Archive for the ‘Life in Cali’ Category

Ready or not, here they come.

Posted: November 16, 2015 in Life in Cali

This album includes pictures from the Ibarra, Ecuador group we hosted for the Master’s Plan Conference in Cali Sept 23 – 27. The group consisted of the pastors of the church, several 4040s working there and 9 national leaders from the church (fruit of the church plant). Also included is the arrival of my cousin Majalisa and how she hit the ground running with us helping where ever we needed it, Ferley’s return and birthday.

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Hitting the Ground Running

Posted: November 9, 2015 in Life in Cali

We arrived back to Cali on Aug 11… I know that seems so long ago, but we hit the ground running on our return to Cali and haven’t stopped. We immediately faced some big challenges. Less than a week after getting back, due to some unforeseen stress and circumstances, we had to have Ferley temporarily put into to a half-way house. We had to begin making adjustments on the house to hold the large groups we were about to receive. School started for the boys on Aug 18. We hosted a vision tour for 5 days for a new Extreme Team Member Aug 27 – Sept 1. Here is my photo gallery to show all that was going on.

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These are not in chronological order but it will have to do on my time crunch I am in right now. These pix are from April – June. Enjoy!

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We have a multi-colored calendar on our wall to keep track of the people that are coming and going and detailed list of arrival and departure information. From March 26 – today we have had a total of 45 people in and out of our house(s). Right after our March short-term team and a day before the arrival of the Cordoba, Argentina Church Plant team we moved into a new home (#6 in 4 years). The team stayed in the old house and our family, 2 short-termers, my mom and other long-term team members of Extreme stayed in the new house. While the team was in training the two short-termers we had worked on projects to prepare the new house for the Antofagasta, Chile Church Plant team we will be having in Oct. Our Training and Logistics Coordinator, Sandra Villa has also been staying with us with her mom. She fell a few days after the Cordoba team arrived and broke her hip. She is recovering in our home as Sandra works on her practicum for the university. After the Cordoba team left we had 2 weeks to recover before we hosted the Extreme Board. After they left, we had 6 days before we received a group for the 40 Days Experience; they will be here for two weeks. In less than a week, we head out for a working vacation to the States. It has been 2 years since we have been back. We were waiting on the adoption of our son during our typical travel time last year. Ferley and Wellington are so excited to go and are counting the days. We plan to take things a little slower and focus on time connecting with family. If you would like to see more photos you can see them here on our family blog www.hotelcork.wordpress.com. We are in need of raising more funds while we are home, but our family time/connection is taking priority since Ferley still hasn’t met his whole family. If God is leading you to help, you can support us through this link www.extremenazarene.org/cork.

Thank you for all your support both prayerfully and financially. We have been truly humbled by your “being the body of Christ.”

Prayer requests:
God’s protection over us during our travels.
Ferley to bond with his new family, even if they don’t speak Spanish.
God to use us however He sees fits.
Enough time so we can finish the repairs and the new roof on our home in Missoula before the next renters come in.

Changes in the Cork Household

We added our new family member, Ferley James Cork, on Dec 22, 2014. Almost 2 months later, on Feb 23, I (Alyson) traveled to Bogota with Ferley to sign the papers at the court to make it official. They stayed several days more doing all the follow up with the name change and requirements to obtain his US Immigrant Visa. We have been learning how to live together with the addition of a 12 year old. It has been a blessing but it has also come with its challenges. We learn new things daily and glean knowledge, understanding and wisdom during this transition through our daily quiet times. God has been amazing (as always) in paving the way for the things we needed. We had intentions of home schooling but when that didn’t work out, we discovered God had moved us to the home we are currently in to discover the school perfect for Ferley in our new path taking Wellington to his school. It is a Christian school that offers personalized education. He is thriving there and we are so thankful for the new relationships we have built with the director. I have been donating a hour here and there helping to teach English classes. It has been nice to do something out of my typical work. Vincent has been occupied in negotiations for a new place (yes, another move) that would work well for the hosting and training we do. We have been busy preparing for 3 crazy months that are coming up that consist of:

  • Hosting a couple seeking a little rest and relaxation after finishing their church plant in Ambato, Ecuador.
  • Receiving a short term team to help us move and set up for Extreme Center Cali (ECC) for future trainings (includes Vincent’s dad)
  • Cordoba, Argentina Church Plant Team and others arriving the end of April for 1 month (my mom is coming to help) – we will have up to 28 people throughout this training living in the new ECC
  • Hosting a Vision Tour for the Extreme Board in June
  • Hosting the first week of the 40 Days Experience in June
  • Ahhh, then we will travel (vacation sort of) to the US to visit family, friends and start the process of Ferley’s US citizenship

Please pray for all of these items coming up on our calendars and for God to work through the negotiations on the house. For some reason we cannot move to a new house less than 5 days from receiving visitors. We are asking God if there is something more we have to learn in this process. This will be the 3rd time it has happened to us. We are celebrating 4 years in Cali on April 1.

