Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween in the Amazon

I have never seen anything like it, but I got to celebrate Halloween in a whole new way this year.  While La Aljaba itself does not celebrate this holiday, I ended up getting trapped in it.  As it was the last day of the month, I had to go to the bank, so I headed into town.  As I walked in the burning hot sun, a new for Halloween, I began to see all kinds of creatures, princesses, pirates, army ´men´, and the like emerging and descending upon the center of town.  It was about 3:30 in the afternoon and I began to watch as all of the beautiful children stopped at stores along the way to their destination.  I finally got to the bank and discovered that I did not have my debit card with me, so I needed to walk to the house that I live in, about 30 minutes one way.  So off I went and as I walked, I was stunned that the entire way, I was meet kids all decked out in the Halloween attire.  I was neat to see all of the handmade costumes they wore.  The parents clearly took much time and care to work on these.  After walking to and from the house, I found myself back in the center of town, but I was not at all alone.  In the time that I had been gone, the streets were filled with people, music, and candy.  The entire city was having one huge party.  There were places that you could make photos as a family, places to get more candy and the park was full of fun for all ages.  It was clear to me that this was not a festival to celebrate the dead or scary things, I only saw 2 scary costumes, but one for the family to come out and enjoy time together as a family.  It was truly a joy to watch.  The only disappointment was that I did not have my camera with me for this great day.  Oh well there is always next year.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Best Morning Ever!

God is just so wonderful!  I woke up and felt His love, He reminded me of His promise to me (Isaiah 60) and I enjoyed Him loving on me and then I headed for the main La Aljaba house.  As I was paying for my mototaxi I heard someone screaming my name.  I look up and Jeydi and Danna were running from the left corner toward me with their arms spread wide and huge smiles on their faces.  I swear I saw the light of God himself on Jeydi's face.  They ran into my arms and hugged me tight.  We entered the gate of La Aljaba together and I was greeted by 3 running from the playground to great me with their hugs (Philipe, Andres, and Nicole).  Then I looked up and two tutors are there greeting me with hugs (Nancy and Alixa) and then others came out to love me.  I guess God just wanted to me to make sure that I knew He loved me today.  Thanks Daddy!

Monday, October 22, 2012

I simply remember my favorite things...

I am sorry I have not posted in a while.  Yes, I am alive!  I am trying to be as transparent as possible on this blog, and life here has been a struggle lately, so I have not wanted to post about things that are discouraging.  So I asked God, what should I post about.  He answered by asking me what brings me joy in life.  I thought about it for a while and many different things started flooding my mind.  So here you go, these things remind me of who God is and why I am here.

1) Darwin's laugh - He has the funniest, nasally laugh I have ever heard.  I love it!  When I hear him laugh, I can't help but to laugh myself.  I can also picture God the Father doubled over laughing.

2) Kimberly's smile - Her smile brightens up the entire world, not just the room she is in.  She smiles with the brilliance and warmth of her Daddy in heaven.

3)  Lucy's expressions - I love to see Lucy's face when she is complimented or when she finds something confusing.  She has a sweetness in her that I love to see and I love it when she shares that with other people.

4)  Angela's greeting - When I am visiting the main house and Angela enters and see me there, she runs up to me and yells my name.  Always asking for a hug and for some attention.  She is just a little snuggle bunny.

5)  Marlon's hugs - He hugs with a real warmth and love for the person receiving the hug.  He reveals his heart towards you in his hugs.

6)  Aline's passion - She is passionate about everything!  Good or bad in her life, she lives it full of passion.

7) Carmen's sense of humor - Carmen is always full of laughter.  She continually picks on me and draws my attention away from stress and into laughter.  Her pet name for me is "yellow chicken".  This comes from me wearing a yellow shirt one day.

8)  Manuel's love - Whatever is going on around us, Manuel is the one person that always looks to include me in what is happening.  He is full of the warmth and love of Christ all of the time and demonstrates God's love and concern for me.

9) Jeison's passion for music - I love to listen to Jeison play his music and watch his face as he plays.  It is clear that God has placed that passion in him and it is fun to see it flow out.

10)  Robin's attempts at English - He clearly wants to learn the language and it is fun to listen to his broken English responding to my broken Spanish.

