PE, ECA, and Bogotá Update
This semester of school has been so much easier than the first. It makes a huge difference knowing the students’ names, how things work at school, more of the Spanish language, and how to teach and grade. Right now I am teaching soccer in PE for grades 5-12, the passion of most Colombians. Most of the guys know how to play soccer quite well, so my focus has been working on attitudes, respect, and the theme of humility. It has certainly been a challenge so far. I find myself asking the Lord for a lot of wisdom. I am learning what it means to coach the heart. I am coaching middles school soccer, which has started up again. The staff team is now 1-2 in the tournament after losing 5-0 to 10th grade, winning a thrilling game 2-1 against 12th grade, and losing a tough match 1-0 to 11th grade!
I feel I am growing in my confidence in using and understanding Spanish. I am starting to understand a lot more now. I have recently begun listening to Spanish worship music, which has helped a lot. God has been giving me opportunities to share Christ with people at the English/Spanish conversation group I have been attending. A guy I met at this group wants me to teach him tennis and the Bible! At school I have been playing the bongos on one of the staff worship teams. One interesting experience was attending a Messianic Jewish worship service in Spanish with a co-worker. A woman from the church wants me to lead an English conversation session at the end of February with youth and others at the church. One highlight was participating in a “Chopped” challenge based on the television show. Me and several other teachers went to an ECA family’s house and had to create random entrees and desserts. We were then judged for our work. I got last place in my group, but it was fun trying.
A Refined Focus
One of the ways I feel the Lord wants to stretch me this year is being more intentional about including others in the things I do. One person recently told me that I was not meant to be alone in life and ministry and that I was supposed to find others with similar desires and focus and do it with them as a team. School and teaching is definitely a big ministry, but I have desires for the city of Bogotá. I believe this was from the Lord, but it can be hard because it’s often easier (and my tendency) to do things alone.
I can feel the times getting shorter and the church being “suffocated” as the events and persecution around the world continue to escalate. I know that I need to stay focused on my mission to make disciples. My desire is to find others here that have the same drive and focus, so that we do it together. At the present time, this area of the world is pretty safe for Christians. Most people know about Jesus, but many don’t know the gospel message and find it hard to talk about religion. I pray the Lord uses me however He desires to redeem and save Latinos and that He would continue to send me people whose hearts are ready to hear the gospel.
Encouraging Bible Passages
One Bible passage that has spoken to me is Isaiah 58 about true and false fasting. “Cry aloud; don’t hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression. Is this not the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house, when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say here I am!
The passage goes on about how a sacrifice acceptable to God is pouring yourself out for others and how God blesses that kind of “fast.” He promises that His light will break forth in me when I do things for others and obey Him.
2 Corinthians 2:14-15 “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”
The closer I am to Christ, the stronger the aroma that attracts others to Him. Others will smell and be drawn to that aroma when I am just being around them and loving them.