Here is a slideshow of the last 3 1/2 months as it includes photos I was not able to share before Ferley was officially ours. Enjoy if you are a photo lover like me.

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Since our last blog we have gone through a lot of change and continue to do so. Our whole family traveled to Bogota, Colombia on Dec 22 to pick up our son, we stayed three days and flew back to Cali on Christmas Eve. We got to spend our first few days as a family taking care of paper work and doing some exploration of Bogota together. It was a blessing to receive our son during a time when we could shut down work responsibilities and just concentrate on our family although this was not reality of real life which we had to explain to our new son.

The adaptation and integration into the family has not been easy, but we are grateful to be on this journey. We have been dealing with some pretty severe behavioral issues which were non-existent while he was at the foundation. We had a visit from two psychologists from Bogota last week, they did a session with Ferley and a lot of work with us. We learned so much about some of his behaviors and what is really behind them (not what it looks like on the surface). We have made huge strides since their visit and are so thankful for the support we have received. The finalization of the adoption should be taking place within the next few weeks. I look forward to posting great pictures I have with Ferley’s smiling face after it is official. Vincent or I will travel to Bogota with Ferley to sign the final papers with the judge, change his name on his ID and birth certificate, apply for his Colombian passport, and take Ferley to see the US Embassy physician to prepare for his naturalization process that begins once he touches US soil. Speaking of US soil, below are the dates of our tentative trip to the US as well as a list of the events and hosting/training we will be doing over the next six months. We are so thankful that God has given us a few months as a family with a few overnight visitors here and there to bond as a family before the busy months come.

SCHEDULE FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS

Feb ?? — Vincent or Alyson and Ferley traveling to Bogota to finalize adoption

March 18 – 20 — Vincent attending Men’s Conference in Cali

March 31 – April 13 — Hosting a short term project several from our home town of Missoula, MT

April 21 – May 21 — Training the Cordoba, Argentina Church Planting Team

June 6 – 9 — Hosting a portion of the Extreme Board’s Vision Tour

June 14 – 21 — Hosting the first week of 40 Days Experience

July — Travel to the US for 5-6 weeks

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • Pray that Ferley finds his place in our family where he feels safe, secure, loved and that this is permanent.
  • Pray for Wellington as he adjusts to this big change. He looks up to his big brother and wants to do what he does, but Ferley is not always making the best choices for lack of knowing better.

PARTNERING WITH US

  • Through Extreme, we have a new way to receive support through partners through the donation of material items. You can find out more details at this link.  www.extremenazarene.org/donatestuff
  • We are in need of an iPhone 5 if any of you upgraded over the holidays or were gifted a new phone you could donate your old one directly to us (not through the link above).

 

 

 

 

The house is all ready to have visitors and to welcome our new addition to our family. We have been hard at work the last several weeks and there is still a long list of items we would like to complete but we are ready to receive visitors and have prepared a place for our new son. The slideshow is a tour of the new and improved house. We are traveling this week to Bogota to pick up our son and will be home for Christmas. What a blessing that will be. God moved some mountains in order for this to happen before Christmas. We got to skype with him twice last week and he is already calling us mom and dad and thinks his brother is really cute. We cannot post pictures of him until our adoption is final (more than likely sometime in January). We pray that you all have a blessed Christmas celebration with family and friends. We are missing ours, but know we will get to see them soon. Enjoy our story as it unfolds in the photos below.

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House #5 in Cali

Posted: December 2, 2014 in Life in Cali, preparations

As I promised, here is a blog about house #5 for us in Cali. Our move more challenging than the previous. We are not just moving a family of three, we are moving hotelcork that houses up to 24 people. That is a lot of bunk beds, mattresses, towels, sheets, pillow, curtains, storage, pots and pans.

