Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Jungle of Bogota

“The Jungle” is a safe place for youth to go to in a very deprived neighborhood. This neighborhood could be considered the slums of Bogotá, with multiple families living in one house in a neighborhood ravaged by drugs, prostitution, poverty, and satanic activity. During time of the year… the end of October (Halloween), The Jungle , provides longer hours, while proactively reaching out to the community, keeping  their doors open to the youth of the neighborhood.  Due to the intentional outreach and inviting more kids to The Jungle for Halloween weekend, more help and hands were needed for the day.

While serving at The Jungle, we spent the first hour praying for the neighborhood, the kids, safety for this Halloween season, and a spiritual breakthrough in the neighborhood. Then we interacted with the kids, playing with them for the couple hours of free time.  The jungle is well equipped with activities: coloring, playing in the playhouse, swinging them in hammocks, foosball, put-put golf, jump rope, basketball, a climbing wall, table tennis, board games, tub rides, sliding into a pit, and a roped bridge with a fireman’s pole.

After free time was a time of songs and worship, a skit of Daniel and the lion’s den, followed by a craft in small groups.  This was a fabulous time to share about the awesome, faithful, loving God we serve with the children.   The small groups allowed the children to start talking and opening up about the truth of the Bible.

The Jungle is a place of retreat for many of the children, a place to get away from the struggles and abuse of their daily life. It allows them to forget about the pain they endure outside the walls of The Jungle and build positive relationships with those who work as full time staff and the regular volunteers at The Jungle. Please be in prayer for this neighborhood, the only way this neighborhood will change will be through God’s intervention. You can find some pictures of the Jungle under our Ministry Page.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A week off.

Yes, it has been a couple weeks since the last post.  The delay has been for good reason, we hosted our first visitor from the States… Marlayna’s mom! She was here for a little over a week and spent some quality time with her grand- daughter!

During the month of October, the Colombian government made a law that required schools to take a one week recess.  Though the students have the week off, the teachers have professional development days the front half of the week.  While Marlayna’s mom was in town, she was able to get a good taste of life here in Bogota and some of the routines we are in: going to church, grocery shopping at local vender, taking public transportation to school, and house hold routines. It was wonderful to have an extra set of hands to play with our daughter.  During the back half of the week, we were able to take an overnight trip just out of the city to a small town with cobble stone streets, artisans selling their product, and local activities and foods to try. It was a wonderful week together and at the end of the time it was hard to say good-bye. Wonderful memories.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October Outreach

This morning, we went with some of the 11th graders to their outreach ministry. The hour and a half car ride gave us a chance to get to know the students better and to start the day off with a devotional from the Gospel of John. We read about Jesus healing the man that was sick for many years, he tried get into the pool once it had been stirred but was never able to reach the pool in time.  So, why did Jesus heal the this man of all the lame, blind, and sick that were the pool?  Jesus wanted to demonstrate that healing, salvation/ redemption is only through Him. The man at the pool was helpless and could give nothing back, just as so many of the children we saw today at the orphanage were so physically helpless or unresponsive.  Yet Jesus showed love and compassion to these type of people, just like at the pool with this man.  With that mindset, we went into the orphanage to love on the children.  We would touch them, rub their arms/ legs, talk to them, hold them (if we could), and read them the Elleazah's children books. The kids loved the attention of the student as they read the books and loved to hear new voices and see a baby (Elleazah).  Though Steve and I are limited in our Spanish communication, we too were able to show love without speaking much Spanish. This experience gave me a flashback to 10 years ago while serving in an orphanage in Ukraine for a month with Little Lambs Ministry. Again, though I did not speak any Russian/ Ukrainian, I was still able to build relationships with the kids and show them God love. I hope we will be able to do the same with these forgotten and abandoned children, that they may experience God's love through our time with them. Please continue to pray for our students as they struggle with the heartache of seeing such low functioning kids and to have a compassionate heart to reach out and love these children.