Jason and Jenna committed to a two-year term with South America Mission back in 2007, not realizing that God had a different timetable in mind, one that would extend a full decade later and include a stint in the US to obtain additional training to enable their longer-term effectiveness as missionaries. As the Weigners served with SAM’s Indigenous Rural Outreach team during their initial term, Jason began to see his existing dreams for sustainable agriculture merging with the vision of forming a discipleship center for the indigenous peoples of eastern Bolivia. Jenna, however, discovered her passion during that two-year term. She was a sociology major in college and had begun to imagine what her involvement at the center could look like someday, when she became aware of the deep need for holistic maternity care and childbirth education in Bolivia.
“I made friends with a Canadian woman when we were living out in Pailón. She was pregnant with her third child and decided she did not want to have a C-section, which is most commonly endorsed by doctors in Bolivia. She traveled into the city to receive better care for a more natural birth… I went with her and watched the doctors. Even though I wasn’t formally trained, I knew something wasn’t right,” Jenna reflects. Seeing the great need within the professional community for childbirth education and midwifery practice, Jenna returned with her family to the US with the purpose of her completing a master’s degree.
“We saw that the need was enormous and decided to return to Bolivia equipped. We moved to Seattle, a city and region we’d never been to before, without jobs or a home and I had not even been accepted yet into a program. God provided every step of the way and made it clear to us that this was our path.”
Since returning to Bolivia in 2015, Jenna, now a certified professional midwife, is seeing the fruit of God’s call so many years ago. Six months after the Weigners’ return, Jenna was invited to speak at conferences for medical students in three different cities across Bolivia, specifically speaking about natural childbirth. She has been on daytime Bolivian television, has been invited to speak about lactation at multiple hospitals and teaches a continuing education course for medical professionals.
The Weigners faithfully envision how God will use Jenna’s training for his glory through the ministry at the discipleship center. Though she cannot legally practice as a midwife in Bolivia yet, her passions and training are apt for the needs of the rural and indigenous community in eastern Bolivia.
“The discipleship center will allow me to continue educating the community. Women’s health, prenatal care, childbirth, lactation and postpartum care are universal issues. Ultimately, working with the moms is why I got into this and, while I have loved the doors God has opened for me to educate and support doctors, I’m excited to get back to supporting the moms and families in rural areas.” It has been a long road for the Weigners since they joined SAM in 2007, but their experiences and current ministry are a testament to God’s faithfulness and his heart for the Bolivian people.
Learn more about the Weigners’ ministry and how you can partner with them financially to contribute to God’s work in Bolivia: Jason and Jenna Weigner