We Need Your Help!

17 Nov

Written by Heidi Boyle

In Bogotá, like most big cities, it’s not uncommon to see homeless people practically everywhere you go.  You find them on street corners begging for bread.  You see them on the streets selling candy or trinkets.  And, you see them asleep on the sidewalks after long, cold nights.

homelessMan

Their “homes” are made of cardboard and scraps placed under a highway overpass or in the medians.  Often, they are filthy, in need of a hot shower, and their eyes are full of desperation.  They do what they can to survive.  Some perform juggling acts at traffic lights for pennies.

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Others tell wild, elaborate, sob stories on buses.  Some rap.  A few dress up.  Others beg to wash car windows for a coin. Often crying babies and young children are seen playing in the median while their parent(s) work the street. Their goal is to earn enough to silence their rumbling stomachs.

My heart breaks.  I want to save them all.  I want to change the culture, the systems, and the cycle of poverty.  I want to dry their tears, feed them, clothe them, hug them, be a listening ear, and tell them how much they are loved. I want to give them a fresh start and a safe place to rest their heads.

I want to do all this and more, not just for the homeless, but for those who are forced into prostitution, trapped in slave labor, and for those living in unsafe environments. There are so many needs, I am overwhelmed!

However, there is always hope.  And faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains.  I am happy to report that here in Bogota a great work of faith is unfolding. The holiday season is upon us and we have much to celebrate!  At this moment, Findesin (the safe home we work with here in Bogotá) is about to rescue 12 more girls who are currently living in very dangerous, unsafe places.

The plan is that they will move to Findesin in January. Much preparation needs to be done before they arrive. Currently a room needs to be remodeled to accommodate the girls.

Remodel

(I will send pictures of the remodeled room in a future blog)

Additionally, kitchen supplies, pots, pans, dishes, bedding, towels, and all the necessities of a home are needed. Seventeen girls go through lots of food, toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry soap and household supplies very quickly.

During this season of celebration, please consider donating to these precious girls, who by God’s grace get a fresh start and a loving environment to grow up in.

Here is the website where you can donate.  It’s very simple and your generosity means the world to these darling girls!

May you and yours be blessed by great compassion and love this Holiday Season.

With gratitude,

The Boyle Family

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Jennifer

 

Nathaly

How’s the weather?

8 Nov

Written by Kelly Boyle

The sound of rain falling on our back laundry room’s corrugated fiberglass roof once again fills our small apartment.  It’s 2:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, and with the arrival of a storm, the mercury plunges 10 degrees in a matter of minutes.  The morning started off warm and sunny.  Heidi, Ezra, and I headed out at 9:00 a.m. for a pleasant, slow jog on a pedestrian trail near our home.  The temperature was in the mid-60’s and the sun beamed down through the big, fluffy cumulus clouds.  As we made our way back home, the ominous, black sky far off in the distance assured us what the afternoon weather would be like.

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After living in Bogota for 17 months, we’ve learned it’s futile to look at the daily forecast.  Every day follows just about the same pattern, morning sun and afternoon storms. Bogota is known for having all 4 seasons in one day. Now we pack an umbrella because when it rains, it pours.  In fact, this past week we experienced a couple huge hail and thunder storms, one of which flooded our laundry room.

When we first began to consider moving to Bogota, we were clueless about the climate.  Our first thought was that Bogota is similar to other equatorial Latin America cities with hot and humid weather. As we started to research the city, we were surprised to find out Bogota is situated high in the Andes Mountains at 8500 feet above sea level.  Because of the elevation, the city enjoys a moderate to cool climate with high levels of precipitation.  Many refer to the weather as an “eternal spring.”  There is enough warmth for tropical plants and flowers to flourish year-round but cool enough to avoid the uncomfortable humidity found at lower elevations.

Unfortunately, Bogota doesn’t have an efficient storm drain system, so the streets fill with water really fast.  It’s not uncommon to drive through 6 inches of water.  This video shows you what it’s like when the monsoon rains hit.

