I Left (part of) My Heart in Villiavincencio
In July, I had the amazing opportunity to be part of a five-person team that traveled to Villiavincencio, Colombia, to work with the Colombian Christian Mission. I have previously blogged about the desire to take this foreign mission trip, and I must say right off the bat, that I was overwhelmed by the prayer and financial support I received. Thanks to so many generous people who obviously wanted to get me out of the country, I raised almost double the amount needed for the trip!
Over the next few days, I will try to recount the trip, the people, the lessons learned, and the experience as a whole. Trust me, I could write a blog post every day for the next year, and not adequately cover it all.
To see the influence Elliott and Abi have had on these three was truly heartwarming.
I had the privilege of joining my oldest son Elliott, and three people he has influenced over the course of his ministries both in Clearwater and in Jacksonville. Elliott mentored Cody Morse, and Elliott’s wife Abi, mentored Emily Hillman in Clearwater, while Alex Harrah is someone Elliott is currently mentoring in Jacksonville. To see the influence Elliott and Abi have had on these three was truly heartwarming. I felt like a proud “spiritual” abuelo (that’s grandfather in Spanish). This was a hard working and extremely eager to learn bunch of folks. What an honor to serve with this team in Colombia.
48 New Testament Churches planted in 43 years!
Speaking of great honors…the opportunity to sit at the feet of the man behind the Colombian Christian Mission, Dr. Dale Meade, simply blew me away. In 43 years on the field in Colombia throughout the Communist rule, the Guerrilla Warfare years, the drug cartels, and the transition to a Republic form of government, Dale has had a direct hand in planting 33 New Testament churches in Colombia, a lesser role in planting three others, and as a result of those 36 church plants, another 12 churches were planted. So for those of us who are mathematically challenged, that is 48 churches planted in 43 years because of the influence of Dale Meade and the Colombian Christian Mission.
“If you’re going to work for me, you are going to hear the Gospel.”
Dale is a humble, soft spoken man, but he is seriously focused on the mission of the church: to make disciples. We stayed at a church camp being built near Villiavincencio (more on that in a future post), and Dale hires Colombians, both Christian and non-Christian to help with the various construction projects there. Dale ALWAYS leads a Bible study and prayer before the meals served to the work crew, saying, “if you’re going to work for me, you are going to hear the Gospel.”
Dale also teaches and trains Colombians to take care of the local congregations. Dale is not the lead preacher at any of those churches. Oh, he may preach at various churches from time-to-time, but that is NOT his primary function. The local church only comes into existence when it is able to sustain and support a preacher, who is a Colombian.
So cool to get seminary-level teaching while on the mission field!
Dale led us through a series of studies on the Great Commission, looking at that command in each of the four Gospels as well as in the book of Acts. He also taught on what a missionary should expect from a supporting church, and what a supporting church should expect from a missionary. So cool to get seminary-level teaching while on the mission field!
On our final day in Colombia, we ascended Monserrate, where a Catholic monastery is located. This mountain stands at 10,300 feet above sea level and overlooks the city of Bogotá (which sits at 8,600 feet above sea level). Dale has his PhD in Folk Religion, and gave us quite an eye-opening lesson on the practices of the Catholic Church in Colombia. (Practices that would embarrass and infuriate Catholics in the States.) For the sake of my blood pressure, I will not go into details on that lesson. Let’s just say, righteous indignation arose (along with a lot of disgust).
The life lessons, and the practical application of the Great Commission have impacted me tremendously. I find that I have little time or patience for the insignificant these days. there is work to be done to further the Kingdom of Christ. May THAT be my focus from here on out. May I get rid of the “good” that interfere with the “essentials” of doing my part to make disciples so that the Kingdom of Christ is strengthened.
Have no fear, or be warned: there is more to come on my experiences in Colombia.
Posted on August 23, 2016, in Colombian Christian Mission, Dale Meade, Mission Trip, Mission Trip, Reset, Comfort Zone, Uncategorized and tagged Church Planting, Colombian Christian Mission, Dale Meade, Great Commission, Mission Trip. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.