A Gift of Peace
With Latin America in the throes of the worldwide cost-of-living crisis, Latin Link members are serving alongside local Christians across a spectrum of ministries to offer care and help people know God’s peace. You can make a gift to the 2022 Christmas Appeal here.
Meeting basic needs in Ecuador
As part of their ministry in Ecuador, Jaap and Linda Bezemer work with a small community 20 minutes outside the city of Shell. Even before the recent rise in inflation, levels of poverty there were high. Many children are undernourished because their families can’t afford enough food, and their schooling is jeopardised because they can’t afford the uniforms. Their human dignity is at risk due to the lack of resources available to them.
Thankfully, the Bezemers’ commitment to serving this community has opened up new avenues to support them, and to demonstrate God’s love in transformative ways. Using funds from Latin Link, they have been able to supply school uniforms to families in need, giving children an equal opportunity to receive their education. Over the next two years, they will also be setting up a programme to deliver food to those that are going without.
Confronting a hidden crisis in Bolivia
Potosí, in Bolivia, is an economically challenged city, where men often find their income by working in the mines. The perilous conditions can be fatal.
Maribel Woodley has been on a mission to provide pastoral support to the many widows left behind; a number that’s increased in recent years as the pandemic produced a new wave of widows.
Maribel set up The Conquerors over six years ago. It’s a support group providing space for widows to gain solidarity, process their grief and find peace amidst their tragedy.
As many of these women find restoration and hope once again, other ladies, themselves widows, have heard how the group is having a positive impact. Some are now in the process of setting up new support groups, using The Conquerors’ format, in other communities across Bolivia – offering an invitation of God’s peace to more women experiencing loss.
Maribel, along with her husband and fellow Latin Link member, Louis, has followed God’s call to love and serve the people of Potosí – empowering them and walking with them as they step into their own callings. Now, with more challenges on the horizon in Latin America, groups like The Conquerors are needed more than ever.
When the Hernández family* lost their eldest son in a motorcycle accident, they desperately wanted to honour his memory. They donated a piece of land to the local church, with the hope that a retreat centre could be built in his name. The dream was for Campamento Bautista Josué to become a centre for young people to connect with God, deepen relationships with each other, and find a moment of peace away from the busyness of life.
Work began in 2018. However, with resources such as money, time and volunteers in short supply, progress was slow. And then the pandemic arrived, bringing the project to a near standstill.
But this year a Latin Link Step team spent three months at the project. Their arrival stirred up a renewed sense of enthusiasm and enjoyment, and along with local builders and volunteers, they helped push the Campamento work forward.
Helping to install a running water system, painting and erecting fences, and helping around a family farm were just some of their hands-on roles. But more than that, their presence and willingness to serve was a huge encouragement to the church community, and the push needed to continue building this important new centre.
Step teams serve alongside Christian ministries to provide holistic support for communities – from running sports clubs to community outreach, leading Sunday school classes to supporting sustainability projects. Although time-limited, their impact can be felt for a long time. And in the coming year, more teams, made up of volunteers from Europe and Latin America, will be stepping into the story of God’s mission.
*Family’s name changed to protect their privacy
Your support can help to sustain these and other ministries like them. This Christmas, please consider making a monthly gift or one-off donation. Our members’ vital efforts rely on the ongoing generosity of supporters like you.