Friday, July 10, 2009


Since June 30th, around 3:oo p.m. life changed drastically for the church in Cochabamba, Bolivia. At 4:15 p.m. we received a call from one of our members that someone from a small community called Yutupampa called about an accident involving the bus our kids were traveling on.  Details were very sketchy but we knew it was serious.  I was able to get in touch with this person but wasn’t able to talk very long because his cell phone was running out of battery.  All he was able to tell us is, “Please hurry, it is starting to get cold.  We need help there are bodies all over the place.  Bring blankets, flashlights and rope.  Please hurry!”

Not knowing what to expect or what else to do, we piled blankets and rope into the car, stopped by a local store and bought a bunch of flashlights and left Cochabamba together with Renán and Pedro.  We were all overwhelmed.  I told Trish, “I don’t think I can do this!”  She responded, “We have to.  Our kids are out there!”  While driving information starting coming in. The deaths of Ariana, Belén and Diana were confirmed; Then Bruno Pol and Fredy were fine; Then Josh together with a few other of our kids were in an ambulance heading to Cochabamba; About three hours into our trip we met another ambulance.  We both stopped and Rachel together with a doctor ran to the car to let us know that JD was ok and they were headed to Cochabamba.  Trish ran to the ambulance and saw Miguel and JD laying on stretchers.  They did not look good but were stable.  

We continued the rest of our trip confident that they were in good hands, knowing that Fredy was still all by himself at the hospital where most of the kids had received first aid.  It was a hard drive up through windy dirt roads and it being pitch dark out side, but God was with us.  We stopped at the site where the accident took place but couldn’t see anything. We finally arrived in the small town of Pojo around 11:00 p.m.  Fredy was elated to see us all but emotionally drained and obviously in much pain.  We got back in the car and headed back immediately to Cochabamba.  For the first 30 minutes Fredy told us story after story of what he had experienced.  Many tears were shed during that time.

The rest of the trip back to Cochabamba was very quiet.  We finally made it back into Cochabamba at 4:30 a.m.  After dropping off Renán, Fredy and Pedro we headed straight to the hospital where JD and Rachel were.

  They were still in the emergency room waiting for JD to be admitted.  Rachel had been patched up and was in pain but was in very good spirits.  JD was in a lot of pain, very uncomfortable but mostly slept.  He was finally admitted and we ended up leaving the hospital about 6:00 a.m.  

The night of June 30th and early morning  of July 1st was one of the longest days of our lives.  Three young girls of our youth group had died that night, while 11 others lay in hospital beds.  Bruno and Rachel were the only ones able to go home that morning.

Taking care of our kids, visiting others and crying with the families effected by this tragedy filled the rest of our week.  We feared that some of the families would try looking for someone to blame, but everyone took it as good as could be imagined.  We felt relieved and honored when the families asked us to speak at the funeral, thus I did.

Speaking to the families, friends and loved ones of three young teens who had lost their lives so tragically was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.  Considering that so many people were asking “Why?”, I decided to make an effort at answering the question.  I read from Eccl. 7:2 that says that “It is better 

to be in a house of mourning than at a banquet.”  Why?  Because it is a time when we can remember and even celebrate the lives of Ariana, Belén and Diana.  Although many of those in the crowd knew them much more than Trish and I did, we did get to see a glimpse of their love and servant attitudes.  Just 10 days prior to the accident, JD and Rachel had organized the youth and took them to spend the afternoon at a local children’s home.  They played, held and fed those little children.  They cleaned noses, changed diapers and loved on those kids for hours.  That afternoon they left their imprents on those children. Imprents of  love and service. 

My message to all present, including myself, was that we can honor their lives by doing the same, leaving imprents of love and service.

