Sunday, December 4, 2011

For our new outreach January 2012...

If you find yourself here with our January 2011 blog, all the information here is about our past outreach to Medellin. If you would like to see everything about our new outreach in January 2012, please visit this page:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Relieved in Revelstoke

We made it home last around 6pm, only 34 hours after starting our trip. We will give a final update in a few days.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chow to Cartagena

Well...we are sitting in the departure lounge of the Cartagena airport. We're checked in, have gone through security and will soon be boarding our flight home. We are grateful for the past two weeks; the experiences we've had; the new friends we've made; the ways we've been stretched as we worked in Medellin. It's with mixed emotions we leave - excitement to see our family and friends again; sad to leave behind those we've come to love.

Beauty and the Buried Beast
La Blanca

See you all soon!!!

Pastor's of the Carribean

Who do you think looks more like Johny Depp?

We spent another day of rest and great conversations.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cooking in Cartagena
After two intensive weeks of working in Medellin, the team is taking a breather. We've come to Cartagena to unwind and to review, talk through and evaluate what we did. It is hot in Cartagena!! When the humidity is factored in it was 40 degrees celsius yesterday. We enjoyed the change and the many conversations we've had with each other and with Diego and Claudia who've also come with us.

Slowing Down on Sunday
We all went to bed early and had an amazing rest. We've planned today to have a slower day. Church service in the morning and then Gerald gets to swim in the Caribbean. I think a few others may join him!  :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Barely made it to Bogota!

Due to a couple mis-calculations on how long it would take us to get all picked up and out of Medellin, we arrived at the Medellin airport 15 minutes before our flight was scheduled to leave.  Adrianna, from the local church was trying to persuade the airline to be compassionate!  We sprinted through the airport, and made record time through the security check.   We sat down as they started the stewardess safety briefing.   We all said a quick “Thanks God” and settled in for the short hop to Bogota.

Many Tears in Medellin

Friday night we wrapped up our ESL training.   All in all, teaching English was very successful and rewarding.  God enabled us to make many friendships, and the Columbians actually learned some English from us as well!  Friday night we had to say “Adios” to our Colombian amigos.   The Colombian team showered us with many gifts and we were overwhelmed by their generosity.   Many tears were shed.  It was hard to finally head back to our hosts for a very short sleep.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Frday morning at coffee shop

Great Opportunities
On Thursday a number of the team members were invited to have lunch with some of the business owners in the Commercial Center. We were able to share briefly from the Scripture and then pray for them. To all appearances we were warmly received.

Both in the morning and in the evening the students were asked at the end of the teaching session to fill in a response card, indicating whether they would like to participate in P an Alpha Bible study or other activities to further their English. We were told that around 80 people have indicated a desire to participate in the Alpha study. Such a response encourages us and stirs in us the anticipation of what God will do here in Sabaneta.

At the end of the teaching session today Jason will have the opportunity to share his testimony. Then around the tables we all will have opportunity to talk with our students about God’s forgiveness.

Posted by Rick

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What an amazing week so far

We began teaching English on Monday morning. Between the morning and evening classes there were 234 people registered. Many of the students are young - teenagers and early twenties. But there is also a wide range of ages. We have had to adapt our lessons significantly. But as the team had prepared to come we had reminded ourselves over and over that we were coming as servants and we would do whatever needed to be done.
 Instead of teaching one class of beginners and another of intermediates, we are teaching both at the same time and doing different or harder exercises for the intermediate learners.

There is a team of 20 Colombians who are working alongside of us. It has been an incredible blessing to us to work with our Colombians friends. They love God and give so much of themselves to the students and to us. It has been an amazing experience to see two teams of people, who speak different languages colloborate together and work together as one. Meaningful friendships have developed between the Colombian team members, students and the Canadians. It is a wonderful thing to watch the dialogue and interaction taking place around the tables.

The feedback from the students has been extremely positive. Many of them ask each day when are you coming back. The team has done extremely well.

To fast to keep up

We are deeply sorry that we have not been able to keep up with our post as we haven't had very much time to access the internet.  Our days have been kept so busy with all the prep for the lessons.                             

With the end of the kids camps this day turned out to be a bitter sweet day.  We were not going to be working with our teen helpers again and this was a little hard as we had built such a good relationship with them.  It was a very good day with the morninig worship service being in Spanish and being able to worship with our Colombian friends.  Rick preached the message on salvation and it was very good talk.  The afternoon was spent trying to get ready for the first English service that they ha dever had.  The service went really good as there were quite a few people that loved being able to practice there English.  There were also some who had not been able to worship in English for some time and were happy for the chance.

With the start of our ESL classes we were all a little on edge as we wern't sure as to what we would be getting.  Up till this point we had changed all our lessons and knew that we would have to change them again once we did the first one.  We quickly discovered that they weren't very intrested in our culutural presentation so we shortened them down to 5 minutes.  The lesson on the first day went really good.  Rick and Jason did a great jod and the students all had fun.  There are about 250 people registered and that day most of them showed up so it was very crowded in the evening lesson.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

We apologize for not keeping you updated. Our last few days have been full of meaningful adventures with little time for rest and updating of the blog.

