Retreat to Villa de Leyva

Once a year our missionary colleagues with MTW have a short retreat. Many of us don’t see each other very often as we are scattered throughout the city and work with different ministries. It has been great for us to get away, rest, catch up with our dear colleagues, worship together and even have some fun.

This year we traveled by bus 3 hours north of Bogotá to a city called Villa de Leyva. The finca (hotel or campground) that we stayed at was so lovely and had great views of the mountains. We were also able to see stars at night. Most of you may not think too much about this but for Ross it has been almost a year since he has seen stars. There were so many to see, it really was breathtaking.

As a team, we had daily devotionals, meals together and a time of worship. A pastor and his wife from Franklin, Tennessee also came with us to share scripture with us, get to know us and encourage us. In all, it was a great time to draw close to Christ, our family, and our missionary team.

Below are a few photos from our trip. Click here to see more photos.

Hotel Boutique Caney

City center: Villa de Leyva

Selfie with a Kronosaurus fossil that was found by a farmer in 1977. There are lots of marine fossils that have been found in this arid mountainous area of Colombia. The Kronosaurus is known as the T-Rex of the sea.

 

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Sea shells and rungs in the ladder. For what?

A few of weeks ago, I (Angela) had the amazing opportunity to travel to the US to be with some of my family on their vacation to the beach. Most missionaries don’t talk much about vacations but I’m here to tell you that we need them!  For me this was more than a vacation, it was a time of retreat and refreshment. And for others (not limited to missionaries) that is also true. It was a wonderful time to be together with family, enjoy some warm/hot weather, hear and see the ocean, and view sunsets that make you praise the Lord! sunset-painted skyFor me, the beach is all about rest, rejuvenation, relaxation, and being amazed by God’s intricate yet vast creation. In the past, I have such memories of Christ drawing me near to Himself at the beach. That was also true of this trip.

My body, brain, emotional self were tired, beat down and depressed. You see, life is hard. For most all of us, there are things that we have faced in our lives that we would not wish on our worse enemy. Us losing our 4th child to early miscarriage was just another rung in that ladder that you hope no one else ever has to climb.  I feel like I have been well, but I could tell that the weight of just having celebrated the 1 year anniversary of our sweet boy James Adam entering into heaven and then the weight of losing another pregnancy was taking its toll on me. Ross and I came to the conclusion without hesitation that I needed retreat.

calm beachSo, I surprised my mom for Mother’s day by letting her know that I would be joining them on their upcoming vacation in the middle of May. Oh the joy!! And the trip was amazing. Not only on the fun scale, but on the rejuvenation scale as well. One thing that the Lord continued to bring to mind is that “His mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Even before my trip, the Holy Spirit was bringing these verses to mind. And that was a struggle! I knew these verses in my head and in my heart. I knew that it was true, but most mornings I didn’t feel like His mercies were new. And realizing that I didn’t feel that way was one of the first signs that I needed retreat. And I am so glad that I listened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to realize that things weren’t necessarily a-okay. And waking up at the beach and spending the day in awe of God’s creation was healing. The rays from the large sun at sunset, seemed to pierce my soul with warmth and reminder of His love.  The birds chirping in the morning, a reminder of His provision for us. The words of a song reminding me that it is okay to mourn and to rest in His unfailing arms. Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” I can say that I was held near and rescued!

!shellsSo now I am back here in Bogotá and truly feel refreshed. One of the final nights on the beach we headed out to walk at sunset. I was able to find some really cool sea shells with the help of my mom. I decided to display some of them in our living room. 6 of them. It is crazy to think that if our world was not plagued with the fall of man, that we would be a family of 6. But we live in this broken world, and we remain to most a family of 2. And in this and before this, Christ has called us to himself. He has called us into salvation from this condemnation, yet we must still live here and face hard things . . . and for what?! For the glory of God. For His glory, we have peace and comfort.  For His glory, we have walked this hard road of having a family. For His glory, we mourn our sweet babies. For His glory, we rejoice often in his goodness. For His glory, we share our story of His faithfulness to us.

All for the glory of God!

