Cork Christmas Letter 2011

Posted: December 20, 2011 in Life in Cali

As Christmas is quickly approaching and I have on my “to do” list to get our Christmas letter done I am thinking of what we can share about our lives this past year that is new and interesting for those of you who follow our blog and get our supporter updates. I feel like a majority of our life is captured in this blog. Let me tell you about some of the little things that maybe don’t make it into the blog.

The previous 18 months we have moved 6 times (1.our house in Florence to our new house in Missoula, 2.our host family in Arequipa during Spanish School, 3. an apartment of our own but shared with a fellow Extreme missionary for a month in Arequipa while our plans to move to Colombia were delayed , 4. to the apartment of a member of the Cali House of Prayer church for a month during the transition of finding an apartment in Cali and 5. finally into our own place, which we have remained for almost 8 months.) Needless to say we have been in a bit of a transitioning phase since becoming missionaries. Through this time we have learned a lot about flexibility and going with the flow. There were days when things we take for granted in the States for the most part like electricity, natural gas and water were gone sometimes for a few hours, other times a day and few times for several days. Sometimes I had a hard time finding the joys in the some of the trials we have been through (the biggest one being our visa process). Some of my tears were not of joy but of frustration. I have learned so much more in the last year on how much we need to trust in our Lord with absolutely everything, down to the most miniscule things in our lives. Also to trust in Him completely even when He asks you to do something that looks absolutely crazy in the eyes of the world… to be honest, in our own eyes at the first mention as well, but being faithful and obedient brings unsurmountable joy to our lives.

I absolutely love pictures so I have put together a little album of the best of the best for 2011. For me pictures speak volumes. I hope you enjoy the slide show.

We were originally contracted to remain here in Colombia through March of 2013 but God has changed those plans. We now know that we will be here until 300 people come by the avenue of the Extreme Colombia project. We don’t know if God will do this in one year or five. Its not our place to question, but only be obedient and diligent in doing what He called us to. We are looking forward to the future of our work here in Colombia for more opportunities to boast about God’s greatness, faithfulness and love.

Below is a excerpt from an article I read this Christmas season that really captures our Christmas this year. It is difficult for us to send gifts to all our loved ones in the States from Colombia but we can “give” some of the things described below.

The dictionary defines a gift as simply, “a thing given.” It says nothing about cost, appropriateness or presentation – only the condition of the heart. One person giving to another. That’s all. So maybe we ought to stop talking about “getting the Christmas spirit,” and concentrate on merely giving it.

How? By pausing to ponder the real needs of people around us. Now it may be that the best gift you could give someone is, in fact, an object. Perhaps a winter coat, box of food or help paying the rent. But be open to seeing non-material needs as well. Needs for friendship, forgiveness, and appreciation, to name but a few. How sad that we so seldom think to give these things away as gifts. Instead, we hold them tightly, letting a sense of justice and fairness dictate who is worthy to receive. But how different the world would be if we simply gave – not sparingly, but lavishly: not reluctantly, but eagerly.

We give when we release a grudge, are patient with a fool or speak kindly to a stranger. We give when we make time to keep a promise, seek out a forgotten friend or enter into another’s sorrow. We give by baking cookies for a neighbor, offering to babysit for weary parents or spending time with a lonely person. We give when we look out for others, not ourselves.

I’ve often wished I had the guts to do this – to forget what anyone might say and just give people what they really need. That I could somehow overcome my desire to exchange wrapped presents instead bring true gifts. Joy. Peace. Laughter. Happiness.

I know. I know. You’re wondering how these things would look under the tree. To be honest, I’m not sure I have the answer.

All I can say is that Christmas joy isn’t found in a shopping bag and the yuletide spirit isn’t limited by the calendar. So give yourself away and see what happens. You may just get what you really want for Christmas.

taken from  A Christmas Digest, © 1998.

We love and miss you all. We are with you in spirit, thoughts and prayers during this Christmas season.

Blessings – THE CORK FAMILY in Colombia

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  1. John Kelley says:

    Love you guys to. Longing for the day we get to catch up, you guys are always in our payers, we think of you often. Praise be to God!!! Marry Christmas Kelley family

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