“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12
It is good to be able to write again on my blog and not in Japan this time, but in Colombia! I did not have the chance to come back to Colombia since I left to Japan two years ago. I thanks God so much for had the chance to minister in Japan, a country in which I was so captivated since I was a child. Now after finishing my ministry in Japan, I decided to move on for my studies. As I wrote before, I found this bible school which required me to go to a short mission trip with Teen Missions in order to be accepted. My challenge for this summer was to be an assistant leader. I was in charge with other 3 leaders to guide 24 crazy teenagers lol
We did not only look after their physical needs and safety but also try to look after the spiritual ones. The first two weeks the team members needed to have some classes such as drama, puppets and construction. Meanwhile leaders needed to watch over them and if they were not behaving, oh well they got an SB!
Wait a minute… What’s an SB? what are you talking about?
Well an SB is a “special blessing” and whoever did not follow the policies of Teen Missions (which it does has many), they were meant to do an extra work. We all know that as teenagers, following rules is not that easy but if they did not follow those rules, how could they obey God? The mission trip actually teaches each team member to have a good discipline and teamwork. Everyday we used to wake up at 5:30am and team members had only 5 min to get ready to run an obstacle at the base in Florida. Once we arrived to Ecuador, we could wake up a little bit late. As assistant leader I were supposed to support our head leaders. We used to cook for the team: breakfast, lunch and dinner. At mornings the team had some biblical classes, we had time to do devotions for almost 30 minutes and then they started to work. The team members washed their clothes by themselves and just had like 2 hours of free time each day. They were able to paint the roofs, they dug many holes for the obstacle course in Latacunga and also they were able to visit some churches on Sundays. They did some performances inside of the church like singing christians songs and sharing some personal testimonies to the community.
For evangelism, they went to pick up the children from the school and bring them to the base. We used to hike in order to get to the school. The team members did a great job performing dramas, puppets and even sharing bible stories to the children. At the end of the day they played along with the children of the village. The team members also memorized 40 bible verses in king james version.
To tell you the truth, there were many occasions in which I was struggling a lot, we were busy all the time, some team members would feel homesick, other people would feel sick because of the high altitude, etc.. and I guess I felt certain pressure because in most of the occasions I did not know how to help them out. But I was thankful for the other leaders because they had more experience, they knew more things than me and they were able to support me with that. Even before traveling to Ecuador I was questioning God, I was like “why am I doing here? I do not get it!”. Well as we know God always has a purpose and when I arrived to Ecuador, I was translating most of the times from spanish to english and from english to spanish. The missionary in Ecuador knew how to speak in english but there were not people besides him whom spoke english. I translated the bible stories and testimonies for the Ecuadorian children and sometimes in the church.
What I found quite interesting about Ecuador is that even though they have certain knowledge about Jesus, they did not know anything about some people from the bible, such as Abraham or Jonah. I said this because even though I grew up in Colombia, at least I did know their names, usually on Television they show bible stories. I think the Pope was visiting Ecuador while we were there and one of the pastors of one church was saying that many people were vowing to him like if he were God or something like that. The problem in most parts of latin america is that they believe like some people can truly be acceptable to God by their own efforts, by doing good works. but we know, the only one that can intercede for us and make us righteous in God’s eyes is Jesus Christ, it is not because of our own good deeds but rather because what Jesus did on the cross.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. Romans 5:1
We also went to the highest mountain and volcano of Ecuador and it is called Chimborazo. Most of the teen members were not feeling so well lol The altitude was pretty high, it was like 6,268 m! some people from the team went hiking almost to the top and I thought that was pretty awesome! unfortunately I decided not to hike because I did not want my foot to get injured again lol I think it was the first day that we were staying on the volcano and I got pretty excited because I was able to speak with some guides about the importance of reading the bible and going to the church, I had the chance to speak them about the Lord, so I was encouraged by it. I had the chance to speak also about the resurrection to the team and I hope that with the teaching, they are able to be bold and share about Christ to others.
Every night we used to gather together, pray for each other and share our testimonies. Each person has a different background and what I got really surprised is how nowadays the youth is being more captive from the things of this world. The Tv’s programs and internet are some sources where the Devil can try to pursue their hearts, either with materialism or with self-righteousness or with sex. I heard from an Ecuadorian pastor that Colombia is the country that most sends drugs to the United States and that the Americans are the most consumers. These teenagers already have been involved with drugs and pornography. That’s why it is so awesome to find some Christian organizations like for example Teen missions, that can support the youth with their struggles, where they can feel safe and understood, where they can learn how to rely on God, how to overcome any temptation and how to become a follower of Christ and make disciples for him! I think in that mission trip, we realized how blessed we are in comparing to other countries. I am not saying that having everything means that you are blessed, not necessarily. But at least you can be more thankful of what you have in that moment. Teen missions have many locations around the world and it is training the youth for the mission field. I am thankful for the people we met in Ecuador and I pray for the missionaries over there that they can have more opportunities to reach the community and that the Ecuadorian churches can support more the mission trips.
The last week was pretty tough, everyone wanted to go home and were pretty tired. During that week, the team was being prepared for the next trials that they were going to face once they were returning home. Were they going to get back to their homes and do the same things that they used to do before going to the mission trip or were they going to let God talk to their hearts everyday with his word and persevere for the coming trials and challenges? The team members became really close to each other and I hope and pray that they can keep learning how to follow the Lord and his ways and that they can also make an impact for the kingdom of God wherever they are.
I’ve received many challenges during this year and there are many things in which I have to let God work in my heart such as anger, bitterness, envy and depression. I still have to learn how to rely on him and rest on him and become a thankful person. Thank you so much for your prayers and please continue to do so. Please also pray for my family, that they can get to know the Lord and depend on him. I am having a good time in Colombia and I just hope I can be useful for the Lord and my family while I am here.
I also have other good news… I will be going to the bible school in September! Praise God and I heard from my friend that one person that I was trying to evangelize with my friends, He is getting baptized really soon in Japan! I am so happy for him! 🙂