We will miss all three of them.  But remembering how Belén, being only 13 years old, even when her family didn’t want to come to church would come on her own; or Ariana even being as shy as she was had started to open up and had brought her boyfriend to church for the first time the Sunday prior to the accident; or Diana although being very new within the group had started becoming more active and even played soccer with us that same Sunday, should teach us the importance of wanting to fellowship with the rest of our spiritual family.  It should teach us how important it is to bring our loved ones closer to Christ.  It should teach us to reach out to those who are new or on the fringe of our church activities and help them to be an active part of them.

Going to a house of mourning is not a lot of fun.  It wasn't meant to be.  But going to them is better than going to a party.  They help us to reflect on our own lives, and if we are taking advantage of every moment God gives us to leave imprents of love and service.

It is going to take all of us patience and time to heal from this jolt.  But in situations like these is where we see the wisdom of God in how He has designed His church.  Together, working as a body we will not only get through this, but we will be even stronger.  That is our Creator’s promise!

We have made big plans for the church in Cochabamba.  We have prayed over them and placed them in His hands.  June 30th is going to be a marker for us and the church here.  Where will our plans leads us now?  Well, I am not all that sure.  But one thing I do know: It doesn't matter how many curve balls Satan throws at us, God will be glorified through this.

May He bless us all as we make His will our own!


Philmon 4-7


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Blessed Harvest

2007 has been a blessed year in Cochabamba. It all started with the baptism of Camila on the day of our inauguration back in January. Through the year the Good News of our Lord Jesus has been taught to many. Reaching out to them through our C.A.F.E groups, church activities and group studies at La Conexion Cristiana as well as our times of worship on Sundays as had an impact on many.

In July Miguel, Gabriela and Sonia were born again into the family of God.

Miguel has his office on the 4th floor of our apartment building. He had been attending our C.A.F.E. group on Thursdays, as well as our "Biblical Christianity" class at La Conexion Cristiana (our contact center).

Gabriela lives on the 6th floor of our apartment building, so, with the Forbesses on the 5th and us on the 7th...WE'VE GOT HER SURROUNDED. She has also been attending our C.A.F.E. group as well as our classes at La Conexion Cristiana.

Sonia walked in to our worship service one Sunday morning a year ago. Her observation was, "I was looking for different church. I walked in to the wrong church, but in the end, it turned out to be the right church. Sonia is the lady in the middle, drinking a cup of coffee at our C.A.F.E. group.

This last weekend we had a national family encampment and the Lord decided to increase our harvest even more. After the encampment was over, He blessed us with 7 others who were added to His body here in Bolivia.

Three members of the Chavez family, Pedro, Beatriz and Rebecca were baptized all together on the same day.

Rebecca met one of our interns last July, Stephanie Sanderson, who taught her English from the Gospel of Luke. She told her parents about the church and all of her family including her younger sister Veronica started attending Sunday worship. Since then, Pedro and Beatriz have been studying in different classes at La Conexion Cristiana with Josh and I.

Agustina and her 2 children Ronaldo and Leslie have been attending worship service for some time. Jeff and Katie have been studying with them, and the church has been very active in helping this family. We have helped her with groceries, setting up her beauty salon and installing a water line to her little house.

Gaston responded to an ad we put in the local newspaper last March advertising our class called "Biblical Christianity" taught at La Conexion Cristiana. He has also been attending our worship services and the C.A.F.E. group that meets in our home. He had been putting off his decision for some time now, and we are so glad he finally decided to put the "old" Gaston in the past and begin to live for Christ.

Roberto had been going to church together with his family in Santa Cruz for some time now. He surprised his whole family by deciding to follow Christ on Sunday. His wife and mother cried tears of joy when he was baptized.

Ernesto is a retired surgeon from Sucre. He had been attending church together with his wife in Sucre where the new mission team has been working for the past 7 months. Their children live in Cochabamba so we are hopeful we'll be able to meet and work with them.

We are excited about the increase God has brought to the church in Cochabamba. Please pray for us as help all these new babes in Christ to grow and become involved in the work of the local Body of Christ.

May the Glory always be His!

Butch and Trish

Friday, December 08, 2006


This is an open area on the second floor which will be able to be used for children's joint activities.

