Over the past week or so, I have begun to realize that only by major acts of God can child sex abuse be significantly reduced. It is so incredibly prevalent all over the world.
35 million children, 30 million of them girls, are sexually abused every year globally. Most are repeatedly abused resulting in the total number of child sexual abuses rising into the hundreds of millions, and possibly billions over an 18 year generation.
To my mind, significantly reducing CSA is completely impossible the way we are going about it. But, with God, anything is possible.
The following story gives me hope that it is possible to do what seems almost impossible. Gus is a friend of mine with a remarkable story of God's leading and provision. Please read and pass it on.
|La Paz, Bolivia|
From those humble beginnings, Gus could never have imagined that he would one day be responsible, in partnership with God, for delivering the Gospel to 7,000,000 people.
Life was good for Gus. He met and married a beautiful woman named Martha, and they began having children.
One Saturday, Gus was in town where he bumped into an acquaintance who was a night watchman at a sawmill. They weren't that acquainted with each other, but they knew each other somewhat and had a casual chat.
Monday morning, while Gus was working in the bush, word came from town that the mill where this man was a watchman burned down, and the night watchman died of a heart attack. He was somewhere in his 50s, but he dropped dead.
|Gus Schlamp and some schoolchildren|
Determined to start life over again, Gus didn’t move down the road, or to another part of B.C., He decided that he was going to do it in another country, Gus investigated Costa Rica. However, he ended up moving to Bolivia where he bought ‘farm’ land consisting of 247 acres of heavy jungle, with a river bordering the north end, and a lake on the south end. He then bought a bulldozer and built seven kms of road to the property.
The first year he lived in a tent under a straw roof, in the yard of the people from whom he bought the land. After the road was built and some clearing done, Gus built his house, shop and garage all under one large metal roof. He then started clearing the jungle and planting rice. He also had some pasture with cattle.
During his time on the farm, Gus attended a Spanish church in a village called Santa Maria 20 km away. But to get there he had to reach the main highway, which meant crossing the river by ferry for the first 2 1⁄2 years before a nice bridge was built.
For about six years, Gus developed his farm quite successfully, but during this time he became rather concerned about the salvation of the many children throughout Bolivia. When he would see children the question that would always come to mind was this: “What opportunity will these children ever have to come to know God and His eternal salvation?”
The Lord developed that question to a very specific call and led Gus into His ministry to bring the Word of God to all the public schools throughout Bolivia.
About the end of those six years, Gus found that had some of the Lord’s funds on hand, tithe money that he hadn’t yet disbursed, and he did not know where to designate it. Then it came to mind that he should purchase some children’s Bible story books and give one to each family in his church. He did.
After that, he felt like the Lord was saying, (that’s fine but there are more children). So he thought maybe he should do this to other churches as well. But then the question came to mind saying, “Gus, why do you only think of the children in church?”.
That question hit fairly hard because Gus felt that the Lord wanted him to do this over all of Bolivia, and that was a much bigger project than he could even imagine. There were so many questions like; where would the material come from, where would the funds come from to purchase the material, how would it get distributed, what material should be distributed?
While thinking on all this the Lord gave him the Bible verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:24 “Faithful is He who calls you who also will do it”. By now you have probably figured out that Gus doesn’t do anything half-way; perhaps that’s why God chose him for this great challenge. So, Gus sold his farm and all that he had and bought a vehicle to transport the material. He also purchased two apartments for rental purposes to generate some income, and he rented a room together with a secure car garage in the city of Santa Cruz.
Then he ordered 500 children’s Bible Story Books from Ohio, USA for $700. Gus distributed these to schoolchildren and teachers in a town north of Santa Cruz called Rurenabaque where he had done a survey to get an idea of the number of students in schools. Gus was very excited to have completed such a neat project, but the feeling was very short lived.
|Unloading a container of booklets|
This was enough to give him a really good start. Montero was a smaller town North of Santa Cruz where he knew a pastor who was very excited about this mission. He would provide him with a bed for the night and also arrange for either himself or another pastor to go with him for the day as he distributed the booklets. During this process he met up with many pastors, and this is where he met with Rene Estevez Ordonez who has been with this work ever since.
Gus soon realized that his funds would run out and that funds would have to come in from outside sources. Therefore, he felt the need to make himself accountable somehow and, so, developed a board of directors consisting of some Canadians and some Bolivianos.
He also realized that support would likely come from Canada and, so, he also formed a board in Canada consisting of persons who have been in Bolivia and have seen the work first hand. Since then they have become a charitable organization known as Next Generation Ministries Inc. (NGM).
NGM is committed to the following ministries in Bolivia:
2. Work together with evangelical pastors to bring this about.
3. Supply each student with the Word of God.
4. Supply each teacher with Bible study booklets.
5. Encourage these helping pastors to follow up on all these students and teachers.
The country schools only go to grade six. This means that every six years they will all be new students. So it would be good to cover Bolivia every three to six years.
What do the materials consist of and how are they produced?
The material is in booklet form and it is mostly Scripture. Actually it is the Bible in condensed form with all the major doctrines of the Gospel. They are printed and shipped for free from WMP (World Missions Press).
This is the cover and second page of the booklet.
NGM’s access to Bibles has been very limited, but when they have Bibles or New Testaments they try to leave at least one with each school and, if possible, with each teacher. Their next shipment is going to have 1,250,000 Scripture Booklets.
What has happened as a result of this mission in Bolivia?
Since this mission started in 2005 the gospel has been presented to more than 7,000,000 teachers and students, and will soon exceed 7,000,000. Almost every schoolchild and teacher in Bolivia has received the booklet. Today NGM has workers in Cobija, Trinidad, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, La Paz and Sucre.
Recently the door has opened to Peru, but with our existing mission, we are not able to use funds that are given to NGM for the work in Peru.
This container of Scripture booklets would be placed into the hands of the Assemblies of God, which is a very large organization in Peru. Gus spoke to a leading pastor in Lima who told him that he has the oversight of 6,000 pastors in Peru. So, it appears that they have all their workers in place and will make good use of the material, with God’s blessing.
This summer (2015) Gus made a trip into northern BC and Alberta to secure more funding for the ministry. He spoke in churches and small groups and found many new supporters. However, when Gus returned home (Abbotsford, BC) he realized that he was $1000 short of his target. The next morning a check for $1000 showed up in the mail. God does this kind of stuff all the time with Gus.
His co-workers in Bolivia received a large container of scriptures that was destined for the hard-to-reach northern part of Bolivia. Roads are poor and often impassable in rainy season. They had been given a quote of $3000 for shipping the scriptures by truck to the north. While Gus was raising the money here in Canada, his co-worker in Bolivia found a trucking company that travels to the north every day, and they were willing to deliver the scriptures for $400. Consequently, the ministry can afford to replace a badly needed computer in Bolivia and pay the full-time employees. It's amazing how God provides to those doing His work.
It is just amazing how God can use one humble but determined man to begin and run a work whereby the Gospel reaches 7,000,000 people – perhaps an entire generation of an entire country have the opportunity to receive the assurance of salvation in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Is it any wonder that they call him the Apostle of the Andes.
But Gus would want to make sure you know that this is not a story about him; it’s a story of what God can do, and he would give Him all the glory which is right. But I would like to point out that for God to glorify Himself He needs servants who listen, are willing, have faith, and are courageous. Gus is such a man. God bless him.
If you would like to be a part of this incredible ministry, please visit NGM’s website: www.nextgenerationbolivia.org
You also have the opportunity to support NGM’s Supplier: www.wmpress.org