 

 

The weather is one of many life changes our family has experienced here in Bogota.  Coming from Wenatchee, we miss the four seasons, especially snow around Christmas-time.  But in reality, the weather has been an easy adjustment compared to a few other things.  One of them is language. I have now experienced first-hand the difficulty of learning a second language.  Therefore, I have a new definition for frustration:  Frustration is spending hundreds of hours reading, writing, listening, and speaking Spanish and then finding yourself in a conversation where you have absolutely no idea what the Spanish-speaking person is trying to say.  Now that’s frustration!

In addition, I now realize I underestimated what it takes to be a good teacher.  The teaching profession is one of those jobs where if you let it, the work never ends.  I am humbled, to say the least.  I tip my hat to all my friends who work endless hours as a teacher and have been for many years.  It is a noble profession and I pray for God’s strength every day so that I can help my students learn. And to all my fellow teachers out there, I want to say thank you for your dedication to educate, equip and inspire tomorrow’s leaders.

How about you?  How is everything going in your life?  We would love to hear from you.  If you have time, write us at boylesinbogota@gmail.com.

Before I go, let me share a quick ministry update.  Thanks to the generous donations from some of our friends, we now have over $4500 for the girls at Findesin (aka The Beehive).  We set a goal of $10,000 so if you are looking for a worthy cause to support this holiday season, please consider giving here.

Thanks for reading this update.  Enjoy the blessings of God and we hope to hear from you soon!

A Whirlwind of Activity

17 Sep

Reflecting on the past month, I realize how our lives have been like a whirlwind.  School started the first week of August, and we have been running ever since.  Now, I can hardly believe the 1st quarter is almost over.

The kids are working hard and they enjoy the challenges of 8th, 6th and 2nd grade, with the exception of extremely long days and loads of homework. As staff kids, they “get” to go to school early (6:15 a.m.) and stay late (4:30 p.m.).

During this month’s flag raising Gabriella was awarded the Good Friend Award.  This award honors students who show love, friendship, and respect towards others.  We are very proud of Gabriella and her desire to be a good friend and her willingness to forgive quickly.  This is no easy task when you occasionally get hurt by your classmates and friends.  Her joy is contagious and we adore her sweet spirit and at times feisty personality.  She might be small but she can hold her own, thanks to her big brothers who have taught her well.

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I (Heidi) have been enjoying teaching English to a group of leaders from our church.  We learn a lot together and we all relate to the difficult, funny, and sometimes humiliating mistakes of language learning.  Often I feel like a baby in an adult body with my language skills – but slowly and steadily we are all making progress.  Gracias a Dios!

Kelly and I are growing daily in our Spanish language fluency.  We are happy that the boys receive daily instruction at the intermediate level.  Gabriella also receives daily, personalized instruction.  She is in a class with 3 other students.  One girl is from Korea, another is from New Zealand, and the other is from the U.S.

I have really enjoyed teaching enrichment classes two days a week this year for 2nd, 4th, 6th and 8th grade.  For the elementary classes I am focusing on Western Hemisphere Geography and map work.  For 6th and 8th grade I am leading Literacy Groups.  It has been so fun to watch these students grow in their knowledge and critical thinking skills.  Their reading levels for English language learners is impressive.  I also have the special honor of teaching all 3 of my own children.

Kelly has been busy with his 7th and 8th grade English/Social Studies/Study Hall classes (24 total class periods per week).  He leads a small group Bible study for 8th grade boys and is also working on finishing the accreditation process for Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI).  This includes participating in The Truth Project video series, reading a few books, and writing some essays.  When he has a spare moment, he enjoys playing American football with our boys and exercising in one of the outdoor gyms that are available in our neighborhood.

