Category Archives: Survey Trip

New Friends and Random Photos In Bucaramanga


We were so blessed today to go to yet another children’s home in Bucaramanga, this one full of only special needs kids (and some adults). There were 82, all with varying chronic healthcare conditions. Although we were met with smiles and hugs that would melt any heart of stone, it was so sad to see many of these children go without some basic needs. Almost all of them were abandoned by their families. Here, maybe even more so than in the States, when a child has special needs, many times they are considered a waste of time and less than a real person. How sad. I’m glad God didn’t think I was a waste. These kids need to know of a God that loves them and has a special plan for their lives.

We were able to take them a few things to help out with the kids’ basic necessities and give a little money toward getting them proper care.

 

 

This two year old was the youngest at the Iris Foundation. Isn't she cute?

 

 

 

Sonya was a hoot. From the moment she saw me she tackled me, grabbed my hand and was pulling me everywhere. Did my wife get jealous? Did she intervene and save me? Did she try to stop Sonya?? Nooooo.... she laughed, grabbed the camera and took pictures. haha

 

 

 

This is Maria, the director along with one of the foundation's oldest residents. Maria sure loves those kids and the kids love her. Please pray for Maria's salvation.

 

 

 

A HUGE pile of DMEs (Durable Medical Equipment) was just donated to the foundation. Working around this stuff everyday, I can tell you this pile of stuff easily totals in the hundreds of thousands of US dollars. What a blessing!

 

 

Random Stuff Around The City…

We haven't met too many strangers in this place. People in this precious city are so friendly! We have had so many folks go far out of their way just to help us and to be a blessing to us.

 

 

Traffic in Bucaramanga.

 

 

 

 

Éxito is a very popular grocery/appliance store in Colombia. We've found that it's one of the closest things to Walmart there is here, along with another store named Carrefour. Both of these carry a few imported items from the US, though most everything is from Colombia.

 

 

 

A very common sight is to see people walking around with opened umbrellas, especially on a bright and sunny day. Can't be getting a tan now, can't we, right?

 

 

 

for about 35 cents each, and hoards of other fruits I’ve never heard of.”]

 

 

The Love Birds... And no, our hair isn't actually blue. It must have been the lighting 🙂

 

 

Broken Hearts In Bucaramanga


He didn’t even lift his head.

As I squatted down next to him and tried to speak kind words, he heard a slight jingle and slowly opened his hand and pointed it upward. The coins that dropped into his grasp, one of them falling to the ground, didn’t even total a dollar, but it was more than he had seen all day.

Then, I slipped a pamphlet out of my pocket and into his hand. “Good news,” I told him. “Maybe a friend can read this to you. It’s a message from the Bible and from a God that loves you.”

He barely acknowledged me.

The smell of alcohol was so strong. Local businesspeople sneered as they looked on with disgust. Why would I waste such a thing? The money, yes, would probably be used for something that would worsen his situation. I wasn’t sure how he would respond, but I couldn’t just walk by. The fact is, I had already walked by several just like him.

People walked by him all day. Hoards of people walked by him. It’s so easy to write this man off as just another waste of space in our society.

But, how long had he been sitting here?

Where does he call home?

Has he been like this his whole life?

How did this situation start?

What does he live for?

Doesn’t he have anybody that loves him?

Family?

Friends?

Fellow citizens?

 

…Me?

 

These questions filled my mind all day and my heart has been broken. Tears swell up in my eyes even as I write.

The truth is, people are desperate. It might not always manifest itself like it did in this man’s life, but people have no hope.

They need hope.

We all need hope. We have a void that must be filled.

Some fill that void with religion, but its hope is empty.

Some fill that void with possessions, but its hope is empty.

Some fill that void with bodily pleasure, but its hope is empty.

And some give up. The void remains empty. There is no hope. Why even try?

 

But Christ, through his mercy, gives us a perfect hope. I love Romans 15:13 that says:

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

 

That’s what makes us different. That’s why we can have hope. It’s because our hope comes from the God of hope.

And we keep it to ourselves?

What about the rest of the world?

Are we going to hoard our hope, when Christ died for all?

Our hearts have been broken here. I have been begging God to show me how to best make a difference in this country and in the world. I need his help.

Courage to speak.

Guts to act.

Willingness to be used.

