Leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bolivia called on church members to pray as the country goes through trying times as a result of civil and political unrest.
After a contested election on October 20, 2019, massive public demonstrations and social protests have erupted across the South American nation. According to regional reports, the state of tension has caused cessation of many work activities, blockage of streets in major cities, shortages, and a general state of restlessness in the population.
Praying and Fasting
Hiram Kalbermatter, president of the Adventist Church in Bolivia, said that in the wake of the escalating situation, church leaders understood that the best they could do was to spend time praying and fasting. According to church leaders, local churches and homes have become centers where members meet to pray, asking God to intervene.
“Daily prayer sessions were set up for 10:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 8:00 p.m. across the country,” Kalbermatter said. “On Saturday [Sabbath], November 9, more than 125,000 church members in Bolivia were invited to fast and pray.”
Adventist Church’s Position
Kalbermatter emphasized that the Adventist Church in Bolivia respects duly constituted political leaders, following the advice of God’s Word on the matter.
“Following Jesus’ example, the official position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not to interfere in matters related to partisan politics,” Kalbermatter said. “We support the decision of each member to vote in elections according to his or her conscience.”
Kalbermatter also explained that the Adventist Church opposes any form of violence and abuse that may be detrimental to freedom of conscience and freedom of choice.
“We defend the principles of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control as defined by the apostle Paul as the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23,” Kalbermatter said.
Bringing Hope in the Midst of Strife
Adventist Church leaders and members across Bolivia moved to offer peace and hope in the midst of the strife engulfing the nation. In the eastern region, Pathfinder Club members and other Adventist young people took to the streets to pray for peace. They also shared literature on the topic of hope and how to find it, church leaders reported.
In western Bolivia, leaders and church members prayed for God to protect the Adventist schools across the region.
In the central region, in Vinto, Cochabamba, public demonstrations have come close to the Bolivia Adventist University campus. Local leaders reported that faculty, staff, and students gathered to pray, asking the Lord to take care of the school and its residents.
“We praise God because in the midst of widespread looting and destruction, so far, we have no report of any damage to Adventist schools or churches,” Kalbermatter said.