This is the house God lead us to. It had been a really crazy search. This house is such a blessing in the fact that it is in a good neighborhood, right next to the one we lived in previously. It is half way between the church and where the future construction will take place in the future. It is less expensive. The owner is so easy going he will pretty much let us do anything in the house we need to make it work for the ministry. After talking to him for about 10 minutes face to face he handed us the keys, lowered the rent, and gave us two weeks free to start the needed repairs.

We lived with our friend Magda for 2 weeks going back and forth cleaning and doing the most urgent repairs. Once we got the living room painted we decided to move all of our things from storage to the finished living room as there were so many things we needed. After a few more days we moved in (Nov 30) and now are more able to work on the various projects of further repairs and painting in preparation for a pastoral couple from Brazil arriving this coming Saturday for an interview with Extreme for our next church plant.

So with that said, I am going to get back at it. This has been nice to sit in a breezy spot and get a break from the paint fumes. I will post again with the finished Cork house, hotel cork and ECC (Extreme Center Cali). Enjoy the photos.

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Transition

Posted: November 27, 2014 in Adoption, Life in Cali, Prayer Requests, preparations

Our family is in a state of transition right now. We had been approved to live month by month in the last house after our contract ended on Nov 15, with the agreement that we would have 30 days notice to move if they sold the house. If not, we said we could stay at least until Feb 2015. Perhaps that day or shortly after, the house sold. Because of some miscommunications, we received the official news our last day was Nov 17, leaving only three weeks to pack and move… to where, we didn’t know. (As you continue reading, to truly understand God’s working in our lives… try to look at it through the perspective of 2 people packing for 20 and having very specific restrictions on size, layout, and location of the future housing.) We started packing right away and lived in the state of boxes for the remainder of our time, taking everything from the four floors and moving it to the first to aide in loading the truck. In the midst of all the packing, we did some final searching for houses to make sure we had the best option possible for the ministry. We were approved to rent one, but had our reservations due to the price and their inflexibility to shorten the contract. So we continued the search. Days before the move we were still looking. We came to the point of asking our friends if we could move in with them for a bit to give us more time to make a decision. They had offered earlier but we didn’t think it would be needed at the time. Our friend’s husband left for Ecuador to work for a month a week before we had to move. His time away was delayed by several weeks. I believe this was all in God’s timing to work all for good in being here to help our friend with her two kiddos. Wellington is on cloud nine living with his two best friends. This has had a reversed effect on our relationship in that we are together all week so we try to do things independently over the weekends to give the kids some time apart.

The BIG project of the construction of the Extreme Center Cali (ECC) is still in progress. At one point we thought it would not happen but continued in our faith in what God has called us to. There was a change and we are moving forward with working on the plans with all those involved. We do not have a green light yet, but we are closer than we have been before.

The day before the moving truck arrived, we found a place. Vincent looked at it and then returned with me. We wanted to meet with the owner face to face to discuss some options and things we needed to do to make the place work for us and he couldn’t meet us until after loading the truck. We found a mini-warehouse to store our belongings for the time being. After talking with Luis Fernando face to face for a few minutes he was ready to hand over the keys, discount the rent, give us two weeks rent free, and a six-month contract without any co-signers (what Colombia does instead of credit checks and deposits). He felt bad he did not talk to us the day before so we could have moved there directly. However, it is all working out, the house is very dirty and needs a lot of work having been vacant for 1 to 2 years. We are working to get the kitchen done, clean the living room and clean one bathroom that is 100% functional before we move our items in. Our goal is to move our stuff in the weekend of Thanksgiving. In my next post I will share more about the house God has provided us.

Adoption update: We are in the final stretch. Making calculations with our agency and all those involved we think we may be in Bogota, Colombia for our week long integration with our son the week prior to or the week of Christmas. We may be in a hotel for Christmas but at least we will be together as a family. The adoption will more than likely not be completed and official until sometime in January. Our son’s preparation for adoption began just a few days ago and he is excited.

Upcoming items and prayer requests:

Nov 30 – move into our new temporary home (5th home in 3 1/2 years in Cali). Hoping the next one will be the final one where we will stay for our remaining time in Cali.

Dec 6 -9 – We are hosting a Pastoral couple from Brazil for an interview for the next church plant. Brian Tibbs, CEO of Extreme will be joining them here in Cali.

Dec 15 or 22 – Tentative week long integration with our son in Bogota. We need to renew Wellington’s passport while we are there as it expires Jan 2015.

