What’s new in January?

Goodness, this month seemed to fly by. I must admit that I felt rather unsettled the beginning couple of weeks, with the disturbing events in the USA – the capitol riot, unrest leading up to inauguration, growing Covid numbers. There was such heaviness as the new year started. In many ways it has not lifted, but we continue to look for ways that the light is shining in the darkness and to be a part of bringing hope to a world that is hurting. The poem that was delivered at the Inauguration by Amanda Gorman touched me so deeply and one of the lines that keeps ringing in my ears is, “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” Jesus said to his disciples, you are the light of the world… “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

And so in this month I have been reminded that Jesus is the light, and that we are called to be light, wherever we are and in whatever we do.

My visual reminder to look for light, to be light.

January is often a month of preparation and planning here in Colombia. Kids are usually off school until the middle of the month, plans start shaping up for different ministry initiatives, meetings start up again, etc. There has been lots of hours spent on the computer, writing goals, developing projects, helping to translate reports, emailing, participating in zoom calls. 2021 is shaping up to be another full year and we are feeling hopeful for what is to come.

The children’s ministry leaders have formed a small collaborative working group that is planning ways to continue to networks children’s ministry volunteers through online workshops and gatherings, as well as working with the Biblical Seminary of Colombia to offer a certificate in children’s ministry for leaders. We are praying that this will be helpful in supporting the local children’s ministry leaders as they serve children and families during what continues to be a challenging time in the midst of the pandemic.

Pastors are meeting regionally and are continuing in their journey of mentorship and of supporting each other in ministry. Many local churches have begun meeting in person, while others continue to hold their worship services online.

Julio has been working tirelessly with the seminary to have everything ready to begin the three certificate programs with the Biblical Seminary of Colombia. Right now there are over 200 students enrolled in Old Testament, New Testament, and Biblical Interpretation. Pray for these pastors and lay leaders as they are formed by the word of God, that they would be equipped to serve and lead others. Pray for Julio who is helping to coordinate logistics and teach classes.

Pray for the Be Peace, Make Peace leaders as they are planning and developing a third phase of the project to begin implementing in February. Praise God for the ways that peace and reconciliation is being modeled, taught, and sown in the lives of children and youth in El Bagre. It has been quite impressive to see the ways this project has grown and the impact it is having as more and more youth and young adults are seeking ways to be involved. Pray that God would continue the transforming work.

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