Bringing hope and healing to Bolivia's lost

Samaritan’s Purse is bringing hope to Bolivia’s lost and hurting through a unique medical outreach: the Ruth Bell riverboat.

The Bolivian Amazon Basin is home to more than 20 people groups, each with a distinct language. Most of them live near rivers and struggle to grow food, earn an income, and receive an education.

Samaritan’s Purse began building a boat to reach these remote communities in 2010. The Ruth Bell riverboat made its maiden voyage in early 2011. Since then, it has ministered to thousands by providing basic medical and dental care, as well as doing evangelistic outreaches.

The boat navigates along Bolivia’s many rivers, including the Mamore, Yacuma, Rapulo, Machupo, Itenez, Itonama, Blanco, and Beni. After docking at communities, riverboat staff—including Canadian volunteers—find many people suffering from easily treatable or advanced medical and dental conditions. Staff have the joy of treating them and telling them the Good News of salvation.

The isolated village of San Antonio de Loras is a perfect example. An innovative agriculture project is preventing floodwaters from ruining villages during the rainy season, at the same time as collecting rainwater for the dry season. BioSand Water Filters are providing clean drinking water to families year-round. The Ruth Bell is bringing healthcare services as often as possible. And best of all, a group of believers has been born in this community through the witness of Bolivian Samaritan’s Purse staff and other Christians in the area.

“Several people were recently baptized and the small group meets regularly to worship, celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and encourage one another in their new walk of faith,” says Laurent Trabadello, regional manager of Africa and Latin America for Samaritan’s Purse Canada.

“Entire families are coming to the feet of Christ, experiencing profound transformation and taking important steps out of poverty. Little David’s family is one example.”

David is a ten-year-old wonder-child with a tremendous capacity to memorize Scripture. He can recite the entire book of Revelation, or full chapters of the Gospels and other books in the New Testament.

His father works on the agriculture project, proudly displaying his parcel of watermelon, onion, and corn it has helped him grow. His mother weighs and monitors children under five as part of a Samaritan’s Purse community health project, checking for malnutrition amongst San Antonio de Loras’ next generation.

“One cannot help but notice how the daily life of this family has gone from a paradigm of survival to one of fullness of life,” says Laurent.

“There is great cause for rejoicing, when body, heart, and soul are transformed by the One who came so that we may have life, and life to the full.”

Are you a medical professional? Check our Teams Opportunities or World Medical Mission to see if there’s room for you on the Ruth Bell or another Samaritan’s Purse mission trip.

Ways you can help


Please pray for the isolated villages along Bolivia’s many rivers, that the Good News and good healthcare would reach them. Also pray that David’s family would continue to grow in their newfound faith.


Your generous gift will help recruit and equip medical staff to serve families like David’s in communities such as San Antonio de Loras in Bolivia. Donate Here