Dec 28 – 30ish – Receiving visitors. On of our high school friends and his wife (from Colombia) will be visiting us for a few days. We are so looking forward to this reunion. It has been a long time.

Jan 19th-ish – Trip to Quito, Ecuador for leadership meetings. Pending adoption status. Pray that the adoption finalizes as we cannot take our new son out of the country until the adoption is complete. The wait for the judicial system can be lengthy and there are frequent strikes.

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So much has happened since our last post at the end of Aug. Wellington began skating classes and enjoys another opportunity to spend time with kids his age and older. With tremendous help from our friends managing our home rental in Missoula, MT we have new renters and it was a smooth transition. More dear friends helped out on the maintenance of the deck in our backyard which was in great need of some care.

We continued the search for a new location to live and host church plant teams and we have not found anything that is a good fit except for this frame of a building which is the Cali’s Nazarene district center. Vincent has been extremely occupied drawing out multiple floor plans. He would show them to me; I would suggest some changes and he would have a few more ideas… he would draw a few more. We then went to the site to visualize what it would really look like. He has been working with architects to have professional plans drawn and is waiting on quotes for the project. After he has all these pieces put together he will be presenting the project to the local leaders in charge of this building. There was a Work and Witness team that worked on it in the early 2000’s that put in a floor and built four walls. We also had several short term teams work on this building as well. God is so good as the original plan when we arrived in Cali was to finish this building to house the short term teams we were receiving. It didn’t work out at that time but God knew what He was doing (as He always does). Everything our teams worked on has the potential to be have preparations for the future Extreme Center Cali (ECC). Hopefully next month’s post will have news on the green light to start the project. Once  we have that we will be looking for some specialized people to come help with the construction Feb – April 2015. Interested? A huge blessing we have received is the approval to stay in our existing home at least until Feb or until they sell it, which ever is first. This eliminates extra expenses in moving twice (temp house and then the new building) and the complications of changing our address in the middle of the adoption process.

We hosted a team of 10 for the 8th annual International Master’s Plan Convention the end of Sept with Pastors and leaders from, CO, KS, CA, AZ, FL, and Ecuador. They were a great and dynamic group. During the week, Vincent and those attending from Ecuador (part of Extreme) were able to present Extreme to the internationals attending the convention. We hosted the 3 Chileans for lunch one day to share more with them about Extreme coming to their country. We were also honored to have Dr. Jerry Porter and his wife accept our lunch invitation one afternoon during the convention. He loves what Extreme is doing and it was great to share with him specifically about what our role is in Cali. Our guests arrived as we were all getting over difficult colds and right in the middle of their stay I got the body aches and a fever but continued to push through and provide meals for the team. I missed the big evangelistic event as I still had the fever. A few days later, Wellington got the same yuck. He stayed home from school for 3 days. He would have fevers at night and waves of feeling better and worse. Due to the team and the sicknesses we were behind in our electronic work. Wellington finished out the week going to school for 2 days and then following week was a vacation week. We all needed a little recuperation so we took a day trip to the nearby town of Popayan and got away for the 3 day weekend in the mountains. Vincent still did some work but we were forced to get some true relaxation with the power out for 24 hours after a big thunderstorm.

We are full fledged this week back to our normal routine, playing some catch up. I am busy with Brian’s schedule as he is doing a lot of traveling and Vincent is chasing down the remaining pieces he needs to complete his research for the construction project of the new ECC.

Adoption update: The i800a application was finally assigned to an officer on Oct 6th, 6 weeks after it was received by them the second time. On Oct 10th, we received a request for evidence. As of today they have all been resolved but one. Hoping for approval next week. Hoping the process is like a super slide after that. It seems like all the next steps are ready, we are just waiting for the one ahead of it to be completed/approved. Our new goal is to have our son on our 4th anniversary of leaving the country on Nov 17. Pray for this with us.

Looking ahead:

Nov (trusting in faith) – Travel to Bogota to receive our son. Anytime Wellington hears the name Bogota or knows someone is traveling there he asks if his brother is coming home.

Christmas in Colombia – Still planning on family coming for the Christmas season, just trying to pinpoint our travel dates to Bogota before making plans.

Jan 5 – Wellington’s baby passport expires. We are hoping to time his renewal when we go to Bogota for our integration week with our new son. He has to be present to renew since he is a minor.