~Ange

 

- – – More photos from my trip – – -

 

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Our Sunday Walk to Church (In Pictures)

It’s been a long time since we have posted anything to the blog, honestly it’s because I haven’t had anything that I felt like writing. But, I did think it would be cool to share with you the route that we take to church on Sunday mornings with pictures.

Enjoy the pics!

 

 

Leaving our apartment building

Leaving our apartment building

 

We take a left outside of our apartment and head towards Calle 140

We take a left outside of our apartment and head towards Calle 140

 

Going west down Calle 140

Going west down Calle 140

 

We cross over Carrera 15, which is also known as Smelly Canal Street

We cross over Carrera 15, which is also known as Smelly Canal Street

 

Turn around and you have an amazing view of the mountains to the east

Turn around and you have an amazing view of the mountains to the east

 

Authentic Colombian restaurant featuring dishes from the Antioquia region

Authentic Colombian restaurant featuring dishes from the Antioquia region

 

We arrive at Calle 19, one of the major roads in this part of Bogotá

We arrive at Carrera 19, one of the major roads in this part of Bogotá

 

One of the many bike paths that are found throughout the city runs down the middle of Calle 19

One of the many bike paths that are found throughout the city runs down the middle of Carrera 19

 

We turn right on 19 and head north towards Calle 147

We turn right on 19 and head north towards Calle 147

 

Carrera 19

Carrera 19

 

We take a left onto Calle 147 west towards the AutoPista

We take a left onto Calle 147 west towards the AutoPista

 

Here's a restaurant that sits at the corner of 147 and the north bound frontage road of the AutoPista. It has a magnificent name, Mister Floyd

Here’s a restaurant that sits at the corner of 147 and the north bound frontage road of the AutoPista. It has a magnificent name, Mister Floyd

 

We take a right onto the frontage road and head north. Here are some of the TransMilenio buses which is one of our main sources of transportation

We take a right onto the frontage road and head north. Here are some of the TransMilenio buses which is one of our main sources of transportation

 

On both sides of the AutoPista the bike paths appear

On both sides of the AutoPista the bike paths appear

 

After a couple of blocks we arrive at our destination

After a couple of blocks we arrive at our destination

 

Welcome to Iglesia Reformada Cristo Rey

Welcome to Iglesia Reformada Cristo Rey

 

Attendance was a little low, as December and January are vacation months here in Colombia

Attendance was a little low, as December and January are vacation months here in Colombia

 

Thanks for walking with us to church. We hope you enjoyed it.

 

~Ross & Angela

Encouragement in the waiting

Since we have arrived, we have had our eye on the goal of acquiring and moving into an apartment. We knew that the process would be slow and would take from 4 to 6 weeks once we actually found a place. But even knowing that, the waiting has been hard and frustrating. With most tasks, we have felt like someone just needed to go push a button and we would be able to move forward to the next step. And we wonder day after day, “Why is it taking so long? It should take 2 seconds for someone to do what needs to be done for us.” The key there is someone. In this process of hurrying to get one task done to then wait for who knows how long, is draining. It feels like trying to run a marathon and at ever mile marker you have to stop and wait for someone to give you the green light to continue on. And that green light may not come for a few hours, few days or a few weeks. You just never really know. (recent facebook post)

But the someone is key. Through this process, we are meeting people and starting relationships. For instance, we have come to know the people at the local branch of our new Colombian bank quite well. A task that we were originally told would take 3 to 5 business days, took over 2 weeks to complete. So day after day, we would go in to the bank and ask if it was done. Although this is frustrating beyond belief, relationships are being formed. Now that the one task is done, it is like a whole new world with these individuals. When we walk in they are delighted to see us and wave to us. They use what little English they know to talk with us. And on Friday when we went in to check to see if our wire had been received (which it had not), they held up their work just to catch up with us. Of these people we have met just at the bank, 3 of them really want to be a part of our English club that we hope to start once we are finished with our language study. And one of the workers even gave me her card with her personal cell phone number to call her anytime for help with anything in the city.

Moral of the story is that even in this time of frustration and “hurry up and wait” journey, that the Lord is guiding our path. That He is leading us and guiding us to someone who desires to learn. We simply pray that we would be able to point them to Christ, whether that is through our attitude, conversations, or building relationships.  May our day to day tasks or waiting, one day produce fruit for HIS glory.

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