This is the access from the first to the second floor.

These are our new chairs, pulpit and projector stand.

Little by little things are starting to take shape.

Butch and Trish


On Sunday mornings were are doing a brief study of the book of Nehemiah. As you know, Nehemiah is a book that describes the dedication of Nehemiah to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, renewing it's people and thus bringing honor back to God.

After arriving in the city of Jerusalem, observing it's deplorable condition and uniting the people, he set out to rebuild the city's walls. Amid much opposition and distractions, finally after 52 days the rebuilding was concluded.

Having completed the physical renewal of the city, both Nehemiah and Ezra set out to renew the people, and re-establish a covenant relationship, long time in "shambles", between them and God.

This is kind of the way I feel at this point. Our 52 days are almost up! Of course I am not talking about a literal 52 days, in our case, but that period of time we have dedicated to renewing the building which will house the church for the next few years.

We have bought chairs, built walls, painted, built cabinets and furniture, hung white boards and cork boards and lot of other little jobs during this process of "rebuilding our walls." Construction and furnishig is mostly done, and I will leave most of what is remaining for when I return at the end of the month (I have a very important engagement in Searcy...Denice and Daniel's wedding).

Here are some pics of some of what has gone on during these past "52 days".

Those of you who are familiar with dry wall will understand what is going on here. Walls were built with aluminum studs and 1/2" drywall to build 3 classrooms, a workroom, an office and a kitchen/cry room.

This is the Toddler's classroom. Trish will mostly be working with this age group.

This is the workroom, where our teachers will spend much of their time getting their class material ready.

This is one of the 2 other classrooms which will be used for our intermediate class (6 thru 13) and our teens.

Pray for us as we transition from doing a lot of "grunt" work to dedicating our time to the people of Cochabamba. Our church launch is just around the corner, and with that we will begin "officially" our evangelistic work here.

I will be posting some more of our "52 day" pics soon!

Chau and God bless!

Butch and Trish

Saturday, October 21, 2006


A phrase like that will usually catch the eye of football fans almost anywhere. Actually I did have the opportunity to preach but on the earth's 50yd line. That is right! This last Wednesday, October 18th, I arrived from a 10 day trip to Ecuador, where I was blessed to speak at the Annual International Men's Conference. Quito is right on the equator (that is where the country get's name from....duh!) and that is where the conference took place.

It all started on Monday, October 9th when I took my flight from Cochabamba to La Paz. When I arrived in La Paz (where I had to spend the night), there were blockades all over the city. The taxis were on strike and protesting that week. Therefore, I had to hop in one taxi, go as far as I could, then walk until I could find another. I did arrive safely at the Hotel, and that is where I stayed for the rest of the day.

On Tuesday, I beat the taxi drivers to the punch and made to the La Paz airport before they set up their blockades. I took my flight and arrived in Quito at 1 pm. I had a great time visiting the preaching school, church, getting to know students, faculty, staff, elders, deacons, etc. I also met up with Erik (from Vina del Mar) and his new wife Cecilia and took them to dinner. Kent and Sharla Marcum were wonderful hosts...Thanx!

The conference began on Thursday and ended on Saturday, where I spoke 6 times. The theme that was given to me was "Knowing More About the Holy Spirit". My main focus was "The Power of God Within Us", summarizing God's natured; His equipping of His servants throughout history; His work of redemtion with us; and His equipping of his servants today. I went over time on almost every ocassion (so what is new), but I believe everyone left encouraged.

On Sunday I was also blessed with the opportunity to preach at the North Quito church, where I also went over time. That afternoon I met with the mission team planning on coming to Sucre, Bolivia in January. It is made up of 2 families, 2 single men and one single woman. We met for about 4 hours talking about Bolivia and their team.

On Monday I spent most of the day with Erik and Cecilia. It was a blessed day! We reminisced, looked at pictures, ate and spent time with Cecilia's family. I finally got back to the Marcums about 9 pm.

