Over the years we have always attempted to spread the Gospel here in Colombia as much as possible. As church members have moved to new areas we often attempt to visit them and assess the possibility of using them to start a new church in that area. When one of our church family members moved to Leticia, we made plans to visit them and check out the possibilities. Together with a small group of church leaders I traveled to Leticia at the end of August for this purpose.
We arrived in Leticia and settled into our hotel room. We immediately went to visit the family from the church. We also did some sight seeing interspersed with our visits to this family and our evangelistic efforts in Colombia’s Amazon river port. Each day we would meet with the family from the church. We also held evangelistic meetings every day and worked to evangelize people with whom we came in contact. We also did some sight seeing while we were there.
On the second day there, I was awakened in the night by unusual noises. I am a very light sleeper so it doesn’t take much to wake me up. I lay awake a few minutes listening and it sounded like the noises were coming from the sitting room outside the bedroom door. After a couple of minutes I decided to get up and check out the noises. As I opened the bedroom door I heard a door slam. In the sitting room all seemed in order so I looked the window and went back to bed.
The next morning I went to put on my sunscreen and it was not in my pocket. I presumed I had lost it the day before. A few minutes later I reached for my camera, which I had snapped on my belt. To my surprise it too was gone. I reached for my other pocket where I had my money for the trip and my heart sank as I realized I had been it was gone as well. I was not sure if I had somehow been careless and simply lost all of those items in one day or if I had been robbed. I figured go through everything that night and see if maybe I had misplaced the items somewhere in the room the night before.
At first I did not say anything else as I had not wanted to ruin their trip with news of my misfortune. That plan worked until one of them asked why I was taking pictures with my cell phone instead of my camera. When asked, I reluctantly mentioned the loss and my suspicions to my traveling companions. That is when to my surprise I found out they too had not been able to find their billfold and money that morning. They presumed they had misplaced it. When we got back to the room and we all searched carefully in our suitcases and all over. None of the missing items could be found. It was obvious then that we had been robbed the night before.
I told the person who organized the trip I would not be able to pay for my tickets till we returned to Bogotá. They graciously allowed me to do that, even though it left them without spending money for their trip. We pooled our now meager resources and make it through without any major problems. We continued our visits and evangelism as well as our sight seeing. We ended the trip encouraged by the possibilities and with a renewed realization that all things on this earth are temporal. We hope to soon return for a follow up visit as we again talk with those who demonstrated significant interest in the Gospel. And we must increase our frugality to replace the missing funds that we had obviously not budgeted to lose in that manner. In spite of our loss we were excited by the possibilities and the open door that God had prepared for us and we refused to permit Satan to discourage us through the wrongdoing of his emissaries. But don’t expect too many pictures for the next few months!