Today was the last day of work in the barrios. I was in the barrio of Ciudad Cordoba, a wealthier barrio then I have been in all week. The streets were all paved and nice, simple row houses were in the neighborhood. Usually in richer neighborhoods the people are less open to talking with us, or seeing a need for God. But, while there were less people and kids then in the barrios I had worked in all week, the people were very open. Cindy in the attached picture is a 13 year old we met first thing in the morning. She is the youngest of 13 kids in her family! She was very quick to pick up what we taught and very quickly understood the Gospel, and best as I could tell clearer accepted Jesus as her Savior when we spoke with her. She is also a leader amongst the kids in the barrio, and we connected her with. Pastor’s wife for bringing kids to the church.
I worked with a different translator today who I known for a long time – Diana. An attached picture has Diana and Daniela working together with the big EvangeCube. We had another kid’s service in the afternoon, and Daniela and Sami participated much of the meeting.
But as I looked at this wealthier barrio, the questions I often have on these campaign. Why are so many of the Colombians born into such harsh conditions? Why do I have such a blessed life in so many ways, but especially material things? Even simple things like a movie. Yesenia – the national I have been working with all week is 17 and has never been to movie house to see a movie. I am sure that many of these kids born into these poor communities have some of the same abilities as you and I, and our kids, but can’t advantage of them because of their living conditions.
I have attached a picture of Janice, a national that I have known for around 8 years She was number 2 in her class this spring and ready to graduate high school. But a few months ago a car she was in was hit by a van that ran a red light. Janice was badly injured and in a coma for a few days. She missed school as a result and dropped to 4th in her high school class. That may not seem like a lot, but it meant that she lost out on a full scholarship for college. She is hoping now to go to college in the United States, and there are a few that offer college at little or no cost for foreign students and she hopes to be accepted next year. She needs to raise money for the college deposit. And while only a couple $1000 dollars with a scholarship for the rest, even that small amount to hared to raise in Colombia, so she is not sure she can go, even if she is accepted.
The day ended with dinner at the mall food court. After we had eaten I was sitting alone at a table while others got desert. (Yes I skipped desert – I am sure I have added 5 pounds this week.) There was a man at the next table. Because the group I was with was speaking English he asked me where I was from. We talked for a little whole when he shared that he was HIV positive for 8 years, and had lost his job and home as a result. I gave him some money to buy something to eat. I prayed with him and then I asked him if was sure he was going to heaven. He quickly said yes and then as he thought more he said he was unsure. He said he had do ne many bad things and was not sure if he would be allowed in heaven. By then Loyda my translator had come back and she translated for me as we went through the EvangeCube. Cesar understood that Jesus had died for all his sins, no matter how bad, but had not connected that with his assurance of salvation. As we talked he understood and trusted that Jesus had died for all his sins and was now sure that he would be with God in heaven.
Friday Loyda is taking me to an orphanage for the morning. Not sure what I will experience yet, but I am sure as with Cesar, Janice and my other experiences today the question of why I am so blessed and others, many more faithful than I, am not as blessed. But God’s ways are not ours, and the real blessing will be eternity in heaven with God one day. And then Cesar will no longer have HIV and the kids will no longer be orphans.
- Rich Stover