Christmas in Bolivia

“People Living in Darkness Have Seen a Great Light”

Abandoned, lonely, rejected, confused, fearful, orphaned, hungry, cold, hopeless…

Some or all of these words describe the realities and feelings of thousands of children, single parents, and vulnerable families living in extreme poverty in La Paz, Bolivia.
It’s a dark world for them.
Yet there is also light, love and hope.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light…those living in the land of shadows now have a light shining upon them. You have given them great joy, Lord….You have made them happy.” (Isaiah 9). 
Throughout the year and especially at Christmas time, volunteers from HOPE worldwide Bolivia, the La Paz Church of Christ, the American Calvert School, and community friends join together to encourage and bring hope to the poorest of the poor in La Paz. This year, dozens of volunteers collectively donated hundreds of hours in order to collect and organize tons of food, clothes and toys for hundreds of the most needy individuals.
Last friday we created an afternoon filled with encouragement, hugs, fun, friendship, and singing for 30 of the poorest families (about 225 people) within Foundation Arco Iris’ Family Support Program. Each family received generous quantities of food, clothing, and toys.
On Saturday morning, volunteers prepared and provided breakfast for over 700 homeless adults and children who spend the cold nights in the downtown shelter at the Bus Terminal or who live on the streets. Many also received blankets, clothing, and toys.
And of course, all of these hurting individuals received lots of genuine love, encouragement, and hope. 
The HOPE worldwide Bolivia team is so grateful for all of our friends in La Paz and around the world who help us to “bring good news to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to comfort those who are mourn, and to bestow upon them a crown of beauty and praise…” (Isaiah 61)
Together, we shine out God’s light, love, and hope for those living in the darkness of poverty.
“…if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.”
Indeed, it’s beginning to look (and feel) a lot like Christmas here in La Paz!
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