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Things That Are Different And Not The Same


Here’s a fun post for you. These are a few adjustments we’ve had to make here in Colombia having to do with daily life. This list is definitely not conclusive, but they are just some things we’ve found interesting and had to learn. ūüôā

"¬°Mira las monitas!" (Look at the little monkeys!)

“¬°Mira las monitas!” (Look at the little monkeys!)

At The Store

  • Fruit is dirt cheap. Just be sure to wash off the dirt.
  • Eggs are not sold nor stored in the refrigerated section but on a room temperature shelf.
  • Milk is not sold in jugs but in bags, also on the non-refrigerated shelf.
  • Cheese is used everywhere, but any type of yellow cheese is rare and expensive, that is if you can find any! (aka “Goodbye, Cheddar”)
  • Mountain Dew and Red Bull both are sometimes available, and are less than a dollar for what costs $2-4 in the States.
  • “Ragu” pasta sauce is imported and costs about $6 per jar.
  • Bottled carbonated water is as common as uncarbonated water.
  • Today we saw a tin of cookies (the same brand Aubrie used to buy for her Grandpa for Christmas at the Dollar Tree) for about $9.50 US.
  • We won’t be eating those cookies.

At Home

  • Hot water heaters are available, but not common. When we asked a real estate agent about this, he asked if the local water was too cold for us. We mentioned that we enjoy a warm/hot shower if we can get it, he gave us a serious look and asked, “But won’t that make you sick?” ūüôā
  • Tile instead of carpet, bars on windows instead of screens, and open windows instead of air conditioning (The AC isn’t too much of a problem since it stays moderately warm).
  • Many friendly Colombian neighbors love to play music loudly at night. Salsa, Reggaeton, Mariachi… oh yeah.
  • Rent is a bit cheaper than the US, but buying a house or property is much more expensive!

Around Town

  • Traffic signals, lines, and signs are merely suggestions and often ignored.
  • On a 3 lane road, many times there will be 4 small cars and a couple of motorcycles squeezed in between each car. True story.
  • For a city of 2 million, I’ve only seen 1 small wreck in the week we’ve been here. Not sure how that’s possible as I’ve seen how people drive here. Lol…
  • Seat belts are almost never used. Just hold on for your lives!
  • Many people have multiple cell phones. In fact, there are over 49 million active cell phones and Colombia’s population is only 47 million.
  • On many street corners there are people who carry 50-100 new-release movies with copies of the cover and a burned¬†DVD¬†in a plastic bag, selling them for 1-2 dollars each. Yes, pirated. Right next to the cops. They don’t sell many in stores. I wonder why…
  • Public restrooms are between 25 cents and a dollar to use, toilet paper is rationed, and most public toilets do not have seats.
  • People that are strangers will often stop what they’re doing for hours to help you. I find this unique and refreshing, even coming from the Southern US!¬†
  • As I mentioned in my last post, our little blonde haired girls are referred to as “Monitas” or, little monkeys. There aren’t many foreigners, even in our big city, so they get lots of attention!
  • Colombians are very proud of their heritage and superiority in society (what people group isn’t?!). I had a taxi driver preach to me for 1/2 hour last night about how terrible each other Latin American county is, and how Colombia and its people, of course, is supreme in all things. I just smiled and said how much I liked Colombia. ūüėÄ Inside I thought how great it would be if this man got the same passion for Christ and his glory… what a difference he could make!

Just because some people do certain things differently, doesn’t make them weird. Actually, it makes us weird, because we are prone to do things differently than them, in their own land. We try to have a student’s eye, watching and learning how people do things. We try to have a servant’s heart, helping and lifting up instead of expecting to be served. We try to have the Savior’s mind, who left it all, came to a different land, and gave his all for us so that we could be with Him.

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

Let us all have the eyes of a student, the heart of a servant and the mind of our Savior!

Feel free to share, comment, or add to any of this. God bless!

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I Just Need To Say…


Thank you.

I was thinking today about all those of you that have invested us, and it really blows me away!

You have sacrificed time in praying for us regularly.

You have sacrificed finances and given so that we may go.

You have treated us more kindly than we deserve.

You have cared for us, loved us, helped us, kept in touch…

We are spoiled.

I feel like the most blessed person in the world.

Every minute, every dime, every thought and kind word given has helped us on our way to Colombia.

God has been doing a great work, and you’ve had a part!

Lives have been and will be eternally impacted because of you.

