Wednesday, July 2, 2014

TV, Clinic, and Classrooms

For some time now, I have wanted to write about the other projects my wife and I are involved in. This blog is mainly about Bolivia Mission Aviation, but at the same time we are missionaries involved in helping in other ways than just aviation. Called to be a missionary many times means serving others in ways you did not expect. I hope this will give you some more insight to what else goes on down here and the ways that Gospel Ministries International has been diversifying itself in the missionary field which is Bolivia.

Christmas program special aired in December.

As some of you may not know, the property where the aviation base is located is the same property where the Adventist Spanish TV network by the name of “ADvenir” is located. To many here it is simply called the channel, the channel because it locally broadcasts over the air on channel 24. It is home to several missionary families and recently a number of single volunteers. Its main mission is to reach all of Bolivia with the third angel’s message. My wife is part of this team as a production manager, helping with the design of TV sets and programs for kids, health, music, and many other programs.

8 laws of health TV set.

Recently my wife was involved in a TV program for kids about the eight rules of health. It is still in the recording stages but hopefully soon it will air. It takes a lot of work to get kids ready for TV, and every minute on the air is hours of practice before hand. Most of the kids are from the missionary families working at the channel.  We do have some new kids that are coming from a nearby church that most missionaries living here attend every Sabbath.

Recording the kids program.

A lot of the work also goes into designing a set. There are many single volunteer that donate their time to making many pieces of the sets. Other elements are brought in to give sets, for example the children’s set, the right touch all depending on what is being recorded. Another set in the works is a kitchen to teach vegetarian cooking. Right now we have just the background, but hopefully as funds continue to come in the rest of the design can be completed.

Behind the scenes.

Another dream has been to reach the community next to us though a medical clinic. A few months ago, a missionary grandma helped launch this new project alongside Becky Gates. My wife has been leading this project as she studied in a medical missionary school and has a background in physical therapy and hydrotherapy.

Sign to the clinic before it was put up.

A simple dwelling was rented and modified to meet the needs of a doctor and a dentist office. A portable dental unit was donated and a dentist chair was made from left over building material. The office also had homemade furniture made, including the examination table. With the rooms painted and water installed, soon there was a working clinic. Permission from the local governing body was grated and in very little time the clinic was up and running.

Missionaries hard at work preparing the rooms.

Bolivian volunteer doctors were sought out, to work alongside missionaries with medical backgrounds and give service to the people of this poor community. It is also an opportunity to reach them with the gospel. The clinic has the same name of “ADvenir” like the channel. It has been nearly a month since the clinic opened without much fanfare, and already many patients have come in and received help that they may not have been able to afford.

Volunteer doctors and Saray.

The bigger dream is to someday open a wellness center right on the property. But the Lord has blessed this small effort now, and it is good training for when the much larger center opens someday. It really is a blessing to see how this project has blossomed so quickly and positively.

People came with lots of dental problems, with some involving teeth pulling.

Our final project is to help the little Adventist church most of the missionaries living at the channel attend every Sabbath. It is located just a few kilometers down the road, near the center of the small town of Pedro Lorenzo. The missionaries have adopted this church and are doing their part in growing the congregation and also seeing after the needs of the church. One of those needs has been to build Sabbath school classrooms for the children.
Evangelistic campaign in April involving many kids from the community.

The church itself was constructed by the church members and a missionary group from Germany a few years ago. It is of adequate size for the congregation but it has no place to put the children for their Sabbath school lessons. The children have their lessons in the back yard of the church and right on the dirt floor where the sun beats on them and in more than one occasion has rained as well during class.  It is not ideal to have several classes going on side by side as it can be difficult to focus a child’s attention without any walls or doors.

Saray helping dig the foundation.

For these reason, my wife and I have been looking for ways to help. Money did not come immediately for this project. But eventually one day the Lord answered our prayers. Money came right from GMI to cover the initial costs of construction. This combined with some offering money that was collected especially for this project, got the work started at the beginning of the year. Mind you, it was only a few hundred dollars and all of it was for construction material. The church members with their basic constructions skills would do the building with the missionaries pitching in to help.

Poring the foundation as the kids look on.
Soon a week of work was dedicated and much was accomplished, but the building material ran out, and it was back to praying for more funding. Becky Gates was able to secure a significant donation a couple months ago. More material has been bought and hopefully with everyone pitching in every Sunday we can get the classrooms finished. It looks like we will be short for the doors and windows and roof, but it does not matter because as always the Lord has provided and He knows where the money will come from.

DJ and Brendon making a column.

I hope that what I have shared with you gives you a better picture of what we do here. We know that aviation is a link to many projects and opens the door to the gospel. That is why we have this mission with airplanes here in Bolivia. The success of other projects like this, gives me more enthusiasm for our own aviation project and helps to keep me going. The Lord wants all of us to reach out and help other just like He did. And it is our desire here at the channel as it is called, to reach those around us with whatever means and abilities we may have been given. In the end all that matters is that we get that one soul for Jesus whether it be though broadcasting, aviation, evangelism, medical outreach, or simply building classrooms for children.

Herman Gonzalez
Chief Pilot-Bolivian Lowlands
Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Herman Gonzalez
Gospel Ministries International
Project Name: Bolivia Mission Aviation
874 South McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842


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