We’ve had a lot going on these last few months.  Here’s a glimpse of what we’ve been up to…

In October we visited a drug rehab center.  The site as it sits now has a rough dorm house and small overhangs outside that serve as the dining hall.  Corey is working with the pastor who is in charge of the oversight of the rehab center as well as an American evangelist to begin improving the grounds.  Step one is to build a recreation field/court so that there is somewhere for a physical outlet for the men (and teen boys) to work out as they go through the difficult detox process.  They’re working on further plans for better dorms, store kitchen and workshops that will hopefully one day make this a very comfortable place to leave drugs behind and find God.

In October we also celebrated Maggie’s 14th birthday and our “Colombian sons” came to visit and celebrate with her!  Juan David and Jonathan have been dear to us for many years now and we have kept in contact while we were stateside.  They are so special to us and Maggie’s only birthday wish was to have her “brothers” with her, so they brought an overnight bus to Medellin and spent a few days with us while their classes were suspended due to protests.  We’re very proud of these boys.  Juan David has been teaching kids in Bogotá how to play in a worship band and is in the process of releasing a kids’ praise worship album with them.  He is studying to be an orchestra conductor.  Jonathan is in school studying to be a psychologist and is also working in the children’s ministries at the church in Bogotá.

At the end of October, we helped fellow missionaries with a visiting team from Iowa. This was a week of “Supernatural School”.  They taught pastors about the Holy Spirit, preached all over the city and ended with a city-wide rally.  So many miracles happened in the services.  One girl came forward with a special brace over her teeth.  She told us that her teeth never fully grew or rooted, so they were always at risk of falling out.  She couldn’t eat an apple and many other foods threatened to cause her teeth to crumble. She described her situation as having floating teeth.  We prayed over her and God did something incredible.  After we prayed, she removed her brace and tried to wiggle her teeth.  They were firmly planted in her mouth!  We saw her a few days later and she was so joyful because she said God had strengthened her teeth!  That same day Corey  prayed with a man who was wearing hearing aids. Even with the hearing aids, he couldn’t hear what Corey was saying.  They prayed and as Corey finished praying, the man took out his hearing aids and said he could fully hear!  He never replaced them and went around the church having normal conversations without any problems!  There were so many stories of healing during the visit from this team and the emphasis on the supernatural from the Holy Spirit.  It was truly a blessing to have them here in Colombia.
In November, Corey and Alex traveled to the countryside to help film a short video for the Bible School.  They had quite an adventure on location and quite a journey trying to find their way home!  The man in this picture is the first Assemblies of God pastor in the state of Antioquia.  He has planted and harvested so many souls for the Kingdom.  

The end of November kicked off the Christmas season here in Medellín. We’ve found they really like to celebrate Christmas around here!  One of the important staples of the season is the food and buñuelos and natilla are a very important part of that tradition.  Buñuelos are a ball of fried dough with a white cheese inside.  This happens to be one of Alex’s very favorite foods!  Natilla is kind of like a cross between flan and pudding.  It comes in a few flavors, but carmel flavored with cinnamon sprinkled on top seems to be the favorite at least among our friends.  Friends in our small group taught me how to make the natilla.

The beginning of December brought our Regional Directors, Dick and Cynthia Nicholson, to visit.  They came to do a two day marriage seminar for pastors and church leaders. It was a beautiful weekend filled with information for pastors to go back and counsel their congregations as well as help improve their own marriages.  There was a beautiful elegant, romantic dinner on the roof terrace of the hotel with music and laughter at the end of the first night.

In December we held an outreach and concert at one of the local parks.  It was a night of bands, a theater group and preaching.  The first night it downpoured, but 26 people gave their hearts to Christ.  The second night was clear and more made a decision for Christ.  We took packets of cookies attached to information about God and the local church to the streets, passing them out as people walked by.  The park is in a popular location for youth and young adults to hang out.  There were few walking around without beer bottles in hand.  We saw many getting high and drunk on the outskirts of the park.  This was the first time this local church had done such an outreach, but the people were excited to see what an impact it could make and I expect to see many more in the future!
We’ve been inviting several people to our house who are learning English and need somewhere to practice.  We hosted a Christmas party with our friends and enjoyed a night of fellowship playing games to help them use their English!  It’s been a fun group that continues to grow.  When the large part of the group went home, some stayed behind to play Wii for the first time!  
On Christmas Day we celebrated together in the morning. In the evening, we ventured out to see one of  Medellín’s most proud accomplishments.  Medellín was selected as one of the top 10 Christmas light displays in the world!  All over the city there are big light displays and along the river that runs through the city stands the main attraction…a long expanse of lights over and next to the river.  It was really very beautiful to see and an exciting night as people were out, various street artists were performing and everyone celebrated Christmas day!
So I think that brings us mostly up to date.  One of my resolutions for 2012 will be to blog more and keep you more up to date on what’s been happening here in Colombia.  We’re expecting great things in this upcoming year!
Blessings,
Tona