Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Colombia Mission trip 2015

Colombia 2015

The wonderful open markets of Colombia.  How can I explain the amazing variety of fruits and vegetables you can find in this market.

The varied colors and textures not to mention the flavors, oh, the flavors.

We had the chance to arrive into Colombia before the team arrived. While there we helped the church leadership purchase food (at the local open market) as well as finishing prepare last minute details before the team arrived.

How great it was to fellowship with good food and great company.

Our dear friends and ministry partner are the reason why we do what we do.  They are our eyes and ears in country and it is out of a desire to bless them and to serve them that we do this work. 

And here our journey begins.....

Day 1

Team has arrived, exhausted but excited for what will come.

Day 2

Having the team here is great. We have started the day by climbing a small hill with all of our extra luggage full of things brought for the church.  What a great way to begin to seeing the city for the first time. 

Once we arrived at the church we spent some time with the Pastor and his family and spent the rest of the afternoon getting to walk around the community.  One of the community leaders took us on a tour of local creek. The creek in the passed had been extremely contaminated as well as surrounded with trash, rats, homeless and drug addicts.

After a lot of cleaning of the surrounding areas as well as the relocating of the homeless and drug addict; the local community started working on reviving this very special creek. 

The community leaders did this by planting trees that were originally from the area as well as teaching the community how to care for their own environments.   

What an amazing example of fixing what we do not like.  They did not stay in complaining for what they did not like. They took matters into their own hands and changed it.


Day 3

This is the teams official first day of work!!!!  What great things we had prepared for this day.We started our day with preparing all the materials we would need for our time with the kids.  

Our partner ministry in Colombia has an amazing outreach work with the children in the community.

The ministry helps the children with school work as well as helping them with their cognitive and emotional development. Because of this, as a team we were very intentional in teaching the children a skill that they could later on use.

In the evening was the first night one of our team members (a professional English chef) catering and culinary training.  He had a group of 15+ people from the church and local community. The training would prepare those attending in order to learn how to do catering as well as basic cooking skills.

Day 4

One of the aspects I most love about the ministry the Lord has given us is to be able to see two groups from different cultures, age groups and denominations coming together as one body "The Body of Christ".

I saw this first hand as team members give their all (even when they did not know what the other person was saying). I saw them pour out their hearts, loving in every way possible, getting to know the local people.  We spent time with kids, loving and playing with them.

We had great conversations with many in the community and grew in greater friendship as we heard first hand their personal stories.

Day 5

The team is keeping up with training the kids in the area of crafts. These crafts will then be sold in a very special fair on Saturday. The proceeds of the crafts will then be used to cover the costs of the children's ministry in Bogota.  The men in the team are helping a group of boys work on some carts for a competition that will be occurring during the fair.  Not only are the kids learning how to build the carts but they also need to figure out how much it will cost and what materials they will be needing.

As a team we helped raise funds to provide for a climbing wall and we had the privilege (I think God knew what He was doing) of having two team members who were a bit of experts in the art of climbing. These team members helped a lot in training and teaching how to properly use the equipment as well as how to climb the wall responsibly.

Day 6

Crafts are still being taught, carts are being built, climbing training is happening and catering training is going (quite successfully I might add). On this day we also had the chance to go on a walk around the community so we could  have an understanding of the living conditions of many of the people we were building friendships with.  

At the end of the day the women in the team had prepared a great time for the local women in the community. The team prepared to minister and love upon the community women through, crafts, sharing of testimonies, washing of feet and last but not least a very special meal served by the men (team and church members).  This meal was previously prepared by the catering class and was a great hit.

The fact that it was the men who were serving was of great impact to all the women as culturally it is not common to see men serving women. This made the women feel loved and special which went hand in hand with the theme of the women's event.

Day 7

FAIR DAY.....   All that we worked on for the whole week was for this special day.  The fair consisted of a flea market (proceeds from the flea market go to help fund the different ministries), hip hop performance (one of the schools from the church), Brazilian percussion group, all girls hip hop dance group, the cart race and the presenting of the certificate of completion for those that finished the Catering course. We joined in a community lunch (all present were welcome to partake for free (meal planned and prepared by the catering course students).  

We ended an amazing day with a wonderful church service.  We are all so happy but soooo exhausted.  Time to go to the hostel.  

But wait the day is not officially over.  Our team went out again and took some food to the homeless.  After coming back to the hostel around 1 am the day was officially over.

Day 8

Our day of rest... 
The day started late (as would be expected). We had a great BBQ (asado) and spent some quality time with the church members, sharing a meal and some great laughs. We then headed to try a local sport (Tejo).  We later took a stroll through a local Sunday craft market, had dinner and headed back to the church.... and SURPRISE!!!! We had a party prepared for one of our team member's birthday and we celebrate it COLOMBIAN style, by throwing flour at him!!! 

We had a pinata for him, unfortunately we didn't take into account how tall he is and how low the ceiling was, so instead of our friend hitting the pinata, he hit the fluorescent lights making the lights go BANG.  We all had a great laugh. After cleaning everything up everyone enjoyed the great celebration.