I love words, language, and communication like most people. But not all words build up. Unfortunately, words often cause discouragement, dismay, and even destruction. They can cause life-long scars. I recall an occasion 25 years ago. A worship service took place in Tondano, a city in the far north of Sulawesi. That Indonesian Island looks like a fishhook meant to catch an enormous fish. I understood nothing during the singing and communion service in the jam-packed auditorium seating 300 people. And yet, I understood it all! Some hymn tunes were familiar, and I knew the words instituting the bread and the wine. The young translator conveyed my English words into the Indonesian dialect. Words create community. How do we know about things? A person’s specialty might include a anything: baseball statistics, football memories, psychological observations, or botanical species in a desert. Nevertheless, it’s only through words that we can communicate with our fellow human beings. The night before He went to the cross, our Lord Jesus Christ declared, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. The Gospel’s words convey peace, joy amidst suffering, and love touching those in despair. Peter Marshall’s prayer still stirs me. “May this day create within us a love for thee of stronger stuff than vague sentimentality, a love which seeks to know thy will and do it!” Such words create the paths of life. They make Christ’s resurrection a living reality.
Latin American Mission (Canada) works in eleven countries. We value our missionaries, short-term volunteers, and partnership agreements. Together, we speak tens of thousands of words each day. May our conversations always build up and not tear down. May our words be like a freshwater fountain in a dry and thirsty desert. May our speech always point others to the Lord Jesus Christ.
David Phillips, Interim Executive Director
The Annual Interview
We designed our interview based on the Latin Link model. It is a great tool that reviews every aspect of the missionary’s personal and ministry life, on average taking 5 hours to complete. Missionary work is not like a 9-5 job; it requires the whole of life, and we must therefore care for the whole of life. Though a considerable investment of time, it has proven to be an effective way to ensure we listen and attend to all these aspects. Even though it requires a lot of time, Missionaries give us positive feedback appreciating the opportunity to take a step back and reflect on their year.
Salas are informal gatherings on topics for select groupings of missionaries. The chosen topic ideas come from our 1:1 meeting and the annual interview with a missionary. The goal is to raise awareness of issues, connect missionaries as they share similar experiences, and gauge the real needs are that we can address in workshops and other approaches. They are well attended and appreciated! So far, we have run Salas on:
Workshop teaching sessions are available to all our missionaries, designed to pick up on themes discussed in our Salas, 1:1 times, or annual interviews. Educating people, raising awareness, and offering better-coping strategies will increase people’s resilience. So far, we have offered workshops on:
Resourcing our missionaries
Based on our interactions with missionaries we suggest relevant articles, videos, books, conferences, retreats, counsellors, vacation ideas…and anything else needed and that we can find!
Sue Vissers, Member Care Coordinator
Bolivia is a landlocked Andean nation with mountains and a high plateau to the west. In the center are the valleys and to the east the humid tropical wetlands.
Population: 2022 population is an estimated 12,000,000
Major languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara. Guarani, and 37 others.
Administrative capital is La Paz, pop. 1,700,000 and Sucre, pop. 300,000 is the constitutional and judicial capital city.
Population under 15 yrs. 36% Life expectancy is 65 years.
Religion: The Roman Catholic Church remains the state religion. Most people are baptized Catholic but are practicing animists. Significant opposition to Protestant groups threatens in some quarters.
Growth of Protestants: Believers have grown 43-fold since 1960 resulting from many Quechua and Aymara people turning to Christ. Approximately 18% of the population is now evangelical.
Prayer needs: a) political uncertainty; b) poverty-75 % Bolivian children are born into impoverished families noted for illiteracy, malnutrition, and disease; d) 100,000 homeless children; e) the coca leaf as a source of income; f) rural villages; g) urban groups; h) lowland tribes; i) Bible translation, Christian TV, and Christian radio.
Allan Holt is one of the seven LAM Board members, and he loves the outdoors. This short article is meant to introduce him to the LAM family. Begin talking about camping, and his heart starts to vibrate faster than normal. Among other ministries, he and his wife Rhoda have constantly supported the development of Roblealto Camp in Costa Rica.
It all started for him in 2003 when he went to build the camp’s meeting room. Two years later, the team added an extra bay to the lodge kitchen. It was a significant project since the sloping roof came to within five feet of the ground. Some beams had to be inserted to support the extra weight in the construction.
Several years passed before he returned, taking many cousins to celebrate the work of his recently deceased father. Allan’s father began traveling to Costa Rica in during the 1960’s, helping the camp in its first phase of development.
In 2018, an American Family funded the construction of a large building, and Allan went to Costa Rica once more. He wired the building. The next year saw the erection of walls and the placement of rooms. In 2020 the washroom facilities were added. This year, in 2022, the doors were hung. Allan takes two types of volunteers on these volunteer trips. The skilled are those who specialize in carpentry, metal working, laying pipes, and welding. The others are the willing, those who lend a hand, making the work of specialized workers easier.
Allan developed a love of camping in Canada when he was a young man and has kept at it for 50 years. “I have however seen the effectiveness of Christian camping in reaching unsaved kids and young people for Christ and that is why I tend to focus my work efforts, both in Canada and abroad on kids’ camps.”
His participation in Ontario in another place, Camp Mini-Yo-We, or in English, The Fountain of Living Waters, has seen thousands of campers over six decades. 250 campers enjoy their summer there each week. Allan has the privilege of cooking hamburgers and hotdogs each Sunday noon for the campers, and he loves the work.
Well done, Allan! Thanks for impacting thousands of young people for Christ through your skills.
We have all heard about the difficulties in Canada as families struggled to make it through the Covid crisis. What is not usually known is the degree of difficulty experienced by our friends in Christian ministry in countries like Costa Rica. Take the situation at Roblealto Camp. This camp reaches hundreds of young people, men, and women in weeklong events. But when Covid struck, no one was permitted to come to the camp. Nevertheless, Laura, the camp director, still had to pay her staff, even though the supply of money was not even a trickle.
Looking around, Laura discovered the only source of income would be the sale of lumber. After negotiating hard with various lumber companies, a decision was made, and an agreement reached. The trees in one area of the land would be cut down and sold, providing a certain degree of comfort as income slowly came in.
After the last log had been removed, Laura paid the last outstanding bill. She discovered that the exact amount had been paid and the final payment was made to the last camp staff member.
Now begins the long process of building up the camp program once more! We rejoice in the unexpected provision of funds, while mourning the financial difficulty each of the families faced during the long lock- down. Please put Christian ministries such as this one on your prayer list.
As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. (I Thessalonians 2:6-9 NIV)
Four Missiological insights:
1) Being a missionary is hard work. Day and night toil is to be expected.
2) The rewards are wonderful, sharing our lives, learning to love.
3) We become endeared to people who not long before were strangers.
4) The local church is planted.
Prayer requests from missionaries: