Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Back Home Again!

Psalm 100
1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever, andhis faithfulness continues to each generation.

We owe such a debt of gratitude to our God for his protection, guidence, grace, mercy and the list goes on and on. He is so immeasurably good, mere words are not enough. We got into Indy at about 8:35 on Monday evening. I think all the guys shared my sentiments-it was a great trip, but it's so good to be home. I could tell by the squeals of the children when they saw their dads! This post will hopefully be shorter on words because I'd like to just show you a few pics and show you a little glimpse of the last couple of days of our mission.
This is some of the staff at the school where we were working. I'm just going to give first names rather than risk the embarrassment of butchering their last names. From l to r: Rick West (Global Partners Latin Area Director) Rick oversees all Global Partners Spanish speaking countries. Luz: (Assistant Director of the Bible school in Bogota) Her husband:Joel:(Director of the school) Mercy: (staff at the school) Rocia:(works for Wesleyan Foundation) Some of our new friends, pray for them!
Heres a shot of our crew in front of the school. And on the right is a picture of some of the students of the school of Theology. These are the future leaders of the Wesleyan church all over the Spanish speaking world!
It's all part of the ripple effect, the way Christianity has always worked. The family of God comes together to encourage, equip, exhort, engage one another to good works. Not to earn our salvation, but because we all love Jesus and that has to bear itself out in the form of fruit. God is on the move in Central and South America, we get to play a part in that.
On Saturday, we were honored to visit with Pastor Juan Pineros, the Pastor of the Bogota North Wesleyan Church. It is the largest Wesleyan church in the world. In the picture on the right, you can see the construction site. They hold 6 services, 2 on Saturday and 4 on Sunday. I asked Pastor Juan how many were actually in attendance at the 6am service, he said 600 to 700 faithful usually showed up. The church runs somewhere from 6000 to 7000 on any given weekend. The impact that the church is having can be scene in the faces of these children. Our small part, is developing leaders to go into the world to reach and teach them about Jesus. There is no higher call! There is nothing more important than giving your heart and life to Jesus. In our design is a God shaped hole it can only be filled by God. If we choose to not fill it with Him, we will fill it with something else. We fill it with pleasure, possesions, people, and many other things. Some times we fill it with good things, but that hole is designed for one thing, it's designed for God. We are created in His image, the hole in our souls can only be filled by the one true God. And He has a plan for your life. The bible says in the book of Jeremiah 29:11 that He has a plan for you. A plan to prosper you and not to harm you. A plan to give you a hope, and a future. These pictures are from the Bogota north church. They are pictures of God's most precious creation, people. He loves them! What an honor to serve the creator of everything. This trip was such a blast! To see how God is moving in Columbia, as well as to come alongside some brothers and learn to love them better and serve alongside them. If you are taking a spin on this blogpost, you probably played an important part in this mission. Because chances are, if you're looking here, you prayed for us, or financially supported, or are a spouse, child, or sibling of one of the crew. God bless You! We love you! Thank you for your prayers. We all appreciate you and your participation.
On Saturday, after a week of hard work, we went out to play. One of the places we visited was the Cathedral de Sol. (Cathedral of Salt) It was an old salt mine that was turned into a cathedral. An amazing piece of work. The catholic influence is strong in Columbia, as was evident in the 14 stages of the cross. But, someone did indeed think enough of God to build this beautiful work. It was beautiful, and one of the things that I enjoyed was the mysteriousness of the place. Our God is indeed mysterious. Why would the creator of all, the Lord of all, leave His heavenly throne, choose to come to earth, put on flesh and bones, live, breath, stub His toes; just live life the same as us, and choose to die a cruel death on one of the most brutal instruments of death ever made by a man? He did it because He loves us! Remember, we are made in His image. You are made in His image! He loves you, blemishes and all. The bible says that, "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." The bible also reminds us that all his creation points to Him, that we will be without excuse when we come face to face with Him. Because His creation shouts forth His existence. He is, always has been, and always will be, God.
After church on Sunday we finished up our trip with some tourist activity. Bogota is backed up right next to a mountain range. As I mentioned earlier, the altitude there is between 8 and 9000 feet. So these mountains must be in the 12,000 to 13,000 ft. range. We took a cable car ride to the top to get a view of the city. Wow, what a view! These small pics can't even come close to exposing the awesome beauty. God's glorious creation! And nestled below, some 6 to 7 million of the ones He created in His own image. Breathtaking! Before we wrapped things up totally, our hosts had one more little surprise up their sleeves. We returned to Olivia's (our caterer for the week) home for some pizza and hanging out time. As we were sitting around and talking, we heard some music coming from the garage, most of us thought it was a stereo playing. Then, through the door walks two guitarists with a singer playing maracas. They were incredible! Singing Columbian folk music. It was a real picture of their culture and was a beautiful send-off gift for us. Then we had a time of sharing how God had blessed us this past week, we prayed together, laughed, shed a tear or two, said goodbye, and went back to our hotel to prepare for the trip home. You can never go on a mission trip and outgive those that you serve! I'm convinced, this was my sixth trip and I believe it just can't be done!

Maybe you've just stumbled across this blog by accident. And somehow you sense God speaking to your heart. It's not by chance, really. His Spirit has led you here! He Loves YOU! He is pursuing you with a passion that we can't understand in our humanity. He's preparing a place for you to live with Him forever! If you'd like to secure that relationship, and start on the journey for which you were designed, you can do that right now!

Pray this Prayer:
Lord, I know I've not lived my life in a very good way,
I've not been paying attention to Your calling out to me.
Forgive me God.
I know I'm not worthy of it, but help me to receive Your forgiveness!
Help me to better understand You and Your grace.
Jesus, come live in my heart,
Help me to shine your light in my life,
that other's might be drawn to You.
Help me to find others that believe in You,
so together, with You, we can change our world.
In Jesus Name,
If you prayed that prayer, would you please take the time to respond to this blog. I would like to pray for you! God loves you, and He wants only what is best for you! Me too!
So much for a few words!


Rick West said...

Pastor Steve, it was great to connect with you and the Team from FCWC in Bogota. Your visit met more to the people of the Wesleyan Church of Colombia than you will ever know. If only you could see them laugh and at the same time get a little nostalgic when they see this blogg! God Bless!

Bob said...

Steve, great blog! I enjoyed reading about the continuing work in Colombia. We really miss the people there. Glad you had such a great trip.
Bob Gray