So, thank you!

A Week That Will Change Your Life {GIVEAWAY}


This summer, my family and I will be joining a team of missionaries in helping out at the Our Generation Camp in Dayton, TN. I want to challenge you to consider coming this year. It has made such an impact in my life, that I plan on giving away a sponsorship for somebody by next week (see how to win at the end of this post).

camp3-1024x447

The following description is from their website:

In 2004 a group of young missionaries headed to the field held a camp (Baptist Camp for World Evangelism) for college age students interested in foreign missions. God blessed in a such a tremendous way that the world is still feeling the impact of the decisions made that week as alumni are now serving all over the world. Over the years the camp evolved into the Our Generation Student Leadership Conference and remained a focused training ground for foreign missions. In 2011 we expanded our vision and began to provide the Our Generation Camp for middle school and high school age students. It allowed them exposure to young missionaries, missions training, plus all the fun and excitement expected in a summer camp.During the Our Generation Camp we have two tracks running simultaneously. Two camps, five days, but for one mission! We are blessed to have over a dozen missionaries families join us to serve as keynote speakers, counselors, and to spend time with the students. We believe this unique equation makes for an awesome week with maximum impact on the life of the teenagers and college students.

Date: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† May 27 ‚Äď May 31, 2013 (Mon ‚Äď Fri)

Location:             Fort Bluff in Dayton, TN

Cost:                     $200 (special pricing for youth groups)

Interested in bringing a group!?!

We would love to hear from you! Please, email Trent@visionbaptist.com. He will communicate with you directly and answer any questions you may have.

We will email you a Youth Pastor Packet that will help you as you promote the camp to your youth group, meet with the parents of the teenagers, and recruit youth sponsors to join you.

In partnership with Fort Bluff Camp and missionaries around the world we believe we offer a premier, missions focused camp at an extremely reasonable price. We have all you would expect in a summer camp plus so much more!! 

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To see more info about camp speakers, the schedule, and to register, please visit the official camp website here.

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Now, for the good part…

Sponsorship Giveaway!

If you are interested in coming to the camp or know somebody else that is, I want to help you get there! How do you win? Simple… leave a comment below, share this post on Facebook or Twitter, or subscribe to the email updates. Doing each of these things will earn you a separate entry. Then, next Wednesday, April 17th I will use a random picker to select the winner.

Hope In The Pope?


hope in the pope

 

“¬°Viva el Papa!¬†¬°Viva el Papa!¬†¬°Viva el Papa!¬†¬°Viva el Papa!”

I tuned in yesterday afternoon in time to hear multitudes of Catholics from all over the world chanting in expectation of their new leader. Flags were waving all over the Vatican. The cry of the crowd was a cry of enthusiasm, expectation and energy as the new pope was to be revealed.

Then, as the curtains were pulled back, it was announced that the pope was none other than Argentine Jorge Bergoglio, who chose the name Pope Francis. Indeed, this man is the first Latin American to ever be chosen as Catholicism’s Papal leader.

He is a simple man, choosing to be as much among the people as possible, live a simple life, help the poor and deny many of life’s dainties for the “greater good.”

He led the people in reciting the Lord’s Prayer, then a prayer to Mary.

You could see expressions of hope on the faces of all who listened.

Hope.

…But is there hope in the pope?

I need to be careful here, because my intention is not to carelessly offend those that hold to the catholic teachings. But could I be so bold as to say, Catholicism, at its core teaching, is leading over a billion people to hell.

Why is that?

Don’t Catholics believe in God? Don’t they believe in the Bible? Don’t they believe that Jesus died on the cross?

Yes, they believe all of these truths.

But what is different between biblical Christianity and catholic teaching? Simply put, it’s a matter of do vs.¬†done.¬†

The¬†Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church¬†states: “Christian initiation is accomplished by means of the sacraments which establish the foundations of Christian life. The faithful born anew by Baptism are strengthened by Confirmation and are then nourished by the Eucharist.”

Their teachings go on to express that there are 7 sacraments of the church, and in keeping these sacraments you will have favor with God and earn salvation.

But ask any catholic if they know where they will spend eternity and they always reply, “I don’t know” or “you can’t know” or “I won’t know until after I die.”

Why is that? Because salvation is depending on what they do. They are initiated into the church as a baby when they are baptized, they go through confirmation as a child or young adult, and they take the communion. They confess their sins to the priest, pray to Mary, pray to the saints and other idols, and help the poor, but it comes down to one question: What is their salvation depending on? DO or DONE!?

