March 15th has been declared as Day of Prayer by President Trump and is being embraced by so many including our Indy home church, Samaritan’s Purse, NAMB , and the IMB. Our family participated in this as we prayed for the Nations on the way to church today. We took a detour to the Urena border crossing before church to see if the border really is closed. Oftentimes, the official crossings are closed, but the unofficial or illegal crossings (called trochas here) are opened. Thousands cross daily through them despite the risks of armed gangs. This morning, because of the pandemic concerns, even the trochas were closed and police were patrolling the neighborhoods to ensure that no one is sneaking through. So we learned this morning while on the way to church that it is closed on both sides, but more on that later. We continued onto church, and probably were some of the few to actually go to a physical building.
Yes, out of everyone reading this we were probably the only ones to go to an actual building for church today. We were encouraged by seeing so many friends and family worshipping with their own churches online. Our church looked a bit different today. After the Venezuelan and Colombian borders were closed at 5:00am Saturday and hearing of our first confirmed case in Cucuta Sunday morning we were not sure how our church would respond.
Our greeters met us at the door with a “Dios te bendiga/God bless you,” and hand sanitizer. As we walked in today we were given a squirt of hand sanitizer, chairs were spread apart, and our family was in charge of squirting hand soap in children's hands as they had to go wash their hands before going into their Sunday School classes. With the border closed, many seats were empty today, but were grateful the opportunity to worship together with some of our favorite hymns in Spanish. We still worshipped together and praised God for what he has done and will continue to do.
As we watch the news hour by hour for USA and Colombia we wonder what will be next. Colombia has just started to see cases, mostly in the larger cities such as Bogota and Medellin. At last check, there is one case in Cucuta, and about 50 for the whole country. Without many cases, the government here is just starting to roll out similar measures such as in the States. We were due for our monthly run to the local “Costco,” and stocked up. While grabbing bags of beans, rice, and pasta, we saw that there was no more rubbing alcohol. Two men had filled two grocery carts up with it for resale! Our refrigerator and pantries are filled and Karen has plenty of activities to do with the boys in case we end up in quarantine. If you all can do it, so can we! And then it happened! As we were writing our newsletter the school called and said the boys will have not school until APRIL 20th. Yes, you heard that right, April 20th. Karen has spent the last hour pulling out all of her goodies out of her teaching box and setting up the extra bedroom as a little school house. We are in this together.
We are saddened that the Oklahoma mission team was not able to come this week to our church but we know it was the right decision. Those of you that gave socks, hats, gloves, blankets, and STEM boxes they are being held in OK until their next trip. No worries, they will arrive but at a later date.
Our prayer for the next week and month is that God protects the Colombians and Venezuelans living their daily lives. Many work daily for the food they will be eating tonight. Praying that the virus is not spread more than it already is. While Colombia has very good healthcare, the overall system struggles because of the refugee crisis from Venezuela. For our brothers in Venezuela, we are especially worried because people are dying every day for lack of any medicine (even something like aspirin is unheard of), power outages to support medical facilities and equipment, and even doctors. Lastly, please pray for our SP operation and the decisions to be made in this time of uncertainty. We are here to serve in Jesus Name in a disaster situation and we trust God to guide those decisions. God oftentimes works during these crises to open people’s hearts and eyes to the reality of His Love and His Hope. We want to be His ambassadors at a time when many shrink back.
We pray for you for you all and again ask for your prayers.
Some have asked about giving so in closing we wanted to share a bit about that.
If you feel led to GIVE to our family for projects we do around our city as a family. Click here to give. God has done amazing things with the money given. We feel every dollar has a story that goes with it. Whether it be helping a family at church with diapers and wipes, buying a meal for the Venezuelan man on the corner, or a mom of three on the streets with your giving we are able to help others as a family.
God Bless you all,