Archive for the ‘Testimonies’ Category

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.

 

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We arrived back to Cali, Colombia on Sept 11 after our whirlwind travels lasting 3 months  and we had a week to prepare for a 2 week (Sept 18 – Oct 1) short term team of 8 from the Prairie Lakes District.  It was a blessed time to be with pastors from our grass roots. They were renewed and revived during their time here in Cali and they are staying in tight contact supporting one another in their prayers. A week and a half after their departure we received another team on a Vision Tour consisting of 5 people who were with us from Oct 11 – 15. They were here to get an inside look at the work and vision of Extreme. With these two projects completed we are at 95 of our 300 goal.  Here are a few comments from their time here.

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Prairie Lake District Team

” I came here like ‘butter spread over too much bread.’ I am leaving having seen God, heard God and been renewed by God. Ready to have a deeper walk, a deeper prayer life and a deeper love for others. Love, deeply love, enough to share my Christ more fervently.” Pastor Dave Foshee (Prairie Lakes District Team)

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Vision Tour

“Participating in the vision tour has shown me that God works mightily through the obedience of extreme discipleship. WOW! Cali was nothing that I expected. Instead of a drug and violence ravaged city without God, I saw the mighty hand of God redeeming a people because of the fervent persistence and obedience of a few Christians. What an example for us!”   Kristine Himelick (Vision Tour)

Up and coming….we now have 29 days of preparation to receive the next church planting team who will be planting a church in Ibarra, Ecuador. They will be here from Nov 21 – Dec 19. This is a full team consisting of 14 adults and 3 children for 30 days. We will also have some others who will be coming through at the same time. We are in prayer that we will be in a new house by that time, but we need God to work and to soften the heart of the owner so we can leave our contract in good standing.

I (Alyson) will also be attending the Women’s Congress at the Cali House of Prayer on Nov 1 and 2. I am looking forward to how God will speak into my life during these two days.

Be sure to take a look at our new link at the top of our blog page titled CALENDAR OF EVENTS to keep up with what is happening in Cali. We welcome your prayers in support of what is happening here.

One of our next posts will focus on an exciting big step that God is leading us into, stay tuned!

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If it looks like we are having a lot of fun in the pictures I have posted it is because we are. We love what we do and we are so blessed by the call God has put on our lives to serve Him here in Colombia.

We wanted to give you some insights into what we have been up to. So much has happened since our last blog about the preparations we were working on to receive the first church planting team that would come through the new XSA (Extreme South America) service city of Cali, Colombia for their 20 days of training with us on the Master’s Plan. Here is a bullet point of the happenings since our last blog.

Jan 18 – March 2, our Master’s Plan Training Coordinator, Sandra Villa, was in Peru to work with the 40 day program and her mom lived with us during that time.

March 3 – 26, hosted and trained the church plant team assigned to Ambato, Ecuador (with a few early arrivers).

March 26 – April 10, my family visited right after the team left and we got to take them to a special place we have found in Colombia for a few days to relax (but we didn’t – we had some amazing adventures with my family).

April 11 – I started training for a new position within Extreme Nazarene Ministries that I have accepted, Administrative Assistant to the Director of Extreme. I will be working in Colombia while Brian Tibbs remains in Arequipa, Peru. He will be moving to Quito, Ecuador in early 2014. There will be a shift in how we work between countries. God is taking me into new territory and I am excited.

Coming up…..

We will be traveling to Arequipa, Peru mid June to the end of July helping with the big Love Extreme project. Vincent will be working with the foam block chapel builds and I will be assisting Brian in my new position.

The last days in July we will be in Bogota, Colombia for the annual renewal of our work visas.

Aug 6 – Sept 10 in the US. We have a detailed schedule God has laid out for us and we are in the process of making all the connections and confirmations for all the stops. More details to follow….

Sept 18 – Oct 1, we will receive a group of pastors and leaders from the Prairie Lakes District for a 2 week project. They will also be attending the annual International Master’s Plan Convention.

The 300 goal is currently at  77 with 223 more to go.

