?! Their dream, to start a water bottling business, has become a reality! Now, they need your help!

Pastor Juan Carlos shares his hope for the water bottling plant:

"First, the bottling plant will allow us to create jobs that employ church members. This helps a lot since we are a community very dependent on the almond harvest, and the income of the families is only constant during the harvest season. But employing church members will generate hope beyond harvest season.

Second, with the profits from the bottling, we want to finance missions to indigenous communities along the Madre de Dios River (a tributary of the Amazon). There is a great need to bring the gospel, as well as food, health, and education in these areas, and the bottling company will make it possible for us to reach more people.”

Construction Hits Barriers

In September 2019, this dream team received approval and a municipal government license to begin construction of the water bottling plant!

From October 2019 to February 2020, they labored to clear the land, and they prepared a detailed construction plan.

Franz Jimenez, who works as a bricklayer and carpenter, and his wife Judith, who studied management, share how God has prepared them to manage the construction project:

“Since we were married, my wife and I have always wanted to serve the Lord by helping with church activities. Therefore, when pastor Carlos asked us to help organize the construction teams to clean the land and build the water spring, we said yes!”

Judith continues:

“At first, we thought it was only Saturday work. But as time passed, we needed groups helping at least three days a week, not counting Sundays, to raise funds. Then in March, we realized that we were spending at least four days in a row building the plant.”

From February to September, however, construction screeched to a halt because of COVID-19 restrictions.

86% of the population of Riberalta presented symptoms related to COVID! But in the absence of health care and access to testing, we’ll never know if all of them contracted the virus. Of the 12 construction team members, 11 were infected with coronavirus and had a very difficult time recovering from the disease. (Pastor Juan Carlos did not get infected.)

Mirna Cadima, church treasurer, shares:

“The pandemic affected us all, but not just financially. There was no food or medicine. In spite of everything, we did not get discouraged but rather started to seek God more. We are committed to making this water project work!”

From June to August, there were more than 25 burials each day (up from the normal 3-5 people per day). They even had to open a new cemetery. Everyone in Riberalta has lost at least one loved one to COVID!

Franz and Judith recount God’s faithfulness during the pandemic:

“Last year, God blessed Judith and I with jobs that earned us a good income, and we were able to save a lot. Then, the pandemic hit like a bucket of cold water on our finances. It was a miracle to see how our savings lasted for more than six months! We saw that God was the one who sustained us, and we were even able to help relatives who had many financial needs because of their COVID treatments.”

Judith recalls God’s faithfulness during their financial struggle:

“My husband and I realized that God was taking care of us financially, and we did not lack anything. This has given us even more commitment to continue serving in the work. A year later, we still do not receive a salary from our work on the water bottling plant. But we have grown a lot in our faith, and we have great hope to see what God will do!”

In September, construction resumed, and right now, they are putting on the roof! Next, they will begin installing all the water purification equipment. If all goes as planned, the water bottling plant will start operating in December 2020!

The plant’s strategic location at the exit of Riberalta will allow our church partner to reach the surrounding towns of Las Piedras, Guayaramerín, Democracia, Bolívar, and Victoria.

Carlos Rivero, project director, shares his dream:

The Lord has been faithful to us and has always provided. I fell ill with COVID and spent many weeks fighting for recovery. But now I am healthy, and the Lord has given me a new opportunity to continue here on earth. We want to reach our neighboring communities with water and with the message of Christ, who gives us Living Water. We dream of growing to give work to more people. We also want to diversify and, in the future, build an oxygen plant.”

From December to March 2021, they plan to sell water in 20-liter bottles. Then, they will expand the market to 2-liter and 500 ml bottles.

But they can’t do it without your help! In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, in which Bolivia’s extreme poor have been hit hard, our church partner in Riberalta still has many hurdles to leap. Your generous gift of $50, $100, or even $150 will give them the resources they need to complete the water bottling plant! Then, they will be able to begin providing clean water and jobs to many impoverished families.

In closing, Pastor Juan Carlos tells a story of change in his own heart because of this project:

“In the beginning, when brothers Isaac and Carlos (members of the church board) proposed the idea of making the bottling plant, I joined the group of leaders who agreed. But I did not know what was coming. No one imagined the impact that the pandemic would have on Riberalta—on our families, finances, and our faith. I have been a Christian for over 28 years, but I have realized that God does not have grandchildren, only children. And as His children, every day, we must live confident of His faithfulness. In the time of the pandemic, our city has suffered a lot, but it has been a time to get closer to God, to seek Him, and to study His Word. God is faithful, and now I can say that our sustenance, our very life, comes from Him, and we can do everything —including this water bottling project —through Him.”

Would you prayerfully join our brothers and sisters in Bolivia to make their dream a reality—to bring sustainable income, water, jobs, and Hope to their community and beyond?

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