Dear Friends and Family,
We are so thankful that God placed YOU in our lives! We wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
This video is a 2 1/2 minute highlight reel of our year:
Dear Friends and Family,
We are so thankful that God placed YOU in our lives! We wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
This video is a 2 1/2 minute highlight reel of our year:
The following message was written by Ricardo and Beth Gómez, Free Methodist Missionaries to Colombia and Latin America, on behalf of the Colombian Mission District board. We are posting it to our blog in an effort to raise awareness and support for this valuable church-planting initiative.
Here is our new contact information:
Hello Friends and Family,
We are back home and wanted to write an update on all that has happened in the last few months. We have transitioned back to the Wenatchee Valley. We moved back into our home on the first of July. Since then we have been unpacking and buying a few needed items on Craigslist, including a used car.
Heidi accepted a job teaching 5th Grade English Language Arts at Lewis and Clark Elementary School. Lewis and Clark is a dual-language school. Heidi is excited about this opportunity to use her teaching and language skills in this school. Teacher orientation starts mid-August. In addition, she recently completed a month-long Spanish Immersion Class at Wenatchee Valley College. This was a special gift from the Wenatchee school district because they paid for the class. A few people have asked why she would take a Spanish class after living abroad for 2 years, but learning a language takes an enormous amount of time and effort. Now she feels better prepared for working in the bilingual environment.
Ezra is headed to the high school this year and is now taller than mom. He is eager to attend a school with so many academic and athletic opportunities. He says 2400 students won’t be daunting after living in a city of 9 million for two years.
Zach is entering seventh grade at Foothills Middle School and looks forward to reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. He wants to participate in several clubs and sports. He now plays his guitar on the middle school worship team and really enjoys it.
Gabriella will attend Lewis and Clark with her mom. She will be entering third grade. Half her classes will be taught in Spanish, so she is excited to learn and be in the same building as mom. This summer she participated in the WRAC Summer Swim Team and loved it! She loves to keep up with her big brothers!
I (Kelly) have returned to the real estate business at Premier One Properties. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge and thrill of helping people pursue their real estate goals so returning to the business is exciting. Many have asked why I am not continuing with the teaching profession. The answer is a bit long to share here but suffice it to say we thought it was the best decision for our family as a whole. It’s not easy starting over so if you have friends or family that are in need of a good Realtor, I would greatly appreciate your referral. You can reach me at (509) 670-0795.
It’s hard to express in words the gratitude we have for all of you that supported us financially and prayerfully. We are eternally grateful for the generosity of so many people that got behind the vision of sending a family to Bogota, Colombia in the name of Jesus Christ.
We hope to provide a formal report to our church family in the near future and we will be sure to let you know when this will take place.
Now that we have returned to Wenatchee, we are no longer in need of financial support. In fact, there is a surplus in our mission account that will be turned over to another full-time missionary from our church, Craig Reese. If you would like to learn more about Craig and his ministry to Burundian widows, please visit the Wenatchee Free Methodist website. We encourage you to direct your mission giving to him.
Finally, for those of you who would like to continue to support and participate in what God is doing in Colombia, specifically the girls’ home, we would like to meet with you and explain what the needs are. We are committed to maintain our connection with the Bogota church and Findesin (the girls’ home). We are looking for a few people who would like to get together once a month to pray for these girls and their needs. If you feel a “tug on your heart” to participate in this ministry, please let us know.
Oh, and one more thing- we are planning on leading a short-term mission team to Colombia in late-June/early-July of next year (2016). If you have interest (youth or adult), please let us know. We promise your life will be forever changed.
God bless you and we will see you soon!
Que Dios les bendiga y hasta pronto!
The Boyle Family
Written by Heidi Boyle
These last few weeks have been filled with so many emotions. I can’t begin to explain how full, frenzied, and fantastic life is right now. We have one month left in Bogotá and a never-ending to-do list. However, our hearts could burst with joy over the arrival of 3 new girls at Findesin (The Beehive). I can’t share the details of the entire story, but just know miracles are happening before our eyes. Two of the girls are sisters and another little girl is only 6 years old and about the size of a 4 year old. They are as precious as can be. We watched as they arrived wide-eyed, anxious, and full of excitement about their new home. They had been counting down the days for many months to move in, like a child waiting for Christmas to arrive. It was so beautiful to see the older girls take the new girls in and care for them like seasoned mothers. Please be in prayer for these lovely girls and for their mothers who dropped them off with grateful yet shattered, bleeding hearts. After witnessing the arrival of these girls, I maintained my composure only long enough to get into our car for the drive home. Then the floodgates burst and I cried tears of joy! Even through these girls have many challenges ahead of them, I’m well aware of the dark side of life they are escaping from. To God be the glory forever and ever!
On a personal note, just last week I still did not have a job lined up. However, job or no job we knew God would open doors and provide our every need. He has always been faithful to provide above and beyond for our family. So we continued to pray, wait, and trust God with our future. Last summer, I told a few people that I would love to work as a teacher at Lewis and Clark Elementary school in Wenatchee, WA. Fast forward to April of 2015 and a job opening appeared for 5th Grade English Language Arts. I applied and got an interview. I was offered the job a few days later and am so grateful to God for preparing me for this position and giving me the desires of my heart. I am also happy to report that Gabriella gets to attend Lewis and Clark with me. She will be entering 3rd Grade in the fall and will receive instruction in Spanish for several of her classes throughout the day. She is ecstatic to be able to go to school with mom and we can’t wait to love on all the families and students at Lewis and Clark.