 

27 days — 3680 miles — 1550 pictures — 15 offical US city stops — 7 speaking engagements — 10 different sleeping locations — 22.5 hours longest road trip (includes a 2 hr dinner stop followed by a 12 hour flu bug for Alyson)

For you statisticians and those who like numbers, this gives you a little snapshot of what our time in the United States looked like. Crazy, yes…Fun, yes…Exhausting, yes…Worth it, absolutely. God was incredible in paving the way for us as we traveled cross country. The first provision was the use of my sister’s car for our travels, the second was the gift of my mom traveling with us to help with all the driving and keeping Wellington entertained in the back seat. This was just in the first 16 hours of our arrival to the US.

I tried to scale back with the pictures for the slideshow on this post but we have so many wonderful memories I want to share you may want to sit back with some coffee and enjoy. You may want to pause the slide show and scroll through them as I have added captions to the majority of the pictures. We were blessed by so many during our travels from those we have known for a lifetime as well as new found friends and now partners in our ministry.

We were privileged to share the exciting changes with Extreme Nazarene Ministries, and our new roles within the new mission, XSA (Extreme South America) God has called us to. The changes were taking place on Sept 4 during our time in the US. You can view the new site and mission at www.extremenazarene.org. You can view our previous post titled “No more Extreme Colombia, changes coming” blog to learn of our new work within this mission of XSA.

We want to express our thankful hearts and gratitude for everyone we met with, everyone who housed us, everyone who fed us, everyone who supported us and everyone who prayed for us. Without all of you we would not be able to do this work that God has called us to. May God shower his blessings upon you as you fulfill his will for your lives as the compassionate and caring people He has made you to be. Praise to God for his hand of protection over us for the many hours on the road (and the hundreds of animals that stayed out of our path), orchestrating special reunions and being present with us in all we did and in all the places we traveled.

New prayer requests as we settle back into our lives in Cali, Colombia:

  • Discernment as we prepare all the training materials, schedules, and the plethora of details that need to be in place before our first our first team coming for the Master’s Plan Training in the beginning of March 2013.
  • Guidance as Vincent and I continue to learn more of the Master’s Plan, attending classes, finding disciples and opening our own cell groups.
  • Pray for God to reveal to those coming His power we can have through the infilling of the Holy Spirit  for a team coming in Nov this year and another possibly in Jan 2013.  I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses…For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:9-10)

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We had been searching for a new location to live for several months as it has been difficult in the past finding housing for our short-term teams.  The original plan was to use the Cali district center but it is still in construction and currently there are no more funds to continue construction.  In the past we rented other apartments near our apartment to house our short-term volunteers. We didn’t have housing confirmed until just a few days prior to the arrival of our teams. If an owner wants to rent their home/apt they are not going to agree to a two-week rental when they could have someone to commit to a year, so our rental agreements were always last minute. Glory to God he always came through with what we needed not a moment too soon or a moment too late. This type of housing was wearing for the fact that we had to carry bunk beds, mattresses, fans, tables and chairs sometimes up to the 3rd floor of apartments and then remove it all the same day or day after the teams departed. We have found a better solution of renting a home where we would have sufficient space to house our short-termers. The name hotelcork seems to be following us wherever we are. We love sharing our gift of hospitality and now we will have the perfect opportunity to do so. Let me tell you the “wild ride” story of finding the house God had for us.

