Back in the U.S.A.

We are finally back in the United States! We had some problems returning due to COVID regulations and testing. We originally we supposed arrive in Grand Rapids, Mi May 30th. But Laura received a false negative on her CV19 test which caused us to miss a week. After under going more tests to make sure indeed she was negative, we rescheduled everything and arrive June 6th at night. We are living in Dr. Felch’s GR home for the next three months. We are grateful for his and Susan’s willingness to graciously allow us to us their home. We are about two blocks from Calvin Seminary off of Breton.

We left Sucre just in time as there have been more lockdowns and regulations due to increasing COVID problems. We are continuing to pray for Laura’s family and the many believers who are suffering in Bolivia right now.

It’s an adjustment for sure returning from the mission field. We have enjoyed the nice warm weather at this time in Grand Rapids. We are slowly getting used to life back in the States, as there are several things that just simply take time to adjust to. The boys as always are doing well and really have amazed me with this big change in our lives. We left Bolivia with a lot of tears shed but we are also excited about the next chapter of our lives.

This summer we are finishing up our work for the mission which involves visiting some churches and donors. We can’t visit everyone like we would like to but we will try to visit as many as possible. We will be spending time with Glenn’s family as we continue as a family to heal from the death of Glenn’s brother Kevin.

Thank you for your prayers and support as we close this chapter of our lives with the Lord and look expectantly for what the Lord will do for our next chapter.

Last Visit to Cochabamba

Last week we had the opportunity to visit the Bolivian city of Cochabamba one last time. Laura has a sister who lives there and it was our last opportunity to see her and her kids for who knows how long in the future. We spent the Holy Week with them worshipping, telling stories and sharing new memories. We went on some nature walks, played board games, celebrated birthdays, and enjoyed buying our food at a supermarket with a shopping cart. Funny how even some of the smallest things are so enjoyable.

Cochabamba has one of the few bowling allies in the entire country, so we took advantage and played a few frames which was really enjoyable. We were all terrible but we had a fun time with Christian brothers and sisters.

It was Nico’s first time bowling. He enjoyed the fact that he could play the game with his big brother Gabriel. Their cousins also had a good time as it’s not often people in Bolivia go bowling.

After a year and a half of crazy COVID restrictions, it felt good to get out and do something fun with the family. The boys played air hockey for the first time as well. It was an experience filled with good last memories of Cochabamba.

Finishing Up Well

We announced publicly last month that we made the decision to return to the US. We feel like this chapter in our lives is over and we are trusting God for the next steps in this journey. There are many mixed emotions in this process. Lord willing, I might blog some of my thoughts as we transition out. But for now as we process this change, there is enough to talk about.

Basically, we have to sell everything we own in Bolivia and start over again in the States. For our family, we have done this numerous times. When we took a call to go to California and serve at Oasis Community church, we took a few things with us to the west coast. Then when we came back for a year of fundraising in Michigan, we had to down size. When we left for the mission field in 2014 we sold everything. And now here we are again needing to do the same. It’s one of the realities of a missionary family and being in ministry.

Selling our house in Palta Loma

The two biggest items we need to sell is our house and car. Houses can sometimes take years to sell but we want to avoid that. We pray that we might be able to offer the house at a lower price and sell it quickly. We still have a loan on the house so that needs to be paid off and the paperwork taken care of before we leave.

We also will have to start saying our goodbyes to Laura’s family members. This is one of the harder things we need to do. Laura’s family has been a major support of our ministry here. At Vida y Luz Christian school we basically worked together for many years seeing one another five days a week as we sought to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with students and families at the school. We are thankful for our time with Laura’s family. A few family members now live in a different cities and we will be planning on flying and visiting them at the end of the month, Lord willing.

The other step that we must take is helping the church finish well. If pandemic cases continue to lower, we might be able to meet some people face to face to say our goodbyes. Otherwise, we will need to do it over zoom. There is paperwork to be done for the church as well so we will be working to get that completed by the time May comes around.

God has been faithful to us, even in this difficult season of change and transition. We have seen God’s faithful hand guiding us and providing for us. It’s always sad ending one chapter of life and ministry. But we know God has us in the palm of His hand. We know that God is sovereign, even other this situation. We might not understand fully but we can trust our faithful Heavenly Father that he will bring glory to His name through us if we surrender our own selfish desires and walk by faith.

What will the next chapter hold? We don’t fully know but what we do know is the God will work out everything for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose (Rm 8:28).

To Miami and back again….

