Most months we get some sort of request from churches to do a picture, healing video, diagnosis etc. In March we were part of a project where countries all over the world sent in a picture that said “Church Arise” with their country. We never got to see the final version, but this was with one of our Sunday morning groups and a fun start to March.
We also kicked off March with a surprise party for one of our friends, Sergio. Sergio is one of those people that is overflowing with talent. He plays, quite amazingly, several instruments, soccer and is studying to be some kind of chemical engineer. (I can’t remember exactly what his program is.) One of the things I love about Sergio is that although he has a really crazy and busy schedule, any time we’ve done a special event with the kids’ ministry that needs live music, he’s always made the time to come and play.
March also meant more travel, but this time together as a family. We spent a good portion of the month of March in the city of Armenia working with Missionaries Ryan and Caitlyn Jordan – and their two adorable children. Our first week in Armenia, I taught a class on world religions at CEDI, the missions training school. Five days of five-hour long classes (not to mention all in Spanish) was a huge challenge for me, but it was also a wonderful experience.
While I was teaching, Corey, Alex and Maggie were helping Ryan and Caitlyn with a team of students from Virginia Tech. The students are part of Chi Alpha, a campus ministry that operates on many university campuses all over the US. This group has made a commitment to help Ryan and Caitlyn start a group on one of the local campuses. They spent the week walking around campus talking to students to find out their interest in being part of a group, their feelings on faith and helping them practice English.
They also took a day to visit a local school and pass out “The Book of Hope”, a magazine designed for kids to teach them about God.
Being in Armenia gave Corey a chance to look at the land where he was asked to design a retreat center. The idea is to build a large chapel, cafeteria, dorms, etc. so that churches throughout western Colombia will have a place to go for camps, retreats and large events.
We stayed a second week in Armenia to attend the district prayer and fasting retreat. About 300 pastors and spouses gathered together to pray and fast for three days for families, churches and Colombia. The three days were filled with praise, worship and preaching. The team from Iowa was back in town as well to share and pray together with the pastors. It was a powerful three days.
Our pastor’s wife, Matilde, and one of our associate pastors, Carlos, were ordained during the district prayer and fasting retreat. They were presented the following Sunday in both services. Poor Matilde was so sick that day that she actually passed out during the first service, but she’s a tough cookie! A doctor came and gave her fluids and some medicine and this was her smiling big in second service. We’re proud of our pastors who have gone through all of the classes and poured into ministry to receive their ordination.
After we returned to Medellín, our church held a day of prayer and fasting. Corey and I were asked to speak. First of all, I was amazed by how many people took what was a holiday day off from work and spent from 8am until 1pm at church for prayer and fasting. It was really incredible. There was time of praise and worship that was sometimes pumped up, sometimes very quiet and times of prayer that were so powerful. It was a wonderful day!
We live about a block away from a Catholic church. On Good Friday the streets around our apartment were shut down as the people from the church marched, sang and prayed.
This picture is from another night as another processional went through the city of Envigado. There were several of these platforms to carry through the streets and they looked incredibly heavy.
We took the youth out for a night of evangelism at the local town square. Armed with balloons, candy and verses of encouragement they hit the streets and passed everything out. This was a big step for most of them who have never tried to share the gospel or ever stepped out of the church walls to share their faith. It was a small gesture, but at the end we had a time for them to share how they felt and many were motivated to work harder at being open to share their faith.
On a fun note, we were explaining to friends about how we normally colored eggs at Easter, but now that the kids were big we hadn’t really thought about doing it. You know how those conversations go… in the end, we were all coloring eggs! It’s always fun to share cultural experiences either when we learn something new about Colombian culture or when we can share something new with our friends here!