“We are in this struggle together,”   Philippians 2:30a.

As you have heard by now, our mission team to Bolivia was cut almost in half because the visas for three of our team members were denied. This comes on the heels of what seems like months of trials and attacks against the ministry at the House of Hope in Cochabamba and our friends and ministry partners, the Reed family. Just prior to our visit to Bolivia, another team of 19 members had to cancel because 15 of their visas were denied. The reasons for the denials are minor and may or may not have other more significant, unspoken reasons behind them. The outcome is the same; ministry in Bolivia is becoming more difficult for our partners.

They have faced challenges of illness within their own family and within the House of Hope family, financial struggles, conflict within the denomination in Bolivia, untrue accusations that sent a good friend to prison (now out and fighting to clear her name), schools for their children that couldn’t find teachers so homeschooling them (internationally!) has now become the only option, new immigration laws that are affecting teams coming to help…and the hits keep on coming!

Any one of these things would be difficult for us to deal with here in the US but imagine dealing with all of this at once and adding thousands of miles, a foreign language, a new culture and politics that are not your own. How in the world can we, as a church, begin to help?

Paul often spoke to the early churches and encouraged them to hold fast amid the tribulation. In Philippians, he said that we should all “stand together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself” (Philippians 2:27b-28).

Such strong words, even while Paul was imprisoned in Rome. Yet, so often we can become caught up in fighting against each other instead of uniting together against a common enemy (Satan and the evil in this world). So much time is lost and energy wasted on things that don’t have eternal value.

I would like to encourage each of you who are reading this today to be courageous in resisting the temptation to become caught up in things that don’t matter eternally. Instead, take a moment to stand united with your mission team in Bolivia, Parkway’s mission partners at the House of Hope, the Reed family and the many Christians working with our team.

Pray for us and with us.

Be an encouragement to those team members who were unable to join us this year.

Learn what you can about the work that is being done in Bolivia and how your prayers may be more focused.

Read the daily blogs about what we are doing so you can stay informed.

The miles and countries that separate us should not keep us from “being in this struggle together” as a family of faith.