On Sundays we love going to church and hanging out with the girls from the Beehive/Findesin.  They are growing into wonderful young ladies and we spend as much time with them as we can.  Ezra is still working hard on his fundraising efforts to raise $10,000 by December.  He is nearly 1/3 of the way to his goal.  Please prayerfully consider donating.  For more information on how to give along with individual biographies of each girl, click here.

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What to pray for:

*Please continue to pray for good health for all of us, but especially Heidi and all the health issues she faces daily.  We recently had to return early from a work retreat due to severe health problems.  Pray against discouragement and for complete healing of her body.

*Pray for God to be near the broken hearted here in Colombia and all over the world.  Our hearts have been deeply burdened due to the recent world events.

*Pray for those who don’t know God personally, that they might know this great love that surpasses knowledge.

*Pray for Ezra’s goal to be reached in helping the girls with their financial needs.

Please let us know how you are doing and how we can be praying for all of you. Know that we miss you and are so blessed by your support, donations and prayers.

Blessings and Love from the Boyle Family

 

 

 

Back in Bogota For Year Two!

9 Aug

We are back in Bogota after a very refreshing break in the states with friends and family. The first year in Colombia went by fast, but the days were often filled with struggles.  My (Heidi’s) health, the language barrier, and the traffic were a few of our daily challenges.  We felt the growing pains of living abroad, often feeling like an outsider.  We were keenly aware of our loss of independence.  Anyone who has lived abroad knows how humbling, stretching, and at times how frustrating it can be.  But the rewards far outweigh the cost.  Our hearts have been expanded, our worldview enlarged, our circle of friends increased, and our sensitivity and faith grew immensely.

This year we feel better equipped for all that lies ahead.  Driving home from the airport we each had a sense of peace and comfort knowing what to expect and having a much better understanding of Colombian culture.  It felt like coming home.  We’ve made life-long friends and cherish our relationships with our church family, El Camino Academy staff, parents, students and neighborhood friends.

School has started and the kids are excited to be back – with the exception of the very early mornings.  Kelly has hit the ground running with his 7th and 8th grade English and Social Studies classes.  I will be teaching enrichment classes for high achieving students two days a week for 2nd, 4th, 6th and 8th grade.  I am excited about this new opportunity and feel happy to have more margin in my life to focus on my family, ministry, my health and improving my Spanish skills.  I know it sounds crazy but it’s been very difficult to learn to speak Spanish due to the fact that we’re in an English speaking school all day, 5 days a week.  It isn’t the full immersion experience one would expect but nevertheless we are all making progress.  Our boys have even been asked to translate a few times and it’s exciting to see them taking risks and growing.

In late June we had the privilege of meeting the Wenatchee Free Methodist Youth team along with a young adult group from Georgia here in Bogota.

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They were all here for a short term mission trip to work with our church and The Beehive (the girls’ home we work with).  It was absolutely one of the most God-inspired ten days of our lives.

team photo

We all bonded within days, participated in several outreach events, worshiped in multiple languages, ate way too many pastries, joined in on an outdoor hip-shaking rumba/aerobics class, shared our testimonies, cried, laughed, prayed, danced and made long lasting friendships.  Let’s just say there were a lot of tears when the teams said good-bye to the girls.

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There were so many highlights, I couldn’t possibly share them all.  God was very present, lives were changed and I am so thankful to Pastor Chris McCormick for his excellent leadership and to the youth team who I grew to love like my own children.

Finally, thanks to all of you who support us and pray for us regularly.  We couldn’t continue without you.  And wherever you are in the world, may your hearts be expanded by God’s great and endless love.

Heidi and Family

Praises/Prayer Requests:

*For Ezra to reach his goal of rasing $10,000 for The Beehive.  The Beehive Fundraiser

*For good health, joy and unity in our family.

*Pray that God would use each of us to spread his love to others on a daily basis.

*Praise that my dad is out of the hospital and we had a wonderful time visiting my parents. It was the first time is 6 years that my siblings and I were all together due to the fact that one of my bothers lives in Taiwan and the other in Brooklyn.