Our hearts are broken.

Is yours?

 

Valentines Day In Bucaramanga With My Sweetie


 

Several years ago (does that statement make me seem old?), my wife, before she was my wife, told me she wanted to go to Colombia with me. It kind of made me chuckle at first, but it became a mutual dream before long. And that dream wasn’t realized until this month. It has been so special traveling with the love of my life over the past several days in the land that God has laid on our hearts. There’s nothing like it. Aubrie is the most special thing that has ever happened to me, outside of my relationship with Jesus Christ, and I thank the Lord for her every day.

Aubrie, I love you. Thank you for being mine.

Colombians, in contrast with some other Latin American countries, don’t celebrate Valentine’s day in February, but they do have a “Día de Amor y Amistad” in September (Love and Friendship Day). There are some interesting customs associated with that day that we learned about today, but I think I’ll save those for another post.

 

 

We flew out today about 1:30 in the afternoon and left behind some new good friends. The Washburns are a wonderful couple and have been so kind to us during the few days we spent in Medellín, Colombia. There is no doubt that God is doing a work through them. Be praying for their ministry. They have a brand new church plant, 4 other works throughout the city that are now led by men that they trained and a couple outside the city also. They have quite a few people in their Bible Institute there as well that are interested in ministry. May God be glorified through them!

 

 

The flight to Bucaramanga was only 35 minutes. I’m glad we opted for the flight over the 10 hour bus ride. The price difference wasn’t that big and the convenience was amazing. Though it was a smaller-than-what-I’m-used-to twin engine plane, and it was a little odd looking out our window and seeing a propeller, the ride was nice and they even served us a Dunkin Donut and a drink on our trip. Amen.

 

 

Bucaramanga is the capital of the state of Santander in Colombia. Its metropolitan area is made up of both Bucaramanga and the nearby cities of Girón, Floridablanca and Piedecuesta. The population of that area is between 1,500,000 and 2,00,000 (depending on who’s stat you read 🙂 ). One reason Buca was so appealing to us is that it is growing very quickly. We saw this on the way to our Hotel from the airport, which is 45 minutes outside of town. There was much construction on the roads as they’re working on widening them, more buildings being built, and people everywhere. You can kind of see these four cities connecting before your eyes. That’s the kind of place we want to be. A place that grows around us. And when people are willing to uproot to move to a whole new area of the country, usually they don’t feel as obligated to follow the traditional dead faith of their fathers, for tradition’s sake. They are more open to the Gospel.

 

 

And yet, I haven’t been able to find a single like-minded church in this entire area. I have been able to locate a couple of churches that, though we might not agree on everything, might be preaching the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith and they have done very well in reaching the people. I’ll be trying to get in contact with these and others while we’re here.

Tomorrow we’ll be checking out most of the area around town. It seems they have a pretty good Metrolinea, which is the local bus route that connects the city. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Be praying that God gives us clear guidance while we’re in this city. We have a lot on our agenda over the next 4 days before heading out for Bogotá. It seems like there is a great need here!

 

Here are a couple more pictures of some things we’ve seen.

 

How would you like to have this guy's job? Many parts of Colombia seem to be much more concerned with recycling that we do in the States. But even so, somebody's got to go through those goodies to make sure everything is in it's place. Hmmm

 

This one's for Aubrie... 😉 Does anybody know what kind of bird this is?

 

 

Shoes galore! We had heard this about Bucaramanga, but now we've seen it with our own eyes. Since Buca is home to many of the world's shoe factories, there are shoes for sale everywhere. I'll post more on this later.

 

 

Blessed Beyond All Mesure In Medellín


“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

Luke 15:10

Today we went to a new work that was recently started by Missionary Rick Washburn, Comunidad Bautista Amistad En Cristo (Friendship in Christ Baptist Community) and another church that was started years ago, Iglesia Fundamental Bautista Vida en Cristo (Life In Christ Fundamental Baptist Church). The first church is around 1 year old and meets in a rented house on the outskirts of Medellín. It was packed in there. Pray that God gives guidance to find a new building soon.

 

 

Praise God for an opportunity to preach his word and for one precious soul that was saved this morning! After preaching on the Power Of The Truth, 13 year old Santiago (the second from the left in the picture below–the one with his eyes closed) decided to place his trust in Jesus Christ. This was his second Sunday coming to the church. Pray that God would work in his life and allow him to grow and to be a witness to his family and friends.

