A few days ago I marched with women and men in La Paz to be a voice for the 100 women that have been killed in domestic violence since January and the thousands more who are violated, abused, and exploited every day here in Bolivia. Governmental official’s solution is to tell women that they should learn how to dress modestly and to act appropriately so as not to make themselves targets. We shouted, “for them, for us, not one more death!” Where is the hope for women and girls when victims are blamed?
I spoke to a woman yesterday whose husband had been killed while their baby was only a few months old. He was working and the roof fell in on him. She says that for five years all she did was cry but after that it got a little better. As we talked this same daughter sat on the cold sidewalk doing homework while her mother sold jewelry and handmade hats and scarves in a kiosk on the street of tourist market of La Paz, Bolivia. Mother works 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week, in all weather to try and take care of her family. Many days they are hungry. Where is her hope found?
Earlier I had watched an old man in tattered clothing lead his blind wife down the side walk to the front of the Burger King. He helped her sit down and then began to play his flute while she played the tambourine. Most people walked right by without a look or thought. I saw one man with his 3-year-old child place a coin in the cup. Soon after, a busy man in a suit stopped and dropped something in the cup. Each time the woman heard a coin drop in the cup that sat if front of her she grabbed it up and whisked it away to hidden place below her ragged sweater. Who is their helper?
As I walked the streets of La Paz I encountered beggars of all shapes, sizes and ages. Some cried out to me for a coin others remained silent, looking sad and desperate. I saw many homeless, shoeshine boys who called out to passers by offering their services. In between shining’s, they would put a small cloth to their noise to take a huff of paint thinner, the elixir that makes their lives barely tolerable and staves away their hunger. From where does their help come?
Meanwhile, building projects and construction are everywhere. The red line of the Teleferico (cable car) is up and running with the yellow and blue to follow. So far the cost of the Teleferico is $234m. The road between La Paz and Oruro is being widened to four lanes and other roads are being improved as well. There are more cars and motorcycles on the streets then there were 2 years ago. “Progress” is everywhere you look. Progress…and poverty. How can there be so much progress and yet so much poverty?
Jesus stood in the synagogue of Nazareth and announced, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of the sight for the blind, to released the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” The love of God brings transformation and restoration. It brings respect and love for oneself and well as for others. God’s loves changes systems and governments one heart at a time. Everyone who cries out to Jesus will be heard and ministered to by the love of God.
But how can they call out to Jesus if they don’t believe in him because they have never heard of him? How can they hear about Jesus and the love of God unless someone tells them? How can someone tell them of Jesus if they are not sent to do so? (paraphrased Rom 10:14-15)
The Spirit of the Lord has sent Lovely Feet Ministries to Bolivia to share the good news of God’s love and redemption through Jesus to the poor, the prisoner, the widow, the blind and the oppressed. We are honored and blessed to live in Bolivia and be instruments of God’s love for all humankind. It is your prayers and offerings that make that possible. Thank you! Click this link to go to lovelyfeet.org and make a donation to support the ministry in Bolivia.