As I stated, we had been searching for a home near the church for the last few months. We looked through about 15 houses. We scanned the area of 10 blocks long and 8 blocks wide, zig-zagging through all the streets looking for rental signs and asking workers if the houses they were working on were for rent. Sometimes the workers would let us look through the house. Our wonderful co-worker, Sandra, would make the calls and appointments for us to see each of the homes for rent. Some were pristine and remodeled, others had been vacant for what seemed to be years and had freeloading cockroaches. We were so close to renting one of the homes. As foreigners the security companies had stricter rules for us. We would need someone to back us on the contract. With the church backing us, the Pastor backing the church- the security company still wanted one other signer to be behind the Pastor… someone not associated with the church. We were unable to find someone to do this. We praised God as we thought we had found the way around this by paying a deposit of 6 months. By the time everything was said and done, the security company wanted 10 months worth of rent for the deposit on a one-year contract. It wasn’t the answer. We found two other great homes but they were with the same security company, same problem; so we continued the search. The owner of the apartment we were in agreed to let us stay for another month past the end of our contract while we searched. Low and behold, we walked up to another great option for a house. In the process of having our paperwork reviewed for this house we learned that the apartment where we had been living had been sold and the owner wanted the house on the 27th of March. We were given one-week notice of this. We waited and waited for the approval on the house rental and finally it came but they requested one more document. Pastor needed to sign the document but he was starting some intense travel. Sandra patiently waited for him to arrive home from a scheduled flight at 5pm but due to delays arrived after 8pm… only to turn around and leave the next morning before 5am for Venezuela. We got the required doc signed but they still needed to draw up the official contract. He would be gone for one week and we needed to be out of the house in 2 days. We packed over the weekend ready to move our stuff out to who knows where, maybe a room in the church. We had asked for an extension of one week to get all the paperwork in order but the woman managing the apartment denied us. The day we were to move out, Sandra and Vincent stumbled upon a good friend of the new owner of the apartment. She put us in contact with the owner and we explained our situation. She was more than kind to let us stay through the week if we needed. Praise the Lord we had two more nights in our apartment with the living room and dining room stacked high with boxes with only our mattresses on the floor. Sandra received approval from the rental company to allow us to move in before the official contract was signed, but repairs had to be done in the house as well as a deep clean. This was all done by Wednesday afternoon (minus the deep clean). We finally moved all of our belongings and all the short term volunteer supplies including 4 bunk beds and 16 mattresses and 8 fans not to mention all the additional bowls, plates, cups, coffee makers/servers, coolers, linens, etc. I am amazed how much stuff we had stored in our little apartment. In putting this in God’s hands, He moved us into our new home 24 hours before my family arrived to visit us. He is so good.

So many of the things that happened during this transitional period were all been at the very last minute but God is always coming through for us. Thankfully we have learned to hand these things to Him so He can deal with them. I have been reflecting on the time when we had just arrived in Cali and we were searching for an apartment to rent, needed cell phones, and wanted a map to get our bearings. I was so impatient with God wanting everything to be done upon our arrival, but apparently He had some lessons for me to learn. Due to my lack of faith and misunderstanding of what it meant to “trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding,” I made it a stressful time for me, full of pain and frustration and occasional tears. We spent a lot of the time waiting on other people for things we would be able to do for ourselves in the US. This time around, during our housing transition I had so much peace it was unbelievable. And this time I think the situations were much worse in the eyes of the world. I am being reminded of how I was and how much I have changed by the grace of God, having complete faith in Him.

We had a young woman living with us who was studying Spanish. She had been with us for a month when we were in this moving process and she is much the immediacy kind of person that I must have looked like when I first arrived to Cali. I did the best I could to help her through all the transitions, the unknown answers to pertinent questions we all had, and the last minute changes that are inevitable living in South America. Watching her made me remember the pain and frustration I went through during our first months in Cali. I am so thankful I serve a God who is so loving and caring to help us through life transitions, the big thing is we have to hand it over to Him with complete trust and faith and not take it back to do it ourselves.

Vincent shared this verse during on of our small group meetings here in Cali and it has really stuck with me.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

  • Prayer Requests:
  • Upcoming team of 11 we are preparing for in June mostly from WV, one from MI and another from KS.
  • Finalization for a team in Aug.
  • Our schedule for our travels home in Aug/Sept 2012 for all speaking engagements to be confirmed by the end of this month.
  • Creativity in disciplining our almost 3 year old. It is hard to stay ahead of him.
  • Continued provisions for our financial needs. Praise His name for a the blessings from our partners we have already received.

Here are some pictures of our new home we are renting and of the wonderful time I had with my family visiting.