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Please support The Beehive Girls in Bogota

26 Jun

Dec 2013 015

 

Our son Ezra recently found a website (YouCaring.com) where nearly every penny of voluntary financial donations go directly to the beneficiary.  He decided to use this platform to raise money for The Beehive girls.  Here is a link to the fundrasing site.

The website uses the most secure form of online money transfer:  Paypal.  We urge you to give a donation (in any amount, the bigger the better) to the girls we love and support.

Human trafficking is in the news a lot lately.  Maybe you have thought to yourself, “I want to do something about this.”  Well, here is your chance.

These girls were rescued from environments where human trafficking is a reality, especially for young girls.  Now they are safe in a home where they can be nourished physically, mentally, and spiritually.

But this doesn’t happen without financial support.  The Beehive is in a vulnerable financial condition right now.  Will you please give generously to this powerful ministry?

Thanks and may God Bless you abundantly,

The Boyles

Captain America Saved the Day!

25 May

A few weeks ago we went to the Colombian VISA office to renew our kids’ visas. Prior to going, I (Heidi) spent hours on the phone with the Colombian government officials trying to find out exactly what paperwork was needed so we wouldn’t run into any problems.  An administrator from our school also called to confirm everything we needed.  After collecting all the necessary paperwork we drove an hour across town, paid all the fees, and then waited a couple more hours. Finally, we had our appointment only to be told we had to return another day with different paper work because the government was no longer issuing student visas.

To make a long story short, we were able to meet with the director of the VISA office.  He told us we could go to the U.S. Embassy and get our children’s birth certificates certified – they would accept that.  So, we arranged to take another day off school and arrived at the embassy only to run into more complications.  Oh, and did I mention the VISAs expire in a week?

I screamed a silent scream in the embassy and asked God for a miracle.  After talking to several embassy personnel who were are all trying to help us but couldn’t, another man stepped up to the counter and asked me where I was from.  We chatted for a bit and he asked if I had heard of a Christian camp in Bellingham, Washington called The Firs.  I said yes.  I went to that camp several times when I was little, and my brother was a camp counselor there.  His sister was also a camp counselor.  What a small world!

Anyhow, thankfully he started working behind the scenes trying to find a solution for us.  Eventually he was able to direct us to a website in Olympia, WA that I didn’t know about.  We were able to order our kids’ birth certificates with the all-important apostille seal.  God willing they will arrive on Monday.

My son Zach was with me when I was talking to this man and Zach thought he looked exactly like Captain America.   We all thought that was funny because he literally saved the day for us! (Although we know who really saved the day)

captainamerica

The VISAs are just one little thing among many stressors we have been dealing with.  Lately I have been reflecting on the storms of life.  You may have heard the phrase “sometimes God calms the storm and other times he calms his child.”

Psalm 107:28-30  Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,  and he brought them out of their distress.29 He stilled the storm to a whisper;the waves of the sea were hushed.30 They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.

These last few months have been hard.  Really hard.  But in the midst of the storms we have seen God’s faithfulness. And yes, we still firmly believe we are right where God wants us to be.

Please pray for the following:

  • My (Heidi’s) health has been very compromised and It has been a difficult road.  Pray for complete healing.
  • Yesterday Kelly and Zach got into a fender bender.  They are fine but the car is a bit beat up. Pray we get the insurance sorted out without complications.
  • My (Heidi’s) dad is in ICU this week with all kinds of complications.  Pray that God heals his body and brings peace to each family member. I praise God my dad still has his great sense of humor!
  • Pray for renewed energy to finish the school year strong as we wrap up finals, grades, meetings, evaluations etc.
  • Pray that God continues to prepare the hearts of the WFMC mission team that will be arriving in Bogota, Colombia June 27th.
  • Pray for the girls at Findesin (The Beehive) that they would always know how deeply loved they are by God.

Thank you for praying and partnering with us!  We would love to hear from each of you, so send us an email when you think of it.

