Dan and Susan Steere - October 2017
This year’s trip to Bolivia started out as a challenge: my Delta flight out of Chattanooga was delayed due to mechanical issues, so I missed the flight from Atlanta to Buenos Aires. The Delta leg was easily resolved; however, my connecting flight on Boliviana de Aviacion (BoA) was impossible to change from the US. So, while I was delayed a day, friends in Bolivia dealt with BoA locally. Just before leaving on the 27th – and thanks to many prayers – I received confirmation that the BoA flight had been rebooked.
Better Late Than Never
Reformation Conference and History Class in Cochabamba My providential delay meant that I arrived the second day of the Reformation conference and missed two of my five scheduled sermons. However, the brethren in Bolivian simply rescheduled speakers (I was one of five speakers.) and I spoke twice on each of the following two days. The conference itself was a celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. I had been given a series of historical topics for my presentations, and I combined the history with exposition of relevant texts of Scripture. By God’s grace, the resulting sermons were well-received. Even though the entire conference was conducted in Spanish (I spoke through an interpreter), I had a delightful time!
Each day of the conference was attended by 500-600 people, many of whom are leaders in their respective churches. They came from every part of Bolivia – some in spite of opposition from their own denominations. There is a strong irony that in a country that has been dominated by Roman Catholicism for centuries, the greatest hostility faced by these Reformed brethren comes from within the Evangelical Church! I'm also saddened that these opposing evangelical denominations trace their existence back to the Bolivian Indian Mission under which my grandparents, Jason and Emily Steere, ministered in the 1920’s.
Nevertheless, the gospel of God’s sovereign grace is flourishing in Bolivia! The preaching in the conference, the book table with works by Piper, MacArthur, Sproul, and Lloyd-Jones, the hymns and psalms sung, and the questions from the attendees all proclaimed this movement is healthy. By their own confession, there is need for continued teaching and mentoring, and I hope to continue my involvement in those things.
The Sunday after the conference, I preached on Semper Reformanda (Always Reforming) at Mount Zion Bible Church in Cochabamba. This church, under the leadership of senior pastor, Mateo Cruz, has been the flagship in leading the process of “reformation” among Bolivian evangelicals. This church voluntarily gave up its facility five years ago when the denomination kicked out their entire pastoral staff for “heresy.” 90% of the people followed their pastors and, since then, they have been meeting in a converted manufacturing building. The 300+ people who attend on Sundays overflow the small space, spill out of the building, and stand in the courtyard to hear the preaching.
The following Monday evening, I began teaching a class on Early Church History to over 50 students and auditors at the seminary. These seminary classes are offered through Seminario Reformado Latinoamericano and are helping the students toward obtaining a MDiv degree. In the mornings, Bill Green, a missionary in Costa Rica, taught on Christ in the Old Testament. The two classes made for long days for the students, but they continued throughout the week with great enthusiasm.
Every day, several of the brothers and pastors from Mount Zion church would come to take me out for lunch. As a result, I was treated to a veritable cornucopia of Bolivian foods, from mall food courts (Cochabamba is much more developed than you might think) to a massive steak, to Pique Macho (a heaping platter of various meats, sausage and eggs). As I mentioned last year, Cochabamba considers itself the gastronomical capital of the country and the brethren did everything they could to validate that reputation. Cochabambinos love to eat! No wonder I fit in so well! But in addition to the food, each meal was an opportunity for them to ask questions and so, between bites, I mentored on such diverse topics as Church government, Biblical marriage, legalism, and Biblical interpretation.
At the request of the pastors, I preached again last Saturday on Sexual Purity to 50-60 young people from Mount Zion church. And on Sunday, I preached again at the church from Romans 3:21-24 on Justification by Faith. I then left Cochabamba early Monday morning for the 29 hour return trip home.
It was a wonderful time of ministry. And despite the delay in my arrival, I was very busy with both preaching and teaching. God is good to give me these opportunities and I’m thankful for your faithful support, sending me to share God’s truth with our brethren in Africa and Latin America.
One final thing:
In addition to pastoring a church in Costa Rica, Bill Green runs a translating and publishing house that is dedicated to bringing good Reformed literature into Spanish. After reading Our Covenant God, the short book I wrote a number of years ago as an introduction to covenant theology, Bill is very interested in translating the book into Spanish and publishing it for use in Latin America. I told him we would prayerfully raise the funds needed for the Spanish translation, which will cost about $1,500. Bill told me they would take care of publication costs in house. If you would like be a part of this exciting opportunity, please let us know and we can provide you with the contribution information.
For Christ’s Kingdom,
Equipping Leaders International