Writing from the plane this morning as we make a short flight from Cali to Bogota. Both Avianca flights thus far have been on brand new equipment. Flying on a A320 today. Last Monday’s flight was on a very nice turbo prop. Seats are very comfortable and roomy. And, I’m a very nice guy this morning, flying in the middle seat between Em and Jason. After a quick layover in Bogota, we’ll fly up to Baranquilla.
It was just a wonderful weekend in Cali. The Quintero family was very gracious in their hospitality. The women went out of their way to provide food, plenty of juice and coffee, and other accommodations. Yesterday afternoon, was very special. We had time to relax with the Quintero, Rameriz, and other families from the Cali church. Orlando grilled steaks for lunch, along with plantain and potatoes. (No yucca this time. Yea!) For several hours, Carlos Julio took Emilea, Natalia, his daughter Laura, and Leigha to the top of Cali where there is a park with a large statue of Jesus that overlooks the city. Em got some really great pictures. The girls have had such a great time together.
Our morning service was excellent. I started things off with a lesson specially requested by Carlos Julio. It was the one I preached last Monday night in Niera and is based on Ephesians 4. The lesson emphasizes how leaders equip and saints serve. It fits in nicely with our overall purpose of the trip – teaching on the need for Biblical leaders, etc. During worship, Jason delivered remarks for the Lord’s Supper, and Mac spoke on shepherds from Psalm 23. After the service concluded, a lady from the community, Blanca, came forward to be baptized. She has been listening to the radio broadcast that Carlos Julio does every Monday and Friday. She came to services for the first time Saturday evening. After a brief study, she wanted to be baptized. That happened after Sunday’s worship service. It was a joy to our hearts to see the happiness on her face as she was born again. She hugged us all, and told us how much she appreciated what we taught. Like everyone, as you taught, you could really see how much she was participating in the service. Listening, taking notes, etc.
Last night Mac led a great discussion with Orlando and Carlos Julio and their wives on the importance of leaders setting an example in the activities they engage in. Because of the position they hope to occupy in any possible future eldership, there will be some liberties they’ll have to forego. Influence and not being a stumbling block to young sheep is of vital importance for spiritual leaders. I bet it was at least an hour of talk going back and forth, all in good humor. Both Carlos Julio and Orlando were sure to let us know how much they appreciated this discussion.
Brethren, I just can’t tell you enough how good of a work this is. They are great people. They go out of their way to make us feel comfortable. Everytime we leave, there are 10 minutes of hugs to go around and they are always sure to tell you how much they love you and are thankful for your teaching and care for them. For me, it’s totally humbling. I feel inadequate at times. But, I trust God, pray for the right words to say, and depend on Jason and Mac, who have been such great companions along the way.
We’ve just landed in Bogota, so I must close for now. Thanks again for all your prayers. It was good to see/talk to Rich last night over FaceTime. We love you all.
More on Tuesday.