We started 2013 with several friends.  It was a fun night of games, cialis sale fireworks, medicine water balloons, treatment hugs at midnight and LOTS of coffee.  New Year’s Eve parties here go until about 5am or 6am.  We took people home just before 5am and the streets were still full of parties. 

On January 6th, Corey and I also celebrated 17 years of marriage. 

At our local children’s church, every month we “travel” to a new location.  In January, we traveled to Burkina Faso where the kids learned about “Ministry Now”, how they can be used by God in all kinds of ways, no matter their age or their talents.
Every month we paint a mural for the location we’re visiting.  This is Burkina Faso.

On a family note, I finally got to “see” my dad.  My dad lives in Mexico on a ranch and we have seen each other in person just three times since 2006.  It was great to be able to finally use technology and talk face-to-face with him and my sister.  We connected Colombia to Mexico to Chicago.  It was great!

A different kind of family note, if you’ve kept up with our blog or Facebook pages, you will already know Juan David and Jonathan, but if you haven’t, let me introduce them.  We met Juan David and Jonathan when they were teens in 2006.  They became our Colombian sons to Corey and I and brothers to Alex and Maggie.  Now that they are in college in Bogotá we don’t get to see them too often, but in January they came over for a week.  It always feels like a family reunion and spiritually we always have a refreshing time.  It’s also great for them because they go to school full time and work several jobs.  When they come to Medellín they get to completely relax and recover.  Juan David is an amazing musician and he is studying orchestra conduction.  He is also the worship pastor at our old church in Bogotá and heads up Missions Kids Band, a band made up of youth and kids from the church who are currently recording their first album.  Jonathan is finishing his studies in psychology and often plays in worship with Juan David.  We love these two so much. 

After Juan David and Jonathan left, we had another visitor, our dear friend Dany.  This time was different, though.  Dany got married!  He brought his beautiful wife, Naara, with him.  Dany is another old friend from Bogotá.  We met him when he was part of Master’s Commission – we were both going through “new kid” stuff since he arrived to the group in Bogotá at the same time we did.  Dany and Naara came to stay while they were on their way to Venezuela to become missionaries to the Karina tribe.  It was a really interesting feeling for us, being on the flip side of itineration.  Dany and Naara were visiting churches while they were here to raise funds for their mission.  We helped connect them with pastors and shared our own experiences with them of God’s faithful provision to encourage them that God would take care of them in this walk of faith. While they were here we took advantage of Dany’s experience with children’s ministry and he did a special workshop for our teaching staff at the local church.

We finished off January with a huge event.  A Christian professional soccer team from Korea named Goyang Hi F.C. did a tour through Latin America to play against popular teams.  Our most popular team in Medellín (and arguably the most popular in all of Colombia) is Atlético Nacional.  The goal of the Korean team was to play a friendly game as well as fill stadiums so the gospel could be shared.  We took a group of kids from our church and watched as the stadium nearly hit capacity.  The stadium holds 44,000 people.  It was a phenomenal night.  Atlético Nacional won in the end, but the real winner was God as several times through the night there were opportunities to tell everyone how much God loved them and many in the crowd would start chants for God instead of either team. 
At the end of the night our family was invited to eat dinner with the Korean team, which was really cool because then we also met the owner of Atlético Nacional.  Maggie and Alex play for the professional team’s soccer school, so we love this team!  We had a chance to greet him and thank him for opening the doors for this huge event for kids.  It was so large that highlights were even shown on ESPN and all of the news outlets here!

So there’s January.  We had a great kickoff to the year.  We weren’t able to spend the holidays with our blood family, but January was filled with our spiritual family and it was a great month and wonderful start to 2013.