When called to Colombia to serve the Venezuelan people in a disaster situation we did not know that in eighteen months there would be a pandemic layered on top of the work that we were already doing. God has shown His love and Compassion during this time to us personally and as a ministry. As with many of you, our lives have changed significantly, as we have adapted to living in strict quarantine restriction. One thing early on that for which we have been very grateful is that our apartment is a good size. If you have been following our journey, you may have seen the boys with plenty of room to run in the apartment or even ride their tricycles! For four months children were not allowed outside of their homes. Benjamin and Andrew had plenty of room to run and play, and Karen has amazed us with her creativity at all the different projects to keep us entertained. She has also has taken up baking and had has perfected her cinnamon rolls. Through some delicious trial and errors, she changed out yeasts, flours, and sent me exploring the world of bakeries here to get the perfect ingredients for the perfect light and fluffy cinnamon rolls!
During this time, we have seen in the US and in Colombia how lives have changed and for both. Jobs have been lost and even lives have been lost. Through it all we have seen THE CHURCH doing what they can to make sure the Gospel is being shared needs of His people are being met.
It is moving to us to see in both the US and Colombia that churches have not said we are closing our doors completely, but have made adjustments and now the internet is the source to share Bible study, Sunday School, church services and now VBS! A lot of churches have adapted to new technology and have been able to use it to keep up with their members. This has been tremendous here as there are many members who are susceptible to COVID and at increased risk. Our church, First Baptist of Cucuta, utilizes Facebook, but also a popular texting app called WhatsApp, which helps us all to stay connected as a church even though the doors are closed. One of the great things they are doing is a daily prayer chain where we are able to share and pray for one another. Families have opened up, and allowed all of us to get to know each more. The children’s ministry team is working hard to prepare lessons each week for all their classes and making sure they are connecting with all families every week.
Their love for Christ in shown as they are loving the children.
Personally, our family has been blessed to be able to connect to our US church, Northside Baptist Church in Indianapolis, IN. Our Sunday mornings are spent online worshipping and studying God’s Word with Northside. Months ago, Karen and the boys were able to help with AWANA and we continue to follow the daily bible study, as well as the Sunday morning activities for another country. Puts into perspective reaching the nations! We are excited for the upcoming VBS Northside is hosting online and in-person in August.
During the month of July our family, with the help of your donations, were able to provide prizes for the children connected through a church plant. These prizes were given to the children who have stayed faithful and connected to their Bible Study group and continue with their lessons, reading their Bible, and learning. This is just a small way your donations can help and show love with the ministry are family is doing here.
God continues to be at work not only at Kevin’s job but also in the churches and ministries going on in Colombia. As we have shared, even during the strictest lockdown measures, Samaritan’s Purse has been allowed by the Colombian government to operate as a humanitarian organization, and is being recognized as a strong member of the response community. Kevin’s team started a feeding program working alongside the UN in supporting the thousands of Venezuelans that are returning, at least temporarily, to their families in Venezuela. His team, alongside the SP medical, protection, and ministry teams, are sharing more than just food and medicine, but Christ’s compassion and love to so many. Every two days, the camp at Tienditas, empties out and another 400 people come through. While they are harassed and helpless, the Lord has placed us there to love them and help them.
Please continue to pray for our family during this time. We are currently on RED alert and in lockdown 95 percent of the time! The boys began learning from home in March and will finish their school year at home mid-November. We pray three times a day for the Colombians and Venezuelans who are looking for food and shelter. Praying they most importantly hear The Gospel of Christ. Let that be your prayer in August as well!