Our short-term mission team was very hot and exhausted from a long day of serving around 200 people in a poor village in the banana plantation region of Colombia, so we sat by a roadside store sipping soft drinks as we waited for our ride that arrived two hours late. A couple of hundred yards away a group of children were playing soccer next to the busy road. Pastor Jaime Leal suggested we go over and speak to the kids. So he got a bag of candy from his SUV and assembled a group by distributing it. Then I started preaching the gospel to the kids. They all remained attentive and responded to my questions about God and sin. After speaking for about twenty minutes, all 28 kids of various ages gave their lives to Jesus. The community has no church, so Pastor Leal, with his assistants, has started to regularly preach and disciple there, along with having music classes and soccer. It seems the Lord had a purpose for our delay and opened the door for a new church plant in San Pablo.
Our team of nine found the children and youth to be especially responsive to the gospel as we ministered in eight locations of northern Colombia. The adults seemed a bit more jaded and less responsive, some preferring their life of sin to repentance. I shared the gospel with two young men who already had heard it, but wanted to put off to “later” a commitment to Christ. Alba spent two hours sharing the gospel with a group of school teachers who did not respond. Our team ministered through teaching Bible stories, doing handicrafts, leading singing, providing medical care, presenting the gospel, training teachers, providing marriage and financial counseling, and praying. Alba and Anne especially helped the teachers in a Compassion International program at Los Olivos in Barranquilla understand classroom management. Several hundred patients were seen by our two physicians on the team from Peru (Jorge and Lenny), along with Mary as pharmacist. A couple of particularly heartbreaking medical cases for which we could do nothing but pray came to be seen. It appeared that more than two hundred children and youth made professions of faith in Christ upon being invited to do so with prayer.
The Hogar La Providencia children’s home has been making advances with staff, secure facilities, and self support. Shortly before we came there, the new bakery/restaurant opened on the corner of the property with the goal that it will help sustain the operation of the Hogar. Our team had a fantastic time swimming at the beach with the 28 kids who live at the home. They are so hungry for close relationships, which we were able to develop quickly. All of the newer kids in the home made professions of faith when presented with the gospel, as the longer-term kids already knew the Lord. When we were there in August, it had not rained substantially since last November. Everyone was suffering from the lack of water. Since the Hogar has a good well, water from it has been taken to many of those in need, including the town of Taganga, which is suffering from severe drought.
There is much to pray about. Pray for:
- Solid marriages in the churches
- Abundant rain
- The kids at the Hogar to learn much and grow spiritually
- The bakery to generate income
- A reliable person to sell the bread to various businesses
- The family living at the Hogar to lovingly parent the children and provide good leadership in the home
- Provision of leadership for opening (or expanding) schools and churches in the various villages where we ministered: Taganga, Rio Frio, Varela, San Pablo
- Provision of property for the growing Calvary Church where Edison Florez pastors
- Development of the theological training center in Santa Marta to raise up church planters
Through your prayers we were able to be an encouragement and blessing, and your prayers will continue to bring showers of blessing to our brothers and sisters in Colombia (Ezekiel 34:26).
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Bruce McDowell. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org