A Surprising Enlargement of Our Border

Jonathan Malgo

God often leads in a different way than we expect. Regarding a new development in our missionary work in Bolivia.

We hold regular times of prayer, both among employees in our office here in Dübendorf, Switzerland, and in the field as mission leaders. One concern comes up again and again. As Jabez put it, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border…” (1 Chron 4:10).

Every new area of work, every branch, every mission field is one such enlargement of our border. One example is Elia Morise’s work in the Arabic language. Today, I’m able to report on another border expansion.

Our missionaries Mathias and Doro Rindlisbacher arrived in Bolivia in 2015. The goal was for them to strengthen our team in Riberalta. During their training in Santa Cruz from 2015-2020, doors opened into the world of the Mennonites in Bolivia in unexpected ways.

Mathias writes: “Due to our study-related stay in Santa Cruz, we increasingly came into contact with German-speaking Mennonites. They live in the Departamento (province) Santa Cruz, and are divided into Old Colony Mennonites and modern Mennonites. The Old Colony Mennonites live very legalistically and reject modernity. They dress traditionally and use a team of horses for transportation. Although this people group is very closed, God opened and is opening doors for us to minister to them. I’ve already been able to visit some Old Colony Mennonites and talk to them about their origins (Switzerland, Germany, and Holland), as well as about essential truths from God’s Word. They like to listen to the stories of their ancestors, and also aren’t opposed to having truths from God’s Word explained to them.”

We want to make use of these new opportunities and move forward. God is answering prayers for expanded boundaries. Often, we have different ideas. For example, it’s long been on our hearts to reach the Scandinavian nations with the biblical-prophetic message, but no door has opened there to this day. Yet the Lord unexpectedly shows a new field of activity in an entirely different place, for the purpose of spreading His message.

Our team in Riberalta is rejoicing in these new opportunities, but at the same time there is a lack of employees there. Joshua and Katharina Fürst had to return home for family reasons (children’s schooling, etc.). This means a greater workload for Obed and Rebecca Hanisch, who left the country again late last year, to visit home and for the birth of their daughter Maria. Eberhard and Rosmarie Hanisch, the leaders of our work in Riberalta, are of retirement age and would like to pass the baton. Our two faithful sisters, Tonnie de Jong and Brigitte Wolff, are also of retirement age already. With Mathias and Doro we’re experiencing a turnaround, but they’re not going to Riberalta.

I held a video conference the other day with our employees in Riberalta. Eberhard said that the mission field offers so many opportunities, but there is a lack of young people. We’re very grateful to Emilie Bergen, who is strengthening our ranks there. But the call continues: “Come over to Riberalta and help us!” (loosely based on Acts 16:9).

Midnight Call - 06/2021

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