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Carnaval celebrations in Oruro, Bolivia
Carnaval celebrations in Oruro, Bolivia

Recognizing the pagan and sinful nature of the Carnaval festivities celebrated in their community, members of an evangelical church in the Quechua village of Chucarasi, one hundred miles southeast of the city of Oruro, Bolivia, chose to spend the festival days working in their fields. However on February 27, two days after Carnaval ended, a severe hail storm struck the area, damaging the crops. According to a March 8 report from Compass Direct, the villagers began blaming the evangelicals for the storm, saying they had angered the spirits by not participating in the Carnaval festivities.

A village meeting was called and the evangelicals were summoned. Only one came, Fortunato Bernal, who believed his elected position in the community would protect him. The rest of the church members gathered to pray on a mountainside. When he arrived, Bernal was beaten unconscious by the mob that had gathered. When the rest of the church members did not arrive, the mob completely destroyed the church building. When church leaders filed an official complaint, demanding reparations for the damage, the sub-prefect of the province sided with the animists, refusing to arrest those responsible for the attack and setting the value of the building at a fraction of the actual cost of replacement.

As a result of the ruling in their favour, community leaders have begun insisting that the evangelicals renounce their faith or leave the community. Church leaders have been seeking outside support but community members are threatening to kill anyone who attempts to intervene.

Pray for a peaceful resolution to this situation. Pray that the love of Christ will shine from the lives of the believers.

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