Blessings and Joys
One of the biggest blessings has been the community of people at El Camino Academy. I have met many wonderful persons and families. It is truly one big family that looks out for and cares for one another. Another awesome thing has been the opportunity to visit some ministries and schools in the area such as a Catholic school, an orphanage, a ministry for kids from troubled homes, and a Christian school in a poor area of the city. I got to help in English classes, lead activities, play soccer, and just play with kids. I trust God has shown His light and love through me to all the kids and staff at these ministries and schools.
The Lord has already been opening up doors, giving me diving appointments, allowing me to experience his creation, and connecting me with others in the city. I am excited to begin teaching physical education and pouring into the students. I really do have an amazing opportunity to transform the city through teaching and discipling students at ECA. One of my favorite things was visiting a national park outside the city. It was so refreshing and the views were amazing. God led me to a spot alone that overlooked a beautiful valley. It was a moment where I could feel His love and holiness.
Challenges and Perspective
For the first few days in Bogotá, I felt pretty overwhelmed in a city of 10 million people. The constant Spanish, occasional loneliness, spiritual attacks, city noise, mental and physical exhaustion, transportation, and crowds of people everywhere have made it a challenge to get acclimated here. I have had to be very flexible with many details in this transition. Things are constantly changing and popping up, so I have had to just go with the flow and have a good attitude.
Another thing to get used to is Colombian culture itself. People, relationships, and presentation are valued more than time, money, and efficiency. Most people have a completely different way of thinking than Americans. I have been challenged to change my perspective and not be judgmental about how things are done or how they appear. Small things like remembering to close car doors softly, throwing used toilet paper in the trash can instead of the toilet, greeting people each time I see them even if I just saw them, and dressing up to go out in public (anywhere in public) are some cultural differences. It is hard to have conversations with people on a deeper level when most don’t speak English at all. I want to go around to meet people and tell them about Christ, but fear and limited language skills make it hard.
Learning and Growing
The Lord has definitely been teaching me a lot through my experiences. He has been answering my prayer to humble me. He has been growing my faith and confidence in Him. I am trying to be the learner and not the teacher. I have been forced to be flexible and open-minded. The truth is that being stretched out of my comfort zone has been good for me.
God is continuing to increase the presence of the Holy Spirit in me. I feel His anointing and know this is exactly where He wants me. I believe He wants to give me the gift of healing and other spiritual gifts. I can tell He is opening up my heart to truly love others and see others from His perspective. Each day I try to pray for wisdom, put on God’s armor, ask him to guide my steps, and ask Him to fill me with His Spirit.
I have been going through teacher orientation at ECA for a week now. The first day of school is August 7 with the first full day of school being July 11. In addition to teaching PE classes, I will also probably be coaching middle school soccer and high school basketball. Please continue to lift me up in prayer. Pray for guidance and wisdom in preparing to teach my classes and adjusting to this new culture. Pray for God to do a great work in the hearts and minds of the students at ECA. Please pray for God to open the eyes of the people here and begin a revival in this city and country.
May the Lord bless you!