Well, I could go on and on about the little things that bring me joy, but for now, I will stop and save more for later.

Everybody together...I simply remember my favorite things...and then I don't feel so bad!  If you don't know that song...SHAME ON YOU!  :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Monkey See...Monkey Do!

We have had a great week here in La Aljaba.  The Mayor of Leticia has given approval for the children and youth of La Aljaba to swim in the public pool every week.  The kids are loving this as it gives them a much needed break from the heat of the sun.  The younger ones have very much enjoyed learning to swim.  They are pulled around the sides of the pool by a rope.  This however limits them to only the edges.  As I was joining them one day, I began taking them one by one into the middle of the pool as they clung to me for dear life.  They very much enjoyed this, but were very impatient in waiting for me on the edge of the pool.  At one point they all jumped into my arms to be carried accross the pool.  Later in the week as the teenagers at the house were looking through my pictures they realized a very surprising similarity between the pictures of me with the children and the pictures of me with the monkeys on monkey island.  See for yourself and enjoy a good laugh. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What is that!?

I was in the jungle the other day and saw this animal coming towards me.  I did not scream as it was not charging me, but simply walking around looking for food.  The person who was with me laughed and said that it was a "chiguiro".  It looked like a wild boar, but he again laughed and said on no it is like a rabbit.  Now just imagine that a cross between a boar and a rabbit, but as I began to feed it out of own hand, I realized that it's teeth were very much like those of a rabbit.  They, more came up to be fed, were very docile and their coats were thick and course.  Their feet were webbed and they ate the plantains we offered with no hurry, just as was their pace in all that they did.  I did notice that they had a pig like tendency when they ate.  Their slobber was covering their faces and they had no can to clean it off.  The plantain that now covered their face was just leftovers for later. 

In the rest of my journey into the jungle on this day we encouraged monkeys in the wild.  I have been to monkey island several times now, but this was different.  The monkeys were simply happy to sit in the tree and watch us.  The were curious about us, but not enough not make an entrance.  They were happy just hanging out and watching.  There were several different varieties of monkeys that I saw.  There were tiny ones and large ones and spider monkeys.  It was great fun to just watch the trees and look for them.

Finally, I also saw a couple of scarlet macaws.  They were both beautiful and curious about us.  I took a lot of pictures of them and then I guess one of them got tired of me and decided he had enough, so he charged at me.  I almost peed my pants.  I just know he could break my finger in half had he wanted to. 

Oh well that is enough for today.  I will share more later,  Make sure you check out the new pictures
in the blog, you might even see a chigurio. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A three hour tour...

Hello, it is Ginger here...

If you don't get that joke, you are way too young.  Ask your parents to explain it to you.  This past Monday I went with Arles and Manuel to visit Marasha.  It is the site of our camp for the teenagers this October.  BTW, it looks awesome and I covet your prayers for the camp.  I know that God has incredible things planned for these teens and I want all of us to cover the camp, the staff, the teens, and the team coming from Concord with much prayer.

Anyway, back to the song...ugh well I mean the story.  David, with Amazon Expeditions, graciously agreed to take us to Marasha on Monday.  He has a small aluminum boat that was perfect for the 4 of us.  The only problem was that the river was not agreeable on this trip.  When we were dropped off at the port we had to walk about a mile down river on the river bed in order to get to the water and David's boat.  The river is down a lot as this is the dry season.  Finally we get the boat and we were off.  We were flying along on the river well on our way to Marasha when all of a sudden I was in Manuel and Arles' laps on my knees.  It felt very much like we had hit a brick wall and I had been thrown from the back to the front.

Well, come to find out propellers do not do well when submerged in sand.  We had come across a sandbar without knowing it.  David quickly jumped out of the boat and we were in water that was just over ankle deep.  OH NO!  Stuck on the Amazon.  Well David worked hard to get us free and we finally were on our way again.

We continued on our way and just before we got to where we were going, we realized that it was impossible to get there the way we were going because the river was so low it had created a huge island that ran from side to side and we were not able to pass by at all.  Yeah!!!!!!!