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I have not been writing letters or updating posts much in the last month as it has been busy here with the holidays and with Wellington out of school for almost a month. He returned the middle of Jan and it felt so good to have some uninterrupted time to work in quietness. Several times during his vacation when we were at the park he would ask/motion to go by his school, always being disapointed when no one was there. The first few days back to school he shed a few tears, but they were quickly gone as other kids arrived. He is going through a stage of being timid and a bit clingy. He still loves to hand out high 5’s, hugs and kisses but he is a bit more choosey as to whom they go to. It doesn’t take long to get into his good graces. This last weekend came number 3 of his 4 molars. All weekend long he had fevers and didn’t want to each much except yogurt. He was really snuggley which I thoroughly enjoyed. He is waking during his naps in soft cries and falling back to sleep. The fevers come and go, I have been using oral gel and he understands that relieves the pain so he can go back to sleep or playing but that still doesn’t make it easy to put on his molar that is coming in.

We passed the holidays with friends and even though it wasn’t the same without our families, it was still a special time celebrating the birth of our Savior. We got to experience many cultural things over the holidays. We attended a horse parade and an antique car parade with Wellington. We also spent Jan 1 at the Pance River which is a custom for many Colombians. We had the incredible opportunity to go to a finca (farm, rather it was an urban community) with Pastor and almost his whole family. It was really nice to connect with them and their family on a deeper level and just pass some time together. There schedules are incredibly busy so we feel fortunate we were able to spend this special time with them. We were blessed to attend an overnight trip to another finca (farm) which was a youth camp with a local church we have become very close to. Vincent and I shared a message with the youth around a bonfire, it was the exercise we learned with LWM (Lay Witness Mission) of a quiet time with the Lord where you write a letter to yourself from Jesus. Our dear friend Myra helped us through a few tricky times with the language but we were able to share everything in Spanish. Praise the Lord, your prayers are being answered. For us to be at this point in our Spanish communication is a miracle in our eyes and we cannot thank you enough for all your prayers as far as learning the language but there is much more to learn so please keep praying. Here are some other prayer requests we currently have:

1. New projects and website design for Extreme Colombia at www.extremenazarene.org/colombia. This is a project we have been working on for the last month and a half and it is almost complete. Pray for this to be a tool that will draw people to Colombia to fill the vision of 300. We are praying for a total of 300 people to register for projects this year. Movement is starting to happen with a few teams deciding on dates to come and registering. We also have a Jesus Film group coming. God is so good and faithful to our prayers. Pray with us to hit the vision of 300!

2. Praise the Lord that my family is coming to visit us at the end of March (my sister and her daughter, my mom and my aunt). Pray for God to prepare them for mighty things while they are here and for safe traveling mercies. They will be staying with us through Easter.

3. Wisdom for Vincent and I as we discipline Wellington. We pray for creativity in parenting. Wellington is an incredible and intelligent kiddo and we are working to keep up with his level- working to raise him to be a Godly young man.

4. Praise the Lord! As of Feb 1 we will have renters for our home in Missoula, MT. It has been vacant since the beginning of Dec. We trusted in God that he had very specific people to rent our home. We are grateful for our dear friends who are managing this for us. We had to drop our rental price below our monthly expenses but know that God will provide as he has called us to do what we are doing.

5. We have our flights purchased for our trip back to the States for 2012: Aug 23 – Sept 18. Please pray for God to work the details of our travels and speaking engagements. We will be working to make contacts for these during the months of Jan and Feb hoping to have our schedule in place by mid March.

When I posted the fact we had our Colombian Visas in hand, that was not the end to the process. We still had to visit the D.A.S. (Dept of Admin Security) office in Cali within 15 days of reentering the country in which we drove 45 min to this office only to make an appointment for the next day (they only make appointments in person, you cannot call to make an appointment). We received another list of letters and items we needed to present. We obtained the last of these requirements at 10pm that night and returned the next day to sit for over an hour. After the fingerprinting and more photos we were told to return in a month and a half for our visa cards. PRAISE THE LORD, this week officially marks the end of our visa process. After 6 long months, serveral trips out of the country, oddles of paperwork signed, stamped and certified by this office and that, fingerprints of every combination (both ink and electronic), we finally picked up our C.E (Cedula Extranjero). This card allows us to function like a resident in Colombia. We are now starting the process of being less dependent on the locals (to an extent). We are working to convert some bills for things like internet and cell phones that are in friends names into our own. They were gracious to help us when we arrived to secure those things which are essential to the operation of the Extreme Colombia project. It was an impossibility as foreigners without a visa to get any of this accomplished when we arrived. We are so thankful for God providing the support we have here in Cali.

