I know that we haven’t updated everyone since we arrived in Colombia, but as you can imagine it has been a little hectic. So let me start by saying that we have been here for just over two months and things are going well! We really want to thank everyone who has supported us and continue to support us financially, with prayers, and notes, emails, or calls of encouragement.
We can’t say enough to thank the pastors and their families here in Medellin. They took us under their care and protection right away. We are so grateful that for the better part of two months we were called or a message was sent to us asking what we need to do or asking how they can help us get more settled. I have moved around my whole life. My father’s job moved my family all around the USA most of my childhood. I am no stranger to transition, but I have learned that moving to another country is a completely different ballgame. Specifically in Colombia, there is a process for everything and part of our transition is learning all the processes so that we can complete a task. I have a pastor friend here that laughs and tells me, “aca en Colombia, todos es un proceso (here in Colombia, everything is a process).
I am happy to let you know that after our first two months we have finally finished our entire main transitioning tasks. We have an apartment, Colombian cell phones, utilities, a car, our Colombian Identification (cedula), health insurance, our Colombian bank account, a school for our girls, furniture, appliances, and we have officially started studying to better our Spanish. Thank you so much for supporting the Stott-Wallace Missionary Offering Fund, because with out that financial support we would not have any of these things done.
I would be lying if I said it has all gone smoothly or it was easy. We had a couple of weeks that were difficult, but then God continually showed us a reason we were here or sent your voices in support and encouragement. It is amazing how we often grow in difficult times. I was reminded of this when I read a note from a former student that quoted a known favorite Bible verse of mine. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). I can already see ways that we, as a family, have grown from our mildly difficult times and we can look back and say we are thankful for these times.
Many people are curious and ask me how our girls are doing and the answer is fantastic. That’s not to say that we haven’t had a transitional time with food and culture, but generally they are well. They love the school they are in. We went to a school party a couple of weeks ago where they had to dress up in the traditional Colombian outfits and where we didn’t know Bella had been practicing a group dance with her classmates. You sometimes question how your children are doing until you see them running around with other children laughing, dancing, and playing not yielding to any kind of language barrier. Everyday Bella comes home with more Spanish. She is already responding to questions in Spanish and commanding her sister to either sit down or get out of her room in her new language.
Jessica and I have been working with friends, we are so thankful for them, who have been willing to help us with our Spanish. Last week we started some intensive interactive Spanish lessons. We can already tell a great difference in language and feel that there is hope for future fluency.
We have been traveling, when we can, to all of our churches in the Medellin area. We still lack two of them, but we love the time we have spent on Sundays with new friends and fellow workers in the Kingdom of God. I already have had communion for one of our missions in Spanish, I’m sure it was like one of my first sermons… awful, but everyone was really nice and said it went well. I am having communion for another mission this week and creating a schedule to help a couple of the missions have communion on a regular basis.
Right now we study and wait. We are at an odd place where we really want to get to work in the churches and presbytery, but can’t until our Spanish is better. We are eager and motivated! Have there been some difficulties, yes, but ultimately things are going really well.
We have started the early stages of planning to hopefully host a mission team from the USA in March. We look forward to planning mission trips with you or having you visit us here in Colombia!
Until next time… Dios Te Bendiga (God Bless You)
The Wilkerson Family