Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Colombia 2012

I had the privilege to be able to travel with a team from our church to Barranquilla, Colombia for a mission trip at the end of October. I had never been on a mission trip before and am excited to join in the long-term work we are starting in Colombia. I went with a mission organization called e3 Partners with a group of 7 others from our church. It was an amazing time of spiritual growth for me and an unforgettable time of ministry there. It was a week-long trip and Matt and my mom graciously stepped up to help take care of our kids while I was away.

The first day of the trip we got to attend a local church in Barranquilla and also had a lot of evangelism training since that is what we were doing most of the week. We also met our translators, without whom we would not be able to communicate! It was a full and exciting day. The next two days were full and powerful. We went door to door in poverty stricken barrios and shared the good news of Jesus Christ with them. They were so willing to invite us into their homes and it was a powerful time. 

The last three days we worked with coalitions of churches in different barrios who are beginning to work together to solve challenges in their communities. It was amazing to witness them all putting aside their differences and working together toward a common goal. I can't wait to see what results come from their efforts.

This is just a short summary, but I hope to go again and continue to aid the work of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to the people in Barranquilla, Colombia.

When we returned, I was able to share with our church a little bit about our trip. Below is what I shared with them and is a good summary of my trip:

I am convinced of God’s power!

God can motivate you to do things outside of your comfort zone and cause you to succeed mightily for His glory! There’s nothing like sharing your testimony and the gospel 30 times in two days to really show you God’s power. He took me who was very unsure about presenting the gospel in ANY meaningful way, and caused me to have the right words to share with 30+ people about the amazing gift of love our Savior offered us on the cross if we put our faith and trust in Him alone. I believe that message with all my heart, but as I actively poured out my heart and God’s word to person after person… I felt the Holy Spirit like I never have before. 
I am convinced that God can work through us.

God can direct you to where he is already moving. In one of the Barrios, I was welcomed into the home of a young man who listened intently as we shared the gospel, and even admitted that he didn’t feel worthy of the gift of forgiveness of sin. That admission told me a lot about where his heart was… he recognized his need for a Savior. After asking a few questions he gladly prayed a prayer accepting this free gift of salvation and asking for forgiveness. And then he did something that truly showed that he got it. He wanted to share it. He brought in another young man from another room of his house and proceeded to share the gospel with Him. We had no idea anyone else was even in the house. That happens a lot in Colombia! This other young man asked to pray a similar prayer to accept the free gift of salvation and ask for forgiveness. An immediate example of what it means to be a disciple. His heart was fertile soil for God to work. I was only obeying His call to be His witness. 
I am convinced that God is the God of the harvest.

God can multiply your time. On my last day of evangelism, it was almost time for us to meet back at the church to load up on our bus. Our group looked at each other and we decided we had time to do one more house. We were invited in to a house on the corner of two streets and offered chairs.  As we were walking in more people down the street motioned for us to come visit them next. Knowing we were out of time I beckoned for them to come in this house with us. I don’t know if it’s ok to invite other people in to someone else’s house in Colombia, but I did it anyway! In the small amount of time I had, God brought in more than 3 households of people to share with all at once. They all asked to pray a prayer of forgiveness. A true example of God’s power.

I am convinced that the love of God is something that everyone needs to hear about!
In Romans 8:38-39, Paul describes the power that I felt and the confidence I now feel in my life.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Here are some pictures from my trip:

Arriving in Colombia - at the airport!

With a local church member in Trinitaria and my awesome translator Jefferson

Our team with Pastor Glaydis in Trinitaria

My lunch - pretty common throughout the week

One of my best friends Kendra and I sweating it out in the barrios

Don Basco

Of course I was attracted to the children... especially this serious 2 year old that reminded me of my serious 2 year old!

Worship in Don Basco

I got to spend a good amount of time with these girls... especially the one on the right, Daniela. We traded the few English and Spanish words we knew and had a special time of bonding.

One of my favorite moments after we returned was seeing this on Gabriella's preschool door. They were making thankful turkeys and what she was thankful for was: "That my mom is telling people about Jesus!" (orange feather). Seeing that was so meaningful because it summed up my whole trip in Colombia and also showed that my kids recognized  why I had been gone from them and how important it was. So touching... it made this momma cry.

I can't wait to continue to hear how God continues to work in the communities we visited. You are in my thoughts and prayers Colombian friends and I can't wait to see you again soon!