Today we welcomed our first visitor of the year! Johan, from Varsovia, Sucre, a town about 2 1/2 hours from Cartagena, has joined us for a couple of weeks to help us get ready for this new year. Johan has felt the Lord calling him into full-time missions for several years now and after he fulfills a commitment back home, he hopes to join us, possibly in February, for about 6 months, before doing his Discipleship Training School (DTS) to embark on this new journey and direction for his life.
We’ve gone a few months since our last update so in order to catch everyone up with the latest, here is a month-by-month overview of what has been going on with us ever since:
In late November, ministry directors, Jorge and Karen, headed back to the USA for some medical check-ups. Unfortunately what was intended to be a few weeks stay has turned into another year-long journey as doctor’s discovered that Karen has had a relapse of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which was first diagnosed when she was a young teen. Karen is now undergoing chemotherapy and if all goes well, she and Jorge hope to be back in Colombia full-time by the beginning of 2017. In the meantime, Erika continues to do an excellent job of leading and directing the ministry in their absence.
The Cruzate Family returned from 6 weeks in Iquitos, Peru where they were attending a YWAM school of leadership development. After almost 13 years serving with Proyecto Libertad, Samy and Marley are considering moving to the city of Pereira to help launch a new mobile worship team with the YWAM base there. They are still praying about this decision and about the timing but they are excited about the possibilities.
Jorge was able to travel back to Cartagena for almost a month and a half to help tie up some loose ends and to spend the holidays with our staff.
Just a few days after ringing in 2016 we welcomed our first volunteers for the new year.
Shawn, from Colorado, came for a month to help us tackle our long list of mission maintenance projects! This was a specific answer to prayer and also to the SOS we issued back in October! We thank the Lord for Shawn and his servant heart.
Our biggest focus during the month of January was tackling an ever-growing list of maintenance projects that desperately needed attention: deteriorating walls, rotting stairs, and termite infested paneling, just to name a few.
Meanwhile, Elisabeth has been working hard on all the paperwork required by the Health Department. We are getting so close to finishing this process and having our clinic officially and legally registered! And last but not least, check out the new hand-rails installed at the clinic:
We had a great week with a short-term mission’s team from Hope Lutheran Church from Minneapolis, MN, led by our long-time friend, Ben Sollie, who is now on the pastoral staff at Hope. This group was also an answer to prayer and a direct answer to our October SOS!
We started out the month by welcoming our first ever volunteer from Lithuania:
This month we also hosted a group of 13 German volunteers for 5 days. They are volunteering in different parts of Colombia with a sending organization called “Weltwärts” and came to Bocachica to meet together for a time of debriefing and retreat.
Jorge was able to return to spend the month of March with our staff. He was able to work with Elisabeth on finishing up the clinic paperwork, help host the German group, and take care of a few other items of official business. He will be returning back to the USA on March 31st as Karen prepares to start her second round of chemo.
We are happy to welcome Yolanda back for 3 weeks of service in Bocachica. This lively Colombiana is full of energy and comes to volunteer at least a couple of times each year. She is always a great blessing helping with the infirmary, hospitality and teaching craft projects to the ladies in the community. Yolanda is a friend who has become family.
Last week we were blessed by a special visit from a South Korean family (Jun, Esther, & Daniel) who have spent the last year and a half in Colombia learning Spanish and preparing to go to Guinea Equatorial as full-time missionaries. They visited us in Bocachica and shared about their vision and passion for Guinea Equatorial with the Bocachica churches. We hope to see them in Guinea Equatorial next year with our DTS outreach team! The Kim family will be returning to South Korea in a few weeks to make all the final preparations for their departure to Africa next year.
- Visas! Our friend Rubiela told us that the biggest mountain we would face would be the approval of the visas! This is a process that involves bureaucracy, egos, power-trips and spiritual forces of darkness.
- Finances! We have tried to lower the price of our school as much as possible to make it more accessible to Colombians and Bocachicans;however, in this economy it is especially difficult to come up with such a large sum of money.
- The teachers who will come to teach in our school. Over the next few months we will be inviting our teachers, and putting together the curriculum and weekly schedule. May God guide us and orchestrate every detail to bring the people He has chosen for this task.
- The students who will come; that God will hand-pick each person He wants to be a part of this DTS. May He especially bring those whom He is calling to serve long-term in Africa. Luke 10:2 says: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
- The staff who will lead this school. May God bring God-fearing people of integrity who are passionate about discipleship and mentoring and who lead by example.