Friend, there is no hope in the pope. He is just a man. He may be a nice man, but he is a man who is leading people down a religious road straight to an eternity that is separated from God.

Salvation is only by grace through faith. It is either grace or it is works. It cannot be both. Jesus already bought our salvation, and offers it as a gift to all who will believe on him. Why are you trying so hard to earn it?

If you have never been biblically saved, if you are still trying to work your way to God, if you don’t know for sure if you’re eternity will be Heaven or Hell, I challenge you to do one thing. Repent.

Repent of your sin and your faith in works or religion. Then believe on Jesus. Run to Jesus. Throw out any other hope that you have and cling to the cross where Jesus paid for your sins. He says he will forgive you. He will accept you. He will make you his child and an heir to all promises. He promises to give you life. Don’t wait any longer.

The Bible says in John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

You have God’s word on it. He never breaks his promises. Don’t wait any longer. Believe on Jesus.

Christian, maybe you agree with all that I’ve written here. Would you pray with me for the billions around the world that are deceived by religion? Would you pray with me that God would raise up more laborers to take the GOOD NEWS to them, that Jesus paid it all? Would you pray that God would open their eyes, that they would know the truth, and this truth would make them free?

 

 

 

 

Monster Theology


“Daaaadddaaaaa!” She screamed at the top of her lungs. “Come here Daddy! I need you!”

It was 4 AM this morning. My precious 2 1/2-year-old daughter Amira was crying in desperation. So, what’s a good dad to do? Down to her room I went.

At first sight of me she seemed relieved, and immediately she exclaimed, “I need some milk.” We talked some, quenched her thirst, and the conversation quickly went from her dry throat to more pressing issues.

“I need to sleep with you in Mommy’s bed” (funny how that works, isn’t it?). “No dear,” I replied, “you can stay in your bed. Just a couple more hours until the sun comes up. Your bed is nice and comfortable!”

“But there are monsters on my wall.”

She said it in such a matter-of-fact manner that I had to try to keep from chuckling.

Turns out, the monsters were not just on her wall, but also in the closet, under the bed, and on the ceiling, she told me.¬†Honestly, I don’t know where she got that idea, but she was fully convinced of the infestation.

I showed her how safe her room was, that monsters weren’t real, then I assured her that God is in our house and he keeps the monsters and other scary things away. She got tucked in and slept for a few more hours, and woke up nice and cheerful as if nothing had ever happened. ¬†Thank goodness.

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How many times do we act the same way? All around us there are “monsters” out to gobble us up. Maybe not the big, hairy, green ones, but our fear manifests itself in other ways.

  • I can’t try anything new because I might fail
  • I can’t witness because people might reject me
  • I can’t give to the church or missions because I might not have enough for other bills
  • I can’t speak to anybody about God because I might make them angry, and I might even be persecuted

It shows up in missions all around the world. May I be bold to say, Fear-based Christianity and fear-based missions is sin.

Why is it that the most frequent command in Scripture is to fear not? I believe that there are 2 prominent reasons:

1. Fear causes us to magnify a lie instead of Jesus

What is fear? It is worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet! Satan¬†whispers a doubt, a lie, an unfounded anxiety, and we¬†swallow¬†it. That’s why we find the following in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:

3¬†For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:¬†4¬†(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)¬†5¬†Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

Anything that makes itself greater than my God is an idol and must be torn down. Tear down your fear. Bring your thoughts into captivity. Trust Christ.

2. Fear causes us to miss God’s will

When fear controls your life, the Devil gets the victory because you’ve already given up. “There’s no use in trying.” many might say. When we think of reaching the world with the Gospel, what is the greatest hinderance? We have missed it because we’re dominated by fear. Paul told one of the young men he mentored in 2 Timothy 1:6-9:

“6¬†Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.¬†7¬†For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.¬†8¬†Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;¬†9¬†Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”

He had to remind Timothy of something that was forgotten. Fear doesn’t have to own you. God has something greater for you. The power to defeat that fear is already in you. ¬†If you don’t squash that fear, you will¬†miss God’s plan for your life!

Christian, What’s your fear? What’s the “Monster on the wall?” What’s lifting itself up above Jesus in your life? What’s holding you back from doing God’s will? It’s time to lay it aside and trust Christ. It’s time to live boldly for the ONE who gave all for us.

 

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