Bolstering Bolivian believers

Loving God’s Word and wanting others to faithfully teach it, is something that first struck a chord with Jonny Anderson while attending summer Bible camps as a young Christian.

In 2010, he began serving in Bolivia, alongside his Colombian-born wife Olga, who shares his heart to see God glorified amongst the Quechua people.

Jonny and Olga met at St Nicholas Church in Tooting

The couple have raised their family on the field with Olga home-schooling their three children, who are now studying at boarding schools with good Christian input, in the UK.

The couple’s ministries involve reaching out to communities where Christ is least known – both in and around the city of Sucre and in remote, mountainous areas – working mainly with the Quechua people, many of whom are from an Andean, animistic background.

Spiritual concerns are never far from the minds of the Quechua people and conversations open easily to gospel witness.

Almost 120 years after the first mission workers came to Bolivia to reach the ‘unreached people groups’ of the Andes, the church in Bolivia is growing.

“However, it’s easy to start a church without any Biblical grounding and people will attend as they have such a spiritual hunger,” says Jonny.

Telling Bible stories is a very effective way to communicate God’s truth to those who are oral learners

Bolivia is the poorest country in South America and reading comprehension levels are low. In a culture where much of the Bible is not yet available, oral Bible teaching methods are incredibly important.

The couple use oral Bible teaching methods with stories and pictures to start discussions and ensure the Bible stories stick in people’s minds and hearts.

“Our aim is to see healthy Quechuan-speaking churches worshipping God and following Christ in their everyday lives,” adds Jonny.

“Much of that involves children’s ministries, which are very under-developed in Bolivia, so we also help to train Sunday school teachers so they too can teach others how to follow Christ.”

Recently, the couple have also had more opportunities to teach in the countryside following invitations from local primary schools and churches open to hearing about Jesus.

And frequently, Jonny drives for many hours into the mountains to run training conferences for scattered believers and to visit the small, but growing churches.

“There’s no electricity in these rural churches, but there’s vibrant worship going on with cultural forms using dance, their own styles of singing and their own instruments, which are being used to praise God rather than for the drunkenness that’s involved in the fiestas that go on in most of Bolivia right now,” he says.

“These churches often revolve around one couple who are leading the church and in a culture where if you have the title of pastor or minister, people will accept what comes out of your mouth without challenge, leaders need thorough Biblical training and support in many ways.

“As teachers and preachers, we all need to be challenged as to whether we’re faithfully teaching Christ from the passage and we need to make the teaching as simple as we can.

“Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing that a dear brother has heard God speaking and the simplest person says, ‘I really understood this time’.

By Kerry Allan

Please pray

  • Thank the Lord for the couple’s work to support Quechuan-speaking churches through their teaching and discipling ministries.
  • Pray for unity in the small, fragile churches where there may be local opposition.
  • Pray for encouragement for the pastors faithfully teaching God’s Word in a way people can understand.

This was posted on 4 June 2024 in Ministry stories and Training and equipping.

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