If you have been following us from the beginning of just joined us you probably already know we are serving the Venezuelan people in Colombia.
How are we serving?
Of course it goes without saying that Kevin's position with Samaritan's Purse allows him to serve the people every day in providing food for the Venezuelan people. Most recently, his position has changed from working with the Caminantes (walkers), especially with the two shelters we have along the route where the Venezuelans receive a hot meal, a safe place to stay, and supplies for the rest of their trip (backpacks, hats and gloves, toiletry kit, and more) to now working with large food distributions only because of the great need. He was overseeing this before, but it was a small part of his work. Well, that's all changed, and it is something that has really taken off. He works with his team to distribute food to displaced Venezuelans who have resettled here in Colombia and Colombians that have had to move because of the ongoing local conflicts with different guerilla groups. It's exciting because he is travelling now along the frontier from the Caribbean Ocean to the Amazon, setting up distributions and helping to share the Gospel through this ministry.
When Karen heard this she was saddened that we would not be spending as much time at the shelters but that is not the case at all. We are still very involved with the shelters and are serving there often. We are able to serve perhaps even more because we are going at different times, so we are able to serve the staff too since they are daily loving on the Caminantes. Because of our trips to Berlin, Benjamin and Andrew now have two little friends that live there. Their mom is the shelter coordinator, and because it is a very rural farm community, the girls are teaching the boys how to play with their three goats!
Kevin oversees the food and kitchens at the shelters so not only does he get to write grants to different organizations like the UN for food but he also gets to have construction completed on his kitchens. He is excited because the other change that has happened is similar to when he left his job at Indy. He was designing a new large high-tech warehouse with his last company, and misses that part of the work. That should be opening about now there, but he has found that all of that work he did for that project, God was preparing him for here. He has helped to design and put together two large warehouses here from scratch, and now Samaritan's Purse is moving into a new office tomorrow! God is working in so many ways where even small little things that we look back, God is faithfully showing us how He was really guiding us to here!
In March while a WONDERFUL mission team from OKLAHOMA was serving in Cucuta we had the privilege of having them over for dinner (see our other article) and Karen was able to lead the team to the shelter in La Donjauna. This was a special time for the team but also for Karen. She loves serving others and with the busy boys she has not had a lot of time to do this on her own.
When the boys started school she was able to go through, wash, and organize clothes we brought as well as clothes Andrew had grown out of. One Friday Karen was able to go to the shelter and hand out children's socks, underwear and shoes. Some items are hand-me-downs and some are new.
Karen was able to pass on a pair of shoes that her Aunt Donna bought for her grandsons and then were passed on to my boys. They fit perfectly on a few Venezuelan kids she met! Karen was also able to pass out new PaPa Phil black socks! The men were happy to have an extra pair to have along their trip. I think that PaPa is walking with them, and would love to know that even his socks are a ministry!
This past weekend we had a three day weekend which was much needed. It took us on a 5-6 hour trip from Cucuta to Bucaramanga. It would take a caminantes about 10 days to walk the path that we drove in that time! Before we left, we made a large thermos of strong black coffee, bought cases of water and treats. All along the way, we stopped and shared with the people we saw walking. It was hard to see the small children, but it is such a blessing when you see how grateful they are for even a small cup of coffee and an orange. This is one way we use our donations that are given through our website.
We were able to spend time at the Shelter in Berlin (which was very cold when we passed through - 45 degrees. I know, I know, but everyone here is used to 90 degrees now). We were able to explain how the electric blankets worked that the Oklahoma mission team donated to the staff, since they had never seen anything like it before. We arrived the same time that food was being delivered by another ministry that was started by a Food Network star. We then had fun chasing each other down the mountain as they made stop at other locations, and we stopped for pictures, diaper changes, and sharing with the Venezuelans. God has perfect timing.
Other than the SP shelters we are serving in our church. First Baptist Cucuta is a blend of local Colombians and Venezuelans that live here and also a lot of transient Venezuelans. Our church changes every Sunday as we meet new folks that we may never see again as they continue through, and are grateful for the ones who make up the membership. The boys keep us on our toes meeting everyone as they make friends with the other kids, and oftentimes the adults too. We are grateful for our pastor and his wife. They have created a very mission minded church that is focused on serving others. Karen has a meeting this week to help them in their children's area. Northside Baptist, she has a few ideas she used at NBC for FBC.
Thank you again for your donations through our website to allow us to serve as a family. When we see a need, we are able to give because you gave.
SERVING + SHARING IN JESUS' NAME