IMM was approached by Douglas and Margaret Edmonds, at that time working with Latin Link, a British based missionary society, with a project to supply materials such as cement, wooden rafters, corrugated roofing , doors and windows for a simple church building for the mining community of Poopo. This remote town is situated on the Bolivian Altiplano, high up in the Andes mountains. It has both redundant and working mines - it is very traditional, with adobe brick houses with corrugated or thatched roofs.
Latin Link sent out one of their teams of young Christians from the UK taking part in a Short Term Experience Project (STEP) and they competed the building of the church in 5 weeks.
In 1993 IMM USA learned about Bolivian miners worshipping Satan when underground in Potosi, Bolivia. This belief continues today, that God owns everything above the ground but Satan owns everything underground. There they offer daily sacrifices of blood, alcohol and tobacco, believing they will receive protection underground and find a good supply of precious minerals.
It was this discovery that propelled IMM USA to make their first visit to Bolivia in 1994. Since then, annual mission trips have been made, including underground in the mines. Statues of Tio (Satan) on every level of most mines, present a frightening site. Several years ago, when visiting the renowned 400 year old Potosi silver mine, we discovered that there are about 10,000 miners working in it, but only two were Christians.
Today, IMM helps support approx. 15 workers in the high Andes mining areas of Bolivia. They work with five different organisations, including the UCE (Union of Evangelical Churches)UBB (Baptist), Brethren, CCU (University student ministry similar to Intervarsity) and Kachi (Salt - sponsored in part by Living Truth Ministries in the USA).
IMM supported workers are accountable to local missionaries and church leaders, and serve in an itinerant capacity, usually with more than one church. The goal is to build up a church, and then move on to build another. Evangelism, preaching, discipleship, counseling, and other means of building the body of the Christ, result in salvation of lost souls and a multiplication of the Gospel witness in many remote Quechua speaking mining areas. These areas are the weakest spiritually in Bolivia.
The pictures seen at right were taken during such a trip by Westwood Baptist Church North Carolina, USA, in November 2007. They worked with two specific churches, one in Huanuni and the other in Uncia, both near Llallagua, a large, remote tin mining town.
Please pray for the Bolivian miners and their families, that they would come to know the love of Christ, receive the free gift of salvation, and be free forever from the bondage of Satan.
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Company Registration No: 90484 | Charity No: 221853