We are gearing up for our next team arriving in 1 week. This is a very special team for us as Vincent’s dad is coming and we have our 3 attending from our home church in Missoula, MT and 2 from Victor, MT. We are excited at what God is orchestrating as far as events for this team. Some of them seem specially catered to the skills and abilities of this group. Why does this surprise me that God would organize such individualized events? I shouldn’t be surprised, this is what we have been praying for and the prayers are being answered. Praise His name. Please continue to pray for this team as many have been under some intense warefare. This only confirms that these are the ones He has chosen to come. We are anticipating marvelous things to happen while they are here.

Psalms 126:3 The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.

We have had two Extreme Colombia teams on the ground and have a better handle on what our projects are going to look like and consist of working hand and hand with the Cali House of Prayer. It has not been easy and we are expecting many challenges in the future. Our peace rests in the fact we are in the center of the will of God for our lives and that gives us the strength and endurance to continue with our work here. The struggles seem grand at the time but how victorious things come out in the end. We have been battling with spiritual warfare among our family and those who have a desire to come to an Extreme Colombia project. Battles with the logistics of finances here, airline issues, obtaining visas, functioning as foreigners and other things continue to allow God to show He’s in control of everything and He has our best interests in mind. God has shown us encouragement and confirmation through personal revelations, words spoken from others, and reports from our previous teams. We delight in the stories, hearing about changed lives and how they are impacting those around them. This is why we are here. Our life verse speaks, Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created to do good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do. We know that sometimes God doesn’t provide you with what you need until the nick of time- which has been a faith builder as He continues to increase the stakes. We are learning more and more to depend on Him for absolutely everything, even the smallest of things. It reminds me of a story from a dear friend who told me her mother would ask and pray to God for a good parking spot when they would go shopping… and He would always supply.

Wellington update: Since we got back home, our Cali home, and our schedules went back to what we call normal, we decided to work with Wellington on potty training. We worked hard on it one weekend, and putting faith in him, sent him to school with only his undies… and his regular clothes of course. He has had about 4 accidents while in school in the last two weeks but and the last few days have been dry, dry, dry. YAHOOO! I think we hit it at the opportune time but I have to say I did pray for this transition to be easy and God has answered this prayer. It has been so wonderful watching all these changes in Wellington, It really is all happening too fast. His vocabulary is taking off (mom and dad’s is improving too). We are not to full sentences (meaning Wellington not us) yet but he puts words together and will repeat them over and over and over. One of our favorites right now is “alla, go…alla, go…alla, go”  This is THERE in Spanish and GO in English. This means he wants to leave the apartment, usually to go down to the commons area to play soccer. With the new school year upon us we had to purchase uniforms for him. Oh my oh my, one of my friends commented on FB about the Sound of Music and my sister commented that it looked like his grandpa Norm when he was a lad.

We have a short lull, well it is not really a lull since we have a ton of things on our TO DO dry erase board in our office. September 22 – 25 is the International Master’s Plan Conference here in the Cali House of Prayer. Vincent is attending and we will be putting together a presentation for the American Pastors coming for the conference.  Vincent is also heading to Miami early next month for an Officer’s meeting for Extreme Nazarene Ministries. We have our next team arriving mid October, which we are very excited about, having people from our home church in Missoula, friends from the neighboring church, and Vincent’s dad joining us. He will be sticking around a bit longer to enjoy some time with Wellington. In November, we have another group arriving. As you can see we are staying busy here in the field. Always having new challenges where our dependence on our Lord is a must. We are having a blast! Okay so in reality, not all days feel like this but when I step back and look at the whole picture I don’t want to be anywhere else but here, in the center of God’s will. I am missing family and friends and sometimes when no one is on skype I get lost in the black hole of facebook trying to keep in touch with the lives of those I love and miss.

Prayer Requests:

  • Continued mighty movement of the Spirit for those who have returned to the States from an Extreme Colombia project.
  • Safe traveling mercies for Vincent and the next two teams. 
  • For our presentation during the Master’s Plan to bring in a great harvest of Short Term Volunteers.
  • As always, language- for us to exponentially learn more knowledge of the language, culture and enlarge our Spanish vocabulary.

