The city of Santa Cruz, situated in the eastern lowlands of Bolivia, is one of those frontier places where cultures meet and traditions are challenged. Close to the borders of Paraguay and Brazil, Santa Cruz is a mixture of Spanish, Indian, Guarani, and Brazilian cultures. Peruvians and Brazilians sell their goods in the main square. In her streets, one sees old Mennonites from distant colonies, Quechua Indians who have migrated from the highlands in search of land, and Japanese and Korean colonists settling in as Germans and Jews did 50 years ago.
Santa Cruz is a window into what missions is going to be in the decades to come. A Korean Presbyterian missionary who barely speaks Spanish has almost single-handedly established a Christian university that serves 1,500 students and trains medical doctors, dentists, engineers, agronomists, and ministers. A Colombian couple, volunteers with the Mennonite Central Committee, live in one of the poorest barrios of the city and minister to the poor in cooperation with the local Catholic priest, himself an American missionary.
A Brazilian evangelist has brought a team of 20 young people from Sao Paulo to teach them how to do missions and survive by faith without receiving any money from a mission board. They are challenging Bolivians to join their team of missionaries to Muslim countries.
Alejandro Escobar, born in Argentina and a citizen of Peru, works in Santa Cruz with Canadian and American missionaries and Bolivian experts in a holistic mission project. They use the latest computer technology, marketing, and management theory to create jobs and encourage entrepreneurism for thousands of families in the region.
In the approaching millennium, the remarkable work at Santa Cruz will become ...1