On Tuesday I met with the faculty of the Escuela Quitena de Estudios Biblicos and elders of the North Quito church. They started arriving at about 10:30 a.m. I met with the wives with whom I shared a 15 minute devotional for about 30 minutes, and then met with the guys. We had a wonderful time. By 3 pm most everyone was gone, so about 3:15 pm Kent Marcum took me to the airport. I finally arrived home the following day about 11 a.m. Trish was waiting for me with a huge bear hug...I WAS GREAT TO BE HOME AGAIN!

I am so grateful to Kent Marcum, and the church in North Quito for inviting me this conference. It was an honor for me to share from God's word about His power within us to brethren from Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. I am also thankful to Austin Ave. and all of our supporters for providing the means for us to serve God here in Latin America. This was an awesome experience for me, just a small time servant in a tremendous mission field.

Please pray for all of the efforts that are going on in the countries I just mentioned. The school in Quito is doing a great job, preparing and sending harvesters into the fields. Please continue to pray for us here in Cochabamba, as we continue to make progress in our work here.

As Erik would say..."Your friend and brother in arms"

Butch and Trish

Picutres at a later date! They just won't load! :(
Please "clic" on the Flickr photos. Look at our family photos for new posts.

Saturday, August 05, 2006



That's right! As we make progress "Pisimanta Pisi", we have made a very important move and secured a place of worship and meeting for the church here in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Yesterday we signed the contract, and on Monday, August 7th, we will be getting the keys to the churches new place.
It is a two story store front just 1 1/2 blocks from Ave. Ayacucho, the main avenue which runs north to south in Cochabamba. It is also only 1 1/2 blocks from our apartment, which is very convenient. It has a total of around 2500 sq. ft., with room enough to seat close 200 people, and plenty of space for classrooms.

God has blessed us, and we are grateful to Him for this place.

Pray for us as we continue to lay foundations for our ministries here in Cochabamba.

Butch and Trish


I bet that title really caught your eye!!

It is a Qheshwa phrase that means "little by little". The point is, we are making progress in our "getting ready" phase, Pisimanta Pisi!

As you already know, we found a location where we will be operating our Contact Center out of. Well, pisimanta pisi, we have been working on it, getting it ready for...habitation. We have made quite a bit of progress on the remodeling, and we have recently finished the painting phase. Next we will be working on some electrical installations then getting the place furnished, which will include some cabinet building. Look at our previous post and compare the pics to the following pics taken about...30 minutes ago.

This is the main entrance to the Contact Center where our reception area will be located. There will be a reception desk, chairs and a stand where we can place tracts and other literature.Two offices and a reading room is the next section. The offices are small, but large enough for a desk and chair; just a place where we can work out of. The Reading Room is the largest of the three. Here we will have a table, chairs and a small couch, where people can come in and read some of the material available, or listen to tapes or watch a video. In the mezzanine we have remodeled, adding three more larger offices. You can see them in the following pics.Towards the back of the first floor we have our Classroom/Conference Room. We have room for 35 chairs, and this is where we met for worship last week.

Remember us in your prayers as we continue to make progress "Pisimanta Pisi."

Butch and Trish

Monday, July 03, 2006


For most of us, in the States, election day is like most other days, except for the fact that you make arrangements to take about 30 minutes out of your normal routine to go and vote, then you go home and maybe follow the progress of the "scrutiny."

In Bolivia this is not so! This last Sunday, elections were held for two reasons:

First of all, the people were voting for those who will be involved in the writing of the new constitution. By the way, for those of you who didn't know, the MAS party (movimiento al socialismo) won about 60% of the seats.

Secondly, they were voting YES or NO for departemental autonomy. Boliva, is divided up politically into departments, but unlike the U.S. they do not have autonomous governments, and are governed by the central government in La Paz. By the way, NO won.

Now that is not necessarily what impressed me about election day here. What impressed us the most was the actual election day. You see, on Friday we found out that on election day (Sunday the 2nd), no vehicles are allowed on the streets and everything is closed. On election day, Cochabamba is like a ghost town! It was amazing how quiet it was, except for the noise a some kids playing soccer in the middle of the street, or families riding by on their bikes. What a contrast to a normal day in Cochabamba. We are already ready for the next election day!