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Vincent spoke of complications beyond our control in the last blog, here was yet another example… we finally made the move to our apartment last Tuesday, remember it was supposed to be the Friday before- that turned into Saturday. But praise God, almost a month after arriving in Cali, we have a place to call home. There were some complications when a rainstorm flooded the parking garage of the apartment and the tenants were not able to leave due to the water on the streets. We didn’t see it but the best we can tell by the evidence left behind, the water was probably about 10” deep… causing damage to some of the cars that were parked there. We had already put three months down of the six-month lease for the apartment. When all of this happened the Pastora of the church said she didn’t want us to move into that apartment any longer. We didn’t fully understand as the actual apartment didn’t flood but we were going with the flow. There was not much movement in looking for another place so we were just trying to be patient. The owner had already used some of our money preparing the apartment for us so we weren’t sure if we would be able to get our full three months rent back. Vincent and I still wanted to move in, but we continued with our patience. Jaime, our contact met with the owner to see about getting our money back and it was agreed that we would change our 6 month contract to a 3 month. We have no doubt this is a God orchestrated event. You see our plan is to hopefully move into an apartment in the building where we house the short-term teams, which hasn’t been built yet. If this happens within the next 3 months then we will be free from a contract. This is our best guess, as we know God never ceases to amaze us with what He has planned for our lives. We have been in our apartment for almost a week now and the only things we have are our clothes, Wellington’s pack and play and a bed for us (given to us by a member of the church). Oh and we borrowed two plastic chairs from the neighbor. The apartment came with a stove but we have no fridge and no furniture. We have been blessed by those in the church who will be helping us with our major needs of the apartment we just don’t know when they will be coming. We have been able to regain some independence now living behind the church. We have a grocery store right in front of us (our current refrigerator that we visit three times a day), and a large shopping center 10 minutes walk away.

We had an incredible experience getting to go out with a cell group in the church to a community who has been impacted by the flooding that has been happening in the city of Cali. A large gated home, owned by one of the members of the cell group, was opened up for the event and a 120 families were personally invited during a door-to-door campaign completed by the cell group earlier. There were many services offered to the families, evangelism, hairdressers, dentists, nurses, doctors, physical therapist, medicines, counselors, a large bag of groceries, a gift for the kids and school supplies, refreshments and a place for workers from the church to donate blood for the community. Out of the 120 families invited, 95 came to the event, which totaled over 400 people. The cell group had been praying for a sunny day and boy did the sun shine. We are in the rainy season and it rains at least once a day and usually comes in the morning or mid afternoon. It didn’t rain until late in the evening. Vincent and I made some great contacts within this group and we got to explain what we are doing here. It is so bizarre to meet someone from the church and have to ask them what service they go to or you may never run into them again unless it is deliberate.

I am a picture girl, so here are some pictures of our apartment and a few teasers from the impact event we served in. Vincent is planning on making a video from this day.

Answered prayers:
We are in our apartment and being blessed with many of the items we need from the church. As I have written this over several days, things continue to come in: we now have a microwave, blender, second bed for our first guest arriving today, plates & glasses, pots, curtains, sheets, towels and more. We just now received a fridge!
With the gifts from the church God is multiplying the fishes and the loaves for us, as this will help alleviate some of our the extra financial costs we have acquired in extending our stay here in Cali due to the delay of construction.
We now have communication in Cali – we have cell phones and Internet coming soon (a relative term).

Prayer requests:
Our contact Jaime and Pastor Herrera (the Pastor of the House of Prayer here in Cali) are speaking in the States in hopes to get more people to attend Extreme Colombia thru Extreme Nazarene. Pray the harvest is plentiful.
Pray for us to find the items we need in preparation for our first short term team coming mid June.

The Sixth of the Six questions answered…what I’ve been waiting for, only one week before we presented this to our church family, His sort of timing.

Why does God want me to give up so much to go help someone who isn’t really in need?

