Bolivia Church Construction Projects
Location: La Paz, Bolivia
Length of Stay: 12 days
June 10-22, 2017
July 1-13, 2017
Team Size: 6 (open to both individuals and teams)
Cost: Volunteers are responsible for all expenses: $880 (covers all in-country expenses), Visa fee, airfare (average $1300) and applicable immunizations.
Skills Needed: Can accept both skilled and unskilled volunteers. Volunteers will be doing intense manual labor and need to be used to working outside and as part of a team.
Minimum Age: Volunteers must be at least 18 years or older.
Medical Considerations: Due to the high altitude (9,000 feet of elevation) volunteers must be in excellent physical condition without heart conditions or high blood pressure. Volunteers will need to be able to do intense manual labor and lift 25 lbs. A doctor’s release may be required for this project. Yellow Fever vaccination recommended.
Project Description: Volunteers will work side-by-side with SP Bolivia national staff and local church members to assist with construction of a church in the Chuma area. Chuma is a rural location, 9,000 ft. in elevation. Most work is done by hand with limited or no power tools. Work involves digging out foundation, mixing concrete, laying brick and hauling raw materials.
Background Information: The municipality of Chuma is located in western Bolivia, 148 kilometers northeast of La Paz city. Chuma is inhabited by two indigenous people groups: the Quechua and Aymara. As a result, most people are trilingual, speaking Aymara, Quechua, and Spanish.
Chuma is one of the poorest municipalities in Bolivia, and Bolivia is the poorest country in South America. As a result, life is not easy for the local population. Samaritan’s Purse works to help local inhabitants escape this unfortunate reality through agriculture, livestock, nutrition, and water and sanitation projects. In addition, SP seeks to provide spiritual aid by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and discipleship efforts. Though the Gospel has been introduced to the area in a variety of ways, there remain spiritual problems at many levels: religious syncretism (mixing of Christianity with Andean religions), legalism, and antinomianism (the belief that our faith does not affect our style of living).
Samaritan’s Purse has been working in the Bolivian highlands for 5 years and recently entered the high valley region of Chuma. We are working with local pastors to strengthen their faith, theological foundation, and church structure. We are also encouraging them to more passionately engage the unbelieving community. Local pastors face challenges at many levels. One of the problems affecting the evangelical church is church sanctuaries that are small, old, and run down. If local believers start bringing more people into the church, they will have difficulties accommodating them in the present houses of worship. Volunteers are invited to partner with Samaritan’s Purse in the construction of a church in Chuma to provide a larger space for communities to worship.