Apr-June 2010 CCM Newsletter

A ONE ACRE WHAT?

In Colombia, attending church camp is a very popular activity that everyone looks forward to each year.  There are: leader’s retreats, youth camps, women’s and men’s camps, fellowship camps, and couple’s retreats.   We have a small church camp where we hold these activities.  Our church camps run anywhere from twenty  people to nearly one hundred during some activities.  Yet our camp is only a one acre piece of land and has a simple, small farm house on it that we have adapted to be a dorm.  People in the States consider that amount of property to be a small single home building lot and are amazed when I tell them about all of the camp activities we hold on such a small plot of land.  I am always asked how we fit everyone for all the activties.
    The truth is in Colombians are used to being crowded.  I often haul 10 and 15 people in my small jeep that is not much bigger than a Jeep Wrangler.  It is not unusual to have a family living in each bedroom of a house with the kitchen and bathrooms being shared.  Buses are regularly jammed well beyond what would be normally considered to be their capacity.  We pack our church sanctuaries to standing room only with almost no aisle space. And we have made very good use of the small space we have available for our church camp.  It’s a good thing there is no such thing as fire code here. 
    Recently, however, we have not been able to fit all of the people that want to come to our retreats and camps.  There is a point where it simply becomes impossible.  Because of this, we need to expand if we are to continue to grow this ministry.  Last year we were offered an adjoining property at a reasonable price.  For $25,000 we can double the size of our camp.  While that price seems very high for Americans, for Colombia and for the security of this location, the price is actually quite reasonable; even considered cheap. 
    Seeing the need and realizing that we must move quickly or the property will be snatched up by someone else, I spoke about this need with a work crew last fall.  They saw the need and were enthusiastic about the project.   While on speaking dates during November and December also mentioned the project and received several generous donations for the purchase.  That gave us enough funding to move forward.  We have made a down payment on the property, giving the owner about $6,000 in a joint effort with another missionary, Martin Sanders.
    We have until December to pay of the remaining amount.  By sharing the project with Martin each of us must raise about $10,000 for this project.  With this additional property we should be able to easily handle larger crowds.   Camp is an important ministry in the growth and formation of the Christians here in Colombia.  Please help us secure this property while we are able to do so and in that way contribute to the spiritual growth of the Colombia Christian church. 
       Please consider making this the project for your summer camp, VBS, small group, Sunday school, youth group, or a special summer project at your church. 

LEARNING DISSABILITIES AND COLEGIO PENIEL

    Our Christian day school is moving along and this year our program of scholarships has once again made the difference for nearly one hundred students.  Obviously we could always do much more as there are so many children with needs.  It breaks our heart to turn away needy children who so desperately want to study.  This is especially the case with special needs children.  The local school system has no programs for such students, so they normally are not able to study anywhere.  Our yearly conferences on learning difficulties helps train not only our own teachers but the teachers from many of the other public and private schools as well.  In the last four years we have given some level of training to nearly three thousand teachers in Villavicencio. 
    As a result, our school has gained a stellar reputation for helping children who have no other hope or opportunity for study.  But we are very limited in how many of these children we can help.  We would need dedicated classrooms and teachers to be able to significantly increase the number of such students that we can take each year.  We do not have the funding for such a program and considering that these children are often born to very poor families, that cannot afford to pay for even the very modest tuition charged at Colegio Peniel.  Still, they come in increasing numbers pleading for help.
    Considering our lack available funding and space, our school is still considered the very best that there is in our entire state.   We do what we can by receiving those that we can and by helping train other teachers so that they will at the very least have some understanding of the learning dissabilities and thus of the child.  We have made quite a difference already in raising awareness of the problem and in giving what limited help that we are able to provide.  Paul Odham comes each year to Colombia for two weeks to help with this project and has been crucial to moving these efforts forward.  We are now looking seriously in expanding the school and this program to meet a very real need here in Colombia. 
    This effort helps us to reach out to the community as it grants us the good will and appreciation of the community as a church that truly cares about people and wants to help in their most critical needs; the needs of the child who is different.  The focus of all of our programs, this one included, has always been as a means of sharing the Gospel and offering people the one true solution to their most basic problem: salvation for sin and many of the effects of sin in their lives and families.  We thank you for your help with Colegio Peniel and this ministry of service and education.  We look forward to continuing to partner with you in this evangelistic outreach into the poorer communities of Villavicencio. 
    If you have not yet taken to opportunity to participate in this noble ministry and would like to do so, please contact our forwarding agent for a packet of information.  In that way you can make a big difference in what is a very difficult like for at least one child.  God will bless that child through you and you will be blessed as a result also. 
    We have a short video (2-3 min) that can be played during offeratory and we have a longer (20 min) video that would be perfect for a Sunday School Class, Prayer Meeting or Youth Group.  Let us know if you’d like a copy.  

WORK CREW 2011

    Everything is moving forward and barring some unforeseen obstacle, all looks good for this next work crew opportunity here in Colombia.  A group of twelve to fifteen people will be coming down to help with two different projects here in Colombia during the first two weeks in July.  Everyone is excited about the project, both in the States and down here in Colombia.  
    The first week we will focus on getting the Bogota deaf church moved into their new location.  We will fix up and paint the new building and work to fix up the location where they have been meeting so that we can hand that back to the owner in very good shape.  This will be a major step towards establishing the deaf church as a totally independent entity with its own identity and character.  The deaf congregation is as excited as are the members of the work crew who will be participating in this project. 
    The second week we will be heading to Villavicencio to do some maintenance and repairs on the mission house there.  That house is our old house where we lived and worked for twenty five years.  It is where our children grew up.  It now belongs to Martin Sanders and he continues to use it for living space and for the work in Villavicencio.  It really needs some painting and repair work as it is an old house.  The work crew will be working there for the second week, painting and doing some much needed repairs.  We also want to do some work at the Christian day school so that the work crew memers can see the great ministrey that is going on at Colegio Peniel.  
    As this year’s work crew shapes up, it is already time to begin the initial planning for our 2011 work crew.  If you or your church would like to be a part of the next work crew, we need to begin making plans today.  We need to know the number of people who would be interested in coming, the types of projects that these people would like to do, and the dates that would be most convenient for the participants.  So if you have any interest in participating in our 2011 Colombian Christian Mission work crew, please let us know at: Susy@supportCCM.com or send your contact information to PO Box 95, Rittman, OH  44270. 
    We are tentatively looking at construction projects at both the Christian day school and our church camp facility in Villavicencio.  Both ministries have significant needs and this next year may bring great opportunities.  So if you would like to experience an exciting missions trip with one of the major ministries here in Colombia, please make your interest known as soon as possible so that we can begin to make the plans for next year’s trip.    

SPONSOR A TEACHER PROGRAM

We have great teachers at Colegio Peniel.  Each year through our Sponsor a Teacher program we are trying to raise support to be able to give each of our teachers a bonus at the end of the year.  We are trying to raise $500 for each teacher or $9,000 total.  They give up a lot of benefits and economic gain to work at Colegio Peniel.  Help up thank them and show them that we appreciate all that they do in providing a quality Christian education for the poor children of Colombia and teaching them about Jesus.

Thank you so much for your support throughout the years.  We could not have done it without you!

Colombian Christian Mission
Post Office Box 95
Rittman, OH  44270-0095

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