Day four of powerlab came and went. It was a very important lesson for the kids as we learned that Jesus gives us the power to live forever. This idea of Jesus giving eternal life was very new to many of the kids, as the Catholic faith gives more importance to Mary interceding for their sins than Jesus. After day camp was over we started planning for the finale when the children got to invite their parents.
The group then went to the conference center to see the facility that will be used for ESL next week. At this time, Rick and Gerald went over some of the lessons with a few of the Colombians. They were informed that what we had was excellent but far too difficult for the people who were going to be attending. They modified the first two lessons, combining the beginners and intermediates together. This may sound like more work but it will actually make our lives a lot easier.

During the evening we got to spend some much needed time with our host families. Some treated their families to dinner while others joined together with other host families for a party. There was much laugher and good natured teasing about different cultures among other things

Not just Fred but all of us have enjoyed the first few moments of Powerlab when the children come rushing in looking for a big hug from the Canadians.
Day five has come, this was the day we have been praying for, the day the will come and see what their children have learned. We shortened up all the stations as to give time for the presentation to the parents. In the audience there was 15 to 20 non-believing parents. They got to see their children performing their songs and skits, they did an amazing job! At the end of the service one of the Pastor from El Redil had the opportunity to give a clear gospel message to the parents who were non-believers. It was a great privilege to be apart of this service. This opportunity to speak to the non-believing parents was one of the major reasons we put on the Day Camp and by the sounds of it, it was a success. Our prayers were answered!
After cleaning up the house we had the opportunity to drive into the country to a small fish farm were we caught our dinners. Sonya caught the biggest fish out of all the Canadians (don’t believe a word Rick says, I think his was a minnow) All in all a great day.

We will update you about what has happened on Sunday tomorrow as it is late and has been a long day.
Please pray for us tomorrow as we start the ESL lessons. Pray specifically that the people coming to the lessons (nearly 200) will see Christ love in us and the group of Colombians we are working with.
Fred and Jason

Thursday, January 13, 2011

pacifico again-not snowing here

Hello from warm Colombia where it is not snowing or even cool. 

Our third Powerlab was successful and the teens (rangers) are awesome.  It was a story about Peter walking on the water and a lot of us felt we could be sprayed with some cold water like the kids were in the "moonlight cruise".
We have chosen to go back up to Pacifico to tell the story of Peter again and how Jesus gives us the power to be brave.  Rick will give an animated version of the story while the rest of us are in the boat and acting out the story.  We do have a game and we plan to teach them a song in English.  Brenda and Dries made some slime and we are going to use that for a game, during which we will ask them who is the bravest to try and touch it.  A colouring page and snacks should round out the afternoon.  They are such well behaved children considering their background. 

Last night we invited our bus driver(Luis) to our group supper. He recieved one of the Canadian hats and he seemed very pleased.  He has driven us aroud every morning  (7 AM) and drops us off at our host families every night.  We are praying that this whole experiene will be one more link to drawing him to an acceptance of Jesus.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday follow-up.
After we finished the day camp we went to see the Metro, the city`s rapid rail system. We rode out to what appeared to be the northern side of the city to see their amazing Metro-Cable. Here the rail system ends and then people from that area can travel closer to their homes in the hills using a cable-car/gondola system. The hills are so steep and the houses the poor people are living in are so closely packed that no roads are possible. The city helped these people to get to work by building this cable-car system. We also saw some of the poorest parts of town, people living in shanty-towns.

Today was a big day. We spent the morning doing our second day of Day Camp. I think everybody felt that it went really well, better than the first day. We are starting to work well together with the team of Colombians. The language barrier is significant, even with our translators, but we are adjusting. The children really enjoyed the day. Today we taught about the Power to Help Others.
Today we were also saddened by the news of the sudden passing away of Brenda`s father, Sonya`s grandfather. Our hearts are aching for them. The whole team including the Colombians were there for support. They are doing fairly well. They will now face a decision about what to do next, and we will continue to pray for them, as we ask you do too. Please keep them in you hearts.
After lunch we went out to the area called Pacifico. This is in a very poor area of the city, again up in the hills. We had to take a taxi-bus to get there. These busses are equiped to climb these steep hills. It is so steep that they tell us the busses need to change their breakpads every two weeks. The drive takes you through narrow and winding streets, through random self-built homes and businesses. Close to the top of the hill is an area where at least 5000 children live in the poorest of conditions. lots of them have no parents at all, some only one parent. Some of the single mothers work as prostitutes and therefor the children stay at home alone at night.
The church with whom we are working here in Medellin has started a project there to help these children socially. They have a family working permanently there, and has recently funded the building of a facility where they can house their activities. This building can later be expanded to house a church as well, and they are partnering with another church-group to plant a church here.
Today we went there to share with the children. We had about 70 kids there. It was wonderful the be there and see their faces. They are so grateful for everything. We were treated to their amazing singing and dancing. We will try to put up a short video of this with a link to the blog. We shared stories with them, we helped them understand the love of God by doing a couple of crafts with them. We spent a wonderful few hours with them, right there on the floor. Then they also received the stationary that was donated by our own youth... you should have seen their faces! There were more than one not so dry eye when we were finally done, and these children came up to us to say "gracias" and goodbye.
The drive back down from the hills was better than any rollercoaster you can imagine, and much cheaper too.
We will likely be going there again tomorrow (Thursday).

