On Saturday, April 6 our family was blessed to be apart of Operation Christmas Child at our church in Cucuta. Our church was one of several churches in the area to have the opportunity for these festivities. When we say festival, we mean festival. The decorations were outstanding that the team put up – streamers hung from one of the end of the sanctuary to the other, lights, and children’s pictures of the Gospel message. The music, drama, and video were all above and beyond as the drama team led the kids through songs and, as Kevin likes to say, interpretive dance. Kevin and I were grateful to have a role to play as well. We presented the Gospel to the 70+ children and a handful of parents. With our own children at our feet we Karen was able to teach and Kevin translate using the different Operation Christmas Child posters.
After the presentation and prayer with and over the children, it was time! One by one each child was called by name to receive their gift! And after every single name there was cheering. 70 names later there was excitement of the gifts being opened all at once. To see the joy on the children's faces to receive a gift was great and then to see them open it was priceless. We wanted to capture each one of their faces but the excitement did last even through Sunday morning. One boy came up to Kevin on Sunday and showed us his new red shirt and Hanes underwear (yes, you can laugh).
Kevin was able to read a note to a little girl from a church in KY. Our boys both received a shoebox too, from KY and NC. They were thrilled. Benjamin and Andrew know we are here to serve others so they were overjoyed to receive a gift. We also found one from Indiana!
We had a great Easter in Cucuta. Karen had an Easter Celebration and invited SP families as well as friends from the community and church. They played at our local park then had a craft, snack, and heard the story of Christ through the resurrection eggs Karen made.
The weekend of Easter also brought Franklin Graham to Cucuta to share hope and the Gospel with Colombians as well as Venezuelans. We are thankful that we were able to attend and listen to him. Kevin attended two devotions he held for a small group of people which was uplifting and encouraging. Benjamin was super excited to see Franklin Graham, daddy's boss.
Kevin preached the week after Easter and shared the Road to Emmaus story where Jesus joins the two men that were downtrodden after not understanding why the tomb was empty as reported that morning. Jesus came alongside them, listened to them, and taught them throughout the Scriptures about his Resurrection. Later, while eating with them, He revealed Himself to them, providing another independent verification of His Resurrection.
We ended our month with a four day R&R and traveled to Bucaramanga and Barichara, the prettiest town in Colombia! We went through the very winding road in Chicamocha Canyon which combined the beauty of Colorado and the desert of Arizona. While going through a toll, we saw a lady in the road selling some kind of snack in ziplock baggies which is common here. We couldn’t tell what it was, so we decided to buy a bag. Karen thought it was raisins, and Kevin guessed it was coffee since we were in a coffee region. Well, we were both wrong! Yummy! It was a delicious local treat that we weren’t expecting. FAT BOTTOM ANTS!!! ROASTED!!! We posted a video of Kevin with Zuny and Jahdai, two of the bravest souls at Samaritan’s Purse.
Please pray for...
1) The Hope of the Gospel for the Venezuelan people. There have been many recent events that have fallen short of changing things there orchestrated by men but the reality is that these things will happen in God’s timing and way.
2) Karen has been experiencing some pretty bad knee pain and may need some surgery for a tear. Please pray for us to have wisdom in how best to proceed and her healing.
3) Our ministry as a family as we serve with Samaritan’s Purse, with our church, and to our neighbors (including the OTHER Kevin and Karen that live on the 6th floor!!)