Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Political issues

Just before Alana's birthday on the 10th September, the American Ambassador
was asked to leave the country on the grounds of aiding and abetting
opposition prefects (Local government leaders working against central
government), the following day violence broke out in Pando (north east of
the country) where 30 – 40 campasinos were ambushed and shot dead and where
over 100 people are still missing.

These happenings put us on immediate alert for possible evacuation, as
relations between Bolivia and the US became somewhat strained and other
problems began to surface. Our bags have been packed and we have sat and
waited, however the situation has taken a turn hopefully for the better.
The director of FH Bolivia sent the following today:

Thanks to God we are well. We are re-starting our operations as normal at
the office in La Paz. On Monday we closed the office here for security
reasons, and operated at a minimal level yesterday.

There were demonstrations during these two days, but nothing happened to our
office or our staff. In any case it was good for us to take caution measures
after receiving the warnings from the American embassy.

Another good news is that the government and the opposition signed an
agreement to dialogue last night after 25 hours of negotiations. The
agreement has started to be implemented by the opposition and now the
government has to comply. This is a small light of hope in the middle of the
critical situation here. I would like to ask your prayers for this dialogue
to prosper and peace would be re-established. As a country, we really were
at the verge of a potential massive clash between the East and the West. We
were so close to a major conflict.

Regarding the international staff, they are well and at the places they live
here in Bolivia. Thanks to God we did not have to evacuate anyone to

In general terms, things are getting back to normal and all our staff is
well and sound. God has been good with us in Bolivia. We will continue
assessing the situation thoroughly for the next couple of days until we
determine that there are solid signs of "normality".

Please continue lifting this country and our staff in prayers. My prayers
have been asking God to lift peacemakers in the middle of the conflict, and
to turn every Christian into a tool that may speak and build up peace based
on Mathew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons
of God".

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