Our first week in Colombia has been an exciting experience but took a while to adjust to the heat and way of life!
On the first day of work, we visited a primary school where the children were learning English. We were greeted with many smiley faces and hugs! We met children from each class and they greeted us with ‘Hello’ and ‘How are you?’ In English. The children were learning the names of animals in English and made their own animal masks. We observed how the children were being taught and talked to the staff once classes had finished.
Tarah, Tal and Honor went to La Paz primary school and met the children, observed the classes and listened to a song from the children that they had been learning and then after school they met teachers from different primary schools and they taught them English. They were able to speak one on one with the teachers which was a unique experience for the teachers by having native English speakers.
On the second day we met with our Step team leaders and did some team building activities. We also watched a video called ‘When Helping Hurts’ – which showed people in poverty explaining what poverty meant to them which we found very impactful. Later, we went to the church in Barranquilla and began to organise activities for the children’s after school gathering including games and songs. We then met with a representative of a ministry called Fundación Dulos, who are working towards building unity between churches in Colombia.
This was an intense morning of preparation for a trip to La Guajira, a desert region of Colombia next to the border with Venezuela. Later this evening, we went to the outskirts of Barranquilla to run an after school English club for local kids. We sang songs such as ‘Who’s the King of the Jungle’ along with actions. We played plenty of active games which included running and dancing like musical statues so we were all very tired at the end!
We had a very early start for our trip to La Guajira! The bus journey was approximately 5 hours and we arrived at a hotel. We visited a Christian school in Manaure and played games such as relay races and penalty shootouts. To arrive at our next location Hishomana we jumped in the back of the car then walked through the desert, it felt like another planet! We were visiting a rancheria which is a community of 10 families of the Wayuu people, the biggest indigenous group in Colombia. Their pastor led us in worship and dance, and we had a lot of fun playing football with the kids!
On the second day of our trip, pastors from different churches from the Wayuu community came together. Tarah, Tal and Honor shared about their personal relationships with God and how Jesus communes with God in the Bible. We sang worship songs together in both English and Spanish in songs such as ‘Our God is a Great Big God’. We then split into discussion groups and talked about what our personal relationship with God looks like. These were very inspiring conversations from people who have a strong heart for God. We also explored the local town and visited the plaza. It was a very hot day and we were glad of water – that even came from a bag!
We travelled to Riohacha and led the youth service at a local church that evening. We worshiped together then Rachel and Eden gave a talk on our identity in Christ. We split into groups with the teens and read and discussed questions based on Psalm 139. We ask for prayer that God would speak into the hearts of these teenagers and reveal his great eternal love to them.
On the Sunday morning, we visited a church in a Venezuelan community in Riohacha. It was a privilege to share and worship with them. It was a very hot day! Later that day we had lunch and walked along the coast looking at the beautiful palm trees and market stalls. That night we went back to the church where we held the youth service for their evening service. Rachel, Eden and Rhianna shared how God’s character has been revealed through their testimonies. It was encouraging to see the congregation to respond to what was said.
On the final day of the trip we attended a Family Day at the beach with the same church in Riohacha playing games such as obstacle courses and volley ball. We were grateful to God for the good weather especially the strong breeze to cool us down! We were thankful to have spent a couple of days with the same church community to build relationships, and we’re encouraged by them and their ministry. We left Riohacha and said our goodbyes to the wonderful people we met there. We have now made it safely back to Barranquilla.
Overall prayer points:
- God would give us energy to continue our work to the best of our ability this coming week
- We would keep growing together as a team as well as individuals
- We would be an encouragement to the body of Christ in this part of Colombia