New coordinator named in OK-Bolivia partnership
Susan Waite has been named the new partnership coordinator for the longtime Oklahoma-Bolivia partnership with the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference.
Waite, a member of OKC-Chapel Hill, says the South American country is special to her.
“I do have a heart for Bolivia,” she said.
In her volunteer position through the conference’s Office of Mission, she will do such things as encourage participation and recruit teams for mission trips to Bolivia, said Jeremy Basset, director of the Office of Mission.
Waite’s relationship with Bolivia began with a mission trip with members of OKC-Chapel Hill in 1989. After that, she decided to get a degree in Spanish.
“I wanted to be able to speak with people down there,” she said.
Another mission trip to Bolivia followed in 1992, and she got her degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1994.
In addition to Bolivia, she also has made mission trips to Guatemala, Venezuela, Mexico, Chile, England and Nicaragua.
Waite said the mission teams will pursue a different approach to the 30-year missional partnership with Bolivia.
As far as short-term missions, “people are kind of aging out of it,” she said.
The new focus will be to train residents there to help provide health care for their fellow Bolivians, Basset said.
“You get out of the way and they continue to provide services,” he said.
The goal is to help provide clean water, prenatal care vaccinations and health care for women, Basset said. The partnership seeks to spread the health care dollars and “create as healthy a society as possible.”
Basset said the partnership also seeks to help with items such as Sunday school curricula, church construction projects and English as a Second Language in Methodist-affiliated schools.
The relationship with the poor of Bolivia provides “a delightful lesson for us … in our middle-class comfortableness,” Basset said.
It provides “an understanding of God at work in people in the margins,” he said.