We turned back around and carefully retraced out "steps" because we didn't want to get stuck again.  The island that we had been traveling beside ran the length of our journey on this day so we had to go back to the beginning and go around it.  Finally we made our turn and arrived at the boat dock for Marasha about 3 hours later than planned.   That's life in the Amazon!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Day in the Life...

I have been encouraged to write about what happens in my life here to give everyone a glimpse of what it is like, so I will just give you a run down of what it is like.

I usually get up about 5:30am.  Yes, close your mouths those of you who know me well.  This is very much a challenge for me, but life begins much earlier here than in the US.  I awaken to ensure that those that have school in the morning get up and complete their responsibilities and are feed before they leave for school at 6:00am.  After they leave, I usually shower and get ready for the day myself, I then go to the main branch so that I can catch up on emails and the blog.

I tutor English at 8:30 for those who are in the morning group.  The youth are very excited about English and are eager to learn it.  I get excited about it. Tutoring starts at 9:00 each day.  There are different focuses for each day; Cognitive, Physical, Pre-vocational, Spiritual, and Social-Emotional.  I am responsible for the Spiritual tutoring.  The tutoring ends at 11:30 for lunch.  I will talk about food a little later.  During the lunch 'hour' the youth finish their homework, they eat and prepare for school, getting changed into their uniforms and get there things together.  At the same time, those that had school in the morning, come to the house eat lunch, change out of their uniforms and begin their homework.  Then we as leaders run the same program in the afternoon as we did in the morning.

The late afternoon is usually a quite time for me as the youth are either in the school of music, Batuta, or school.  That is the time that I am seeking the Lord.  I also am writing devotionals for the youth at time time.  It is my desire that they learn to connect with God in a personal way each day.

The evening is spent with the youth that live in the house with me and my calendar depends on their activities, Monday nights, I watch the boys play futbol in the park, I help with homework, I listen to them practice their music, I prepare dinner for them and then I process the day with them over dinner and we have a time of prayer.  I am usually going to bed about 11:00 after preparing for the next day.

OK, now about the food,  it is different than I expected when I left the US.  We have a lot of rice and a lot of "soup".  The soup is made with all of the veggies and meat in it.  The meat is cooked and served in the soup with the bone in.  It varies from day to day, some days we have fish soup, beef soup, and chicken soup.  Of the 7 days of the week we have soup about 4 of those days.  We have fish about 3 days a week.  Pasta one day of the week and that is my favorite day.

One of the youth in the house celebrated his 17th birthday this month.  His mother invited Lucy, Carmen, and me to her house for lunch to celebrate.  I prayed beforehand for the ability to graciously accept whatever was presented before me as I suspected it would be different and I was guessing fish, as it is so readily available here.  I was wrong.  We were first presented with a HUGE plate of rice.  And then I was pleasantly surprised when I was presented with chicken soup.  This was not strange to me at all, I could handle this with no problem.  WRONG!  I stired the soup to get a soupful and came up with a chicken foot.  This was not the first time I have seen this in my bowl, but the first time, I was able to pass it to on of the kids without offending anyone, now, I had no way of doing that.  His mother was so pleased to be able share with us.  She had not celebrated his birthday since he was 9 years old becuase she could not afford to.  So I did not want to offend her.  So I prayed and took a deep breath, smiled and was gracious.  God is stretching me in so many ways right now.  I appreciate all of your love and prayers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fun in the Sun

Last Tuesday was another Holiday for Colombia so the kids had no school.  So what do you do on a hot summer day?  Of go swimming. The four youth that live with me, their tutor Robert and I packed up lunch and headed for the jungle.  At Kilometer 11 there is a swimming hole that we went for.  It was outside of town (11 Kilometers) and then about 3 Kilometers into the jungle.  As we were getting out of the jeep the youth were expressing their own concern saying that this place was known to have snake on a regular occasions.  Ok, I know that I am not a girlie girl, but this whole experience was stretching me just a bit.  We found our spot and began to get ready to get in the water.  Some were faster than others.  All were faster than me.  While I was watching and deciding if I wanted to go in, I see two women on the edge of the water cutting up a chicken and cleaning a fish on a log in the water.  The one cutting the chicken would cut off a piece and then dip it in the water to "clean it". 

