Last Saturday I traveled to Villavicencio to preach at the church and then spend the week working at the school. I put in a long hard week and was planning on traveling back up to Bogotá by the end of the week. I needed to get back up there to get ready for Paul Odham’s next trip down for a seminar with the school psychologists here in Villavicencio that is to take place the first week of August. I had planned on taking off on Friday morning after my devotional with the teachers and the kids. But there was an urgent case I had to deal with, so I stayed to work with that child after I had finished my devotionals. Just as I finished up and was getting ready to leave the school, someone came running up to me and asked when I planned on leaving. I informed him that I was about to take off. He excitedly told me the news: there had been a massive landslide and the road to Bogotá was totally cut off. I could not return to the apartment in Bogotá because the road was completely blocked.
If I had left at the time I originally intended, I would have been in the vicinity of the landslide about the time it occurred. So maybe God had chosen to protect me by bringing in an urgent case at the last minute that detained me in Villavicencio. In any case, I was trapped in Villavicencio and could not travel back up the road to Bogotá. That was no problem as there was plenty of work to do here. I merely asked for something to drink and told the school secretary that she could send me a couple more students. I worked the rest of the afternoon and took care of parents all afternoon. As the people at the school and the church kept me posted on the news, it soon became clear I would not be able to travel for several days. So I scheduled parents for Saturday as well and just kept working. I did not finish up till late that evening and got back to the house after nine.
Saturday I worked at the school all morning and then had lunch with a family from the church that had invited me to eat with them. After lunch I headed back to the church building and picked up a car load of the brethren and we headed out to the shanty towns that ring the city. We were going to one where we have been working to start a new church. We had build a shack there that was going to serve as the church building and were going to inaugurate it. More than eighty people showed up and we had a great time. I preached to the adults and some of our youth had a great service for all of the children. Everybody enjoyed it and we went on till it was beginning to get dark. Since that area is rather dangerous after dark, we wanted to be out before dusk. I brought a full car load of ten people in my small, two door/five passenger jeep. I dropped everyone off and made it back up to the house in time to have a bite to eat, write an email to my wife, and hit the sack.
Today, my second Sunday here, I was asked to preach again since I was stuck here. I was up early and working on a sermon and I headed to church by nine. After service was over, a family from the church invited me to eat with them. For the first time in more than a week, I then had a couple of hours in the afternoon free. So I came up to the house to write this blog update and rest up a bit. At this moment, on Sunday afternoon, I am trapped in Villavicencio and the road it still totally blocked. I plan on being up early and heading to work at the school by five as is my normal custom. I will take full advantage of the time and make good use of it. I will head up the road to Bogotá when it is the “will of God!”
image from El Tiempo Newspaper
Spanish newspaper article: http://www.eltiempo.com/colombia/llano/cierre-en-via-al-llano-por-derrumbes_7821912-1