This picture was taken last month as we visited Winnetka Covenant Church here in Illinois. We had the privilege during the service of sharing about our lives and ministry in Colombia, alongside our ministry partner in Colombia Gary Sander. It was an incredibly special day for us as we remembered and shared the ways that God has intersected our lives in such a powerful way.
It was the year 1995 when Julio first met Covenant Missionaries, Gary and Mary Lou and their children. It was a key moment and turning point in his life as he was invited by them to start serving in the local Covenant church. It was Mary Lou who encouraged him to start volunteering in the children’s Sunday School class. Julio developed a very close friendship with the Sanders and they continued to encourage him to pursue education and serve in ministry. It was in 1995 that for the first time Julio saw the Covenant Missionary Prayer Calendar, which includes pictures of all of the missionaries and ways to pray for them. Though he never told anyone, he thought to himself, “One day I want to be in this book.” Today if you look on page 33 you will see our family’s picture. God is good! It was also Gary who first talked to Julio about his experience at North Park Seminary…which planted the seed in Julio’s heart and the desire to one day study there. As you know, it was this past May that Julio graduated from North Park with his MDiV. God is good.
The Sanders have served faithfully for so many years in Colombia and I loved the opportunity to get to know them and serve with them from 2004-2006. It was in 2004 that Gary officiated our wedding in Colombia. And now, we are so excited to go back and serve alongside of them. We have so much to learn from them, as disciples of Jesus, parents, ministers, etc. We thank God for people like the Sanders, Cathy Campobello, the Gilbert Family, who all encouraged Julio to pursue his calling to serve the church in Colombia. God is good.
We tried to track down some old pictures, but the Sanders informed me it was so long ago they first met Julio most of those pictures are still on slides 🙂