Mission partners Andrew and Lisa Peart, with their daughters Liliana and Anayah and lodger Daniela, live in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where they share the gospel and work to strengthen communities through a local church.
Under normal circumstances, Andrew and Lisa would be taking their daughters back and forth to school and participating in some of their school activities with them. Lisa would be teaching English to some of the mothers and fathers of the children at their school and involved in church community through running the Alpha Course and planning things like Messy Church. Andrew would usually be out several times during the week, working with local microfinance businesses that are being set up.
Liliana and Anayah would usually be busy with school and their extracurricular activities. Their lodger, Daniela, who is Bolivian, had started her own little bread business with Andrew and Lisa’s help and was busy selling loaves of bread to local expats. She was also working at a local orphanage.
A change of pace
In early March, Bolivia went into lockdown and everything changed. Now, adults are only allowed out one morning a week to buy food (which day of the week depends on the last digit of your ID number), while children are not allowed out at all. Most businesses and shops are closed and this is enforced by the military.
Because Bolivia’s economy depends on people working day to day, the impact of lockdown on people’s income was immediate. Thankfully, in Andrew and Lisa’s neighbourhood, families have pulled together to help each other out. Many have donated food and set up a little food bank, and put together food parcels for the families that need it.
Surely this was the time for Daniela’s bread business to thrive? Unfortunately, since lockdown started, Daniela has been quarantined at the local orphanage in order to keep working there, meaning she couldn’t continue baking bread for the local community. But since the family had been baking with Daniela and were practised at baking bread by now, they wondered if they could keep things going. Could they make use of all the flour they had in the house and their outdoor bread ovens?
On a roll
Though Daniela had been baking loaves of bread for expats, she advised Andrew and Lisa that Bolivians prefer bread rolls. Andrew and Lisa started baking rolls and sharing them with the neighbourhood. They were a hit! Sometimes customers come to them, they deliver on their days out, and they can add to food parcels ready for distribution. Now, Andrew and Lisa are baking about 100 bread rolls three times a week, packaging their rolls with Bible verses and inviting prayer requests.
Now, people know where they live, they know Lisa’s name and friendships are forming. Through their baking, Andrew and Lisa have got to know the president of the local barrio, who in turn knows everybody’s stories and can tell Andrew and Lisa who is struggling and what kind of help they might need. Through simple bread rolls, God is making new roads for Andrew and Lisa into the heart of the neighbourhood.