Closeness and joy through shared ties

Posted on April 12, 2011 by VMMissions Staff

In November 2010 the country mice became city mice, and moved from their lush, green dairy farm in Dayton, Virginia, to a block house in the center of the concrete-covered world of La Mesa, Colombia. Since that time we have been learning to live in a completely different way, interpreting the new sounds of honking garbage trucks and tinkling propane trucks, street vendors shouting, sometimes into megaphones, what wares they have today, visitors banging on the metal gate in the wall surrounding the house, and the quarter-hour tolls of the cathedral bells across town.

We have learned to eat differently, too, including delicious arepas with chorizo, chicken, and cheese from the restaurant beside our house, fresh fruit juice made from fruit sold in the plaza walking distance away, lentils, rice, and drinkable yogurt. We have learned to teach classrooms of 40+ students at a time, and our children have entered a local school, where there are uniforms but no textbooks, the children need to write and study what their teachers dictate to the entire class, and over 95% of instruction, classwork and homework is in Spanish. Around 50 people have stopped us at home, at school, at church, and on the street to ask for personal lessons in English, a demand that continues to grow and simply cannot be met.

We have also learned to worship God as Colombians, singing to new rhythms and in a new language, kissing all the church members you meet hello and goodbye, and interpreting the variable clocks of Colombian time. We were blessed to be present at two different baptism ceremonies in Colombia, one of four believers in the warm waves of the Caribbean Sea near Barranquilla, and the other of five people in the cold waters of a mountain stream in Cachipay. Both times multi-generational family members were baptized together: a father and his 18-year-old son in Barranquilla, and a mother and her 12-year-old daughter in Cachipay. The shared ties of eternal life in Christ have added closeness and joy to these families that would not be possible otherwise. Like these families, we know there will be challenges and new growth for us in the coming year, but we rest in the Holy Spirit’s accompanying presence to guide us.



Phil, Destin and Terry Witmer with church members

Phil, Destin and Terry Witmer with church members getting ready for a walk around La Mesa. Courtesy of author.

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