Our team is now at home in the fair city of Cartagena, residing at the Youth With A Mission base here, and working with Christians in Action. After a fairly simple traveling experience, we were brought to the base in one of the giant buses that loom over the streets of Cartagena. All of the streets are one way, making for an indiscernable traffic pattern as the motorcycles cut close corners with brightly-colored buses and the occasional donkey cart. The cityscape varies from shining high rises to boldly-painted wooden houses and dirt roads. After getting settled in our two different houses, many of our team visited the pier where we were able to glimpse the city and pray for our time here.
Pleasantly, the following day we had the morning off to meet as a team. In the afternoon, we visited and prayed for El Refugio-meaning, the Refuge-a YWAM children’s ministry which serves local at-risk kids and their families by hosting a children’s church and offering private tutoring, amongst other services. The evening held another delight for us; we visited the old historic district of Cartagena. Old Spanish buildings, intricate stained glass, and metal statues of heroes of freedom for both the nation of Colombia and the slaves of Colombia were among the sights. Many of the YWAM staff joined us on the outing, and we had a grand time attempting to converse in limited Spanish and English.
Though the weather is much warmer here, the abscence of humidity and the evening breeze afford refreshment. YWAM Cartagena staffer Mary, who has been taking excellent care of us, tells us that it rains as little as three times a year here.
The following day plunged us into ministry. Working with Christians in Action has held quite a bit of excitement for us; we are never quite sure what we are doing until the bus stops and we have arrived! Our team held three different services, one in the village of Palanque, where we had the privilege of seeing two villagers become saved. The other services took place at the main Christians in Action church in Cartagena, where we held a youth program without any translators (quite a feat), and Bob, Bryan, and Sheri spoke at the main service. Fritz shared about a memory that he had of packing a container with medical supplies and peaches to send to Colombia around six or seven years past. Delice, a lady from CIA who had been acting as our guide, grew very excited when she heard this information; she remembered the container, and humorously enough, it had been sent to our next destination! In the following three days, we found that many of the congregants would accompany us onto this next focus: a crusade in a neighborhood called Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela is a neighborhood– or barrio, as it is termed here– consisting of over 30,000 people who relocated there to escape the violence of their hometowns from guerilla warfare just twenty-odd years ago. The neighborhood is impoverished, having little access to health care. As it was adjoining to the church, we were able to step inside the hospital where Gleanings for the Hungry had sent the medical equipment!
This was quite an enjoyable experience, seeing the equipment we had shipped being used to serve these needy people. Information was that the clinic is the only health care available for the entire community.
For three days, we participated in street evangelism, invited people to the crusade, presented skits and testimonies, and one evening, ran the children’s program. Once again, face painting was a huge hit with the kids! The crowds attending the outside crusade increased every evening. The people were hungry for God and most went forward for prayer, in which we were privileged to participate. Testimonies of healing followed, one woman excitedly sharing how a tumor on her head had disappeared. Thanks to God for His mighty works in hearts and lives.
For Sunday, we were split into two groups to share a word for as many different churches. At one of the churches we again provided school supplies and some sweets for the children, as many as 200. Monday is our first day off since arriving, and we all look forward to the rest. An excursion to the beach to enjoy and swim in the Carribean Sea is scheduled for the morning. This will be a new experience for the majority of the team. Other places of interest are certainly available, so the day will not be dull by any means.
Thank you for your continued prayers as we serve Jesus and the people of Cartagena, Colombia next week.
by Sophia and Cindy for
DTS Outreach Team 2014