Our visit to La Jungla might have been the most poignant of this Missions Trip – and yes (I know), that is saying something. We arrived very early Saturday morning – helped open the place really. After a brief self-guided wandering around tour, we were given a quick rundown of the plans for our day, and then a brief lesson about the mission and vision of La Jungla (which is located in an old church (Tabernaculo de la Fé).
La Jungla is a children and youth center dedicated to providing a safe place in the heart of a very distressed barrio (neighborhood) in Bogota. Children from two years old (although we had a one year old join us, in the arms of her older sister who may have been seven or eight??), to older teens are provided a meal, a place to play, a chance to be prayed for, and most importantly the chance to hear the gospel and feel the love of God. La Jungla is a haven because the neighborhood is known for prostitution, drug use, and drug abuse. For many of the children and youth, it is also a respite because they generally live in one or two bedroom apartments/houses that are often shared by 8 or more people.
Some of our team members accompanied the Staff of La Jungla to pick up the children and youth. They shared stories of shock and horror at the living conditions, the open prostitution, and even a probable gun sighting. I honestly believe that if it wasn’t for the hope that remains in the hearts of the children and youth, and the light that is still fighting to flicker and survive, our day at La Jungla would’ve ended in much weeping and less laughing, more crying out than smiling on the outside and inside.
It was such a blessing to see our team love the children and youth. We were able to fight through a language barrier, and being led by the Spirit, we were armed with the love of Christ. We played and we laughed a lot. We prayed, and we taught about God’s love that will do anything for lost children to come home again, and for all of us to know our value as posited by God Himself.
After two morning sessions with the children and youth, we stayed at La Jungla for lunch and then spent our afternoon working on two painting projects and also a detailed cleaning of the facilities. The highlight of all of this by far was hearing the Director’s testimony: his heart (God has blessed him with such love), his longevity (he has been at La Jungla for 21 years), and his stories of life change about many of the children and youth he has spiritually helped father and now grandfather was such a balm in Gilead for our hearts, souls, and minds.
Tomorrow is Sunday. We are very excited to be visiting Zach Dalton’s church here in Colombia, Asambleas de Dios – La Iglesia de Integral y Restauracion. Through Zach, I have heard about so many amazing people and so many amazing times of God moving in awesome and powerful ways. We are excited for the opportunity to be in God’s presence with some great sisters and brothers who we have yet to meet – but who are doing great kingdom work.
As always, thank you all for your love, prayers, and support. Please continue to pray for us. Pray that we may be so filled with God’s love, that it overflows on to all we serve; please pray that we continue to shine our lights for God’s glory.
We remain so very grateful to God for each of you, for your love, prayers, and support. We serve together, and we are all doing this kingdom work together. Thanks to you all again!
God bless and take care. Dios te Bendiga (God bless you)!
Youth Missions Team