This week Pastor Joe from Grand Blanc, recipe Michigan and Pastor Brad from Moline, ambulance Illinois came to visit to plan their AIM trip for this summer. We had a blast! This will be our first AIM team – at least on this side of the fence – and we were busy preparing for the pastors to come. We originally had chosen four sites to take them as potential areas to bring their team, but by the time they got here we narrowed it down to two. It turned out that the first site we took them to was a God ordained place because everything fit together better than I could have ever expected. We took them outside of Bogotá to a small town called Tocancipá. It’s a cool little town of 23,000 people. The goal of the AIM team is to do a four day basketball camp with a championship game and rally at the end to share the gospel. Parks are in abundance here in Colombia, but I had no idea what the city of Tocancipá had in store. Their government has built the city a complete sports complex with indoor and outdoor basketball courts. It’s an amazing place. One of the cool things that happened – in a string of events that just told us this was the place – was that Joe and Brad were hoping to be able to speak to 2000 people in the final rally. As they were talking in one area I was in another speaking with the pastor who told me that the center we were in would hold 2000 people! When I told Joe and Brad they were praising God! Another blessing came when the manager of the center said she could have the television station come in and broadcast the whole thing to the city, which means their final message will bring the gospel to the entire population of Tocancipá!!!
Pastor Aldo, the pastor of the local church, asked Brad to come back and preach on Saturday night for youth service. I was very nervous to go because this would be my first time interpreting for a church service! The energy of their youth service was amazing! During praise and worship the kids were dancing around the whole building laughing, singing and praising God! Within the first song they had pulled Alex along with them and it blessed my heart to see him completely into praise and worship caring nothing about the language, just being part of celebrating that God was with them. The service went well and the translating overall went pretty well, too. I was content at the end that it had all come together and I didn’t completely ruin the message!!
At the end of the night we went to a local cafe where the Pastor asked Joe to preach the next morning for Sunday service. Fortunately they had another translator for that one – youth service is one thing, the big service is another! We went home and Joe got to work on his message. Sunday was great, too, and the connection that was made with the Pastor and the people of Tocancipá was phenomenal. We cannot wait for August to come around!
Along with meeting the town where they will be working, we took Pastor Joe and Pastor Brad to many of the sites so they could decide what their free day would be like for the team. We visited the Salt Cathedral, Monserrate, the leather district and lots of restaurants! By the time they left I think we were all exhausted, but it was such a blessing to have them here! We expect amazing things to happen when the whole team comes back in August!