Chenoa occasionally returns to the U.S. and is available to visit congregations. Email her to extend an invitation to visit your congregation or organization.
About Chenoa Stock’s Ministry
Joining Hands is an initiative of the Presbyterian Hunger Program that addresses the root causes of hunger, poverty, and injustice through networks of churches and non-governmental organizations in developing countries. In Bolivia, the Joining Hands Network is called UMAVIDA, which is a Spanish acronym for “Joining Hands for Life.” As companionship facilitator, Chenoa Stock accompanies UMAVIDA and the Bolivian communities it serves. UMAVIDA’s concerns include environmental contamination from the mining industry and issues related to land and health. It also educates youth about the growing water-related issues in Bolivia and throughout the world, and it works to empower communities, specifically women, to exercise their human rights. Chenoa acts as the bridge between UMAVIDA and its partner presbyteries and congregations in the United States. US Presbyterians who partner with Joining Hands networks accompany them and work with them to address the networks’ concerns on a global level.
Bolivia is the highest country in South America and some observers call it the most isolated one as well. It is the poorest of South American nations. Though it has rich reserves of mineral and energy resources, only a tiny minority of Bolivians share in these economic benefits. The extraction of these resources produces environmental challenges that threaten the welfare of Bolivians. Approximately two-thirds of the population is of indigenous descent, but urban dwellers of Spanish ancestry have historically dominated Bolivia’s economic and political systems. This dynamic changed slightly with the election of Evo Morales, the first indigenous president, in 2006, but many indigenous Bolivians still feel a lack of representation due to Morales’ tendency to favor the country’s development and growing economy over the environmental sustainability of its people and land. In addition to the Bolivian groups that comprise the Joining Hands network, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) maintains a partnership with the Independent Presbyterian Church of Bolivia (IPIB). Roman Catholicism is the faith of more than 90 percent of the population.
About Chenoa Stock
Although she grew up as the daughter of Presbyterian co-pastors, Chenoa never imagined her life would take the journey towards mission that it has.
Chenoa’s interest in long-term mission service did not begin to take shape until after she earned an elementary education degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and became a Presbyterian Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) in Kerala, India. In India, Chenoa, a native of Pittsburgh and a member of the city’s East Liberty Presbyterian Church, taught English for a primary school of the women’s group, Sevika Sanghom of the Marthoma Church. While in India, Chenoa immersed herself in the local culture and was filled with the challenging and eye-opening teachings of her supervisor, Rev. Thomas John, the YAV site coordinator and companionship facilitator for the India Joining Hands Network. His devotions and sermons challenged the YAVs to question poverty and injustice and to search for their call as Christians. Chenoa began to see the world, its connections and its differences, as well as her role in it, in a new light.
About a year after finishing her assignment in India, Chenoa accepted a mission appointment in Sri Lanka as companionship facilitator for the newly formed Joining Hands Network, Praja Abhilasha (People’s Aspirations). This network was created after the 2006 tsunami, whose destruction affected many fishing communities and their right to land and water. In a situation further complicated by a three-decade long civil war, Chenoa and the network worked with communities to protect the interests of fishermen, tea plantation workers and their families.
As Chenoa was completing her term in Sri Lanka, she realized the call to justice and to walk with our neighbors was now deeply engrained in her. She says Micah 6:8’s call “to do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” expresses her summons to service. Hearing those words, Chenoa sensed a call to her assignment in Bolivia.
Chenoa’s faith, grounded in advocacy and justice, developed through her relationship with her parents, Carleton and Elinor Stock. Through their love, sustained presence, encouragement, and questioning, she was able to realize her call to her current ministry. Seeds of faith planted through her parents’ influence grew at Wittenberg University, as she served on the chapel music team, and continued to mature during her YAV service.
“My faith, Chenoa says, “is grounded in a call to share God’s love and compassion in a time when many live in inequality and have lost hope, but know they can create change when the spirit of love and trust are shared.”
Birthday – October 22