On Saturday, we left the hotel for the YWAM base, just up the street, for breakfast at 6:30. We were warmly greeted by the staff and enjoyed cereal, coffee, fresh pineapple, mango and more.
This day was to be spent working in the southern part of Medellín in a small village called La Estralia. During breakfast, we were introduced to Pastor Baltazar and his wife Stella and their children, Danith, Sebastian, and Jomar Andres. This was the family who had been forced to leave their home under threat of death for preaching the gospel. They were now planting a church in La Estralia. They had received permission from the local sports center—kind of a glorified Parks & Rec center—for us to come and to interract with the children, teach some lessons (any kind of overt evangelism was forbidden), and generally open the door for the new church plant to establish relationships with the locals. It just so happened that I had come up with a series of lessons based on soccer that I used in Guatemala back in ’07 and these would be a perfect tie-in with the activities at the center.
After a long, problematic detour to exchange currency, we were off to La Estralia. Soon after we arrived and scouted out the place, we chose to set up the face painting to draw a crowd after which, I delivered two of the soccer-oriented lessons with Connie as my translator. The lessons centered on Sportsmanship (actually a lesson on the fruit of the Spirit) and how those of us with a relationship with God have a purpose and ability to live differently and to play differently) and Respect for Authority. The gathered crowds were surprisingly attentive. Ben Miller also shared a short testimony as to how his relationship with God has impacted his life as a football player. The much more slightly built Colombians found big Ben to be an interesting speaker.
After this, we challenged the Colombians to an international Soccer match. We actually fared better than expected and had a great time connecting with the older teenage boys.
It was then off to lunch at a local church member’s home and then out to the local park. All of these Colombian villages have a similar setup with a park in the middle of town. This one was beautifully maintained and had an amphitheater where we were able to set up and deliver our entire presentation (no holds barred). We had a crowd of about 60 that stayed for the entire presentation and many engaging conversations were had. Pastor Baltazar was very pleased with the outcome and the connections that we were able to help him make.
Unfortunately, our 45 minute bus ride became 2.5 hours returning to the hotel. There was some kind of horse festival with hundreds and hundreds of horses and riders taking to the streets of Medellín. One guy even had his horse equipped with a stereo.
Tomorrow we will be attending church. I will be preaching and our teams should be able to present their dramas. After church we will attend a concert put on by YWAM and then maybe get some additional chill time before we plow into Monday’s busy schedule.
Please to continue to pray for our safety, our stamina, and our spiritual resolve.