Jan 20 – 24 – Whole family traveling to Quito, Ecuador for the leader’s summit.

Feb  through April – (trusting in faith) Receiving short-term construction teams to help construct the ECC

May – Cordoba, Argentina Church Plant team with us for 30 days of training

Sometime in 2015 – We will be traveling to the US at some point, just don’t have a good measure on when that will be yet. Stay tuned.

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We had a busy August starting with the arrival of Carrie Goldsmith, a new mobilizer in the US. She was doing a Vision Tour with Extreme before starting her new job. She was with us for a week, after seeing the church plants in action in Ecuador. These pictures are from her Cali tour.

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Then started the business of planning Wellington’s big birthday party. Wellington was so excited we made a calendar and he started counting down 37 days out.

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On Wellington’s actual birthday, his Colombian auntie Sandra brought him his gift, 5 fish for his 5th birthday (there are now 6 fish, one had a baby). He had been asking for goggles which we got for him and then he had the idea to go to the pool so that is what we did for the afternoon, just the three of us.

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We decided to do his party Latino style and it was so much fun. The kids and adults had a great time. The party consisted of activities with Carlos (a disciple of Vincent’s that does this sort of thing for a living), an awesome angry birds cake, prizes, dancing with parents involved, puppet show with the appearance of a pig and two angry birds doing a skit on forgiveness (Vincent made the awesome puppets). The return of the egg to the birds which was the pinata (made by Wellington and I). Apparently there were too many layers of paper mache and an adult had to crack it a few times to break it. Then the big finale with the real life angry birds game with a sling shot to knock down the pig’s fort (no live animals were used). Pray for the building of relationships through this celebration.

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A great answer to prayer in August is that my best friend, Magda, for over 3 years here in Colombia accepted Christ as her Savior. What a great celebration in heaven. Here we are with her daughter and then with all our kiddos together.

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We are having to move again (4th time in 3 1/2 years) and so we are in the search for a home large enough to fit 20 adults and some children, not an easy task on a budget. Thankfully we have purchased used bikes for the whole family and we have been using them to scour nearby neighborhoods. I wanted to show a map of all the areas we have searched so far (the yellow pins are our current house and the church and the pinkish areas are where we have searched). Wellington is a trooper and will go 3 hours with us and could probably do a few more. I think the stops for ice cream help. Below are two options, the District Center which lends itself to just a little bit of work (but an amazing palette for Vincent’s creativity) and another home that would work great. The next church plant team was delayed and will now be arriving in April 2015 so we have some time to do the construction if that is the way God leads. Please pray with us in discernment of the right choice, God’s choice. Our rental lease is up mid Nov.

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Other happenings…Wellington started his first day of kindergarten. He had to have a medical check up for his entry paperwork. They are still in a time of integration and will start classes next week. He loves being back with his friends.

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These last two pictures are Wellington with his friendly little lizard he found (he has an ease of capturing them) and a wonderful picture drawn by my niece Bazen of our family. I love how Vincent is looking so sweetly over his family, and how my smile can hardly be contained on my face; it is so big my eyes are shut.

An adoption update (you can get frequent updates on our facebook page, Adding a Cork). There was a snag in our paperwork for the US gov and it delayed the approval process by almost a month. The clock for approval just started over today so it is a 45 – 60 day wait for the approval. We are diligently working to complete the paperwork for the next process so we are all ready to go. At this rate, looking at the calendar and the approximated turn around times for the remainder of the process, we will not have our son with us for his 12th birthday on Oct 1. It would be more like the end of Oct or Nov. This process is not for the light hearted. We believe in God’s timing as He has showed us His timing is better than ours over and over on this life journey with Him. Proverbs 3: 5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.

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Upcoming:

We have a group of  9-12 coming for the 8th Annual Master’s Plan Convention Sept 23 – 30.

Oct/Nov – the BIG MOVE to ????? We will fill in the blank when we know where we are moving to.

TBD – We will go and pick up our son in Bogota for a week of integration before we can bring him back to Cali. One of us will then have to head back to Bogota to finalize the adoption with the judge.

Christmas in Colombia – Alyson’s family is planning on joining us for Christmas. We are really looking forward to sharing the holidays with family. It has been 3 years since we spent Christmas with family.

Jan 20 – 24, 2015 we will be attending the Extreme Leaders Summit in Ecuador with our two boys.