Matthew 9:35-37 is commonly used when God calls a believer to ministry. Jesus asks us to look around, take stock, and understand that there are so many people that do not know Him. Every time that I have heard this verse or shared it, it is to help open other’s eyes to the task. “There are so few ministering…so few of us on the front line…come, join us!” Since arriving in Colombia, the first part of these verses have been reverberating through my soul, “Jesus looked at the crowds, and had compassion on them for they are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Before coming home to finish packing, saying goodbye, and getting our family ready to move out, I traveled the route of the Venezuelan caminantes. At our shelter in La Donjuana, I asked a group of 13 year-old boys that had stopped for a meal, “Where are you going? What are your plans?” They smiled easily, “Not sure. We heard there is work in Bogota. We’re good!” I saw another young trio in Berlin, the highest and coldest point in their journey, trying to hitchhike; instead, they were give a few coins in exchange for something else. People are fleeing a terrible situation, but many are facing uncertain circumstances without means or understanding what challenges lie ahead, only a hope of something better. They are harassed and helpless, and in desperate need of food, shelter, clothing, and the eternal Hope of Jesus Christ.
It is now Sunday night, and we are preparing to leave for Colombia on Thursday. The list of things to get done before we leave seemed smaller last week as we looked at what was done and what was remaining…Somehow, we missed a few things (I mean…a lot!). The Lord has been faithful on this grand adventure before we ever knew we were going, and He will continue to be. Today was a tremendous blessing to all of us as we attended church in Decatur with Karen’s mom, Brenda. The believers there who gather to worship and hear God’s Word preached, hold a special connection for us as most were dear friends of Karen’s father, who passed away a year ago. As Karen says, “He would have loved this. I wish he was here with us to be a part of this.” He is. The leader of the church, who has long been a close friend of Phil and Brenda, invited us to share about our journey and being a part of Samaritan’s Purse. He then shared how Phil and Brenda had, many years ago, given Karen over to the Lord for His work, and especially how proud he would have been of her. He then asked the church to gather around our family. It was an incredible and humbling to be prayed over to be faithful to the Lord and to each other.
Our goodbyes had already started, but this week is bittersweet as we look forward to settling into our new life in Colombia, but saying goodbye to so many that we call family. Today, we said goodbye to many aunts and uncles, and tomorrow, we will celebrate Thanksgiving with all of our favorite dishes while packing 15 footlockers! The support that we have received from so many of our friends and family has been incredible in Indy, Decatur, and honestly from around the globe. Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we wrap up our North American lives, and trade them for South American ones.