Marta Velasco is really amazing. We met her early Wednesday morning at Hogar de Paz here in Bogota. As our group settled and packed into the modest classroom, her students greeted us. They began by grabbing us by the hand and leading us through the traffic of bodies to join them at their seats. This began our day of VBS-like programming, only before we could serve, we were being served and welcomed through their love.
Marta leads two campuses of Hogar de Paz. At both of our stops (Hogar de Paz and Hogar de Paz La Capilla), she helpedorganized our groups and activities, provided leadership to all of us, and played part mother and guardian, part disciplinarian, part organizer, and definitely part cheer leader for her wonderful group of students and staff from the program. Our Lord reminds that we will be known by our fruit, and by our hearts. Working today with Marta and her crew at Hogar de Paz helped us see and learn that good people bring good things out of the good stored up in the heart, for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
And what a blessed good work is being done at Hogar de Paz. This ministry serves at-risk children by providing an “after school” service for students who are only going to school for half the day. The many risks include leaving school or not being able to go to school, physical and emotional and other abuses, and a sometimes very challenging home-life as the standard is that multiple families live together and share the home.
To counter this, Hogar de Paz partners with churches to use facilities, and their programs share the gospel and evangelize, help with homework, food and nutrition, and lastly games and activities. We had a very good time serving at Hogar de Paz. After lunch, we got back on our bus to serve at Hogar de Paz La Capilla – and after the urban after school type atmosphere we got in the morning, La Capilla seemed to be built and still being built on the side of a hill/mountain. Hogar de Paz started there a year ago, working with churches to get a foothold in the neighborhood. They began by going house to house in the neighborhood and started searching for kids.
The thinking at Hogar de Paz is simply – meet the kids, serve and love the kids, share the gospel, and then get to know the families through the kids. La Capilla though, is a community that no one can really get ready for. Here people build their houses by hand, on the side of the mountain! None of the 250 or so houses have running water. The government has provided electricity, but for now, the people in the neighborhood are responsible for getting their own water.
The kids were a blessing and a grace. We had some challenges with the VBS, but it was very exciting and refreshing to the soul, to see our group keep stepping up to the plate. Many of us leaders on this trip have been so blessed by our group. To see them loving and serving each day has been a blessing. We have really started to grow and love and work as a family, and it’s been such a joy to see and behold.
Tomorrow we will be serving the children at Hogar de Paz by taking them to Sopo for a day picnic filled with fun games and activities. We’re very much looking forward to this time because it will mark the first time that we work with the same group two days in a row. We’re excited to continue the relationships we have started to try and build. And we’re excited for the kids we serve, because for many of them, this trip is not something they ever get to do.
Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support. We have begun to see much fruit in our work here, and I’m very excited that we’ve already been able to see fruit in the lives of many in our group. Please continue to pray for us. Bogota’s altitude might have heard me (yesterday) say that it was having minimal effects on us, because that was not the case today. Please pray for healing and rest for our group, pray for fruit in our work and in our person and our lives, and please pray that God continues to surprise, challenge, and grow us – more and more each day, and for the work back home.
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