Several years ago, meeting a need of the Colegio Peniel, our Christian Day School, I accepted the request to become the school counselor. In the successive years, my acceptation in that ministry has grown, as has my comfort level in serving in that way. At the same time, the counseling ministry had developed a degree of credibility, not only with our students, but with the general population. I now spend at least one full week a month working in the school full time. I work with the kids in the morning and with the parents and people from the community in the afternoon.
This year a lot that joins our tiny church camp was put on the market. The owner is a Christian and offered us the first chance to buy it. He had many takers as land in that highly secure area near Villavicencio is extremely hard to find. We did not have the money to buy the camp, but the owner gave us some time to raise the money to pay for the lot. He gave us till the end of the year to come up with the money to purchase the lot, with partial payment dates scheduled throughout the year.
As the Colombian church has grown, they have begun to build some of the institutions and infrastructure typical to a mature church. One of the collateral ministries has been a church camp for use by the different congregations. The Colombian church purchased a one acre mini-farm a few years ago and has since supported that and used it extensively. In relatively small house, they have packed in bunk rooms and restrooms and together with tents, frequently have sixty to one hundred people there for different camps, seminars, and retreats.
It has been about one year since we launched our project to increase the size of our one acre church camp. Land here is very expensive, due in part to the insecurity, areas that are secure are quite expensive. Our church camp is located in an area near the end of the runway for the air base, so military patrols keep this section quite safe. As a result, we have been able to use the camp with few concerns for safety. In spite of the very small piece of land we have, we regularly have fifty or more campers for events.
Here in Colombia we have always worked hard to train people to do every ministry in the church. Sunday school is an important ministry and one of the most important responsibilities of any church is to assure quality teachers to help prepare the children who will be the Church of tomorrow. Each year in Colombia we try to offer training for our Sunday school teachers. We use our best and most experienced teachers to do a most of the teaching.
For many years we have had helped provide micro loans to help poor Colombian Christians set up some sort of business by which they can support themselves. The loans normally are around five hundred dollars and are paid back through the recipient helping others to learn the trade or skill sets they have acquired. In this way the loan program has an ever widening effect in helping the church raise its standard of living.
It has been about one year since we launched our project to increase the size of our one acre church camp. Land here is very expensive, due in part to the insecurity. Areas that are secure are quite expensive. Our church camp is located in an area near the end of the runway for the air base, so military patrols keep this section quite safe. As a result, we have been able to use the camp with few concerns for safety. In spite of the very small piece of land we have, we regularly have fifty or more campers for events.
For the first time ever we held a second seminar in the course of one year on learning difficulties here in Villavicencio. This one was specifically geared towards diagnostics and was limited to the school psychologists here in the city. That way we would have a small enough number that we could work with each school psychologist in actual diagnostic exercises in order to help them be able to accurately identify a child with learning difficulties. Paul Odham, the specialist from Florida who leads these seminars was scheduled to come down and present them.
A few weeks ago, I took the work crew to the airport and said goodbye. A group of ten teenagers and two adult sponsors had been in Colombia for the past ten days. They came from one of Dewayne Liebrandt’s supporting churches and he was here with them. They arrived on Friday, the second of July and departed yesterday, the fourteenth of the month. It has been nearly two weeks of frenetic activity as the work crew painted large portions to two different schools, with brief breaks for some sight seeing and recreation. They worked very hard and were a joy to have here visiting us.
For the last week now I have been trapped in Villavicencio due to a major landslide that totally destroyed the road to between here and Bogotá. The very day I was planning on traveling an emergency case at the school delayed my departure and when I was about to leave, someone came running up with the news that the road was totally blocked by a major land slide. That was no problem as there was plenty of work to do and they were encouraging me to stay longer anyhow. So I simply settled in to working here and waiting on them to clear the rock and mud and reopen the road.