This morning Steve and Mary Hawthorne are visiting us and will be in the fellowship hall after the first and second services. The Hawthornes are missionaries with SIM, an international missions organization based in the United States. SIM, with over 4000 workers in 65 countries, is dedicated to “Responding to need, Proclaiming the Gospel, and Equipping the church.”
The Hawthornes live in Potosi, Bolivia where they’ve established a medical clinic and organized various outreaches to the Quechua church and community. Potosi is a regional capital and sits in the Andes Mountains at over 13,000 feet elevation. Local history is steeped in Cerro Rico, the nearby mountain, with its silver mines. There, thousands of workers, described as working in “medieval” conditions, toil to eke out a living in increasingly unproductive mines. Depression, family abuse, and drug usage are frequent life themes. The clinic serving this community is located near the Potosi transportation hub, giving “out-of-towners” easier access to medical care.
Contemporary religion, brought by Spanish conquest, coupled with the traditional Andean religion, results in a confusing blend of beliefs that draw the Quechua away from becoming dedicated followers of Jesus. Steve and Mary maintain the clinic, support their local church, educate to expand economic opportunity, and love the Quechua people. Their tireless efforts have become beacons of light pointing people to Jesus.
The challenges to their ministry are many. Frustrations come from within the Christian community as well as forces outside the church. While GBC has financially supported the Hawthornes for many years, our support for them needs to include frequent and fervent prayer. Please pray that God would encourage them during their time of “home leave” here in the States.