After a while of swimming the boys decided that they would climb a tree that was over hanging the water and jump from the highest branch.  Jeison was so very funny to watch as he quickly got to the top branch wanting to jump, but the he would freeze and not want to jump, and not want to come down.  He waited about 20 mins before he jumped because he was scared.

I very much wanted to jump from the tree because the high dive has always been one of my favorite things, however it was impossible for me to get up  the tree because I am not a monkey.  I did however jump from  the "cliff" that ran along side the edge of water. 

It was also very fun to watch Marlon as he fished in the water.  We had no fishing pools, but he was not stopped because of this.  He simply took his hand towel and put it under the water and patiently waited for the fish to swim over it.  Then his plan was to scoop up the towel and catch the fish.  He would even drop pieces of bread in the water to draw the fish.  He did catch a few fish that were about an inch long.

While we sat on the bank and ate our lunch Darwin played his guitar and sang and Kimberly laid in the sun on the log.  We all relaxed and enjoyed our time spent together.  The day ended with ice else could it end.  LOL

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Dry Season has Begun!

Mucho Sol!  Mucho Calor!
We have been having many days of a lot of bright sunlight and no clouds.  Everything seems dry and the only moisture I have seen is the sweat running down my back!  But God never promised me it would be cool and breezy!

While it has been hot here, things are great! This past week we have had a team visiting from Memphis, TN.  Bellevue Baptist Church sent a wonderful group of people and they got to share Love of Christ with all of us.  Part of the team built a covering for the patio to hang clothes out to dry and the rest of the group lead VBS types of activities in the house.  It was great fun getting to know these brothers and sisters in Christ.

On one of the days of their visit all of us went to a place on the Amazon River called Monkey Island.   For those of you who have never been, it is a place where Spider Monkey live in the wild and you go and feed them bananas.  They jump all over you as you feed them.  It is great fun and something you don't get to do everyday.   This particular trip to Monkey Island was different for me.  It was the first time I had a bunch of them jump on me when I didn't even have a banana in my hands and it was the first time I have been bitten by one of the monkeys.  Several times a couple of monkeys fought over a banana in my hand and on one of those time my finger got in the way.  Another time, I was scratched on the forearm.  It was not bad though, all of the wounds heal quickly.  I do have a strong urge for bananas though.  LOL

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Week of Celebration

Last week we had a blast.  Not only was it the first week for the teens to be in the new house it was the week of the festival to celebrate the amazon culture.  It was combined with Independence Day (July 20) and included a nightly celebration in the part with many performances even by the Batuta orchestra that includes many of the kids from La Aljaba.  There were also 2 parades.  One to celebrate the culture and another one on the 20th that was a military parade.  I noticed that almost every home had a flag out to show their pride in Colombia.  This was wonderful for me to see.  It was fun for all, although standing for a parade that lasted 2.5 hours in the sun was a bit much for me.  I posted pictures for you to see  the fun. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

To make you laugh!

I thank you all for your prayers for me, specifically for the prayers for me to pick up the language more rapidly. I am coming along in it day by day.  I do have to share a couple of stories with you.  The people down here are still laughing at me.

The other night I was taking prayer requests from the teens here and Marlon asked for prayer for karate.  At least that is what I thought he said.  I responded that I didn't know he was interested in that, I could arrange that for him.  I got excited because this was new for me in that I had NO CLUE he was interested and it was something so simple that I could help set up.  He said no and repeated the word.  I agreed, saying I understood what he was saying.  Someone else repeated the word and I again assured them that I knew what he was saying.  I began to tell him how I could make it happen.  He finally laughed and smacked his head with his hand.  They finally helped me to understand that he was not saying karate, but "caracter" which sounds JUST LIKE karate.  He was asking for God to change his character not to participate in karate.  I was blown away and laughing all at the same time. 

Next, I was in church and the preacher repeatedly asked the people to repeat what he was saying.  I understood what he was saying but it takes a little more thought for me to be able to repeat it back with the right words, so I looked at the person beside me and said también and every time he asked us to repeat, I said también,   Which means also or me too.  The person beside me got so tickled, I thought she was going to pee in her pants.  So now whenever I don't understand what someone is saying, I say it again and they just end up laughing at me.  Everyday is an adventure in laughter and fun! 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cats, Cows, and Birds, OH my!

