Paul Odham, our specialist in learning difficulties, arrived in Colombia last Saturday night late. Almost immediately we put him to work. The very next morning we had him teaching our college students at the church here in NormandÃa. Immediately after church we loaded up the car and headed down over the Andes Mountains to Villavicencio. The road was heavily militarized and we even passed tanks as well as the heavily armed soldiers. But we arrived without difficulty in the late afternoon. We headed up to our old house there as Martin Sanders had invited us to stay with him. We set up our air mattresses and bought some basic supplies and then turned in a bit early as Paulâ€™s late night arrival had meant neither of us had gotten much sleep the night before.
The next morning we headed out to the church camp for a leadership training session. On the way out we were stopped by a military police patrol and searched. They were obviously on the lookout for something. That delayed us a considerable time but the military police were very friendly to us and offered us any help we might need. Still, we arrived a bit late and everyone was waiting on us. Monday was spent teaching the leaders in Villavicencio where I taught on researching and preparing a sermon and Paul taught on how to supplement oneâ€™s income so as to be able to live reasonably well and still dedicate most of oneâ€™s time to ministry. We headed back into Villavicencio for an evening of rest.
The next day we began our work with the teachers in Villavicencio, starting with Colegio Peniel, our Christian Day School and other teachers who had been in previous sessions and had a certain degree of knowledge in the area already. The morning was dedicated to teaching and in the afternoon to consultation and diagnosis. That first day we ended relatively early and were home by early evening. Then from Wednesday to Friday, we held one basic teaching session in the morning from seven to noon. We then were always invited to have lunch with someone and were back by two for the second session that went to six in the evening. After that we had meetings with parents and teachers for consultation about a specific child with diagnosis and the construction of a teaching model for that child. Those evenings were typically over by about ten, though one night it was after eleven.
The week was a very long week with a very heavy work schedule and very little rest. Still, during the course of the week we taught nearly seven hundred teachers about learning difficulties along with some basic treatment paradigms. In the process we rely heavily on Biblical teaching to elevate the worth of the child; even the one who would seem to be problematic in the classroom. We do this to help the teachers, the children, and also to build within them an increased awareness of and appreciation for the Bible as Godâ€™s word and a resource for life and teaching. All of this served to greatly enhance the reputation and respect for both the church and our Christian Day School as a leader in the field of education here in Colombia. We trust the Lord will provide many open doors for the Gospel as a result.