This past week I made an unusual trip to Villavicencio. On fairly short notice, I had been invited to speak at the high school in Restrepo, Meta, which is a small village about a half hourâ€™s drive away from Villavicencio. We have attempted to establish a church there with only very limited success. The theme was traditional moral values. So when I was invited to speak to the high school there, I saw it as an opportunity to use the Bible as a way to present a defense of those values along with recent studies from the social sciences that back up those values. My hope was that in demonstrating that the Bible gives us answers to many of the issues and challenges we face today, they community would be more open to Biblical teaching and to the Gospel.
Since a friend was coming into BogotÃ¡ on Tuesday, I could not leave till the very morning the conference was to begin. We picked up the director of Deaf Missions International the Tuesday evening and then were up early and off to Restrepo the very next morning. We drove hard to get there on time and arrived just as the conferences were to begin. I dropped of Neville and Dewayne for a meeting with deaf adults there in Restrepo and I headed off to the school. For the next six hours, I had one group of about three hundred students after another. Each conference went for two hours where I spoke for about an hour then I fielded questions for the next. As soon as one group filed out, the next one filed in.
We finished up about seven that evening and I picked up Neville and Dewayne. We headed back to Villavicencio to get some rest. The next morning I was up at five as I had to be back in Restrepo by six when school started for the next day there. Martin Sanders took some time off from his busy schedule to take Neville and Dewayne to the deaf school there in Villavicencio and to our school as well. As they were busy in Villavicencio, I was busy with my next set of conferences in Restrepo. Again we went in two hour shifts with groups of about 300 in each conference. I finished up in early afternoon. I was quite tired as there had been no time for any rest. I drove back to Villavicencio, where I had conferences set up with parents of students in our own school.
All afternoon and evening, I was in meetings with one set of parents after another. I finally finished up by about eleven that evening. There had been no time for a break and no time to stop and eat. So after I finished I was off to a much needed night of rest. But it was a short night as I had to be back in our own school for the six oâ€™clock A.M. devotions. So it was a short night indeed. But after devotions I was in counseling sessions with our students; some sent to me by the teachers and some at the request of the student. That went all morning and again I was too busy to stop for a break or to get anything to eat. We ended at noon and were invited to a family in the church for lunch.
We arrived there shortly after noon and were treated to a delicious traditional Colombian meal. We chatted a bit and headed off to pack our bags and travel back up to BogotÃ¡ for meetings scheduled there for the next day. As we left town, I stopped at a gas station to tank up and was surprised to see the entire front of the building scarred by bullet holes. I asked the attendant and she just shrugged and said â€œa gunfightâ€ as if it were a daily occurrence. We made it back to BogotÃ¡ late that evening. It had been a very hard and tiring trip but we were thrilled God had opened the door to such a great opportunity. Pray with us that it bear much fruit!