Listen, I know this is long, but let’s be honest; you’re stuck in quarantine, so you have plenty of time to read this. READ IT ALL!!
We want to let you know what is going on with us here in Colombia. In the past year we have haven’t had many changes, but things are progressing well. The first thing we want to share with you is something we are excited about.
OUR FUTURE AND FURLOUGH
Many of you know that our contract with the denomination to be missionaries was for three years. If you do the math, we will complete our contract in July. We have already committed to another contract of another three years. WE WILL BE IN COLOMBIA FOR ANOTHER THREE YEARS!!!
Part of our contract says that we will have to go home on a furlough for three months after our three years. During this furlough we will work in the USA visiting churches, planning for the next three years, visit family and friends, and hopefully take a small family vacation. Our dates for the furlough are planned for the first week of October through the first week of January. We are praying that everything with the COVID-19 will calm down and we will be able to travel as planned. Please join us in prayer for this!
Work in our presbytery (Emaús) is going well. This past year we, as a presbytery, ordained three ministers, took in multiple candidates for ministry, and multiple candidates we had became licentiates. We also officially started work in Planeta Rica (church assimilation) and Ríonegro (the project we started in our house). We are still finding our identity as a new presbytery but making great progress! There are great leaders in the presbytery that have been crucial in this transition. It is also really exciting to see new leaders emerge. We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. Please join us in prayer for this!
Our project in Ríonegro is growing, thanks be to God. We started with less than 10 people and now we have around 30. We have hired a youth minister to work with the youth. We enjoy, in addition to worship and studying, eating together, doing service projects for the community, and generally being together. I have heard multiple people from our group mention that it feels like family. To me, that is the goal. That brothers and sisters in Christ get together, and it feels like family. We are growing, but I feel that we won’t grow much more in our location. Our goal is to start looking for a place to meet within this year. An official place that is our church. Please join us in prayer for this!
AMERICAS YOUTH GATHERING 2020
Much of this year, a team of us have been planning an event to be held in Medellín called Americas Youth Gathering 2020. This event was for youth from all over North, South, and Central America where our denomination has a presence. The event was planned for July, but because of COVID-19 we have had to postpone until next year. It is frustrating, because we have put a lot of work into it. However, there are some things out of our control. We will soon begin planning new dates and work with changes that will need to be made. Please join us in prayer for this!
Union City CPC
By far, one of my favorite parts of my job is to host mission teams. We had two teams planned for March. The first team was here from March 5-11. The team was from the Union City Cumberland Presbyterian Church. This was a great experience. We did a tour of many churches; helping with some chores that were needed, doing women’s ministry, youth ministry, attending different worship services, and helping Jessica with the “No Estás Sola” (“You’re Not Alone”) program. The team did fantastic work. When they arrived, they (most of them) were strangers. They left as family!
One of the greatest parts of this trip was our devotional time we had every morning an evening. It was powerful. We discovered that we were all healing from something, and that God is calling us all to do something. We laughed a lot and we cried a lot!
The purpose of their trip was to come and see what is going on here, and how they can join in the work here in the future. We don’t know how or when, but we are praying for direction. We (me included) are also praying that the ways we were healed on this trip goes beyond this trip and that it changes our lives. Like I said, we all felt like God is calling us to do something… something new! Our prayer is that we stay open to this calling and God makes it clear to us. Please join us in prayer for this!
Beaver Creek CPC
The second group was from Beaver Creek Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Powell, TN. It was a group of college kids that wanted to come serve in Colombia. Many were my old students; some had already been here on a mission trip. Unfortunately, we had to postpone the trip until the COVID-19 passes and international travel is allowed. This was a hard decision for the group to make and all are disappointed, but we know that God is still present and working on the plans for their mission trip. We are praying for their arrival. Please join us in prayer for this!
Our family is doing well. We are healthy and God continues to provide for us. Our girls are growing up fast! Bella started kindergarten in January (the school year here is Jan. – Nov.). She is in a tennis class and both girls are taking swimming lessons. Jessica started working for VIPKID, which is an online company that teaches English to children in China. She loves it! Both of our Spanish skills seem to have grown a lot over the past year. This makes everything from work to going to the doctor so much easier.
We, of course, always miss our family and friends from the States. We often talk about food or restaurants we wish we could go to or eat. We cherish text messages, Marco Polo’s (a video messaging app), Facetime conversations, and visits. We pray we can see you all during our furlough. Again, we pray that by then, we are allowed to travel internationally. Please join us in prayer for this!
Our prayer right now is for the world, for all of our churches in our denomination, for all of our family, our friends, for Colombia, and for the USA. Our prayer is that we stay healthy, provide the needs for those in our communities, help provide worship experiences virtually, that we are wise with how to handle this virus, and that we continually stay open to how God can use us even now… especially now! Please join us in prayer for this!