4th Quarter

6 Apr

Easter2015!

Recently we had a week off for Semana Santa (Holy week) which included an incredible Easter service. Now we are back in the swing of things at El Camino Academy.  It’s already the 4th quarter at school and we can hardly believe we’ve been living in Bogotá almost two years.  We only have two months before we pack our bags, sell everything we own minus our clothes, and return to our homeland.

We are already beginning to grieve the loss of everything we hold dear here in Colombia.  Our friends, church family, and the staff and students at El Camino Academy have impacted our lives beyond measure.  We plan to continue our relationship with this beautiful country filled with some of the most joyous people on earth.  Our hope is to support the church and girls home we work with on an on-going basis through short term mission trips, publicity, prayer, and relational/financial partnerships.

We have no idea what our lives will look like when we return.  We did keep our house in Wenatchee and have had an amazing tenant renting our house the entire time.  The plan is to return to our house in Wenatchee. That is one of the only things we know for certain at this point.  It is a little scary to live in the dark, unknown spaces of life, but we know God is directing our every step as we walk in faith.

Our oldest son Ezra will be entering high school in the fall and we can hardly believe how fast time has gone and how much he has grown recently. It seems like just yesterday Kelly and I were kissing his chubby little baby cheeks and marveling as he discovered the world around him.  Our middle child Zach will be entering 7th grade at Foothills Middle School.  We are constantly amazed by Zach’s compassion, his relational skills with young and old, and his incredible potential to be a world changer.  Gabriella is only 8 years old, but wise beyond her years.  She is a friend to all, even when rejected.  She is artistic, creative, and very responsible.  She is torn about what she wants to be when she grows up. At this point, she is contemplating being an illustrator, artist, singer, dancer, writer, or a teacher.  Whatever she decides to do, we know she will complete the job with passion and excellence.  Our hope is to choice her into Lewis and Clark Elementary School so she can continue with her Spanish language acquisition.

I (Heidi) plan to teach in the fall, God willing.  I could use your prayers for an interview and a job offer.  What we know now is that we will have four different school schedules with elementary, middle, high school and wherever I happen to land.  Life will be busy, hard, and wonderful.

Kelly is asking God to open doors for him as well and for God to confirm which direction he should go.  He is looking at several different options, so please pray with us for clarity and confirmation.

We ask that you would be praying for a smooth transition back to Wenatchee for each of us and that we would find two reliable used cars to buy when we return.

We sure appreciate your prayers for all the changes ahead.  Please pray that God would keep us united and strong as a family as we leave the life we have established in Bogotá, Colombia and re-enter the American culture.  Pray we keep our eyes on the prize!

Finally, we want to give a huge shout out to all our friends and family who have sacrificed to support us these past two years.  We could not be here without you; we sincerely thank you for your generosity and prayers.  Thank you for giving to the Lord and his work.

We would love to hear what is new with you, so send us an email. We miss you all, and in case you are wondering, our return date is June 16th.

Dios les bendiga ricamente (God bless you richly)

Love, Kelly, Heidi, Ezra, Zach and Gabriella

Church planting in Colombia

7 Mar

Recently we participated in a church planting conference at our church here in Bogota.  It was a joy to spend time with people from various parts of Colombia  and witness a a unified vision and mission to plant more Free Methodist churches here in this country.

We were deeply challenged by the faith and passion of these dedicated Christians.  The resources are limited but these gifted leaders take the following passage of Scripture very serious:

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.   Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Matt 9: 35-38

Here is a picture of Pastor Libni praying over the leaders who are currently planting churches in various cities across Colombia.

chuchplanting

Here is a picture of our family with Ricardo and Beth Gomez.  Ricardo and Beth, along with their children, are busy planting churches and raising up a new generation of leaders in Medellin.  We enjoyed getting to know them and hearing how God is using them in powerful ways.

GomezFamily

Here is a picture of the Quant family.  They are friends from church and have become like family to us.  We always enjoy spending time with them, sharing a meal, and practicing our Spanish while they practice their English.

QuantFamily

On another note, two weekends ago, we had the privilege of hosting our friend Dave Solomon for a few days.  This is a picture of Dave and the boys on their way to a very interesting and educational bike tour of Bogota.

