Bolivia’s Harvest of Hope

By Kristen M. Burke   •   December 17, 2004

When Mi Esperanza aired in Bolivia, many people found themselves in utter despair. Some were ready to end marriages, pregnancies and even their own lives. But many found hope in Christ and renewed purpose.

A man who attended a church in Santa Cruz phoned the Mi Esperanza call center after watching one of the programs. He had begun paperwork for a divorce. But he and his wife talked with the phone volunteer and decided to give their marriage another chance.

A young pregnant woman called and said that she had broken up with her boyfriend and had decided to have an abortion. Crying, she phoned the call center after watching the program, received Christ and decided not to end her pregnancy.

Another young woman who called said that she used to preach the Gospel but had since left the church. Desperate about problems in her marriage, she had a knife and planned to take her life that evening. But the Mi Esperanza program was on the television in her room, and something caught her attention. God touched her at that moment and gave her new hope. She returned to Christ and asked for prayer that her husband could do the same.

Hope for Schools
God used Christians in schools to reach students and teachers. Some invited students to their homes, and others arranged to have the programs shown at their schools.

Ivone Velarde, the principal of the Villa Santa Cruz School, organized a special event to show Mi Esperanza. The school’s students are known for having behavioral problems. More than 300 students between the ages of 7 and 14 attended, as did 18 teachers.

During the broadcast soccer player Marco Sandy’s testimony had a great impact on the students, and there was absolute silence when Billy Graham spoke. When the invitation to receive Christ was given, all of the students and some of the teachers stepped forward.

Elizabeth Manzano, from the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Cochabamba, is a teacher in a high school. She invited her 11th- and 12th-grade students to watch the programs. So many students were interested that she arranged them in groups to attend on three different evenings.

Forty students received Christ. Two told Manzano that they had been near suicide a week before. Manzano decided to continue sharing the Gospel with the students during the following week, and 20 additional students opened their hearts to Jesus Christ. Many of these students attended a Harvest Celebration service at Manzano’s church the following Sunday.

Hope for All Bolivia
Across the country Christians prayed for friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors, then invited them to an Operation Matthew house party to watch the program. Thousands of Christians were able to lead these loved ones to Christ after the broadcast at more than 52,000 homes.

Guadalupe Vargas became a Christian less than a year ago. She attends Shekinah Church and for several months has prayed that her daughter Vanessa would receive Christ. She was thrilled to host six people, including Vanessa, for a broadcast one evening. After the program two co-workers, a friend who is a lawyer, two neighbors, an 8-year-old boy–and Vanessa–accepted Christ.

Only one of the seven people that David Mamani invited to his home accepted his invitation. But that one, a 75-year-old woman, brought 15 members of her family. They all accepted Christ immediately after the program. The older guests said that they had been waiting for someone to share the Gospel with them. Now that they had met Jesus, they wanted someone to disciple them. Today the family attends church together.

The Mi Esperanza broadcast also was shown in the Aymara and Quechua languages in video missions across Bolivia, because many Aymara and Quechua speakers have no access to televison. The programs were the first of any kind ever produced in these languages in Bolivia.

As Bolivian churches continue to report the results of Mi Esperanza, thousands of similar testimonies are being told, and thousands of lives are being changed.

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