Hello friends, family, and supporters! We know it has been awhile since we have blogged and gave a proper update (Sorry!), but here we are now and boy do we have a lot of updates! I think the last time we left off, we had just hosted a mission team from Winchester, TN. Well, that was just shy of a year ago! We have since then moved to a smaller town, about an hour southeast of Medellín, Colombia. It is actually where Medellín’s international airport is located. We moved here to explore starting a group which will hopefully turn into a future church! We have really enjoyed the change of pace of Rionegro. It is significantly smaller than the big city, and so things are more calm and slower. Both of our girls have adjusted to attending preschool, and they seem to really enjoy their environment, as well. We live three doors down from some close friends from the denomination, the Alfonso Daza Family. They have been very helpful in making us feel more like we have community and family here, and they have also have been extremely instrumental in starting a group.
We have had a consistent group meeting weekly in our home since October 2018. We average about 20-25 people each week. We have been meeting on Sunday morning for a very relaxed service of music, played by a teenager that lives in front of us and either Sarah or Johanna (daughter and mom of said family) leading us in song. That is then followed by a Bible study (in Spanish). After church, we enjoy lunch together prepared by the women of the church. It has been a great experience, and we look forward to continuing to grow with this wonderful group of people! We also have started an English Bible study on Tuesday’s. This is in it’s infancy, we have only met twice so far. This group is so far comprised of people in our group on Sunday, our Spanish teacher, and hopefully more neighbors from our community that are English learners that want to practice speaking. We are excited what relationships this meeting will build!
We have continued with learning Spanish in a university down the road from us that has an international language program. It has been great for us to continue to study! We have a long way to go, but we can tell we have made progress! Bella continues to amaze us with her level of Spanish. In fact, she sometimes sounds Colombian when she speaks English! Ha! She already corrects us if we say something wrong in Spanish! Jacqueline is speaking more English since our visit to TN for Christmas. It is clear she understands both Spanish and English, and she speaks some words in Spanish. But currently she primarily responds in English. Like I mentioned, we were blessed to be able to visit our families in December for a month. It was great to see our friends and family! Patrick was also able to spend a lot of time with his father, whom had an open heart surgery and a colon surgery while we were home.
We have been back since January, and we have gotten back in the swing of things. The work in the Presbytery has been continuing, which is one of our main purposes here. Patrick feels more confident in his Spanish, which makes him feel more effective. He was recently elected as Moderator for the Presbytery. In a couple of short weeks we are going to have two mission groups from TN. The first group is from Nashville, Tusculum CPC led by Brittany Spradling. Then landing the same day this group leaves, we are welcoming our Alma Mater, Beaver Creek CPC, led by Reverend Billy Price. We are excited for both of these groups to do work in our Emaús Presbytery! We will give updates of these experiences for these groups in the near future!
Also, the program I am coordinating, “No Estás Sola – A Community for Women,” was awarded the Women’s Ministry Convention Offering for 2019! This is very exciting news, and will allow for us to expand the program from only one church to being offered to all of the churches in the Medellín metro area! We have expanded the program to go beyond single mother’s. The hope of our program is to help educate and empower women to own their own businesses, to alleviate poverty and open up a positive future for women and their families.
In short, things have been busy but awesome here in Colombia! We miss our family and friends in the US, but we also feel very at home here. We continue to be thankful for the blessings and financial support we receive from everyone, and we pray that we can do more Work for the Kingdom.
Dios te bendiga (God bless you),
Jessica Wilkerson and family