Yesterday I saw Paul Odham off at the airport. Paul is a specialist in learning difficulties and he has been very generously donating much of his vacation to coming to Colombia to help us train our own teachers and to provide much needed help to the public school system as well. His conferences have snowballed in popularity to the point where we had over 1,000 people in the different training sessions this year. Our very first one started with only the fifteen teachers at our Christian Day School.

Last week we were in Villavicencio the whole week and we returned on Saturday. This week we began with Paul teaching the youth at both the Normandía church and the Suba church about the current world economy and how to not only survive but to take advantage of the opportunities and to thrive. That kept us busy all day. After five solid days of conferences and a very busy Sunday, Paul was thoroughly exhausted. But God had provided an unexpected two day break when other conferences here in Bogotá failed to materialize.

Then on Wednesday, we held our final conference at the Filadelfia School for the Deaf. The director had invited other nearby schools and had sent word to a couple of the colleges. So we had about fifty teachers and then two groups of students and their professors from both the Pedagogical University and the National University. This was a new door that the Lord had opened for us as up until now, the universities had shown a reluctance to participate.

The conference was one of the best as we tried to adapt the teaching not only to the hearing students but to the teachers of the deaf students as well. Since so much of the diagnosis of learning difficulty is based on reading and writing, and deaf students naturally lag behind in that area, it was quite a challenge. The presence of the students and their teachers meant that there was a lively discussion about diagnosis and treatments on both the theoretical and practical levels. The conference lasted all day and we ended what was a great day by having supper with Edgar and his family. Edgar is the preacher at the Normandía church.

We got home fairly late and Paul was up even later packing his suitcases and getting ready for his return flight to the United States. The next morning we were up early and off to the airport. I helped Paul get through all of the paperwork and accompanied him to the concourse, where I had to leave him. I waited for a while to make sure he had not had any difficulties and then I caught a bus home. I had “pico y placa” which means I could not drive yesterday. In the evening, I called to make certain he had arrived safely back home.

For an added dimension, you can click on the link to my Flickr website on this blog and see some pictures of the seminars with Paul teaching and me translating. We want to thank Paul for his selfless dedication to helping the work here in Colombia and the Winter Park Christian Church in Orlando, Florida, that sent him to us. Together they have made a significant contribution to the ministry here in Colombia.

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