All of those involved in the Bolivia mission — including those who made the trip, all of our support team at Parkway, the Reed family (American Baptist missionaries), the Achu family (resident directors of the House of Hope), and Goretty Jora (founder of the children’s home where we worked) — want to thank the entire Parkway family for your support of this effort. Without your financial gifts, your prayers, and your interest, this project would have been neither possible nor worthwhile.

In a couple of weeks we will give you a more detailed report of what we did, but I think you should know the particular situation our physical efforts addressed. While the deepening of relationships was of paramount importance, we accomplished something very tangible in the construction of a playground, using little more than abandoned tires, a few pieces of lumber, and a lot of nuts and bolts.

It is not unusual for someone to go into the family business, whether in the United States or in Bolivia. Unfortunately, this applies far too often to the children of prostitutes. In Bolivia, growing up in an environment where this lifestyle is the norm and where there are few other means of making a living, children are exploited at an early age and are seldom redeemed from it.

Goretty Jora has the dream of rescuing as many of these children as possible. Almost an hour outside the city of Cochabamba she is close to finishing the construction of a house where children, with the consent of their parents, can come to live in a much more wholesome environment. She wants to give them as “normal” a lifestyle as possible. The retreat center playground is also meant for the children of the neighborhood with the hope of drawing them into the project and allowing them a safe place to play.

All children need a place to play. While our children may be fortunate enough to do that in extremely safe, secure, and enclosed environments, the children of Cochabamba are elated with far less than we would consider adequate. I can already envision these children who have so little clambering over “the caterpillar,” “the spider,” “the turtle,” and the other stations we built, reveling in the joy of play without the fear of exploitation. Truthfully, it takes a creative mind to see the animals I have listed in some of the configurations we constructed, but children are gifted with imaginations, no matter where they may live.

You may be aware that Goretty is seriously ill. Soon she will go to Germany for experimental cancer treatment. Please join us in praying for effective therapy and a speedy recovery. She worked alongside us as much as she could, but had to undergo chemotherapy and recovery from it while we were there. She, along with all of our friends in Bolivia, is an inspiration to all who seek to carry the love of Christ to the world.

It is the clear will of God that the world be transformed by Christians, empowered by the Spirit of Christ, demonstrating love to those around them. The Bolivia mission is an example of believers trying to do just that, but there is so much more that needs to be done. What can you do to show the love of Christ where you are?