Bolivia News

  • Uneasy Truce in Quechua Village
    Flag of Bolivia

    On March 10, the Persecution and Prayer Alert reported on a church building being destroyed in the Quechua village of Chucarasi, one hundred miles southeast of the city of Oruro, Bolivia. The local villagers blamed the evangelical Christians for a severe hail storm (for more information, click here).

    According to an April 23 report from Compass Direct, a truce has been worked out which requires that the evangelicals "respect" traditional animist customs in return for the right to continue holding worship services in the community. They will not be allowed to rebuild their building. Of the thirty-six evangelicals in the community, three are reported to have returned to animistic practices, due to community pressure. However, the majority remain strong in their faith. Gregorio Conde, who introduced evangelical Christianity to the village, said, "We declared in the meeting that, although we might die for it, we are going to follow Christ. We have vowed to serve the Lord and will never give up."

  • Mob Blames Christians for Hail Storm
    Carnaval celebrations in Oruro, Bolivia
    Carnaval celebrations in Oruro, Bolivia

    Recognizing the pagan and sinful nature of the Carnaval festivities celebrated in their community, members of an evangelical church in the Quechua village of Chucarasi, one hundred miles southeast of the city of Oruro, Bolivia, chose to spend the festival days working in their fields. However on February 27, two days after Carnaval ended, a severe hail storm struck the area, damaging the crops. According to a March 8 report from Compass Direct, the villagers began blaming the evangelicals for the storm, saying they had angered the spirits by not participating in the Carnaval festivities.

    A village meeting was called and the evangelicals were summoned. Only one came, Fortunato Bernal, who believed his elected position in the community would protect him. The rest of the church members gathered to pray on a mountainside. When he arrived, Bernal was beaten unconscious by the mob that had gathered. When the rest of the church members did not arrive, the mob completely destroyed the church building. When church leaders filed an official complaint, demanding reparations for the damage, the sub-prefect of the province sided with the animists, refusing to arrest those responsible for the attack and setting the value of the building at a fraction of the actual cost of replacement.

    As a result of the ruling in their favour, community leaders have begun insisting that the evangelicals renounce their faith or leave the community. Church leaders have been seeking outside support but community members are threatening to kill anyone who attempts to intervene.

    Pray for a peaceful resolution to this situation. Pray that the love of Christ will shine from the lives of the believers.