Since we last wrote lots of good things have been happening with Novō in Bolivia!
At the beginning of June we celebrated the graduations of two more residents – Jaime and Ernesto – in Santa Cruz.
Novō Tarija took possession of their rented facility, with 5 individuals now engaging with it’s evolving non-residential programme.
We said farewell to Rachel Burton, who is returning to the UK after 2 and-a-half years in Bolivia. Rachel played an absolutely critical role in the formation of the Novō programme (particularly our therapeutic groups) and staff training.
In Santa Cruz we were joined by a team from Three Hills Evangelical Free Church, Alberta, for a week spent painting, building, ministering on the streets, and encouraging the guys on the programme.
These are the highlights, but each week a huge amount of work goes on – meals are served; medical attention provided; 1-1 sessions, therapeutic groups, and discipleship groups are delivered; new residents are welcomed (and, of course, sadly others leave prematurely); finances are administered; work teams are supervised; staff are coached – all with the purpose of glorifying God by offering healing, wholeness, and hope to hurting and broken people.
STORIES OF TRANSFORMATION:
Ernesto, aged 40, was born and raised in the agricultural town of Yapacani, a 4-hour bus ride from Santa Cruz. After his mother died when he was 9, Ernesto was raised by his sister, Juliana. He struggled at school which made him feel insecure and anxious. Having reached 4th grade level, he left school at the age of 13 to work as a farm labourer.
It was as a young farmer that Ernesto began to drink, first Chicha (an alcoholic drink produced from Maize) and then beer. Social drinking quickly developed into heavy drinking and then alcoholism. For the next 20-years Ernesto’s world would be dominated by alcohol, an addiction that cost him relationship with his parents, siblings, extended family, and (most painfully) his wife and children.
Despite his descent into long-term alcohol addiction, his sister never stopped believing that Ernesto could change. At the start of 2017 her desire to help Ernesto led her to a Novō contact in Yapacani and Ernesto joined the Novō community in Santa Cruz on the 16th September 2017.
On first arriving Ernesto feared that he wouldn’t be able to complete the 9-month programme. However, as he began moving through the programme, tackling the ‘objectives’ of each stage, engaging with 1-1 sessions and groups, and experiencing the love and support of the community, Ernesto realized that being with Novō was a privilege and an opportunity not to be missed. In his own words, started to «open his heart» to the Novō staff team and let himself be supported in his recovery process.
Ernesto graduated on 4th June 2018 and has returned to Yapacani where he is working on a citrus farm. It’s a familiar place but he is rebuilding his life there on a new foundation. Ernesto has a good group of people around him to support him through difficult times and he continues to strengthen his faith in God by attending a local church. Although he still cannot see his children, he has not lost hope of being able to be a part of their lives once more.
JOINING OUR SUPPORT TEAM
As we celebrate the latest set of Novō graduations we give thanks for the support team whose prayer and financial support create the opportunities for men like Ernesto and Jaime to seize!
During the course of 2018 we need to raise a monthly minimum of £9,000GBP / $15,000CAD /$12,000USD to enable Novō to operate in Santa Cruz and Tarija.
Novō is a charity which is dedicated to pursuing a singular vision – the vision of creating transformational communities in developing nations where hurting and broken people can find healing, wholeness and hope.