Andrew and Lisa Peart, Bolivia
Growing community engagement with local churches by responding to practical needs through generous hospitality and economic empowerment
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Coming alongside the local church in Santa Cruz with their passion for building community and background in business and hospitality, Andrew and Lisa are:
- building up the church to reach out to those around them, building relationships with people through initiatives like the church community garden
- giving people tools to improve their finances, through financial education, micro-enterprise and community savings groups
- coming alongside the Bolivian church as they develop streams of income to secure long-term financial sustainability
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Andrew and Lisa’s story
Many people in Santa Cruz are trapped in poverty, both spiritual and physical, and facing a number of challenges.
Santa Cruz is one of the fastest growing cities in South America and is Bolivia’s financial centre – but rapid change in recent years has led to a lack of educational opportunities, healthcare shortages, social instability and corruption.
We are passionate about building community, giving people tools to improve their finances and encouraging people to re-engage and reconnect with each other and God after three years of total disruption due to the pandemic.
In helping to meet people’s spiritual need, we are working with a few local churches and are part of Cristo Luz del Mundo (“Christ the Light of the World”), a church located in the heart of the financial and residential centre. Hundreds of new flats have been built in the area recently, giving the church the opportunity to reach out to a growing community of professionals, businesses and families.
We are preparing to develop a community garden on the church property: a tranquil, safe space amid the busyness of this rapidly growing barrio. This will be a place to be present, listen to our local neighbourhood and offer hospitality as a natural gateway to sharing the transforming love of Jesus.
Through the garden, we will also model and promote sustainability and care for the environment. One core aspect of our work is coming alongside people and giving them tools to improve their finances and build a sustainable income. We offer basic financial education through and for our church, for parents in local schools and our microfinance partners using Financial Freedom for Families (F4), a training programme which teaches biblical stewardship of money and resources.
Through our micro-enterprise programme, we offer further financial education and interest-free start-up capital, as well as mentoring and discipling families as their businesses grow. To encourage saving, we partner with Five Talents through their subsidiary here, helping to develop their community savings groups in Bolivia. Over time, we see people developing healthy attitudes towards money and starting on the path to sustainable income and financial independence.
As well as empowering individuals to steward their finances well, we are empowering the Anglican Church in Bolivia to become financially self-sustainable. We are encouraging church leaders to make the most of the church’s resources, using the church’s buildings and land to help meet the needs of the community as well as developing streams of income for the church through leasing office space or providing rooms or green spaces for community events.
Lisa grew up in the US, Andrew in the UK and we met in London while working in hotel management. We consider it a privilege to serve the Bolivian and wider church community as we respond to and trust in God’s calling on our lives.
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