stories from the field

Pioneers: Planting Seeds

Carolina couldn’t understand it. God had brought her family to Bolivia; the call was clear. But no one in the community wanted her here. The community wanted nothing to do with her stories. For two years Carolina and her husband Timoteo persisted, sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ at every opportunity.

Timoteo and Carolina prayed for God’s wisdom. They prayed for a miracle – just one man or woman to accept Jesus Christ. But no matter how hard they worked, how gracious they were to their neighbours, they were hated and despised by the community. 

Finally, they left, devastated by the experience. Certain that the call they heard more than two years ago never happened. They left the village and the mission field and returned home. 

Carolina and Timoteo planted seeds, seeds they never saw sprout. They were true pioneers, breaking stony ground to prepare the soil for Christ. God gave them an extremely difficult task, for they never saw a new seed sprout. 

But God was still writing the story. 

A few years later, Bolivian Evangelist, Adelia, arrived. Like Carolina and Timoteo, she met hostile resistance. Yet as she shared the Good News of Jesus Christ, a few of the villagers would talk about Timoteo and Carolina. Clearly, they had planted the very first seeds. Adelia was sent by God to cultivate the ground and water the dormant seeds. A few people in the community encountered Jesus through Adelia’s ministry and a small church began to meet regularly.

While the mayor was visiting a neighbouring community he saw a little red radio that some "gringos" had delivered. Each radio connected to a local Christian station. But more than that, every radio held the entire Bible translated into Quechua, the language of his people.

“Why don’t the gringos bring the radios to us?” he asked Adelia. “Why do they drive right through our village, not stopping, bringing the Good News to others?”

Adelia talked to the team in Sucre who told her that every time they tried to enter the village, the people drove them away. “Until they invite us to come,” the Pioneers team told Adelia, “we cannot come.”

A couple of months later, the Pioneers team arrived in the village, their jeep full of little red radios from Canada.

Five hundred people gathered in the centre of the village, each one eager for their own radio. They stayed while Greg, Pioneers team leader, preached a powerful message of salvation in their own language. Shocked that this gringo spoke so fluently, they listened. As the team handed out the radios, some of the townspeople told them of a man named Timoteo and his wife Carolina.

Timoteo and Carolina prepared the soil for Adelia to sow. Adelia saw a few seeds grow to maturity. This April our team saw those seeds multiply as the once hostile community hosted us for dinner and a special worship service. It was a beautiful service of multi-cultures, multi-generations, and praises raised in multi-languages; it was a little taste of heaven as we declared, with one voice, "Our God Reigns!"

Timoteo and Carolina are continuing in ministry, even today, serving in an exciting church ministry as "pastors of missions."

Pioneering is hard work. The soil, left uncultivated for centuries, is like rock, resistant to seed. But God, in His perfect plan, sends just the right people at the right time.

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