In December of 1981, a 44-year-old Trappist Monk named William Wilson made a life-altering decision. After living in cloistered seclusion for his entire adult life, he left his monastery in Iowa to respond to a call from God to live among the poor of Latin America. Although he embarked on this mission believing he would live a contemplative existence, he soon began to sense that God had a different plan. After two years in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Father William chose a remote and inaccessible slope high in the Andes on which to build a small adobe room where he would seek the Lord’s guidance. Here, in the small village of Aramasí, Father William witnessed the utter destitution of the Quechua natives who filed through his doorway seeking treatment for their many illnesses and diseases. While he did his best to minister to them, his initial efforts proved to be terribly inadequate. Realizing that God was calling him to action, Father Will contacted a friend in the United States, William "B.J." Weber, for support.
Together these two friends raised the funds to open the area’s first medical clinic and Amistad Mission was created. Since that time, Amistad (which means “friendship” in Spanish) has worked with the people of Aramasí to bring clean drinking water, a medical clinic (now a level one hospital), agricultural development, a Montessori school, a primary school, a daycare center and, most recently, a dam that now provides year-round access to water for this drought-stricken village. Amistad Mission is now expanding its ministry to bring these life-saving programs to twelve surrounding villages and more than 1,500 individuals, enabling these communities to not merely survive, but thrive.
In 1990, building on the successes in Aramasí, Amistad Mission expanded its outreach with the creation of Villa Amistad, a home and safe haven for abandoned, abused and orphaned Bolivian children located in the city of Cochabamba. Beginning with thirty children divided among three houses run by a caretaker affectionately called “Mamá”, Villa Amistad has grown to include eight houses, or families, and more than seventy children between the ages of 2 and 15. In 2004, male and female youth houses were opened near Villa Amistad in order to support our growing teen population. At that same time a vocational training and University program was added. At Amistad, our children not only come to know the love of a family but also develop integrally through spiritual formation classes, educational teaching, psychological support and medical care. For 19 years, Villa Amistad has been a place where children are provided with the support they need to overcome their past and move into the responsibilities of adulthood and, in many instances, leadership in their country.
For more than 28 years, Amistad Mission has offered the grace of transformation to vulnerable Bolivian families and children as well as friends in North America and around the world who have picked up the Cross to join in our work.
We invite you to become a part of our history… today!