This is my last day writing from here as we will be leaving late this morning for the last part of this trip – Cali. It has been a great few days here. I have been able to get some rest – from a very busy first two weeks and am excited and energized to spend the next few days with the brethren in Cali.
On Tuesday, Jaime had a few errands to run, so I took at 2.5 mile walk along the top of the mountain above Jaime’s house. When I started, the clouds had rolled in over the mountain and you could barely see. By the time I got back, everything had cleared. There were some magnificent views to behold. Tuesday afternoon, we all went to a giant waterfall and thermal springs just E of Santa Rosa – about 45 minutes from here. It was a great experience to see.
Yesterday, Jaime took me to his brother’s coffee farm (Juan Valdez). It was a such a great experience. We drove about 45 minutes SW of here to a little village on the side of a mountain. The manager of the coffee farm met us in a jeep and took us for a 30 min ride up to the farm. We got stuck going up and the guy had to work to get the jeep through the giant slick spot. Once we got up to the top, we were fed a fabulous lunch of fresh chicken, soup, and other things. Then it was time to go out into the fields of coffee and pick some beans. I got an up close and personal experience of how they pick the beans by hand, drop them in a bucket, and carry them back to where they are processed. There is a lot of things that happen from the actual coffee plant to the roasted beans that you use every morning to make your coffee.
After we got back to Manizales, it was time to head to Niera, which is about 12 miles N of here. This is where Mauricio Zapata has been preaching for 15 years. The little congregation there has moved to a different location since I was there last. They have a much nicer and larger place to meet. Before the service last night, I was able to visit with Mauricio and his wife and family. They are great people doing a fine work.
I’m just impressed with all the work that has gone on here in this area. Jaime told me yesterday that it is his dream that every little town in the Caldas Department have it’s own local church. And, they’re working on it. When we were high up on the coffee farm yesterday, Jaime pointed to a village you could see in the distance. He mentioned that they have contacts in that town and are working to establish a church there. Over the last 30 years, the Manizales church has helped build works all over a 30-40 mile radius. Most of these congregations are growing. It’s great to see it for yourself and know that Kettering has played a significant role behind the scenes helping it happen. We can all take great satisfaction in this and give God the glory.
Today we’ll be embarking on a 5 hour drive down to Cali. Jason arrives in Bogota tomorrow evening & flies to Cali on Saturday. I will be very happy to see him. And, I’ll be very excited to see all of you when I get home next week.
Thanks again for all of your prayers and words of encouragement. Love you all.