Big Hugs from the Boyle Family and we pray you remember God’s awesome power to calm storms!

 

 

A Lost Sheep in Medellin

26 Apr

Luke 15:3-7

So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in theopen pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

By Kelly

During our spring break vacation, we had the special privilege of traveling to Medellin with our good friend Dave Solomon and his daughter, Lauren.  Dave has a special connection to this beautiful city – his mother was a lifetime resident, and through a series of unfortunate events, Dave was given up for adoption in Washington state.

About 11 years ago, Dave began taking steps to find his birth parents and learn about his ethnicity.  To make a long story short, in 2004, Dave reconnected with his Colombian mother and family.  Because his mother had kept Dave a secret, the family was shocked when they found out.  But shock quickly turned to joy and now Dave has spent many years building relationship with his Colombian family.

While in Colombia, one of our prayers was to go with Dave to meet his family and see world-famous Medellin.  We were so happy when God answered that prayer.  As we left Bogota for Medellin, little did we know what was about to happen next.  Here is Kelly and Dave in Bogota before leaving for Medellin.

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And a picture of the Beehive girls and friends from church…

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On our first day we made arrangements to be picked up at the airport by a man named Pedro.  Pedro is friends with a man that works at our school (El Camino Academy).  He came highly recommended as a Christian man of integrity.  When traveling in this area, safety is a big concern.  We thought it prudent to have a trusted tour guide to show us around.  Pedro made arrangements for a van to pick us up at the airport to take us to our first destination.

On the morning of our arrival, Pedro and the van met us at the baggage claim.  It was a typical Colombian school van that seats about 10 people.  The driver was a man named Emerson.  He had a female companion that sat up front in the passenger seat.  We later found out they were married.  After greeting us, they strapped our suitcases on the top of the van.  We hopped in the van and took off to begin our sightseeing of the Medellin area.  Here is a photo of Emerson checking our luggage during a pit stop we made along the way.

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The plan for the first day was to visit an enormous rock called El Penol de Guatape. When we arrived, Emerson and his wife stayed behind to watch our luggage.  We felt a little nervous leaving our luggage on top of the van, but we thought Emerson and his wife would safely guard our belongings.

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After the hike, we ate a typical Colombian lunch at one of the near-by restaurants and invited Pedro, Emerson, and his wife to join us at our table.  Culturally, it’s not common to invite hired help to eat at your table, but we didn’t give it a second thought and offered to pay for their lunch.  Emerson told us he was a teacher at the same private Catholic school where his wife was a van driver.  We had a wonderful lunch, took pictures of the views, and had a nice conversation.

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When we returned to the van, strange things started to happen.  An undercover security guard told us some people in the parking lot had noticed Emerson on top of the van going through our luggage.  Emerson denied the accusation and claimed he was simply checking the luggage to make sure it was secure.  We trusted him, but just to make sure, we confirmed our most valuable belongings were untouched.  Everything was in tact just as we had left it.  We decided not to check the luggage on top of the van since it was only clothing.  Then we left for our hotel in Medellin.

About a mile before we got to the hotel, Emerson jumped out of the van and wished us goodbye.  He said he needed to get his car out of a parking garage and he would see us later. Moments later, we pulled up to the hotel.  We unloaded the luggage from the top of the van and removed our belongings from inside.  Kelly searched underneath the seats for any loose items.  All of the sudden Kelly said, “Do these things belong to us?”  He had a couple of shirts and a windbreaker.  Dave and Heidi both exclaimed, “Yes, these things were in our luggage on top of the van.  They must have been removed by Emerson!”

A second later Ezra realized his wallet was missing from his backpack along with 53 mil pesos (About 27 USD).  We opened our luggage and it was obvious they had been searched.

At this point, we realized the accusations back at El Penol were true.  Pedro suggested we call the police right away.