A normal day in front of our apartment.

Election day in front of our apartment. One of the main streets on election day.

Butch and Trish


Atleast we look like golfers!

You might hear some missionaries mention how the golf course can be a mission field. Well, us guys here on the Cochabamba Mission Team have finally found that new mission field. Actually I guess I should be sincere about it, and call it what it really is...missionary recreation! Atleast that is what it is for now!

Las Saturday, July 1st, we all hopped in Josh's Land Rover and headed to "Campo de Amiraya". It is a golf course which is aspiring to someday become a country club, and for now are welcoming us to play any time, since they can really use our green fees.

Hole #1. "This is going to be great!"

It was great to get out of the city, enjoy some silence, and try shooting some of them birdies, which by the way never came around. We had a great time, and are looking forward to many other days of...heading to that mission field!



Every other year, Bill Richardson, former co-worker of ours in Santiago, Chile, organizes a survey group made up of students from Harding University. Their objective is to gather information about possible mission points of South America. As a matter of fact, one of his teams scouted out Cochabamba, Bolivia, and shared valuable information with the Austin Ave. church and the Cochabamba Mission Team not too long ago.

Well, as we all know, God works in mysterious ways, and now he returned to Cochabamba with a group of 11 to continue gathering information, but information offered by the team here. It was great to be on the other side of the table for a while, and be the ones answering questions (questions we actually had answers for) and not the ones asking them.

We had a great time, and enjoyed a couple of meals together. We are excited about the possibility of six of them returning to La Paz to work in that city. To one of their questions Drew answered, "we'll help you out if you choose to target La Paz!" It would be great to have yet another team of missionaries in Bolivia.

Please pray the God will continue to open doors for more laborers in this part of the world that has been neglected for such a long time. Thank all of you who make it possible for us to be a part of such a work!

Another exciting aspect of Bill's visit was to lay some groundwork for an internship program here in Cochabamba. Nothing has been set yet, but both the team and Bill are excited about the possibility of bringing summer interns to Cochabamba and helping them get excited about mission work in South America.

As a matter of fact, in a way we have already begun the program in a very informal manner. Lance Wiser, a Harding student, has decided to stay in Cochabamaba for 2 weeks to go through the Runa Wasi Language School homestay program. He enjoys his classes, the family he is staying with and hanging out with us, including JD.

Butch and Trish

Sunday, July 02, 2006


On June 26th, Trish and I celebrated our 25th anniversary! We couldn't have asked for a better gift than to spend it with JD, Denice, Daniel and the whole Cochabamba Mission Team.

25 years seem like a long time when we consider that our oldest, Denice is 23 and JD 20; when we consider that we first arrived on the mission field in 1990; we met in June of 1978 (some of our team members weren't even born yet). For some people it is a whole life time. Yet these years have been wonderful and it really doesn't even seem that long. We are ready for the next 25! Thank you all for your prayers, notes, cards and gifts.

Usually you hear of people taking an exciting trip or an adventurous cruise for their 25th anniversary. For us is was a blessing to have the kids with us, and to be able to spend this special time with our team mates. To celebrate this special day we took then and the whole team to the Brazilian Rodizio Restaurant. We couldn't have had a more wonderful time than with those whom are the closest to us right now. We ate all kinds of meats, including the "utter" kind of meat, enjoyed all sorts of salads, vegetables and desserts. To top it off, Trish got diamond ring to replace the one she got for our wedding 25 years ago and was lost...somewhere, sometime in one of the many places we have lived.

We are grateful that, Denice, Jonathan, Daniel, Billie Gill, Gary, Laura, Nathan, Drew, Jamie, Josh, Julie, Michaela, Jeff, Katie and of course JuJu honored us with their presence.

25 years...what a blessing!

Butch and Trish