Well life has been much different around here without most of the kids around.  The pace is much slower.  We are preparing the temporary property (Casa La Aljaba) for the kids to move into so I have been spending a good amount of time at the house by myself waiting on electricians, carpenters, plumbers, and technicians to show up.

Don't worried, I have not been bored at all, I have had much paperwork to keep me busy.  I set up a 'desk' on the first floor of the building looking out the front gate and that has provided a good amount of entertainment.

In this week, I have seen several things that you would not see in the United States.  First, a cat has started hanging out at the house.  It is always there laying around in the garden or by the front door.  I know this is not unusual, but have you ever seen a cat jump up in your neighbors window and eat from the plate that had been left there.  I have no idea what was on that plate, but the cat loved it and at for about 15 minutes before being pushed out of the window.  The neighbor was nice though she intentionally dropped food on the ground for the cat to finish off.

I admit that is something you could see in US, but listen to this!  I was working hard downstairs but needed to run up and get something out of my room.  I had left the door of the apartment open for easy access since I was the only one there at the time.  I ran into the room and was hit in the face as soon as I entered.  Somehow a humming bird had gotten into my room and kept trying to get out of the windows.  I ran and opened the door that leads out to the balcony so that it could fly out.  I went back to my room and tried hard to encourage the bird to fly out of the room.  I tried for a good 15 to 20 minutes with no success.  It kept flapping its wings and then landing on my curtains, so I finally took the curtain and threw it over the bird and quickly grabbed it.  It was not happy and let it be know with its screeching.  I quickly carried it out and let it go.

I know what you are say..."I've had that happen before, Angie!", but just wait!  Yesterday I was sitting at the desk typing and waiting for the electrician to get finished, I heard something that sounded like a cow, but surely not.  I looked up and saw a herd of longhorn cattle walking by the front gate.  My mouth just dropped as it was something that I never expected to see.   One even walked on the sidewalk beside the wall and I guess to make the point he had every right to be there, he used the bathroom on the front door step.  Now tell me you have seen that while sitting in your den!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Week of Crazy

This past week has been "Crazy Week" at La Aljaba. The children have enjoyed their first of 4 weeks out of school by having lots of fun here. On Friday of the week we enjoyed 'water day'. I took pictures of the games and relays that were going on in each of the groups, and then came inside to work. After a while, I heard children calling my name. Being the suspicious person that I am, I took Lucy's phone with me for protection. I walked out and found all of the kids laughing and soaking wet. I laughed as well, until someone grabbed Lucy's phone and I was hit with 3 buckets of water at the same time. The water was so cold, but I could do nothing but laugh! Everyone else was already wet, so there was nothing I could do to retaliate. I was hit by at least 4 more buckets before the end of the fun. It seems that everyone wanted a shot at this gringo.

The week ended with a Family Day. It was truly a great thing to meet some of the parents of the kids we serve. People were entertained by the tutors who "dressed up" for the occasion. Families were also encouraged to dress up and have their family picture made.

At the end of family day most all of the children went home with their parents for the remainder of school break, I already miss having them around. My days are not quite as bright without their smiling faces. There are still a few bright and shiny faces around. Kimberly, Damisela, Deanna, Jeison, Marlon, and Valentina are keeping my days happy until the middle of July!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Te Amo

God is really showing me how much he loves me.  It is incredible to me that I get to live here and be loved on by so many children day in and day out.  Crossroads Church (my home church) sent a short term mission team this past week, so I got to share all of this love with my friends and family for Concord. 
While they were here we went to Peru and visited a village on the river bank.  In this village many of the residents come to the bank to greet visitors with their “pets”.  These pets vary from Turtles, monkeys, sloths, birds, snakes, and a “tiger”.  The “tiger” is actually an ocelot.  It has grown a lot from last year.  Its growl does sound a quite intimidating.  Its owner comforted it by allowing it to suck on her fingers.  So somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought “How cool, I wanna try that!”  It was very cool, but I later had the thought…”He could have taken my hand off.”  Oh well Thank God he didn’t. 

I am continually impressed with how gracious the people are here.  I have not encountered anyone unfriendly.  Even when they are laughing at me regarding my lack of language skills, I just join them and we all have a good laugh together.