9/5/10 Rom 11:1-16 Titled: ‘Why I’m going to Colombia:’ In sharing with others about the reason for our expedition to Colombia, i find myself sometimes lacking excitement about not helping someone in need, but today God help me realize the reason for going. We are going to help those in need. They need a larger church so they can continue to take their city for Christ. What they are doing is like the gentiles so long ago. Paul was told to go to the gentiles because they are responsive. The Jews had become complacent… “they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.” We as Americans were being blessed by God as a nation who honored Him. I know in my life, my success began to fill up the room I had for my Father and slowly replace my need for Him. Praise God He got a hold of me and reprioritized my life. I am going to Colombia to host up to 480 Americans in a place where they have the potential to re-catch God’s fire and plan for their lives. I had become like the Jews, misusing God’s blessing in my life and became self-absorbed; now I see I am to be a fire fighter and  go to this huge fire, not to put it out, but to fight with it as a tool, helping others see the beauty of it in a different environment. I pray they will take it back to where they live. May they start a fire where they live; and just maybe enough will burn that the United States will come back to its heritage being on fire for the Lord. “…if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.”

The reason I’m writing all of this is to help people understand God is tremendously blessing our lives, but not as the average American has come to know what blessings are. God is or has blessed us by asking us to simplify our life, to get rid of the big house we built with blood, sweat and tears, half of our belongings, move out of the house He just gave us, quit our jobs, go learn a foreign language, and go to a country that is known for being dangerous. You see God is currently eliminating all attachment of ours to worldly things. Once we became detached to our possessions we began to see with Kingdom sight, we are seeing the real blessings. First, our possessions really aren’t our anyways. Second, we then saw them in a different light. Tools! Tools that God intended for us use to bless others in our community and across the world. Third, not just our things but our very lives are His to do with as He pleases. So by being obedient we are receiving the blessings of dependence on Him, freedom from earthly cares, and finding purpose by investing in Kingdom work, things that last for eternity. Please realize we still have a lot to figure out and it’s a journey, we are far from having it all right… but as I wrote earlier it is the walk God’s interested in not the goal.

What exactly have we been called to? (http://extremenazarene.org/Colombia.aspx )

We are partnering with Extreme Nazarene in a project called Extreme Colombia. We will be gone for at least 16 months, 3 ½ for language training in Arequipa, Peru and 12 months in Cali, Colombia. While in Cali Alyson will be the finance coordinator and I will be project coordinator. We will be hosting 12 teams of 20 -40 people from the US. They will consist of a construction portion and an impact portion.

The construction team will work daily with Colombian general contractor’s people on the building. Due to the complexity of a job this size and the many unknowns there will be plenty of opportunities to allow God to bend us. The construction team members will also have an opportunity to engage in impact activities during their time in Colombia.

 

The impact portion will see first-hand one of the dynamic reasons why the church in Cali is growing so rapidly. It is because of its cell-based strategy. Hundreds of cell groups meet weekly throughout the week. These cell groups serve as evangelism and discipleship vehicles constantly bringing new people into the church. We will be partnering with the leaders of these cell groups to plug our short-term volunteers into dynamic and engaging impact activities designed to seek out and bring more people into God’s love through the church. Impact activities include compassionate aid and medical clinics in poor communities, workshops and conferences for youth, men and women, festivals for children, and evangelism campaigns in all sorts of forms are included in the events.

Here’s one last passage from my journal that my Father shared with me.

9/10/10 Rom 12:3-8 Titled: ‘Equal importance:’ “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members…. not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us…If it is serving, let him serve… if it is encouraging let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently…” I must realize I, the one going,  am no more important than the one praying for me; I am no more important than the one leading a team to come help; I am no more important than the one supporting us; I am no more important than the one encouraging us or the ones supporting us. Maybe I have stronger faith than the one who has been called and hasn’t gone yet, but I must realize I am still no more important to God than him either. Father, thank You for Your call, faithfulness, grace and mercy… otherwise I would be able to do nothing.

In other words if your reading this and are supporting us either by: encouraging us, praying for, or financially giving, we are no more important to this ‘calling’ than you. Thank you for partnering! May God bless you and if we know that you are supporting us, know that we are praying for you as well.