In late 2018, we proudly announced the new lead missionaries for our ministry in Cochabamba, Bolivia—Emi and Paige Almeida. The couple met in Argentina while studying at the Word of Life Bible Institute. Emi is from Argentina, but Paige is a Gainesville, Georgia, native and is from the same home church as Drs. Richard and Brenda Kowalske—founders of Helping Hands. Paige was just a teenager when she saw the example of the Kowalskes as they left for the mission field to serve in Bolivia. Sixteen years later, Emi and Paige will enter the mission field in this same city as they relaunch our ministry. Their focus will be on church planting and encouraging healthy church models in the Cochabamba region. This will be a fresh, new vision in a familiar territory.
Emi and Paige spent time in Bolivia during February and March visiting locations where the Lord is leading them to plant churches. They met with individuals and families who are praying about joining their ministry which is set to launch in May. The Almeidas have a long-term vision to establish a network of healthy churches that reproduce throughout Latin America. Bolivia will be their starting point because of its strategic location in South America. Emi will also spend time investing in the college students of the Center for Evangelism and Discipleship with our ministry partners, Word of Life, located in Cochabamba. Their ministry will focus on five key objectives:
1) Equip Locals: Our mission is not to establish a church and stay as the pastor but to equip locals. We understand that locals can have a greater impact in less time since they do not have to learn a new culture or language. Our intention is to be able to give them the necessary tools and help so that we can begin the work together.
2) Empower Leaders: Once the locals are equipped with the tools they need, are growing in maturity through discipleship, and are recognized as leaders, they will be given responsibilities in the work that has begun.
3) Engage Teams: With the aid of teams, we want to evangelize the cities where we feel led to start a new church. We will also be able to use these teams to equip the locals and help the new churches grow as well as nurture brothers and sisters in Christ.
4) Establish Churches: Through the preaching of the gospel, teams will help connect contacts with leaders who have been trained to begin the work of discipleship leading to the establishment of churches.
5) Expand Territories: Disciple-making and establishing healthy churches will result in further expansion as these churches plant other churches.
Through our long-term partnership with Word of Life in Bolivia, God has provided an unfinished apartment for Emi and Paige to live in and use as a place of ministry. Construction on their future home has started, but there is still a need for financial support to complete this project and to launch the ministry. Our goal for the month of April is to raise $10,000 to complete this apartment as they prepare to plant their lives in Bolivia. Please pray for this young couple as they prepare for upcoming mission teams and construct future ministry plans. Pray also that we will meet our financial goal to launch the Almeidas into ministry effectively.