God is using these children to show me so much of Himself. Yesterday one child, we will call her “Bea”, wanted my attention every minute of the day.  She is 5 years old and was very upset when I was typing and trying to finish up some emails and work.  She continued to bang her hands on the keyboard.  I would stop her and redirect her, and after just a few minutes, she was back at it again.  Finally after going back and forth for a couple of hours, I lightly popped her hand.  Well you would have thought I had cut the hand off by her reaction.  She stomped off and pouted in the corner glaring at me.

After about 10 minutes, I went over to her and picked her up.  She began fighting me and hitting me.  I hung onto her and would not let her go.   I just kept saying “te amo”, (I love you) over and over again.  She finally stopped kicking, hitting, and screaming and laid comfortably in my arms.  I sat down and prayed over her.  She didn’t move.  It was a sweet moment when God shared with me that I act like that sometimes, and he just wants me to sit and rest in Him so he can love on me.

Please pray for the children of La Aljaba.  Pray that they will not only know the love of the Father, but that they are His and they can trust in Him because of His love for them.
Thank you to all of you for supporting me and allowing me this great adventure.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sorry so long...

I had not meant for it to be so long before you saw another post from me, but, you know things happen!
My computer was broken.  One of the boys hopped up in my lap to hug me and my computer went crashing to the floor.  So I am using Lucy´s.  Shhhh, don´t tell her.  No she has been wonderful at sharing hers with me until, I have my situation resolved. 

Well, you read this, hopefully, to find out what God is doing here in Leticia, so I will try and sum up the past 2 and a half weeks for you.

WOW! and WOW again!

Things have been moving quickly here, yet I have only been in Leticia 3 weeks today.  Seems like longer doesn´t it.  I have fallen completely in love with ALL of the children and my heart aches for their city.  I see God at work here in so many ways.  I know that there is spiritual warfare going on everywhere, but perhaps I see it more here because I am focused on it more, but there is an intense battle for these children and for this city.

There has been a conference on sexual abuse going on over these couple of weeks and I have learned how many parents will sell their daughters for money or material things.  It sickens my stomach and breaks my heart to learn about this cultural practice that comes out of the fear of poverty.  One of the young men who have been at La Aljaga had a younger sister that was sold permanently to an older man as his wife.   I am thankful that La Aljaba exists as a safe harbor. 

There is a good deal of mythological beliefs and demon worship that seems to be present.  I have never been aware of it before, but God has opened my eyes to it.  My prayer is for this city to not be drawn into this darkness. 

I have been attending a church that is really a new congregation, but it is growing quickly.  Pastor Julio is a wonderful man of God who is seeking to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Leticia.  He works tirelessly and joyfully in sharing Christ with everyone.  Also the worship is full of the Holy Spirit (Espiritu Santo).

I am very excited that this weekend Wayne is coming with Doug Enoch, an architect in TN who will be doing the drawings for the new building.  God is working on the project and I am excited to have a front row seat to see it come together.  Then 5 days later, the Crossroads Team will be coming to Leticia!  I can´t wait to see my family again.  The kids here are joining me in praying for this team as they prepare to come.  My prayer for them is that everything that is on God´s agenda for the week is accomplished and nothing less.

Please join me in praying for Leticia and the people here.  Pray for them to see worth in themselves.  There is much depression and poverty and hopelessness here and God has an answer to them.  I pray that they come to know that answer.  


Friday, May 11, 2012

Welcome to the Jungle

The past 24 hours have been really great for me.  I have seen the love, creativity, protection, and provision of my God.  He is so wonderful!

Last evening, I had the privilege of watching most of the children of La Aljaba participate in a music concert.  They played several different instruments and sang as well.  It was beautiful and made me cry.  I know, that does not take much, but it was beautiful!  I did get some video so hopefully I can share it soon.

This morning Lucy called me while I was in the shower and said that we were suppose to be at the river in 10 minutes.  I hurried to get ready and ran out without my camera.  I asked her what we would be doing, and she responded with "We are going to see the river."  , but she also suggested that I put on shoes.  I had on flip flops.  That should have given me some idea of what she had in mind. 