Last week, I traveled to Miami to pick up some home school materials. Laura and the boys stayed in Sucre due to the pandemic and cost of flying just for a few days. I had never visited Miami before so it was a nice time. It was in the mid 70’s which was nice as its been a cold summer in Sucre with the rain. Highs of 48 recently which is pretty cold when you don’t have insulation in your house or heaters.

I got to visit with my parents who have drove down from Michigan to see me. I felt very blessed to be able to spend some time with them. We were able to cry together over the death of my brother Kevin and talk in person about some of the details of what happened. We also got to tell jokes and laugh a bit. It was a really good and connecting time.

I also got a surprise visit from one of my younger sisters Katie, who lives in Tennessee. We were able to talk and spend three days together in Miami. While I was in Miami, I picked up the boys homeschool materials and various donations of coconut oil and almond flour. We are grateful for the donations from Cascades Fellowship CRC and South Kendall CRC in Miami that held onto our materials. A big thank you to Pastor Felix who spent a little time with us and prayed for us. South Kendall really blessed us simply by providing a place to ship our homeschool materials too.

I also was privileged to go to a driving range with my father and hit a bucket of balls. I haven’t held a golf club in over 7 years. It was nice to at least hit a few golf balls and enjoy the warm weather outside. God is good.

Vida y Luz Permanent Closure

Dear Brothers and sisters, with a heavy heart we have to inform you that the Christian school Vida y Luz has officially closed its doors permanently.  We thank God for the opportunity to serve at the school for the last 7 years.  We praise God for all the families and lives we touched for the Lord during the 12 years the school existed. 

The school board met together and after a few months of praying and trying to figure out how to continue, we came to the decision that it was not possible to continue this ministry and the School needed to close permanently.  Families of the school have been notified and there have been many tears shed.  The reasons why this came about are complicated.  Yes, the present COVID pandemic has effected the school greatly but also the political pressure of a marxist leaning government here in Bolivia has contributed to the decision as well.  The economic situation of the school hasn’t been very good for a long time.  Many times the leadership of the school would not get paid and would have months where they didn’t have basic necessities of life.  There are other reasons as well that contributed to this decision but those are the major factors that lead to the decision. 

Now we are in the process of completing the paperwork with the government for the school’s closure.  This will take a bit of time as Laura and I were board members and also are a part of this closure.  The school properties will be sold and the profits will go towards paying off the remaining debt we owe. There are a few Christian organizations that are interested in the property so please we pray for wisdom as we work out those details.  

We truly are so thankful for all the support the school has had from donors in Canada and the US the last several years.  Your generosity was not in vain.  We were able to touch numerous families with the gospel and provide a safe and loving environment for kids to get an education.  Also, many gave towards the scholarship funds for the kids.  This allowed kids who were extremely poor to receive a Christian education and get a meal for several years. We thank you for your generosity and allowing us to be an instrument in making an impact on these children. 

We sometimes don’t understand why certain things happen in our life.  Job when he was going through all his challenges confessed, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2)  God continues to work and we put our faith and trust in Him.  Romans 8:28 reminds us not to give up hope or be discouraged because God can turn even bad events in our life for good. 

Praise God for some rain!

We are very thankful for a few days of rain. It has been a long time coming. The dry season lasted longer than usual this year and we hadn’t had running water in the house for months. As you can see in the picture above, Laura’s plants on the terrance love the rain. They are growing like crazy. We ate some carrots and zucchini yesterday from the garden. My typical breakfast is green onion and kale from the garden, mixed with eggs. I love it!

We are really enjoying the rain not only is it watering our plants, but also we can take showers and wash clothes normally. Its so funny how important water is. I was talking to a sister in Christ today and we talked about how we can live without power or even gas for a little while, but water is so essential. In our time here in Sucre on the mission field, I’ve come to understand the importance of water. I also can relate a fair bit better to some of those biblical passages, like in John 4 where Jesus is talking with the Samaritan woman.

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  Jesus understood that water was very essential especially in the Middle East region. The water that Jesus offers is a drink of himself. His very presence is what sustains our souls. HIs love and grace is what we need to drink more deeply every day of our lives.

During this Christmas season, let’s give thanks to Jesus for giving us this living water in His holy name. He came down here so that we could get a drink of living water. And as Jesus explains in vs. 13. – ” Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  I can testify with the hymn, “As the Deer”. It’s a favorite of mine and the chorus sums up exactly as I’m feeling right now.

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after Thee
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship Thee

You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship Thee

Pastor Glenn’s brother passed away

Kevin and Gabriel 11/26/09

It has been hard writing this blog entry. My brother, Kevin Adams, was shot and killed in Lansing Michigan on Wednesday, November 11th. He was only 22 years old with so much life left to live.  I still have’t completely been able to process the loss.  I’m on a journey right now with God as I deal with the grief and pain of the brutal way my brother was murdered.  As of right now, the Lansing police department is doing an investigation with no suspects yet. 

