For me, Bolivia is home in many ways and I am thrilled to have an opportunity to serve and minister once again in this beautiful country and with such wonderful people.Al Lotz, Surge Senior VP
As part of Surge International, Al is involved with Manos de Amor, which began as a soup kitchen years ago and is now more of a foster home located in Comarapa, Bolivia. Al is on the U.S. Board.
Bolivia is a land with amazing variety. Variety in flora and fauna–gorgeous mountains, valleys, plains and jungle. Variety in cuisine—all kinds of fruits, vegetables and meats, all translating into dietary delights. Variety in people—a host of indigenous people groups with unique languages, customs, and cultures. We are so blessed to be able to interact with such a vast wealth of diversity. The exchange of ideas and values with people containing different world views is mutually beneficial and we hope that it will lead to lasting relationships not only between us mortals but more importantly with the eternal Creator of the Universe.
Our focus, for the time being, is centered in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, which has been labeled the fastest growing city in South America. One of the partnerships we are enjoying is with the Hogar de Niños—Stansberry where we have lodged on several trips and assisted in meeting the needs of the orphan kids. We have now provided shirts, shoes, balls and even a wheel chair for the elderly mother of one of the house parents.
Mario and Eva are good friends that have been instrumental in our association and involvement with this Christian institution. Our visits are designed to draw along side and help out as we are able in this vital service of nurturing these children. Along with the orphanage, Stansberry also runs a day care for young children and serves the community with an after school program.
As of our 2014 trip, we will also be partnering with a Futból Academy that began with a single soccer ball in late 2012 and has now grown to good number of children in at least 4 different age categories. Again our vision is not so much to be the primary financial provider for the academy, but rather to rub shoulders, share vision, and encourage one another in providing alternative activities for children who need this attention. Even when families cannot afford the academy, we are determined to not turn kids away.
Many young people love soccer but have little opportunity to play, let alone receive good instruction. At the very core, our vision is not only to bring professional level soccer instruction, but also to share “divine principles,” as Filsner, the Bolivian founder and coach states.
Filsner’s academy plays a significant role in reaching our vision in the future of expanding to villages in the country where there is even less opportunity for children to engage in a soccer camp. Would you be willing to join us in this endeavor?
Already in the works is the possibility of partnering with a man who is attempting to share Christ with his own indigenous people group. His goal is to build relationships in a village at the geographical heart of the ethnic group where they are very closed to outsiders. Struggling with how to engage the people, he discovered they love the game of soccer. Community leaders said,”we all love the game of soccer, but we always lose our games, so we would welcome some soccer training.” Wow! What an amazing opportunity to make a difference. We will need financial resources, human resources and soccer gear to achieve this goal. Would you consider helping?