Four policemen arrived within minutes.  We told them the story and asked if they would let us carefully inventory our belongings to find out what was missing.  It turns out we didn’t have time as the chaos increased.

Emerson’s wife claimed she was innocent and had no knowledge of what happened.  She demanded payment for the day’s services.  Then she admitted she really wasn’t his wife, but instead a girlfriend.  We also found out Emerson isn’t really a teacher – he was lying to us.

As the police assessed the situation, we were shocked to learn they weren’t going to take our side.  As a matter of fact, they said they were going to arrest Pedro and Kelly if we did not pay the woman immediately.

At this point we realized the situation could go from bad to worse real quick.  So, in front of the police, Heidi handed over the money and looked her straight in the eye and said, “We will pay you, but this isn’t right, and God sees everything.”  Her eyes were filled with conviction, but she took the money anyway and left.

Shortly after, Kelly said, “Let’s pray.”  All of us – including the four kids – joined hands and lifted our prayers to God.  We prayed that God would touch Emerson and his girlfriends’ hearts and cause them to turn from their lifestyle of crime.  We also prayed God would bless them.

None of us slept well that night.  And in the morning we found more things missing – two ipod shuffles, a watch, and some clothing.  We felt violated, taken advantage of, and regretful for being so trusting.  But we gave thanks, because the situation could have been much worse.  We were grateful for being safe, especially our precious children!

Dave then recalled the words of a wise Preacher.  The Preacher said, “When you have been wronged and things don’t go as planned, don’t nurse it, don’t curse it, don’t rehearse it – instead, disperse it and LET GOD REVERSE IT!”

Within seconds of Dave sharing this, we looked up, and to our amazement, we saw Emerson at the entrance of the hotel.  He stood there motionless, looking deeply troubled and in desperate need of something.  We all looked at each other in shock.  We hesitated for about a second and then said, “Let’s go see what he wants.”

We approached Emerson.  He had tears welling up in his eyes.  He struggled to get the words out.  We were stunned.  Standing before us was the guy that boldly stole from us no more than 12 hours ago.

The first thing he said is, “Yo soy una oveja perdida” or “I am a lost sheep”.  He said that as a child, he had known the Lord, but as a young man, he got involved in the Medellin Cartel.  He spent time in prison for drug trafficking and murder.  He told us he wanted to make his life right.  He said he wanted to give back all the things he stole from us.  He also told us that he is married and that he was going to return to his wife.  Here is a short video that Lauren took while we were talking with him.

 

 

Eventually Heidi put her hand on his shoulder and told him that we completely forgive him and that God loves him and has great plans for his life and that he needs to leave his old life of sin and live his life for God’s glory.  He reached out to hug us and each of us knew in our hearts this was a holy moment.

A few hours later, Emerson was true to his word.  He brought back our belongings.  And can you guess who he had with him?  HIS WIFE!  Here is a photo of Emerson returning our stuff.

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In the days that followed, we replayed the events over and over.  We expected a nice, peaceful vacation.  But God had other plans.  He wanted to use us to reach one of his lost sheep.  And He chose us to be a part of his amazing plan.

Please pray with us that wherever Emerson is today he would know the unconditional love of the Father who searches, finds, and lovingly cares for every lost sheep!

Rhythms

23 Mar

Rhythms by Heidi

It has taken us nearly 9 months to figure out the rhythms of a city of 8 million people. The traffic can be unbearable and so we are learning the value of patience, time management, and multi-tasking.  Last night we went grocery shopping at 10 p.m. in order to avoid the 30 minute wait at the cashier.

The photo below was taken today in the shopping mall near our house.  These Futbol fans are watching Real Madrid vs. Barcelona at a kiosk in the middle of the mall.  Futbol is big around here…..really big.  We can hardly imagine what it will be like when World Cup gets underway.  GO COLOMBIA!