I loved my brother Kevin.  I was the oldest and he was the youngest of six kids.  When I was younger, I always wanted a brother. Someone who would play G.I. Joe with me. Someone who would play basketball with me. I grew up with four sisters and desperately wanted a brother. When I was 15 years old, my brother was born to a broken family that didn’t want him. My family happily adopted him and brought him into our home.  I remember being a teenager having to share my room with my little brother.  Sure there were moments of a teen wanting his space, but I also remember treasuring those times with Kevin.  I remember he loved animals of all kinds. 

Kevin suffered from a mild case of fetal alcohol syndrome that pledged him most of his life.  His  biological mother was an alcoholic and possibly did drugs while she was pregnant with Kevin. He certainly had his behavioral problems, but my parents did the best they could to love and encourage him. When Kevin was a child, around 10 years old, he accepted Christ at a camp.  He went to church regularly with my parents even after I had left the house and went off to college and Seminary he continued going to church and youth group. 

The last time I actually saw my brother was Thanksgiving 2013, right before we left for the mission field. He was only 15 years old when we left.   It has been almost 7 years since the last time I saw my brother.  And it hurts that I will never again see him. He never got to meet our youngest son, Nicolas. Each time we came back on furlough, he was either in another state or in jail and we couldn’t see him. We had hopes that he might turn his life around.  The last few years for Kevin had been rough.  He was in and out of jail.   About a week ago he had been released from jail due to contracting Covid. Only days after his release Kevin’s body was found in Lansing with gunshot wounds in his abdomen.  He was dead when police arrived on the scene.

It’s hard to believe at times that my brother is dead.  It hits me hard at different times of the day.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go back to the States for the funeral. Covid 19 cases continue to spike in Michigan and around the US.  There are regulations on travel.  If I went to the funeral, I might not be allowed back into Bolivia at this point in time due to the pandemic. It would separate me from Laura and the boys possibly for months.  It’s a risk we can’t take at this moment because of the uncertainty of the political situation in Bolivia right now.  It’s painful not being able to go to the funeral. Not being able to hug my parents and comfort them as they morn the loss of their son.  

Jesus says in Matthew 10:37-39, “37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”  I understand that part of the calling to follow Jesus on the mission field means I can’t always make it back for important moments like these.  The cost is sometimes high but it’s worth following Jesus. 

Lovingly, Cascades Fellowship CRC in Jackson is going to put the funeral service online for us to be able to participate overseas. We are thankful for this loving gesture as we continue to morn the loss of Kevin.   

Thank you to all of those who have reached out to me and have been a source of encouragement. Thank you for all your support and prayers for the Adams family during this time.

Presidential Elections In Bolivia Oct 2020

As we have mentioned before, the presidential elections have been pushed back many times until now the final date has been set for October 18, 2020. Even amidst the coronavirus pandemic, there have been events and campaigning. During the months of Sept and Aug, it has been relatively calm because everything has been leading up to this moment. The Oct 18 election. It is a big moment in the history of Bolivia as it will determine which direction the country will go. The MAS political group is determined that Bolivia will become like the next Cuba. Their desire is to see banished ex-president Evo Morales return to power and support continual push towards Communism.

The US department of state security describes the situation well. “The first round of the election will occur on October 18, although the entire process is likely to extend for next several months. In order to avoid a run-off, the leading candidate must win either 50% of the vote, or 40% of the vote with a lead of 10% over the runner-up. Current polling suggests that this outcome is unlikely, meaning that we can expect a run-off election between the top two candidates on November 29. Inauguration Day, traditionally held in late January, is a hard deadline for the transfer of power. In the case of a contested election, or if there are alleged irregularities in either October or November, the electoral commission will likely try to resolve them by the end of the calendar year” .

Currently, seven candidates are running, although only three have significant support. Polling in first place with around 30% of the vote, Luis Arce represents the left-wing Movement for Socialism (MAS), Evo Morales’s political party. Throughout September, Arce looked to have enough support to win in the first round without a run-off, but since interim president Jeanine Áñez dropped out of the race three weeks ago, Arce’s lead has shrunken to below the 10% threshold. Comunidad Ciudadana’s moderate
candidate, Carlos Mesa, currently hovers at around 25% in polling, and right-wing Creemos’s Fernando Camacho polls third at 13%. Polls suggest that if the elections go to a run-off, many of the smaller political
parties will rally around Carlos Mesa as a main challenger to Arce. This frames the election as a referendum on last year’s ouster of Morales and the legitimacy of his MAS Party, which maintains a strong plurality even as the majority of voters oppose it. Internal divisions within MAS over party
leadership concessions to the Áñez government also threaten the historic dominance of the party.

