Hemos comenzado…we have begun!

Dear family and friends,

Buenas! Como estan? Greetings from Colombia!

We’ve been here in Bogota for four months now! We are still adjusting on some levels but feeling overall more comfortable and, well, adjusted (and well-adjusted). Language of course is still a big challenge, but we are doing much better! We are well and we are happy! We are grateful for updates from home via skype chats, emails and whatsapp messages!

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We are excited to have begun our work with Iglesia Menonita de Colombia (IMCOL). We work with a team of people on the national committee and are beginning to generate ideas to strengthen and support the youth ministry program on national and regional levels. Eric and I have begun visiting local churches (here in Bogota and a few outside of Bogota) and are encouraged to be meeting and socializing with young people. The passion we see for anabaptism and pacifism is great!

In our meetings with youth groups we usually play a game (for those of you who know Eric well this will not surprise you since he is a creative game-maker!), debrief the game, and ask questions like “What are your dreams for your church/youth group?” “What are some challenges you face daily and how does your church support, or not support, you in those?” “Who is Jesus?” “What would you like to see available to you as a mennonite youth on a national level?” The answers and conversations surrounding these questions is being used to inform our brainstorming with our team to continue in our work here.

The following are a few pictures from some of the meetings we’ve had with youth groups…

 

Like I mentioned briefly above, some of the churches we visited were in Bogota and some were outside of the city. We traveled with some of the national committee to visit churches in Madrid, Girardot, La Mesa, Cachipay and Ibague. We found out that lower elevations are much warmer!! The drive was beautiful, here are some photos…

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Besides beginning our work and still studying Spanish, we are making friends and exploring the city! Bogota has LOTS of beautiful graffiti–there is a graffiti tour offered as a tourist attraction. We haven’t done the tour, but we’ve seen a lot of it just in our own meanderings! I’ve really enjoyed the times we’ve gone downtown to the “Candelaria” and the “Septima.” It is an area where there is always something going on! Another fun thing to do is drive to the “Calera” which is an area of restaurants just a bit up the mountain where you can have a beautiful view and try some foods! Pictures below…

 

Eric and I went with a few of our friends to climb Monseratte (a large mountain with a cathedral at its peak) on foot. It felt like a huge accomplishment, and although we were sore and exhausted afterward we’d like to do it again sometime!

A few more updates and pictures from our daily life…

FIRST: We are delighted to share that we are an aunt and uncle again! Cherie & Kevin (Eric’s sister) had Jonah Cade in May!

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We were privileged to host Deb Byler who does worker care with Mennonite Mission Network. We were informed that this was her last worker visit before she begins the next journey of her life, serving in Guatemala! We played lots of Empire Builder 🙂

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Here are a few snapshots of us just doing normal life including cooking, trying different fruits (in the picture coconut), painting with Nicolas, going to the park with a family from church…

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We’ve also enjoyed on occasion walking to the closest commercial center (mall). Sometimes we go because we need to buy some things from the supercenter, pay our gas or phone bills; and sometimes we go because we enjoy the walk–and there is a coffee shop in the mall we like to sit at 🙂

 

On Sundays that we are not visiting the other Mennonite churches we are attending a church nearby our house in Villas de Granada. Recently the whole church traveled to Subia to host church for a rural village and baptize some of our church’s members in a river. After church we had a cookout. It was a beautiful day with sunshine (and some rain)!

 

Sometime perhaps I’ll do a more in-depth blog on some of the new fruits and veggies we see at our local market, but for now, here are a few photos of where we buy most of our fresh produce…I am continually amazed at how inexpensive and easy it is to get fresh fruit! Papaya, mango, guayabana, tomate de arbol, lulo, maracuya, pineapple, oranges, apples, kiwi, plum………. to name a few.

 

Thanks for reading and checking out our pictures! We are grateful for your continued support and encouragement!

Un abrazo muy fuerte!

Love, Kelly & Eric

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