Update on the kids:
A few weeks ago Kelly and I had the privilege of commissioning Ezra into high school along with his classmates. It was a day we will not soon forget. In typical Colombian fashion, the students decided to spend the entire day together from about 10am to 10pm squeezing the most out of each day and simply enjoying being with each other. That was followed by another full day of partying when a girl in his class had her Quinceanera. Again he left at 11am and returned around 11pm. It was a special day filled with dancing, swimming, bowling, an elegant dinner, and a photo booth. He was also pretty happy that he and the boys in his class won the middle school soccer tournament.
Zach has been practicing his soccer, basketball, and football skills with Kelly when he has time. He recently completed his personal goal of reading 45 books for the school year. He got rewarded with lots of Krispy Cream donuts from mom and dad, which is one of his favorite treats. He will be playing a few songs on his guitar for an upcoming recital at school as well. He is very sad to leave his friends here, but excited to see old friends too.
Gabriella performed in a school celebration called Celebrate Colombia by doing a typical Colombian dance with her class. In addition, she recently participated in a Poetry Reading and an after-school craft party with the girls in her class. She also sold magnets with personalized pictures to raise money for children in Africa to have clean water. (see photo below) She is excited about playing her piano in an upcoming recital. She too is grieving the fact that she has to leave the girls at Findesin and her two BFF’s from school, but she looks forward to seeing her friends in Wenatchee. Thank God for facetime and skype!
As you can see life has been very busy and full of roller-coaster emotions for each of us as we prepare to leave Bogotá. However, we all agree there is no greater joy than a life lived with our hands and hearts wide open!
Thank you for partnering with us on this amazing adventure.
*In about a week, Kelly and Zach will fly to Medellin with Pastor Libni to see the ministry that Pastor Ricardo and Beth Gomez are leading. They are working hard to plant a church and minister to the children and families in their community. This is 1 of 5 Free Methodist Churches that will be planted in Colombia under the leadership of Pastor Libni. Amazing things are happening with ordinary men and women who have simply said yes to God. Pray for safe travels and a fruitful time in Medellin.
*Pray that we sell all our belongings here quickly. Praise God that the Middle School Principal from our school here is buying our car. This is a special blessing because we get to use it until the day before we leave and we don’t have to advertise, field calls, and answer detailed questions in Spanish.
*Praise for the people who wrote letters of recommendation and prepared me for my interview. You know who you are and I could not have done it without you! Muchisimas gracias.
*Pray for Kelly as he wraps up all the year-end details of his classes for 7th and 8th grade.
*Pray for the people affected by the earthquake in Nepal and all those suffering around the world that they might know the hope of Christ.
*Praise that 8 additional girls will be arriving at Findesin within a month.
Finally, this is our prayer for all of you:
May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
3 May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
4 May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
5 May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests. Psalm 20:1-5
Much Love from the Boyle Family and we will see you in a month!
Written by Zach Boyle (age 12)
People always ask me how life is different in Bogotá. Well, almost everything is different than my hometown, Wenatchee, Washington. For example, the traffic is pretty bad here in Bogotá. Sometimes it takes an hour to drive just a few miles. There are cars, buses, and taxis everywhere. Occasionally, I see strange things,like when a bus driver pulls over and a guy jumps out and starts yelling the name of the city the driver is going to. He tries to convince you to get on his bus, as if you might change plans and hop on his bus. I’ve been told this is because some people are illiterate and can’t read the signs. Most of the buses have so many passengers, it isn’t unusual for a random arm or a backpack to be hanging out the door or window. The bus drivers also take off before you even pay the bus fare. Hold on for your life! Once my little sister started crying on the Transmilenio (A bus system similar to a subway) because she thought she was going to be crushed by all the people crowding around her. These are things you don’t experience in Wenatchee.
Another thing that is different is that walking dogs is a super popular job! The more dogs you walk the more money you make. Thats why you see people walking down the street with 15-20 dogs holding them by the collar and when the dogs see something they want…YIKES
One thing you definitely see a LOT of in Bogotá is PDA. It gets very annoying after a while. Seriously ugh…
Also, the weather rarely changes…ever. Nearly every day it is sunny and rainy. The locals say there are four seasons in each day. The sun sets around 6 o’clock all year round. I am used to it now, but I miss the seasons in the states and I like how the days change from short to long.
Here in Colombia, milk and eggs don’t have to be refrigerated! When I first came down to Bogotá I saw about six bags of milk packaged in a grocery aisle and I wondered what it was. Later I found out it was milk! Eggs don’t have to be put in the refrigerator either, which can be nice so we have more space in our fridge. Pretty much everything is sold in bags here. You buy jam, ketchup, milk, sauces, juice and so on all in bags.
What else is different? Well, I have noticed I rarely see someone who is overweight. Colombians don’t eat a lot of processed food, they do a lot of walking and they also like to work out, especially in groups. Also, fruits, vegetables, and meat markets are everywhere here in Bogotá.
One thing you don’t see in Wenatchee are bici-taxis. A bici-taxi is a bike with a seat for two attached to the back of the bike used as a taxi service for short distances. It cost about 1.000 COP which is about 40 cents. Bici-taxis are an easy way to get someplace faster than walking, especially if you are carrying a lot of fruit or meat from the markets.
Selling anything and everything from the trunk of a car on the side of the road is very common too. You can buy desserts, watermelons, fresh fish, avocados the size of melons, fresh fruit and vegetables, or a lot of other random things. It’s awesome and easier than driving to the grocery store.
Bogotá is quite a bit different from Wenatchee. When I leave Bogotá this June, I’ll probably feel mixed emotions. It will be hard to leave my friends and all the people and places I love here. Living in a foreign country for two years has been an incredible experience and it has impacted me for life. I thank God for this opportunity and I will never forget this adventure. It hasn’t always been easy but it’s been so worth it.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
A million thanks to each one of you who have been supporting us with your love, friendship and prayers.
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! 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.