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Church member elected to Bolivia’s congress

The wall of the Plan 3,000 Church of Christ, in a poor section of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, bears the words of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” For Raul Pardo, the verse was a campaign slogan. Pardo, 48, has completed five months of his five-year term as a national representative in the Bolivian government, said longtime friend Ken Hines, minister for the Living Streams Church of Christ in Portland, Ore. The Philippians verse was printed on all of Pardo’s literature. “His campaign was unique in that no alcoholic beverages were served at any of his political rallies,” Hines said.
Pardo is a member of Bolivia’s Socialist Movement party, the party of President Evo Morales, who made headlines recently for his controversial decision to take state control of his country’s energy industry. Both Pardo and Morales won clear majorities in the Dec. 18 elections.
“Pardo’s focus will be to serve the poor of his district in the fields of illiteracy, education and public health,” Hines said.
One of the first church members to meet Pardo in the 1970s was Juan R. Garcia, who was sent to plant churches in Santa Cruz by the Cameron Road Church of Christ, Austin, Texas. Now there are eight congregations in the area — two with elders, said Garcia, who serves as a missionary in Costa Rica.
Pardo “is the first Christian in South America in his position,” Garcia said, adding that, “the brethren in Santa Cruz were worried about him, but he promised to not leave the Lord’s church.”
When congress is in session in the capital, La Paz, Pardo attends — and occasionally preaches for — a Church of Christ there, Hines said.
“He wants to use his influence for the well-being and growth of the Church of Christ throughout Bolivia,” Hines said.

Filed under: International

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