Thursday, December 16, 2010

and so 2010 ends...

December has been almost as busy as November was!! The first weekend we had an open house for any of Bill's students who wanted to drop by for dinner and fellowship. It was one of Bogota's many rainy days so only about half of the students made it out... and we enjoyed their visit!! Here's a picture taken of the first bunch that came along.

On the 9th we had the "graduation" ceremony for the Bible Institute. This semester one person graduated from the entire program and about 60 students successfully finished their courses. To make the most of the evening together some of the teachers put on a panel discussion on the exclusivity of the Christian faith compared to the other faiths of the world. Here are a few pictures of the evening. (Panel discussion: Bill, Julian, Sergio; Julian's class; Bill's class.)

After months of preparation our dear friends Sandra and Arnold were married last Saturday. We've enjoyed being a part of their lives over the years. When Bill first arrived in Bogota they were 12 years old and he was their Sunday School teacher! Then for the four years we were youth group leaders they were in the group. We spent the past few months in a premarital course with them.

With our main commitments for the year over Bill has embarked upon a home improvement project! Thanks to special gifts from two churches in the US we were able to buy a bunch of wood and he has begun building bookshelves. Here is the "before" picture of his study... that has now turned into his workshop!

November News

November was jam-packed with special events, here's a brief photo journal of some of the extras we experienced.

13 week sonogram: everything is looking good and Dr. is convinced baby is a boy!

Our 20 brethren churches in Bogota sent about 8 people each to a combined workers' weekend retreat in Villa de Leyva. It was a good time of encouragement for all. (Pics are of campgrounds.)

We enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with friends who attend different churches as well as get to know some from our own better!

The week following the retreat we had a brethren missionary conference during the day and combined meetings in the evenings and Sunday with the other churches around the city. (Didn't any get pictures!)

Thanksgiving was a normal work day here, but we took time out before going to class to have a wonderful meal with several missionary families and consider the many things for which we are grateful. (Below: half of us talking over coffee while waiting for pie.)

All the women in our church gathered for a bridal shower (at which Angela was asked to give the devotional), here's a picture of the bride, followed by one of a few of the young ladies I'm involved with.

Classes ended the last week of November, followed by grading and an invitation. Two of Bill's students (brother and sister) invited us to dinner at their home. It was a great way to get to know them a little better!

October Highlight: Kersey Visit

We were truly blessed by Paul and Becky Kersey's visit in mid-October (from our sending church in CA). Becky was here for one week and Paul for two. During that time we were able to share our daily lives with them, visit some of Bogota's sights and introduce them to our many friends and ministries here.
 On top of the mountain that overlooks Bogota at the Monserrate Catholic church complex.
The view of the church on our way up in the cable car.

 Paul and Bill purchasing hats on the street downtown.

Spent an evening with four other married couples, Paul had us work on an activity and then gave a brief devotional about marriage.
 Introduced them to as many of Bogota's traditional foods as possible. This is our version of a tamal - usually eaten at breakfast or for a light evening meal.

We enjoyed every day spent together ... when are you coming back??

P.S. thankful that Paul also fixed my clogged sink while he was here!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September Church Happenings

 There were several good opportunities for fellowship and for working together this month at our church. We had a special lunch for all the leaders and their families on the first Saturday; several planning meetings; baptisms last Sunday... as well as the regular weekly worship and Bible study gatherings.

Rotisserie chicken (Colombian style) with salted potatoes, sweet plantain and salad was served for lunch.

About 40 people were there, only one family was unable to attend.

After lunch Gilberto led the devotional.

Some of the kids waiting for their parents.

We work with the team of 12 people that handles the sound and publicity needs within the church. We enjoy this area of service and the opportunity for discipleship as we work together.

Just a Sunday morning view. Our meeting area has a lot of windows, so it's really hard to get good pictures!

Last Sunday five people were baptized. The young lady has been a Christian for a couple of years, she is in Bill's Old Testament class so we have gotten to know her over this year. The next three men have come to Christ through the church's ministry at a nearby drug rehab center. The young man on the right has been brought up in a Christian home and has attended our church his entire life.

Since there isn't a proper baptismal tank they set up a wooden box, line it with thick plastic and fill it with cold water! They use step stools to climb up and into the tank to be baptized.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

20 de Julio Parade

In honor of Colombia's 200 years of Independence there was a big military parade in Bogota today (3+ hours long!) It went right past our apartments, so we took a wander outside before it began and discovered huge crowds of people.

Looking north on Avenida 68:
 Looking south:
 Patriotic Colombians waiting for the parade to come by:

There were hundreds, maybe thousands just standing on our side of the block. A couple of men standing beside us started to argue about their turf and since I'm not great with crowds anyway, we came inside and saw the heads of the soldiers marching by. Not a great view, but less stressful! 

Unpatriotic tensions:

But lots of extra security guys around (police and military soldiers... just boys mostly!):

The view from our bedroom window:
If you want a glimpse of what the military parade was like you can see a short news clip using this link:

Since our corner was the end of the parade route, the street behind our apartment (which we can also see from our windows) was lined with trucks and buses waiting to take the soldiers back to their bases. They just load all the guys standing up in the back of these trucks to transport them. Within an hour of this photo our normally quiet street was full of citizens hurrying to see the parade and soldiers getting into the trucks!

Airforce Show

Colombia's airforce put on a show as part of today's Independence Day celebration. They flew right over where we live, so we went outside and got a good view of the different planes and helicopters as they went over. (For those who know more than me about planes, the news said these were among the aircraft: Mirage, Tucano and OB 10.)
(those are men hanging & waving at us from the copters!)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Simple happenings since we've been back...

In our first week back in Bogota we had fun enjoying the World Cup Final with friends (Julio & Erika and their family). Bill was the only one hoping Netherlands would win! They didn't.

Waiting for a bus last Wednesday we watched the recycler (man with horse and cart who picks up unwanted junk and cardboard) getting a ticket from the police - old tv sets were falling off his cart and causing a traffic jam.

Went textbook shopping for the new semester at the Institute. A young man, Oscar, from our church works at the bookstore warehouse and he was happy to show what was available and in stock this month. (We can only use what happens to be in stock at the time the semester starts - it is frustratingly to not always have the desired books available!)