This Colombia experience for me can be summed into few words, one of these words being mind-boggling. From seeing new, exciting places of hope but also destitute, to watching friends that I've known since Kindergarten completely transform before my eyes, these days could not have gone any better. For the entire past year I struggled constantly with the fear and constant influence of my conscience believing I was inept to be a part of this team. Emotionally and spiritually I found myself to be 10 steps behind every one else. Even the day before leaving for the airport I was not excited to be going. I live in constant fear or failure and disappointing others. So, in my eyes, this trip was a perfect opportunity to do both not once, but repeatedly. And on the first day of being here both happened and something amazing followed. I lived through it. This opened my eyes to the knowledge that I could fail and keep on surviving, but also the process of picking myself up was not on my own strength but upon a higher power.
I would like to simply talk about today. Being just another ordinary day in Bogota I was not expecting anything exciting to happen, but at breakfast I was quickly reminded that indeed today was a special day. Valentine's Day in Canada is primarily for unfortunate, married men who are trapped with their wife's expectation of luxury and elementary age children whose parents bought one hundred Scooby-Doo cards for them to hand out to everyone they know. So when this morning, the boys of the team: Logan, Daniel, Curtis and Brandon walked in with a plethora of red roses, my jaw dropped. Each girl was given a card with sentimental notes written from the boys on the inside with roses to accompany them and for the first time since this experience began I felt as if we were a family, cracking jokes with one another and most importantly sharing the most life-altering 10 days of our lives together.
I was surprised once again around five minutes later during our devotions because of the direct impact the daily blurb had on me. These last remaining days in Bogota bring about the terrible black rain cloud of the fate of the airport. I constantly fret over the pain of knowing soon this trip will end, and the warm weather, lovely people, and inexplicable experiences will soon come to pass leaving a black hole in my heart that may only be filled with distant memories. The devotion read at breakfast was one of not anticipating what was to come, and simply allowed God to take care of it. This, for the first time in months reminded me of my favorite passage that talks of the lilies in the field and the birds of the air and how God cares for them and how I need not to be afraid.
And get this! The boys volunteered to do dishes, SCORE! What a simple act of kindness that completely resounds in the heart of a tired woman like myself. I was once again completely flabbergasted.
The day went as well planned as any other day was, with the exception of some unexpected manual labor which was above and beyond the high point of my day. But tonight we were brought to the "Creepy Cafe" as it has been dubbed by Colombia team alumni. And yet again, we were blessed with the encouragement of a gift of flowers from our beloved Colombian companions and friends, Ruben and Machi.
It's amazing how quickly one can fall in love with a country so fast. I for one knew the first day I got to Colombia it would hold a piece of my heart forever. The needs of the people are so apparent and there are images that have been burned into my memory forever. But the one and only thing that goes above and beyond all of my expectations is the people and the love they express for us gringos. We have been so blessed every morning by Bertha (our cook) and her granddaughter, Daniel (our driver), Ruben and Machi (our faithful companions), Steve and Evie Bartel (who welcomed us into their home without complaint) and many many others who have made this journey unforgettable.
The absolute worst part of this amazing trip will be leaving those who I have quickly grown to love. These people challenge me to be a better person, make me wish to strive for more, and ultimately make me thirst for a passion and drive as I graduate and enter a new chapter of my life.
Prayer can be a very powerful tool, and I beg you to pray for me that I will find peace with leaving those I hold so dear to my heart, and that when I leave it will not be for the last time. Pray for safety and sickness as some of the team has fallen to hacking up their lungs and spreading diseases among the team *cough cough* Brandon... And most of all pray that our team, with myself included, will be as much of a blessing to those as they have been to us.