Dave

Prayer Requests:

  • Wisdom from the doctors on how to treat Heidi’s medical needs.
  • Clarity and wisdom for employment when we return to the states.
  • For strength and energy to finish strong in these last 3 months in Colombia (return date is June 16th).
  • For God to prepare our hearts as we transition back to life in Wenatchee and leave our beloved friends and Colombian family.
  • For Heidi’s dad who is recovering from melanoma-removal surgery and now has to receive wound care because the stitches were taken out too early.
  • Praise for the release of Phyllis Sorter.

A million thanks to each one of you who have been supporting us with your love, friendship and prayers.

Good News on Russell Stendal, the Colombian Missionary!

20 Feb

We are very happy to report Russell Stendal has been released and all charges against him dropped!  God bless all of you who prayed for his immediate release.  Your prayers were answered in the affirmative.

Here is Mr. Stendal’s brief yet vivid description of the miracle that took place in the Colombian court yesterday:

“The Lord turned the tables at the last minute. The prosecution went on for hours and hours and I spoke for ten minutes. The judge believed me and told the prosecutor she had been wasting her time and threw out the case. I have been completely absolved.” — Russ

So let’s give thanks to God that truth and justice prevailed for Russell and his family.  Please continue to pray for peace in Colombia and also the powerful and effective ministry the Stendals provide to the Marxist guerillas.

If you would like to learn more about the man and his ministry, here are some links:

The evangelistic outreach movie he and his daughters created

Books he has written (I recommend Rescue the Captors, his personal account of the FARC kidnapping)

Info on the parachute/radio initiative from Voice of the Martyrs website

Good article from the CBN website about the conflict in Colombia and Stendal’s work

 

 

 

 

URGENT PRAYER ALERT!

19 Feb

URGENT PRAYER ALERT! Missionary Russell Stendal has been taken prisoner by the government of Colombia. He is the father of 3 El Camino Academy alumni and a missionary to Colombia since he was 8 years old. He was arrested by the Colombian government yesterday (Feb 18) and is being tried in court today (Feb 19) in Bogota. The charges are “rebellion.” He makes frequent trips into rebel-held war zones to distribute Bibles and radios which receive signals from the Christian radio broadcasts that his ministry provides. He has received support from Voice of the Martyrs ministry based in the United States. He has written numerous books including “Rescue the Captors” which gives an account of his kidnapping by FARC guerillas in the early 90’s. He has been one of the most effective Christian missionaries in recent Latin American history. This guy is the real deal and Satan has cooked up some kind of scheme to try and stop him. Let’s not let that happen! Please share this post. Please pray for truth to prevail. Pray for his quick release.

As God’s peace-maker sent to Colombia, his story can be seen in the film shown at www.lamontanacolombia.com.

 

Why I Love My Wife

14 Feb

photo This blog post is not a heartwarming description of Heidi’s romantic qualities (although they are awesome), or a long list of the ways she takes care of me (where would I be without her?), or the simple yet profound fact she is my best friend (she knows everything about me and still loves me). Instead this post is about an aspect of Heidi’s character that most people wouldn’t be aware of.

It’s a quality that’s been developing for many years.  It’s a characteristic that’s been formed in a crucible of excruciating pain and affliction. You see, Heidi has suffered from severe migraine headaches for 35 years.  She started getting them as a young girl, and to this day, the cause has yet to be found.

Some days are better than others, but on average, Heidi gets between 2 or 3 per week. Migraine headaches are a terrible burden to bear.  They come on without warning and often last 24 – 48 hours.  The pain, as Heidi vividly describes, is like a sharp knife stabbed into the brain.  The pain is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, cold sweat, and weakness.

If she is at home, Heidi flees to her bed, waiting for the migraine cycle to pass, and crying out to God for relief. Through the years, Heidi has developed a mental and physical toughness that, in my opinion, places her in the same category as special forces soldiers or professional athletes.  In other words, she can endure pain that would cause most of us to dial 911 or rush to the emergency room begging for morphine.  (Unfortunately for Heidi, she is allergic to almost all pain killers)

Often a migraine begins when Heidi is at work or in a public setting.  I deeply admire how she maintains her composure and cheery attitude, so much so that if you didn’t know her well, she might look like she is in perfect health.  But on the inside, she is screaming in pain. During the worst case scenario, she will stay up all night long, vomiting every 20 minutes.  I attempt to bring her comfort, but in reality, there isn’t much I can do.  I prepare a heating pad, or apply pressure points to various locations on her neck and back, but the relief is limited.

