Thank you for your continued support and prayers. We have been in Bogota, Colombia almost exactly 7 months now. We are learning to know more areas of the county, making relationships and enjoying the work we are doing with Mennonite youth across the country. We are grateful for your prayers and the ways we can see God at work in the world.
We have continued meeting with local youth groups and have started giving workshops for several churches in two of the four regions that the Mennonite church in Colombia is made up of. Making relationships with the youth and getting to hear their dreams and desires for their church has been very rewarding. The youth seem to really enjoy playing our games and learning more about their anabaptist/mennonite identity, as it offers an alternative narrative to the one of violence that has often been told in Colombia. Our workshop has been focused on the 3 values of anabaptism based on the MissioDei from Mennonite Mission Network’s resources:
- Jesus is the center of our faith.
- Reconciliation is the center of our work.
- Community is the center of our lives.
Included in the workshops are teachings; a bible study focused on reading the bible through the lens of Jesus; activities that emphasize listening to others, sharing our own stories and practicing community; as well as a time to hear from the youth (things like how they can participate in reconciliation, and what they have learned).
The following are pictures from a variety of churches during workshops or visits.
One of the workshops we lead was for the region of the Caribbean Coast. A church in Barranquilla hosted the event, so we got to see parts of the coastline in Barranquilla and the Rio Magdalena. Here are a few pictures…
Another workshop we lead was in Ibagué. There we stayed with Chepe and his family. What an incredible host and tour guide! He took us and some of the youth from the church all over Ibagué. We got to see the cañon de Combeimba. He took us to eat typical “Tolima” food: lechona (pork dish) and chorizo (sausage–served with arepa, it comes on a skewer and you eat it with lemon). It was a fun time of relationship making! Picture below with the youth from the area, photo credit: Chepe.
After Barranquilla we decided to take our own vacation to Cartagena–about an hour and a half bus ride from Barranquilla. We celebrated 4 years of marriage; enjoyed touring the “old city”–a walled in city built in the 1500s; and time on the beach. This is a fantastic place to relax and enjoy!
There are LOTS of festivos (holidays) in June/July here in Colombia. We were invited to join a couple on a long weekend trip to Boyaca, a different departmento (state) in Colombia. What a generous invitation! We loved getting to experience a whole new area of Colombia, meeting Caleb and Yalile’s family, staying in a mountain cabana, swimming in a hot spring pool, taking in the peaceful calm of a lake settled in the mountains, and learning more about the history of the area. If you find yourself traveling to Colombia, Boyaca is definitely a recommended place to visit!!
Eric was asked to preach (yes, in Spanish) at Villas de Granada, the church we attend when we are not visiting other churches. Eric preached on Matthew 5:38-42. Kelly, in all her acting experience, had a debut with Nicolás. They acted out part of the scripture of the sermon on the mount.
We are feeling very blessed to have had these experiences! Thanks to our community at home who continue to pray for us and encourage us in emails or texts, and thanks to our community here who have welcomed us with warm hospitality and accepted us as friends.