 

 

After church and a delicious lunch we decided to go to El Cerro Nutibara. This is a small mountain in the very middle of Medellín, Colombia where you can look out and see the entire city on all sides. At the top they also have a small replica town of the “old days” (Pueblito Paisa) and a few shops. Here’s a picture of Aubrie and I at one of the viewpoints of the city. Sorry about the squinting–the sun was in our eyes just a bit. 🙂

 

 

So, today was our last full day in Medellín. What a needy city. I believe that God has great plans to glorify himself in this place, but we definitely need more laborers. Would you consider coming here?

Tomorrow afternoon we’ll be flying out to the city of Bucaramanga. This is a smaller city than Medellín, but I haven’t been able to find any likeminded churches there. Pray that God directs us as we endeavor to discover and fulfill his will.

Here are a few more pictures for your viewing enjoyment…

 

Two men relax on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It's common here to see people just sitting on benches soaking it all in.

 

 

Motorcyclists abound in this city. With the price of gas going up (between $4-$5 per gallon) and the price of motorcycles coming down, it only makes sense. Unfortunately most of the wrecks around the city are caused by the reckless driving of the motorcyclists. I'll have to post a video of the driving here. It would scare most people in the States. Lol

 

 

One of the boys from yesterday at the "finca" (farm). This was about 1 hour outside of the city. Lots of fresh air, lots of cows and lots of green. 😀

 

 

I love this girl. Thank you Lord.

Many of the Catholic churches here are incredibly ornate. This particular church has vast amounts of hand-painted depictions of "Biblical" events (most of them overly exalt Mary). Notice the couple in the lower right corner on their knees. We watched as they crawled on their knees all the way to the front where there was a statue of the city's patron saint and virgen. The Catholic faith is a sad thing to me. So many believe in God, believe in the Bible and believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. But in spite of all that they are trusting in their own works to get them to God. It is impossible. Pray that God would give us wisdom as we attempt to biblically "connect the dots" for these people drowning in empty religion and faith in their traditions.

 

Saving Lives In Medellín


She was 15 years old. She has a two year old and a 4 month old baby, both with different daddies. Her family didn’t offer much support. Her surroundings screamed that a life of utter failure would ensue. The babies didn’t have much hope. It was even questionable if they would live. Then she met Christ and her life was changed. There was suddenly a support group around her giving counsel, help with the baby and instruction in God’s word. Somebody made a difference and invested in her. Now there is hope.

She was 13 years old. Her body had become a dumping ground. It’s the only value she could find. It was the only time anybody thought she was worth anything. Then they would leave and somebody else would come. She was at the mercy of the streets. Drugs, alcohol, sex. This was her life. Then she was introduced to a man called Jesus Christ. He showed her what real love is. He changed everything. He put her in a place where she received love in a pure way from people that actually cared for her.

He was 12 years old. His parents essentially kicked him out of the house. The street became home. Drunks, pimps and druggies became his friends. Food was a luxury. His life was hard. Each day he woke up with fear that it might be his last. And with the gunshots, the yelling, the crying, the hallucinations, it’s not as if sleeping through the night were something easy either. What was the purpose of life? Why even try? But then, God came into his life. He brought him into a home where love abounded, where people cared, and they taught him about a man named Jesus. It wasn’t an overnight process, but after time, this Jesus became HIS Jesus. He became the father that never existed. He became a good friend. He became a personal loving Lord and Savior. Now, after 8 years in the program, this boy is now a leader for other boys coming straight off the streets. The unwanted ones. The scum of the city. The ones for which Jesus died. He now makes a difference in many lives because somebody made a difference in his.

 

These are real stories we heard today, from the kids themselves. These are real kids who have been saved. Saved from a life of destruction. Saved from a life of failure. Saved from the vicious cycle. Saved from hopelessness. Saved from eternal Hell.

 

We spent most of the day with the Perrow family, who are good folks from the Open Arms Foundation here in Medellín. They have a wonderful work going on. Their mission statement says it all:

Please watch this touching video that they’ve put together. We met many of these kids today, and it broke our hearts for the need. For every kid saved there are dozens more just like them that need somebody to reach out to them. You can find more info on their website here.

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