We drove down to the river, and I saw for the first time how vast the flooding was.  It had crested the bank of the port and had risen up the street. We waked along planks to get to the port and the boat house that we docked from.  There we met George from New Life Ministries.  We went along the river for many miles and then drove into the jungle, we boated about a mile into the jungle and then came to an "island" that was being cleared for a farm.

We spent the next 3 hours hiking around in the jungle.  It was wonderful.  We even came across cattle, yes, cows in the middle of the rain forest.  Who would have thought?  During our hike, it began to storm, but it was even beautiful then.  You should have seen me slip and fall down the side of a hill.  I was laughing so hard, I could hardly get up. 

The natives to the island were gracious with their food and shared something that looked like hot chocolate,  but it was a plant that hand been reduced to a liquid form.  We added ground yucca and ate.  It was surprisingly sweet.  Lucy said it was a staple for the indigenous people. 

While I was sitting down eating, I noticed that there were many small drops of blood on my legs.  I had become a feast for the mosquitos.  My deet is packed in the luggage that has not yet reached me.  On the way back to Leticia, the thunderstorm continued and we were soaked all the way through!  It was a wonderful adventure!

I got to know George a little more after returning to Leticia and I realized that he shares the same view of the Kingdom as I do, and his ministry is to the villages along the river.  He has been here as a missionary for 17 years.  I am sure that I will learn a lot from him, while I am here.

After I showered and changed clothes Lucy and I travelled to Tabatinga, Brazil where we picked up my new bed.  It was custom made for me by a craftsman there.  I am so please with it and I feel so very blessed.  I will receive my mattress tomorrow and hopefully the rest of my luggage.  I thank each of you who have supported me, you are making all of this possible.  More to come soon...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I was met with a wonderful surprise here in Bogota last night.  Lucy met me here.  I have never been so glad to see someone in my life.  I walked out of the airport into a sea of faces and her's just brightened my night.  It was so very difficult yesterday to get away, but the day was filled with excitement and joy.  Lucy and I stayed at her daughter, Maribell, and her son Juan.  I slept about 8 hours last night, I was more than ready to go today when Lucy suggested we go to the market.  That was a new, but fun experience for me.  So many fresh fruits that I have never even heard of before.  Now Lucy and I are sitting at the airport waiting to fly back to Leticia, oh what a great day. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wow!  This has been an incredible week.  I have returned "home" and have not stopped since the plane landed.  In the 7 days that I have been here, I have slept in 6 different places, and God has been so good through all of it. 

For those of you who have been praying for a good home for my cat, Safie, you may check this off of your prayer list.  She will be staying with my "Aunt Jean".   I have known Jean since I was 7 years old.  She is a former foster parent and now she gets the chance to foster my "baby".  I got to visit both of them this week and things seem to be doing well and they are good companions for each other.

I also got to see my grandmother this week.  It was wonderful to get to see her and share a couple of days with her.  It was very difficult to say good-bye to her.  She is 95 years old and I do not know if I will see her again so it was hard for both of us when I left.

On a much happier note, I have wonderful friends who have been such a big help to me.  I have to thank  Anthony West, Rob Neely, and Kevin Blackburn for helping me to learn how to upload videos to the Internet.  Thank you guys for your patience with me, and watch out for the videos to come.

It has been really to get around to everyone this week to share my "see you laters", so if I have not had time to see you and say good-bye come by and see me this Sunday at Crossroads Church (220 George W. Liles Parkway, Concord, NC).  The church family will pray over me in each of the 3 services (8:30, 9:45, and 11:11). 

Finally I will fly out of the airport in Charlotte on Monday at 1:45 pm.   I will leave the church at 11:00am, so come and see me off if you like.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hey everyone, I am sitting here at MTI putting the finishing touches on my first ever blog.  I am overwhelmed at the thought of moving to Leticia in just over a week.  I also reflect on the thought that God is trying to pull me out of my thinking "I don't need anyone else." and "I can do it all myself."  He has convicted me of that this week.  I am conflicted as a result.  If He is telling me that this is wrong thinking, then why, oh why is He moving me away from my family and friends?  After pondering this prayerfully, I have come to understand that He wants me to be fully dependent on Him first.  He wants me in His word and that will sustain me through this journey.  So, I am thankful that he loves me so much that He wants all of me.