God is doing awesome things among the kids of 17 de Diciembre! We are sure He is doing a whole lot more that we can’t even see yet. We are so proud of the kids and so blessed to be a part of their lives! On October 27 and November 3, we did evangelism with the kids, and God used them to bless others and preach. We divided the kids who wanted to go into three groups and went into different parts of the neighborhood to share the gospel message and pray for the people. The kids did the preaching and praying! We are already seeing a strong desire among several of them for this work! God has shown me several “visions” of what He is doing with Enciende El Fuego in Santa Marta and it is very powerful!
One new thing we have started doing with the volunteers is fasting/praying from 7-9am every other Saturday. It has been a huge blessing! Two Saturdays ago two students arrived super early and prayed with us. We felt led to pray over them individually and God moved and spoke to them powerfully! Many people have seen that our ministry is like a big family. We feel we are “parents” to these kids and great friends with our volunteers. Next year there is the strong possibility of having a Christian school do its service hours with our foundation every Friday afternoon, which would be a huge blessing! We have begun planning and preparing for the year-end Christmas party as well! Valeria from Bogotá will be volunteering with our foundation for one month starting December 10, and we know God will use her mightily here!
We are also giving thanks to God for opening a door in Barrio Divino Niño. I have been working for several months there with a drawing teacher, but I felt the need to do more in this neighborhood. A pastor from a church close-by opened the doors for me to do activities and Bible teaching with the neighborhood kids on Friday afternoons in the church. After just two meetings, we are already seeing that we will soon have large numbers of kids that the church won’t be able to hold comfortably. We are trusting that God has great things in store through this partnership with the local church.
During the week-long break from classes in October, we went to the community of Pica Hueso where one of our volunteers has a kids’ ministry. We did a Bible teaching and had a soccer tournament. It was great! We also did sports activities in Barrio Santana where we have a partnership with two pastors with a kids’ ministry. One thing that God has put on our hearts is the need/desire to form missionaries among the kids and our volunteers…not just disciples and warriors, but also missionaries. We are seeking God about how to best go about this. We hope to sponsor two of our volunteers next year to do the missions training school with Coparena.
Maria is finishing up her time at El Shadai teaching English. She has grown a lot as a teacher and has been a blessing and a light to so many of the students. She is not planning on returning next year. I have finished my time at the 17 de Diciembre public school for this year. God has used my time there to speak into the kids’ lives and see a bunch of them participate in the foundation. I will probably not be returning there next year. Each Friday evening we are doing sport activities with the kids here in our apartment complex and have been inviting them to our Bible study group on Thursday evenings at our apartment. Our home group that we started about two months ago has had low numbers, but we are trusting God to grow it to be able to reach many people.
We have been supporting the Coparena mission team (one of our ministry partners) in prayer as they are on their mission trip. They have already ministered in Bogotá, are now in the Amazon, and are praying for funds to be able to go to Mexico. God has used them in tremendous ways already, and they are praying and trusting for a miracle as they have only a few days left before going to Mexico. We were honored to be able to meet two pastors from New Jersey a week ago in our church. They were part of a team who had a tragic car accident here in Colombia where two persons died (a missionary and also the mother of our youth pastor) a week and a half ago. It was encouraging to see their faith and resilience in continuing with their mission in spite of all this.
We celebrated a year and a half of marriage this past month! God has certainly blessed our marriage and has used us to be a light and testimony to many people. God has showered His favor upon us in every area of our lives. We feel like our kids and getting closer to arriving, but we are leaving it in God’s hands. After Maria graduates this year from college, we are surrendering next year to the Lord. We feel God has even greater things in store for us and the foundation, and that He will give us speaking and/or ministry opportunities in other cities and even countries. Maria has happily been learning to bake and God has been awakening her desire for missions and the Great Commission! We just know we have to continue to be faithful and obedient in what we are doing and let God do the rest!
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21
Jonathan and María