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We are back in the rhythm of school after a two week quarantine from chicken pox.  I (Heidi) was allowed to work due to the fact that I had chicken pox when I was little.  However, the Health Department mandated all family members who had not had the virus to stay home for 2 weeks.  So I had to go to school in sweats and then shower and disinfect in the nurse’s office at school before entering my classroom.  This is just one example of the vast differences in culture.  It was a stressful couple of weeks with illness, being cooped up in a small apartment with 3 active children while Kelly was trying to work from home.  Also, it was a challenge for the kids to stay on task and keep up with assignments from 19 different teachers.  Thankfully, life feels a little lighter now as we are back in the rhythm.  We’ve wrapped up 3rd quarter grading and finished parent/teacher conferences.  It feels good.

Additionally, we are very excited for Semana Santa (Holy Week) which is coming up on the week preceding Easter.  Our good friend Dave Solomon and his daughter Lauren are planning on visiting us.  Dave is originally from Medellin (another large city about 12 hours by car from Bogota).  So, after he visits us here in Bogota, we plan to go to Medellin with Dave and Lauren to meet their family.

Finally, things are buzzing at the Beehive as Pastor Libni has organized a group of leaders to help build long-term financial support for the girls.  We have been invited to participate in hopes the additional support will bring 6 more precious girls to live at the Beehive.

Today we had the privilege to bring Mayerly and Leidi home for a day of fun.  We cherish these days and enjoy lavishing them with special treats.   They danced to the rhythms of Wii’s “Just Dance” with our kids.

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We can’t wait for the group of high school students and adults from Wenatchee Free Methodist Church to arrive and meet the girls who live at the Beehive.  We know they will treasure their new friendships and be deeply impacted by the mission trip.

A few recent highlights include:

*The kids all received good grades and reports on their report cards, which is no easy task while learning a new school system, language, culture, curriculum etc.  They also enjoyed a very special lunch at Gurus (our favorite bakery down the street from the Beehive) last Sunday with Diana, Jennifer and Maria Paula.

*I (Heidi) am making progress speaking Spanish.  I scheduled an eye exam for Gabriella, helped translate for Kelly at the clinic where he recently got the chickenpox vaccine, and ordered pizza – all in Spanish.  Yes, I fumbled through it, laughed at myself, made all kinds of verb conjugation errors – but hey the Pizza made it to the right house so we are making progress.

*Kelly enjoys teaching Latin American History, U.S. History, and finding creative ways to make learning fun.  He also drives like a local Colombian while I close my eyes and pray about every 10 seconds.

We hope you are enjoying the rhythms of your life and we want to thank you for all your prayers and support!

Joy in Service

23 Feb

New Picture

Much has happened in the past 8 months as we have been adjusting to life in Latin America.  The above picture is of 5 of the 9 beautiful girls who live at FINDESIN, also affectionately known as The Beehive.  We hang out with the girls every Sunday, and once a month we have the privilege to bring a few of the girls home with us for the afternoon.  We eat, play games, watch movies, hang out and relax.  Time spent with the girls is always a highlight of our week.

We are thrilled to share an important opportunity to help the girls.  Set Free Movement has partnered with International Childcare Ministries to raise awareness and financial support for FINDESIN on a scale never seen before.  Set Free organizes an annual event called Freedom Sunday.  The event – to be held on March 9th – is a significant effort in the world-wide movement to end modern slavery.  Please take a few minutes to read about this event – and by all means, please give as generously as you can to this important work.  The donations received will go toward interior remodeling projects and the salary of a full-time Christian caregiver.  The improvements are necessary to meet government regulations so that six more girls can be rescued from abusive situations and/or desperate poverty.

In other news, we can hardly wait for the arrival of a group of young adults from the Wenatchee Free Methodist church.  They will fly down in late June with the intention to minister and serve here in the name of Jesus.  We expect they’ll make a huge impact on the church, the Beehive girls, and the surrounding neighborhood.  Plans include a 5-day vacation-bible-school-style outreach to children in a local park, street evangelism in the evenings, and sharing lots of time with the Beehive girls.  A team from Georgia will also join the ministry efforts. The goal is to learn from one another and share the love of Christ with the beautiful people of Bogota.

