God is at work in so many powerful ways in Colombia and it’s always a joy when people are able to experience this first-hand. The first week of May we had the privilege of hosting a team from Hope Covenant Church of Chandler, Arizona. Looking back on their 10 days in Colombia, we are amazed at all of the ministries they were able to visit and all the ways they were able to use their gifts to serve. This was a very talented, humble, passionate team of people. Their first day in Colombia they participated in a children’s celebration and worship service at a local church. They jumped in and helped out with face painting, games, crafts, etc. The children’s ministry team at this church did an incredible job of organizing the celebration and so we were able to just plug in and have fun!
After the children’s celebration we headed out to a “finca” (country house) for a 24 hour retreat with young professionals. This is the group we’ve been working with for over a year and we’ve seen such growth in each person’s life. God is using these young professionals in their places of work, families, and communities to make a difference. The retreat was a combination of hang out time, worship, solitude/time with God, small group conversations, sharing our testimonies, talking about how our faith intersects with the whole of our lives. We saw people opening up about their struggles with faith, a person who is new to faith asking some deep questions, and we were all enriched by the sharing of life experiences.
The team included Will and Yvonne DeVaughn. Yvonne is the leader of AVA (Advocating for Victims of Abuse) ministry in the Covenant Church in the USA. Her personal testimony is powerful and her leadership is remarkable. It was a privilege to have them both here leading 3 days of training for national pastors and leaders. What a wonderful job the regional human rights committee did in organizing this event – housing people from other cities, making arrangements for meals, setting up the meeting space, raising money to cover costs. God is good and over 50 people were able to attend the training. There were important times of sharing and talking through personal experiences with abuse, as well as learning how to walk alongside those who have been victims of abuse. The Mending the Soul materials were extremely helpful. Pray for the Colombia Covenant as they move forward in this important ministry. The need here is great!
Another part of our week was spent at the local Covenant Elementary school, teaching English. The children love to have visitors and practice their English. They are learning new vocab and are able to practice correct pronunciation. The week was full of dynamic learning songs, games, crafts, etc. A huge thanks to former short-termer Kassie Posladek for helping to make a curriculum available to teams coming down to teach.
And lastly the team was able to meet with people who are running small businesses or are interested in starting a small business. This was a first of really pulling together this type of a gathering where people could share experiences, resources, ask questions, receive input. We had a representative from a non-profit, Interactuar, who shared about the training and micro-loans they offer. Several members of the team, and a successful Colombian small-business owner, were also able to share from their experience and ask very important questions. A network is being created and the hope is to be able to continue meeting together to learn from each other.
These experience of working with teams from the USA in partnership with the Colombian Covenant Church is so life-giving. We look forward to see how God will continue to use the experience from this week to change lives.