This past Wednesday, I landed back on US soil after spending a week with a team from my church in Colombia, South America.
And let me tell me you—it was quite the experience.
From assisting with a Bible college class, to spending time with some of the local churches in the area, to helping out with some minor construction, needless to say it was an exciting week.
Here’s a summary of what we did down in Santa Marta, Colombia.
Instituto Biblico Gracia Divina
Our main reason for going to Colombia was to assist a local Bible college (Instituto Biblico Gracia Divina) with a particular class. This class was a Bible storytelling class, teaching students how to take narrative passages from the Bible, and turn them into simplified oral stories–much like sharing a story with a group around a campfire. It might sound strange to us in our American context, but Colombia is a storytelling, communal culture. On top of that, there are people groups in Colombia who either don’t have a written language, or can’t read, so handing them a Spanish Bible would not help them.
The students from this class caught on pretty quick, and were really engaged. It was cool to see them so into it. Now they are better equipped to reach people around them, and to train others in their churches to do the same. This is huge, because it means the Good News of Jesus can spread throughout the Santa Marta region to people who wouldn’t normally step foot in a church, or can’t read a Bible. The Good News can reach them in a format they already understand–storytelling.
Check out this video to see one of the students getting into it!
On one particular day, myself and Hunter, another guy from the team, got to the visit one of the local church buildings, the exterior of which is undergoing some construction. When we arrived, a few gentlemen from the surrounding area were helping to install a water line outside, they just needed a little assistance in clearing away some of the dirt and concrete debris by the entrance. Hunter, who’s very skilled in construction, was in the zone and handled most of the work with a pickax. There was still plenty of concrete work that needed to be done, and they were waiting on the materials to arrive via delivery truck before getting started.
While there, we met Jose, a hilarious Colombian who was the brother of one of the pastors of the church. He showed us around the area and talked about the needs of the community.
Spending time with the churches
That Sunday, we split into two groups and spent time with some of the local churches in Santa Marta. Typically, when we think of church buildings, especially in America, we either think of an older traditional brick building, or something that resembles a cafe, or even a massive building that holds thousands of people every Sunday.
The two churches I visited that Sunday were both different than what even I was accustomed to–but in a good way. They were both humble spaces. One service had Colombian-style dancing in it. The other church was outside, and the views were beautiful. Unfortunately, we had to move the service inside due to rain. I had the high honor of preaching at both churches, and it was a memorable experience that I am very thankful for.
This was an amazing trip, if you helped support me in any way, thank you very much! Your generosity and prayers have made an impact in Colombia, and will continue to do so for years to come.