The Body of Christ Works Together in Chuma

September 19, 2017 • Bolivia
Seven-year-old Angel is eager to help our volunteers who are constructing a church building in his village.
Lauren Clines served as a Samaritan’s Purse intern in Bolivia.

Sweat running down his brow, he pickaxed at the mountainous terrain that was to be flattened for the church’s foundation. Then, without calling any attention to himself, he laid down the axe for a shovel. He shoveled out the dirt he had just loosened, and then did it all again and again until lunchtime.

Locals pitched in with the construction.

Locals pitched in with the construction.

He never complained. The team never complained. This is what selfless service looks like when the Body of Christ works together. Everyone does what they can do and together they move—or flatten—mountains.

The construction team arrived in Bolivia at the crack of dawn and set out the next day for Chuma, a remote village in the mountains of Bolivia, where they would stay for the next 10 days. After a day-long car ride through the plains of the Altiplano, and along the dirt roads that curve up and down mountains, the team arrived in Chuma.

The five men and one woman, along with two translators, were to help with the construction of a church building in the small community of Canihuaya, about a 30-minute drive from Chuma through mud-filled roads that hugged the mountains on one side and overlooked steep drops on the other. The construction team came from different parts of the United States and different walks of life for one purpose: To be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.

Every day, the team gathered for breakfast and shared in devotions before heading out to Canihuaya. As they arrived at the church construction site, they greeted the locals who were helping with the construction and then gloved up and got to work. The team mixed a lot of cement, learned how to lay bricks, and flattened a lot of mountain, but their most impactful work was what they did with their hearts.

Church construction underway in Chuma.

Church construction underway in Chuma.

The team served selflessly. Although tired, they shared in evangelistic activities with children in the village. They encouraged and befriended the boys who wanted to help with construction. When 7-year-old Angel rolled up a wheel barrel and asked for dirt, the team loaded it up. When 6-year-old Willie and his older brother Augustine asked, “Cuantos?” or “How many?” with respect to the bricks that were being carried to the construction site, the team gladly jumped in to practice their Spanish.

The work was taxing yet also rewarding. The team delighted in seeing the smiles on the faces of their Canihuayan brothers and sisters in Christ.

The team never complained, even on the long, tiring days. There was only joy, gratefulness, and love on behalf of the team and on behalf of the Canihuaya congregation.

These selfless volunteers were not building the church—they are the Church. They worked alongside Bolivians and together demonstrated a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ, working together in Jesus’ Name and for His Kingdom.