I came to El Alfarero on a Monday afternoon, I asked if they had available rooms for rent, They told me about the services for university students in crisis and I really didn’t pay much attention to that. A few weeks later the crisis showed up: I felt bad; lonely, had unanswered questions, depression came to me.
I clung to El Alfarero in full, the local director is my compatriot, who came to Santa Cruz with the same goal as me, He supported me in everything, and became a father to me. The love they have for their children is amazing and I love it. I became friends with everyone, absolutely everyone: reception, office, cashier, cleaning staff, kitchen, directors, all of them.
I’m a volunteer and I’ve been a waiter, an assistant cook, but the most relaxing thing to me was being at the sink, washing the dishes and better if it was upstairs (main kitchen).
El Alfarero besides helping me with a job, also helped me spiritually. My relationship with God grew closer, it made me realize that being in Santa Cruz had a reason. Things are not always the way you want but according to God’s plan. The Lord has blessed my life in many ways, this is one of them. Asking if they had rooms for rent resulted into this place becoming my home, one that’s a great comfort and is there for me.
El Alfarero is a family that moulds lives and I am one of them.
This is Brenda. Brenda came to us several months ago on a work placement from her university. After several weeks of working as a volunteer in the Cafe, and doing different surveys and investigations, she approached Pavel, our Director, and told him that she had never been in a place like ours, and she was impacted with how we work and care for people. She said that she felt a peace with us that she never felt elsewhere. Several days later, whilst washing dishes together, Graham asked Brenda if she would be interested in knowing how she could experience this peace wherever she went, and not just in our building. Brenda said she would like that, and so, along with Beto, our kitchen assistant, Graham explained about knowing Jesus and prayed with her. Her reaction was just great, talking about feeling a peace, and feeling hot and tingly. The Holy Spirit came to her visibly that day. A couple of days ago, with a big smile, she told Graham that ‘it’ was really working, and she was experiencing a real peace like she had never felt before.
Please pray for Brenda and her new-found faith.
It has been encouraging to see a number of new volunteers who are forming part of the team. It has been good to begin to get to know some of them on a deeper level as they have asked to chat. In this crazy photo of the kitchen staff and volunteers taken last week, there is a young man in an orange t-shirt. His name is Misael, and he has been coming to the Alfarero as a volunteer for a few weeks. Last week, he asked to speak to Graham, and in a long chat about his life, and the problems he has been facing in terms of relationships, he recognised that he needed God to be Lord of his life, and made the decision to commit his life to God.
Please pray Misael, as he continues to grow in Christ.
You may recognize the picture of Samantha and Andrea, the sisters who came to Alfarero occasionally and ended up being faithful volunteers. Since then, Samantha has started a new relationship with Christ and is involved in a local church. She is growing fast and is showing leadership potential. Andrea has not made a decision yet but continues to spend a great deal of time at Alfarero. Their brother, Emmanuel, died after a long battle with cancer. Over 15 members of Alfarero went to the wake to support the girls and their family, and Pavel, the local Director of Alfarero, was asked by the family, who are not believers, to share a few words and pray for the family.
Please be in prayer for the girls and their family as they come to terms with the loss of Emmanuel and go through the process of grief. Pray that Samantha can be a light for her family at this hard time and that we as an Alfarero community would be able to support the family well.
Alejandra has been one of the most faithful volunteers over the last 2 weeks, coming every day. She is studying veterinary science at the state university which is 10 minutes walk away. She goes to a new church which does not really have any young people of her age and she was looking for friendship and a community. When asked why she came every day, she said that Alfarero felt like ‘home’ and that she was accepted as part of the community and loved being with the other volunteers. She has large ‘gaps’ between her classes and instead of hanging around with nothing to do, she is making the most of her time both giving and receiving. She is trying to encourage her fellow students to come and visit the cafe.
Praise God that each day new volunteers are joining the team. Most, like Alejandra, are from a church background, but others are not.
Pray that is would not just be an accepting community but transforming community as people meet God for the first time or learn to go deeper in their relationship with Him.
The photo above shows the 4 students who are taking the Masters course with us (from left to right Gary, Yngry, Fernanda and Lauren). We have had a good start to the Masters with 4 courses running at the moment: Biblical Counselling on Mondays, Discipling Disciplers on Tuesdays, Chronological Bible on Wednesdays and Sanctity of Human Life on Thursdays.
Praise God for the 4 students and pray that they would not just learn information but allow God to transform their lives.
As we have mentioned previously, Melvin Cuellar works as the Manager of Food Services (cafe and events). He has lots of experience of managing food chains which is a blessing to us. He began work on February and despite being bombarded with information and ideas, as well as an intensive training weekend (we all received training Friday, Saturday and Sunday in planning and evaluation), he is quickly capturing the vision and direction. He has begun daily meetings with Yeyo, Lauren, Pavel and Graham to finalize all the details that still need to be done in order to open the cafe in March. He is organized and efficient and we are already seeing some results.
Pray for Melvin and his team as they prepare to open the cafe, that they would have energy, creativity, efficiency, and wisdom in each decision that they make.
Jhonny and Luana are married and Luana works as the accountant at Alfarero, Santa Cruz. Recently they both took the discipleship training course. Jhonny commented: “The Lord has challenged me in terms of how much quality time I spend with Him in my devotions and to keep a record of what He is doing in my life, of what He is saying to me and of what He wants to do in my life. Also God has challenged me in terms of a deeper commitment to Him, and my call to be a model who reflects Christ through my life”. Luana adds,”I initially took the course because of my work, but it touched my life and challenged my personal relationship with God. I realized that unless I had an intimate relationship with God I would have nothing to give to the people I am trying to disciple.”
Pray for Jhonny and Luana to be wise parents to their two daughters, and as they minister and disciple in their local church. Pray too for Luana in her role on the leadership team and the big responsibility that she has in terms of the finances of the project.
Ariana is studying two different degrees, one in the private university and one in the state university. She comments about the discipleship training course: ¨This course has been very revealing to me about what discipleship really is, as well as confirming many things that God has been speaking to me about in my personal life. The good habits that I was beginning to develop in my personal relationship with God have been strengthened. It has helped me to understand more about myself and how these things affect my relationship with God. Finally, during the course I recognized areas in my life that still need to be healed by God.¨
Enrique is a university student and one of our volunteers who has just graduated from the discipleship training course. He says, “In reality this course was the opening which showed me the kind of relationship that God really wants to have with me. I thought that I came to the course to make me feel better about myself and to increase my knowledge, but I was confronted by God’s call to me as His child and to allow Him to really be my Abba father.”
Pray for Enrique that he would continue to understand more about what it means to have a relationship of intimacy with Abba father.
El Alfarero helped me a lot when I was thinking about a complete surrender to God’s service.
I firmly believe that the work done here is of great value to society.
Juan Carlos Villarroel
Campus Crusade for Christ Staff Bolivia