Over the years, Heidi has tried countless medications, supplements, therapies, or “snake-oil remedies.”  Well-intentioned people frequently offer advice or suggestions.  But after 35 years of pain and suffering, the chances of finding a “cure” seem rather slim. We have cried out to God for healing on endless occasions, but so far there has been no miracle healing. Heidi and I believe God is able to heal, but for reasons we don’t fully understand, He has chosen not to.

Why do I love my wife?  I love my wife for many reasons.  She is romantic, she takes care of me, she is my best friend – but one characteristic that really stands out is her inner toughness, her grit, and her ability to persevere. In 2 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul writes about his “thorn in the flesh” and how he pleaded with God to take it away.  I cannot tell you how many times we have pleaded with God to take away the migraine headaches. But God responded to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

In all honesty, this reality is hard to accept, especially when my wife is desperate for relief – but relief doesn’t come. I can’t help but ask God, “Why don’t you heal her? But we know God is good and always tells the truth.  When  he says “His grace is sufficient” then we can trust “His grace is sufficient.”

But what exactly is this “all-sufficient grace?” As best I can tell, I think God’s all sufficient grace is this:  during each and every migraine, He gives Heidi a supernatural ability to persevere in the midst of tremendous pain and suffering. In other words, I believe the toughness I so admire in my wife isn’t something she conjures up in her own strength.  I’m convinced this grit, this perseverance, is a supernatural gift from God.  God’s grace to Heidi is the gift of strength, and I thank God for this gift, because without it, all hope would be lost.

Furthermore, Paul goes on to say how he learned to boast about his weaknesses so that Christ’s power would rest on him. With the same desire in my heart, I boast about Heidi’s weakness to you and the whole world so God’s strength and power will continue to rest on her.

My wife knows the source of her strength.  She knows that when she is weak, He is strong.  She trusts God, even when he decides to let the thorn remain.  She is tough as nails.  And that is why I love my wife.

TRUST

8 Feb

Rabies2  Rabies1

Hi everybody my name is Gabriella Boyle and today I need to tell you something amazing that happened.

In the beginning of January my mom asked our family if we could spend some time alone to pray and read the Bible.  Then we were supposed to wait and see if God would show us a special verse or word to remember all throughout the year. So when I went up to my room I prayed and listened to God and I knew the word for me was TRUST.  Sometimes I get scared in the dark and I thought God wanted me to trust him more in the dark.  Then a few weeks later I am pretty sure God was testing me to see if I really would TRUST him in the big and small things.

One day we asked our friends if they wanted to ride bikes with us. This is kind of strange, but on Sundays and holidays you can ride your bikes on the street here in Colombia and the cars are not allowed to go on certain streets.  It is called Ciclovia.  We had to borrow bikes from our friends because we don’t have any.

ciclovia-11

After we rode bikes my dad asked if anyone wanted to return the bikes with him.  I said I would go because I wanted to say goodbye to the bike because I love bikes.  After we gave the bikes back we were walking home and I saw two dogs laying on the street.  I went over to pet one and SNAP!  It bit me.  When I saw my hand was bleeding, I screamed and told my dad.  He told me I was probably going to have to get a shot because the dog was a stray dog and it might have rabies.  That is when I freaked out because I hate shots.  I was crying and my head hurt. I felt sick to my stomach and my hand was bleeding and I was screaming for my mom. Then my parents told me that they had to take me to the doctor right away to have the wound cleaned and to get a series of shots.  I was very nervous and scared, but then I remembered the word TRUST and I knew everything was going to be okay.

The nurse cleaned my hand and then I had to get several rabies shots.  I was very nervous because I hate needles.  I cried and my parents prayed with me. I didn’t want to get the shots, but God helped me to be brave and TRUST him with big scary needles, which is one of my biggest fears.

I’m so glad God told me to TRUST him before all this happened.  Now I know I can TRUST God during scary nights, big needles, dog bites, and any other difficult problems.  So, my advice to you is to TRUST God whenever you are scared and He will help you.

Thanks to everyone who prayed for me.

Love,

Gabriella Boyle

Rescued From The Red Light District

26 Jan

Written by Heidi Boyle

Well it’s an exciting time around Findesin (A safe home for girls).  We have been anxiously awaiting for a bedroom and bathroom to be remodeled.  Now that this project is complete, a few more girls will be rescued from extremely unhealthy situations.  Thankfully, they will be able to join the home very soon.

