Manizales 15 May 2017

Good morning from the most beautiful city in Colombia! It’s been a busy three days since I’ve been here. Friday was a travel day. Both flights were delayed, the one into Manizales was almost two hours late due to weather.

We got in town long enough to unpack our suitcases, change, and head for a service in Santa Rosa, Risaralda, about an hour south of here. This congregation is growing, and they are reaching out into another city, just south of there, in hopes of starting a new congregation there. I was able to preach for the congregation & afterwards Jaime & I enjoyed a dinner of chorizo & rice at the home of Carlos Henao & family.

On Saturday afternoon we went to Chinchina, which is about 30 minutes from here. I was able to meet with Felipe Torres, whose fathers preaches in this town. Felipe is helping Jaime with printing books, tracts, and workbooks. The equipment they are using is pretty old and is too little for the capacity and type of printing they do. But, I appreciate their efforts, because they want to lessen their dependence on having Americans buy books & songbooks and ship them here. The church in Chinchina had a service Saturday pm. I was able to preach for them.

Sunday was a great day. It was Mother’s Day & I was able to talk to Becky & mom before church. We worshipped at Manizales yesterday. I have met many of the church members there on previous visits. I preached and Jaime translated. After church, Jaime & I had lunch with his brothers & sisters downstairs. Last night I spent time with the church at the Villamaria congregation. This is where Oscar Arias preaches, who visited Kettering in early March. If Jaime could be likened to Paul, Oscar is his Timothy.

Before church Sunday evening, Jaime drove me to the area where landslides affected a large housing area in Manizales. This is where Henry and Elena (the family individuals at Kettering recently helped) live. While their home has not been directly impacted by mud and rock, the mountain is just a few hundred yards away. Hundreds of home in this neighborhood have been condemned and will have to be destroyed, because they are in imminent danger. Police have the area blocked off, and stand guard 24 hours a day. Henry & Elena still owe a mortgage on their home and have no insurance. The city is offering them a home in a poor section of town and will provide a temporary rent subsidy of $90 each month. They have to pay the remainder and still pay for their mortgage on a home they can no longer live in.

Henry led the service for the Lords supper last night. It was my pleasure to meet him before and after the service. He passed along greetings to each one of you & thanked me again for everyone’s help. With their needs so great, I am thinking of using the money individuals gave me for this trip to help them additionally. I should see one or both of them later today. They are the only Christians to have been directly affected by these landslides.

It rains here everyday. All over town there are places where the mountains have washed down on the road. New slides are happening every day smashing cars and motorcycles. Many roads are down to one way traffic as crews have the inside lane closed off cleaning up debris.

So, that is the latest from here. Thanks again for your prayers and encouragement.

Matt

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