The security concerns are at a higher level than normal. Large protests and possible violent outburst are very likely according to the US Embassy in Bolivia. MAS leaders and followers have not been afraid to resort to violence in the past and are prepared to take action if their candidate doesn’t win the election. “There will be massive down hall meetings as well as protests, strikes, and roadblocks related to a variety of issues. The duration of these possible protests is unknown. U.S. citizen residents and travelers should be prepared for potential grocery and gas shortages.” – US Embassy.

We have prepared the best we can. We have bought extra food, gas, a gas generator, and water to last us a few weeks. We hope it won’t last longer than that but it is really unknown at this point. We take comfort we are in the hands of our Sovereign God who reigns and is working all things out to His glory and our good (Romans 8:28). Please hold Bolivia in your prayers.

Thank You for Your Generous Heart

We want to thank you for the overwhelming response we have received to our needs and the needs of our ministry here in Sucre Bolivia.  Your generosity has inspired us in so many ways. Above all we give thanks to our heavenly Father who has filled His church with such concern and generosity to support the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have received letters offering encouraging support, we have received individual donations as well as church donations. We are really amazed. Thank you!

Because of the generosity of several churches and donors, the current debt of the school is down to $2,115 usd. That is really amazing from where we were before with over 6k in debt from this global pandemic. Praise God with us for this and pray the Lord would help us get to $0 by years end. Pray with us.

We have also received pledges and donations for homeschooling the boys and the generator we need to buy in preparation of the up coming presidential elections in Oct 2020. God is so good. Thank you all for the many blessings.  We pray the Lord would continue to use His church for His glory and honor throughout the world.

Reflections on the Book of Joel

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on the book of Joel. In all honesty, I haven’t read the book much in my life. Sure I studied it in undergrad and in seminary, but passed it over as quickly as it came. I was lead to the book during my daily devotionals and found the book really profound. There is a lot of tension in the book of the “all ready/ not yet” coming of the kingdom of God.

The book of Joel reminds me of the coming of the Day of the Lord —a time when “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32). God will judge all the injustice of the world first for the Jew and then for the gentile. After that great and terrible day,  God will make His home with His people. God will get ride of every sadness  and there will be no more death, sickness, racism, killing, or lying (Rev 21:4).  But sometimes that day seems far away.

I remember when Laura was giving brith to Nicolas here in Bolivia in 2015. I remember holding her hand as the life was draining from her  because the doctors couldn’t stop her bleeding. I thought these were my last moments with her. I prayed to the Lord of heaven and He answered me. I begged God for her life and he delivered.  God spared the life of my wife miraculously. The doctor still can’t explain it to this day. But since then, my wife has had all kinds of different medical problems. Yes God did a miracle, but did he provide only to allow her to suffer more?

I think about all the miraculous things Jesus did…. healing people and raising them from the dead. Yet, after their encounter with Jesus we don’t know how the rest of they life flowed. Surely there were moments of discouragement, perhaps sickness again and eventual death. Didn’t even Lazarus who Jesus raised to life, eventually die again? So even thought we see healing, the ultimate healing hasn’t taken place yet.

So now in our life, we see small glimpses of the kingdom of God. We see God changing people’s lives. We see addicts becoming clean. Marriages being restored and people coming from death to life in Jesus. BUT, our world is far from perfect. The coronavirus continues  to spread and devaste life.  Sickness of all kinds continue all around the globe. Porn usage continues to destroy marriages. Racism destroys our communities and keeps us from the real joy of deep friendship and fellowship with brothers and sisters of many different kinds of ethnicities. Sin, Satan, and sickness have not yet been destroyed completely.

And the call of Joel the prophet ochos today. We should all repent. ” Even now,” declares the Lord,  “return to me with all your heart,  with fasting and weeping and mourning.”  13 Rend your heart  and not your garments.  Return to the Lord your God,  for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love,  and he relents from sending calamity” (Joel 2:12-13). And the promise of God is when we turn away from our sin and the world, we will be saved. We are His sheep those whom he most certainly will redeem and he will welcome us into His Father’s house one day.  Jesus says,  “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;( Jn 11:25).

And so we wait. We wait in the already, not yet. Even in the uncertainty in Bolivia of the pandemic which continues to kill more people we know… or the uncertainty of the looming civil unrest and possible war in October 2020… we wait patiently, committed to the task of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ until our last breath.