During the last week of June, approximately 1,500 people in three Bolivian cities participated in a series of seminars on family issues such as abortion, homosexual marriage, and cloning. The seminars gave key church leaders the opportunity to meet and hear the specialists who came to lead the events while Bolivian leaders of the various pro-family ministries received training and encouragement from Colorado-based Focus on the Family.
"One of the gaps in the vision of the Bolivian church has been in the area of family issues such as abortion, homosexual marriage, and cloning," commented Eldon Porter of Serving in Missions (SIM).
In response to this need, SIM invited the Latin American Director for Focus on the Family, Reed Olson, to conduct a series of seminars in the cities of La Paz, Cochabamba and Sucre. Speakers also included the two leading Latin American experts in the area of bio-ethics.
To prepare for the series of seminars, Porter fostered closer interaction among various independent ministries working to strengthen families in the country, by facilitating a Pro-Family Network ("Red Pro-Familia" in Spanish). In addition, main radio network and nearly all the TV networks hosted interviews and debates.
In addition to SIM, Porter serves the churches of Bolivia through a ministry known as APOYO ("support"), which trains Christian leaders, helps pastors with housing solutions, and facilitates cooperation among the many churches of Bolivia.
His wife, recently opened a pro-life (crisis pregnancy) center in Cochabamba. She reports that although abortion is illegal in Bolivia, it is probably more common there than in the US or Canada. As for cloning, it appears that some research groups may be planning to move their work to Bolivia where laws are less stringent and they could work with fewer restraints.