Here in Colombia we celebrate April as the “Month of the Child.” It is a month to remind children of how special and valued they are. It is also an opportunity to create awareness around the real issues that children are facing – abuse, bullying, malnutrition, difficulties in school, etc. In the church, it is an opportunity to remind children of their dignity and value as we reflect upon Jesus’ words and actions in Mark 10:13-16:
“One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.”
This month Julio and I had the opportunity to participate in the valuable work among children that the Covenant is doing in Bogotá. Julio traveled to spend a weekend meeting with youth and youth leaders, hearing their stories of survival, struggle, and transformation. He was also able to worship with the children’s church, “Iglesia Infantil,” a church that has committed itself to being a community for those most vulnerable in their community/neighborhood. The worship is joyful and the teaching is dynamic and designed for kids to experience God.
Katie also had the opportunity to visit Bogotá the following week and spent time in a Covenant school in the Potosi neighborhood. The school finds itself in the midst of a very vulnerable social context where gangs, drugs, and poverty define the daily experience of its residents. The children who have the privilege of studying in Colegio El Pacto experience the love of God through their teachers and those who serve in the school. They have the opportunity to learn in a safe and nurturing environment and they receive lunch every day. The teachers are committed to their students, as is seen in the fact that one of the teachers travels 2 hours every day to and from school to be there. The school and church are a beacon of light in their community for the children and their families.
Proyecto Esperanza (Project Hope) is another Covenant ministry that has at its core the well-being of children. They offer before and after school programs so kids don’t have to be home alone as their parents work. We had a blast as we spent the day teaching the kids songs in English and leading them in activities and crafts that emphasized their uniqueness and importance to God. They drew self-portraits and talked about what they liked about themselves, recognizing the fact that they are created in God’s image. It was fun to pass around mirrors and watch them look at their reflection and then try to draw what they saw. Inside the walls of Proyecto Esperanza the children are loved by caring volunteers and staff. They are able to get help with homework and also receive lunch every day. The project works with their families and offers support to parents. The reality of the context they live in is challenging and it is reflected in the lives of the children. Still, spending time with the kids in this place one can’t help but experience God’s love and care for children.
We invite you this month, in honor of children, to make a donation to Covenant Kids Colombia, which supports these projects and others like it throughout Colombia. You can partner with ministries in Colombia who are making a difference in the lives of children. To donate go to: https://covchurch.org/mission/covkids-colombia/
For the latest newsletter from Covenant Kids, featuring the work of children’s projects in Colombia, click here.