As we near Christmastime we have enjoyed hearing about different upcoming Christmas and holiday traditions! Thursday night the city of Bogotá will celebrate “la noche de velitas,” the “night of little candles.” We are looking forward to seeing what that looks like!
A few updates of the past few months.
In November we went back to the coffee region to give a workshop with 4 different Mennonite Churches. There were about 25 youth and youth leaders present.
We arrived in Armenia on a Friday evening. On Saturday morning we rode with the youth in a bus to a farm house about 20 minutes outside of the city. It was a beautiful setting with a trampoline, grass for soccer games, a small swimming pool, and gorgeous views. After the day we went back into Armenia and flew back to Bogotá. It was a fast but very worthwhile and rewarding trip!
We talked again about the three values of anabaptism, sang songs, played games and got to know each other.
Many of these kids will attend our camp in January. Eric and I, along with a team, are helping to organize and plan a national camp for the youth we’ve met over the last year (as well as the youth we haven’t got to meet yet!). We are excited about the chance to get everyone together for worship, learning and fellowship. We have decided to focus the teachings around the biblical story of the Road to Emmaus. The camp will be January 5-8th at the “Mennonite Farm” in Cachipay, Colombia. We welcome prayers!
Also in November we had a fun visit from Zabi, Eric’s brother. We enjoyed doing some touristy things, eating and laughing together, and just being with family.
We have started to host the youth from our local church, Villas de Granada, in our house once a month. There are 4 youth who are very involved, and when they come sometimes they bring a friend or two. We usually make a light “North American dinner,” read a text from the bible and then talk about it, share about our personal lives, and end with a game of Dutch Blitz.
This last time we made pizza together, read the Christmas story from Luke and played Dutch Blitz. We asked them about their Christmas traditions, many of which are similar–eating special foods, gathering with family, reading the story of Jesus’ birth. Some of which were different–special foods include Tamal and Sancocho, and staying up until midnight on the 24th. There are some cultural “wive’s tales” that we learned about too (Although only some Colombians participate in these). For example, carry a suitcase around the block (and you will have a year full of travels), fill your pockets with lentils (and you will have more than enough to eat the next year), wear yellow for good luck and prosperity, and wear new clothes on New Year’s Eve (for prosperity in the next year)…
As I reflect on this last year, I can see how blessed we have been. We are grateful to our home community of friends and family who continue to text, email, FaceTime or Skype with us. Grateful for new and growing relationships that sustain and fulfill us.
We are truly blessed.
We will miss our own holiday traditions with friends and family certainly, but are beyond blessed to have new people to share these special times with.
Side note–we are very excited to be able to go to Florida to spend 10 days with Kelly’s family over Christmas; although we will miss family time with the Martins.
Some things we have to look forward to in the upcoming year…
- National Camp for youth in January
- Regional Workshops for youth (hoping to have 3 in each region next year)
- Starting a “Leadership Group” to give training and support to young people (age 17-25) who are already taking on some leadership within the church
- Visitors from the north!
- A Mennonite Mission Network retreat in Quito, Ecuador
As always, thank you for your prayers and support. We continue to feel blessed and nourished.
Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año!
Kelly and Eric