Zurich/Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz de la Sierra – a beautiful name and a beautiful city in the middle of Bolivia, approximately 500 kilometres from the national capital of La Paz. With approximately 1.6 million inhabitants, Santa Cruz is also the largest city of the South American country. This was Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider’s first trip to Bolivia. His companions on this journey were District Apostles Marcus Fehlbaum from Switzerland, Michael Deppner from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Raúl Montes de Oca from Brazil/Bolivia.
A total of 730 members and guests from all around the country travelled to the city for the Sunday divine service. They paid for their trips themselves, which is quite a notable thing in this country, as its citizens generally have very low incomes. Many of them travelled for up to 20 hours to make their way there. This South American country is known for its high mountain ranges, which make it difficult for people to travel. Bolivia is home to the New Apostolic congregations with the highest altitudes in the world, some of them more than 4,000 metres above sea level.
“Have salt in yourselves”
Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider based the divine service on a Bible text from Mark 9: 49: “Have salt in yourselves and have peace with one another.” Concerning this he explained that the Son of God admonished His disciples to have salt in them, not merely with them as some Bible translations express it. Salt is a necessity of life. Salt preserves food and provides flavour. It was with these images from daily life that the international Church leader illustrated the significance of this basic material. “For us this salt is an image for the gospel. Believing in the gospel means believing in the work of Jesus Christ, believing in the teaching of Jesus, and believing in the church,” said the Chief Apostle.
On Saturday, 24 August, Chief Apostle Schneider also conducted a divine service for ministers and their families. In conclusion, the responsible District Apostle Raúl Montes de Oca writes: “Our hope now is that God will lay His blessing upon the seed which has been scattered!”