At El Camino Academy, life is never dull.  After Christmas break my class had an outbreak of Chicken Pox so the whole 4th grade class had 2 weeks of virtual school.  I was busier than ever preparing online lessons and correcting stacks of homework: equivalent fractions, persuasive essays, Science and Social Studies projects, and much more.  We recently celebrated “Spirit Week” and “Celebrate Colombia Day.”  Celebrate Colombia is a day to honor the history, traditions, and customs of Colombia.  Gabriella’s class performed a dance in honor of the indigenous Colombians.

ellaindian

My 4th grade class also performed a traditional dance.  They looked so grown up in their make-up and costumes!

4thgrade

On the homefront, our children are doing well and learning so much in all areas of life – especially in their Spanish classes.  Language acquisition is difficult when you spend all day in an English-speaking school.  We are so proud of our kid’s achievements!  A few nights ago, Gabriella invited a friend over for a sleepover.  They held a wedding for Ella’s little horses complete with a wedding dress and a home-made red carpet.  Oh the joys and creativity of 7 year olds!

horsewedding

Well, that’s all for now.  Thank you for your prayers and financial support and may your days be filled with the joy of the Lord!

Teaching at El Camino Academy

14 Jan

“Teaching at El Camino Academy” by Heidi

Feliz Ano and Happy New Year to all our friends and supporters!

A few days ago we returned to our teaching jobs at El Camino Academy (ECA).  This blog post will give you a little insight into our lives as missionary teachers here in Bogota.

El Camino Academy is a Christ-centered educational community biblically equipping bilingual servant-leaders to transform their world.

ECA’s mission is to:

  • Provide a Bible-centered education primarily in English, using a U.S. curriculum that meets Colombian and U.S. educational requirements
  • Foster spiritual growth within the educational community by promoting vibrant personal relationships with God
  • Influence students and the community through modeling Christ-likeness and discipling intentionally
  • Encourage participation in service and missions opportunities.

I teach 4th grade and Kelly teaches 7th and 8th grade Language Arts/Social Studies.  We serve alongside other teachers from all over the world.

Since we are missionaries, we do not receive a salary.  Instead, we are supported by individual members from our church family in Wenatchee along with other friends and family members in the States. We also get a small stipend from the school, which helps with a few of our bills – and when you are a missionary living on a tight budget, every little bit helps.  Nonetheless, the experience we are getting as a family is priceless.

There are many tangible benefits to our jobs at ECA.  For example, our children attend tuition free.  We also receive expert instruction in the Spanish language.  Furthermore, we get free hot lunches every day.  It’s not the type of school lunch you remember from way back when.  Not even close! It’s a huge, delicious lunch with fresh fruit and juices along with rice, meat, vegetables, soup, salad, and dessert.  Colombians eat big lunches, and believe me when I say, after eating breakfast at 5:30 a.m., we have enormous appetites.

Another benefit of working for the school is free transportation.  We have a car here in Colombia (thanks to our supporters) but due to the traffic issues in this city of 8 million people, letting someone else drive is a relief.  The traffic is so bad in Bogota the government made a law called Pico y Placa which means cars can drive on either odd or even days depending on their license plate number.  This law helps alleviate the congested traffic.  If you attempt to drive on your “off” day, your car is impounded and you’ll get a huge fine.

El Camino Academy is a world-class school and we are blessed to serve there.  We thank God for His clear guidance in leading us to this place.  We took this step of faith together as a family so that we could pursue God’s will with all our heart .  Is it easy? No! Is it worth it?  Absolutely!

When you step out in faith, miracles happen. As we move forward into uncharted territory, His still small voice guides, shapes and transforms us when we quiet our hearts and stop to listen.

I encourage you to stop, listen, and take the next step of faith.  It is totally worth it.

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