We have officially been in the States for two weeks. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind as we’ve settled into where we will be living, reconnected with family, visited the ER (with Sam who had a foot infection, but is now healed), bought and put together dressers, and celebrated the 4th of July.
This month has already included some special opportunities for Julio and I. Just last week Julio had the opportunity to spend the week at Covenant Pines Bible Camp in McGregor, Minnesota. This is the camp that I, Katie, grew up at all through my childhood and youth years. It was special to finally be able to visit with Julio. Ben and I drove him up and he stayed for the week as the Missionary guest. He was able to speak during the chapel times in the morning about what it means to be a missionary, what it’s like to live in Colombia, and how they can get involved in missions. During the afternoons he had the opportunity to play soccer with the kids and talk with both kids and leaders more about life in Colombia. This camp was a place where God so deeply met me through leaders and speakers and volunteers and it was so fun to see the way the kids connected with Julio. It was just one small way that we could give back to a place and ministry that has impacted and shaped so many lives.
As Julio was getting back from Covenant Pines, I, Katie was leaving for a triennial Covenant Church Youth Conference, called CHIC, that took place in Knoxville, TN. I was there for one week, representing Covenant World Mission and helping out in a variety of different ways. I attended CHIC back in 1994 as a student and it was extra special to return this year as a volunteer and travel with my former youth leader (who happens to be my friend), Michelle. Again, it made me pause and thank God for all the people and experiences that he used to shape me as a child and young person. This week I had the opportunity to work with an amazing team that created an experience called “Step into Congo,” where youth could get a glimpse of what life is like for a young girl there. The Covenant Church partners with the DR Congo in so many ways, and one of the ways is through supporting the education of girls. It was an incredible week to see teenagers walk through the experience and come out asking questions and wanting to know how to get more involved with the work that is going on in the Congo. I also had the opportunity to talk with many students and leaders about the different ways that we have to partner with God’s global mission. There were many conversations with people about the importance of young people getting out of their comfort zones and going to serve in a culture different than their own. There were also people who stopped to learn more about where and how missionaries are serving. I was blessed to have several people pray for me. It was an incredible week and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to serve and give back.