As promised, here are the before and after pictures of the remodel project:  A huge thank you to all who contributed to make this possible.

before   bedroomfloorbedroom2

This week the staff is sorting out eight new applications of potential residents.  This entire process has been very difficult.  The administrator of the home (Mama Ruth) and her team have been repeatedly going to the red light district in Bogota. They have been passing out flyers with information about Findesin to prostitutes who have young daughters between the ages of 10-12.  These daughters of prostitutes are also sold for sex as cheap as 5 mil COP, which is the equivalent of a couple US dollars.  It is horrific and heart-wrenching to even think about such atrocities, especially when I think of my own children and how I would feel if this was forced upon them.

Some of these mothers have no choice.  Some are abused, on drugs, and forced to do unspeakable acts. However, in the midst of the darkness, there is always hope.   Findesin is offering these poor mothers trapped in a cycle of pain and abuse a chance to give their daughters a different life.  This new and radically different life is filled with true love, freedom, hope, safety, education, and a  bright future.  Please pray for these young frightened girls and their mothers.  Also, be praying for the beautiful girls currently living at Findesin.  This is going to be a huge adjustment for all involved. No doubt, frustrations and fights will arise.

When I was young, my siblings and I fought, and believe me there were times when I was furious at one older brother in particular.  However, even in my fury I never in my wildest dreams thought of wanting to sell my brother to make a little profit and rid myself of him.  Apparently, many others think human trafficking is acceptable.

Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Israel was no exception to being trafficked.  Yes, Joseph was foolish and prideful as a young man, but who of us isn’t at times?  His brothers, in a fit of jealousy, sold Joseph for 20 pieces of silver to a few Ishmaelites headed to Egypt.  Once in Egypt, he was sold again to a man named Potipher, an officer of Pharoah, the King of Egypt.

While in Egypt, Joseph was forgotten, betrayed, lied to, accused of attempted rape, and left to rot in prison. But God was with him and always showed him his faithful love.  Soon, Joseph won the favor of the prison warden and God gave Joseph the ability to interpret dreams.  When Pharoah had a disturbing dream that needed to be interpreted, God had a plan to use Joseph.  At once, Joseph was taken from prison and when the dream was interpreted correctly by Joseph, Pharoah made him second in command in all of Egypt.  Only Pharoah himself ranked higher than Joseph.

The dream Pharoah had was about a severe world-wide famine coming soon.  As a result, Pharoah and Joseph prepared wisely. Meanwhile, Joseph’s father Jacob, who was made to believe that his poor son Joseph was dead, heard about the grain available in Egypt.  So Jacob sent his remaining sons to go get some grain before they all died of starvation.

Long story short, Joseph was reunited with his brothers.  He saved them, forgave them, blessed them all and told them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Ex. 50:20

Only God knows the plans He has for you as well as the plans for these girls being rescued, and for your own loved ones. But this I know: What the enemy intends for evil, God intends for good to accomplish far more than we could ever imagine. So today, if you’re feeling forgotten, betrayed, or alone in a dark pit, remember God sees. God knows your pain.  God will never leave you.  God will comfort you. God has great plans to prosper you and not to harm you. He has plans to give you hope and a future. In your deepest pit, trust Him.

Let His light invade the darkness!

Only 5 Months Left

15 Jan

New Picture

Dec 2013 034

It’s hard to believe that in 5 short months we will be back in Wenatchee, Wa.  Our feelings are mixed.  We have grown to love the delicious food, beautiful landscape, the excitement of big city life and the unique Colombian culture. No doubt we will miss our friends who have become like family, the bakeries, the exotic fruit, and the contagious joy of the Colombian people.

A few years ago, packing up a family of five and moving to a foreign country for two years seemed outrageous and overwhelming.  And many people told us we were crazy.  I must admit, leaving family and friends was not easy.  Stepping out into the unknown was scary.  Letting go of comforts and all that was familiar was a radical leap of faith!  However, it was a plunge into the unknown we will never regret. During those initial months of preparation we all felt anxiety, but the peace in our hearts trumped the fears we felt.   Each of us knew this crazy adventure was exactly what God was calling us to.

Fast forward to the present and all five of us can say it has been one of the best decisions of our lives.  We have been stretched and we’ve learned lessons we never would have learned in the comforts of home.  We’ve failed forward in our mistakes.  We’ve cried tears of joy and sorrow.  We all have a new appreciation for so many things.  Our spiritual roots have grown and we have a greater sense of strength.  We have assurance that with God, all things are possible.