Dries Mostert
(PS. We will get more photos on on Thursday)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

Today we are blogging, catching up from yesterday. We were so busy yesterday that we did not have any time to blog yet.
Sunday, after we visited a local Mall we went out to see some of the city of Medellin and surrounding municipalities. This included seeing the Christmas holiday lights in and around the city. This was just amazing. This is the most lights I've seen anywhere, even those who have seen Vegas said it was even better, much better. Look at some of the photos on the blog.
On Monday we started the morning being picked up by bus and then prepared for Day Camp in the morning, the time just flying by as we were so busy. In the afternoon we went to see a coffee farm and processing plant. Very basic but informative. Good to see where most Canadians' staple beverage comes from. See the pictures.
Last night we went out to the city of Sabaneta, which is sort of part of Medellin. This is actually where most of us are living with host families. We visited the central park or square, which has been decorated amazingly and they also had a market there selling all kinds of things. It was just beautiful. Afterwards we were treated to a traditional Colombian meal.

Today, Tuesday was the first day of Powerlab Day Camp. We rushed to make final preparations and apart from some early hiccups we managed to teach and entertain about 40 kids. Working alongside us are 17 Colombian youth workers. They are just doing awesome. They help with translation and managing the children.

Please keep praying for us as we keep working with these wonderful people.

Dries Mostert

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Made it to Medellin

Greetings from warm and sunny Colombia. We made it!!!! We arrived safely and entered Colombia with no problem. Diego said he had never seen a group pass so quickly through customs. Thank you for your prayers! We were warmly greeted and welcomed by our Colombian friends. All of us immediately felt at home. They took us to an incredible open air restaurant where we enjoyed Colombian food and visited with our new friends. On the way into town we stopped at a lookout and took in the breathtaking view of Medellin. And then it was off to our hosts homes - all of us are staying in different homes, except Brenda and Sonya who are together. Never did a hot shower and a bed feel so good.

On Sunday Dries and Rick went to the Envigado Church and the rest of the team was introduced to the church at Poblado and prayed for before heading off to teach Sunday School. The language was not as huge a barrier as we thought. The kids were fantastic and happy to interact with the team. Dries and Rick had a similar experience at Envigado. People have opened their arms and lives to us.

We've already learned something from our Colombian friends. Whenever they greet one another it is with hugs and kisses. They did that with us right from the moment they met us. So we decided that it didn't seem right to hug our Colombian friends and just nod at one another. So as of this morning the team greets one another in the Colombian way (including Jason).

Tonight we get to take in the Colombian Christmas sights. Tomorrow is a full day with our Colombian counterparts in preparing for the Day Camp that starts Tuesday morning.

posted by Rick

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Finally in Fort Lauderdale

Well, we have finally arrived in Fort Lauderdale.  We have a relatively short stay here before we transfer to Medellin.  Lord willing, we should be in Medellin by 1430 (Eastern time).  Everyone is feeling a bit more rested after catchin 2- 3 hrs sleep on the flight in from LA.  Please pray that God will use us over the next couple of weeks and we will have an effective ministry in Columbia.  We look forward to seeing what he will do.

Lost in LA

So after arriving in LA at 2:30PM we had a 10 minute walk to the next terminal.  The new terminal didn't open for until 7:30 that evening so that we couldn't check our luggage.  We asked a gentleman for anywhere that we might be able to walk around to kill some time and he directed us to some secret gardens that were so secret most of us never saw them.  Jason got some new directions from another man and came back with the quote of the day, "I just got directions from a guy with a really big nose.  Do you think we can trust him?"  Once we checked in to the terminal and checked our luggage we all got to watch the TSA guys X- ray our bags.  Brenda's and Darren's were the only ones selected this time and apparently they don't like syrup in the bags.  After a good laugh we went and spreamd out all over the floor awaiting our next flight at 12:30AM.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Still friends

Sleepless in Seatle

Well we made! Barely. After waking up to a foot of fresh snow and the news of the TransCanada being closed  we were able to leave Revelstoke by 1 pm. After 9 hours of icey roads we arrived safely in Abbottsford. With only sleep for 3 to 4 hours Tim Hortons was a welcome sight. The border went smoothly except for Dries with the suspicion of him being South Africian. Now just trying to stay awake at Seatac.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Snow fall warning in effect!!

Just want to say hello to all of you following this blog. It is Jan 05 one day before we leave on our missions trip to Medellin and it is official we have a heavy snow fall warning in effect here in Revelstoke. It is hard to believe that if all goes well we will be in Colombia on Saturday at 3pm. Please pray for safe travels on the snowy roads and that we are able to make all our connections.
The planning for this trip start over 8 months ago and we are finally on the eve of departing. After all the planning and getting prepared for day camps and teaching ESL I think everyone on the team would agree with me when I say we still feel under prepared but at the same time very excited to see how God is going to use this group to share his good new to the people of Medellin.
We hope to update this daily.