And with that, here are a few things you can be praying for:

*Ella got bit by a stray dog this week and she has to have a series of rabies vaccines. (Let me just say needles are one of her greatest fears)

*For doors to be open for employment for both Kelly and I

*That we would finish strong in these last five months and seize the days

*That we would find a reliable car when we return

*That we would give our best to everyone within our sphere of influence

*That we would shine the light of Jesus in all things

As always, we are eternally grateful for your support, prayers and love. May you take radical leaps of faith in 2015.

En Cristo,

The Boyle Family

Why?

5 Jan

Guasca

 

Written by Heidi Boyle

When I was 20 years old my mom asked if I would help pick out the clothes for my sister to wear in her open casket. My sister was 21 when she died and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.  Her death was sudden and traumatic.  Asking God “why” is a common reaction to tragedy. I asked God why many times after her death and again when my husband and I spread the ashes of our daughter Elizabeth Grace. I’ve asked God why in countless situations regarding health, death, cancer, abuse, suffering and so on.  In most cases, there are no clear answers as to why, but I’ve learned to trust God’s heart in the midst of the whys.

Lately, I’ve been asking God why am I so blessed?

Why have I never gone hungry?

Why do I have a closet full of shoes and clothes?

Why do I have access to clean water any time I want it?

Why have I never been enslaved?

Why was I born into a country of affluence and opportunity?

Why have I been blessed with 3 beautiful, healthy children?

Why have I had access to an incredible education?

Why have I eluded genocide, natural disasters, and deadly diseases?

Why do I have transportation, a home, amazing health care etc.?

I could go on and on. Suffice it to say as I reflect on all that God has accomplished in 2014 I feel very much like King David when he said the following in 2 Samuel 2:18:

“Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”

God has done more than I could ever express in our family, in the school we work at, in the ministry we work with, and in our church.  We praise him for the lessons we’ve learned, the trials we’ve endured, the friendships we’ve made, and the endless miracles we have witnessed. We praise him for each day, especially for his unending faithfulness.

We also praise God for the miracle of financial provision for The Beehive (also known as Findesin, the ministry we work with).  Our 13 year old son Ezra organized a fundraiser back in June with a goal of $10,000 by the end of the year.  The fundraiser brought in $9,607.00 dollars!  Another 13 year old girl in Wenatchee asked her friends to donate money towards Findesin rather than giving her birthday gifts.  We thank God for her generous heart of gold.  Additionally, a business man and good friend of ours had a client appreciation party and his clients donated $3,300.00 to Findesin.  Last but not least, our home church in Wenatchee took a special offering during Advent and the total given was $12,667.00.  God is faithful.  All the time!

In 2015 may you trust God’s heart even when your own heart cries out in desperation “Why God?”

And, may you reflect on your life as King David did and ask: “Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”

Happy New Year!

The Boyle Family

2014 Will Soon Be History

30 Dec

Well here we are just one day away from 2014 being behind us.  Time marches on even when we wish we could slow things down.  We are on break from school for a few weeks and enjoying every minute to sleep, read, play games, watch movies, spend time with friends and relax.  We decided not to travel over our break, in part because we went to the states last summer to see family and friends, and also because Heidi suffers from terrible migraines when we change elevation. So we are enjoying the surrounding area of Bogota and the comforts of home.  Below is a picture of a view of Bogota. The other photo is a church in a little town called La Calera. It’s located in the mountains about an hour drive from Bogota.  The church is part of the town square that is representative of almost all Latin American cities.

LaCallera

BogotaView

Tomorrow at the stroke of midnight, 2014 will be behind us. We wanted to give you one last chance to help Ezra reach his goal of raising $10,000 dollars for the girls who live at Findesin, (The Beehive).  It is such an amazing miracle that our 13 year old son is only $600 away from his goal.  Thank you to all of you who have donated.  If you want to know more about his efforts check out this link:  Here is the website where you can donate.

Other than that, we just want to tell you how much we miss you and appreciate your support, love, and prayers for our family.  It isn’t always easy living abroad but your support has sustained us in so many ways.

We hope you had a great Christmas with the ones you love and we praise God for all he accomplished in 2014.

May you know the depths of His love with each passing day of 2015!

With Gratitude,

The Boyle Family

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