To the 2018 Colombia Team

Since I administrate this blog, it gives me the right to have the last here it is...

My Dear 2018 Team,

So, we're back.  I don't know about you, but I woke up at 3:45 am this morning (5:45 in Bogota) and was immediately disappointed to not smell coffee brewing and eggs cooking.  Oh if only we could bring sweet Berta home with us! 

I know that all of you will be saying "I miss Colombia!!"  multiple times in the next few days.  That thought really crossed my mind as I took Lucy outside first thing this morning and the minus 20 air hit me in the face. 

However - THIS - is our reality.  Embracing the place that God has put us and figuring out what to do with that is going to be the most important part of being a member of the Colombia team. 

I read 1 Peter while we were in Bogota and it was so great how much was so relevant to what we did and experienced there.  This morning I moved onto 2 Peter and this is what I read...

"His divine power has given us everything we need for a GODLY life through our knowledge of HIM who called us by His own glory and goodness.  Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate  in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

(Here is the good part...)  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self control; and to self control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual effection, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Therefore my brothers and sisters...(Chloe, Ethan, Carter, Morgan, Michael, Noah, Mariah, Ellie, Rachel, Allie, Denise and Dave)...make EVERY EFFORT to CONFIRM your calling and election.  For if you do these things you will never stumble and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!!"

Do you get that??  THIS is how we can take the things that God has shown us and spoke to us about in Colombia and put them into our reality!  It's building blocks! 

We want to take FAITH and turn it into the LOVE that we received, gave and saw in Bogota.  This is our challenge and I think from the sounds of our conversations, the challenge has been accepted by all of us.  THAT is exactly the ultimate goal of why 10 years ago teams like ours were put into existence.  

I want this final blog post to be one of encouragement for each one on this team.  Being with all of you has been an incredible blessing and encouragement to me.  Every one of you has impacted my life and I thank you for that...

Chloe - I have appreciated your heart for kids.  You are able to get down on their level and play with them and they gravitate to you, and you to them.  You show true love even to strangers.  I hope that your love for others continues to grow and you draw others to Him with that love!

Ethan - Your sensitive nature is rare for a lot of guys.  But you are comfortable with being vulnerable and allowing God to speak directly to your soul.  I pray that you never lose that quality as the world doesn't understand the value of that.  

Carter - Sincerity and Fun...  what a great combination that is and you possess both in abundance.  You have a great capacity to entertain others with your wit and humor, but you also have a great capacity to be relative with people.  May you never change, but only grow those qualities and use them for Jesus sake! 
Boogie boogie you!

Morgan - you have beauty inside and out.  People are attracted to you instantly but the depth of the beauty within you will win them over to Jesus every single time.  I pray that you will confidently shine your love for Him for the rest of your days.

Michael - Although I think I have known you the longest of anyone on this team, you are not the little boy I once knew.  You have grown into a young man with talent and vision and a desire to serve.  I believe that God will do incredible things through you.  Thanks for adding music to this team...both singing as well as the retro flashbacks to my youth in your play list  ;)  

Noah - You stepped MILES out of your comfort zone every single day but you NEVER hesitated once.  I was blown away by your attitude of "I'm up for anything" - whether it was food, people, places or things.  You acknowledged your fears but you conquered them head on and came out on the other side fearless.  That was inspirational for me and encouraged me many times on this trip to do the same.  KEEP ON ADVENTURING!!  God is going to take you places that you can't even imagine!

Mariah - I don't think I ever had an anxious moment with you through out this trip.  Even with your medical challenges, I knew that you would not only just be okay, but you would be awesome.  I was right.  Watching you teach in the classroom with confidence and such a positive attitude was so great.  Hearing you share with others about your walk with Jesus (yes, I was eavesdropping at times) lifted my heart.   I'm excited to see where He takes you in life!

Ellie - And here I thought you would be the quiet one on the team.  Well I was wrong.  I remember the first time I heard you laugh out loud and I turned around to see who it was, and there you were.  And you never really stopped being joyful.  You served with joy.  You taught with joy.  You interacted with others with joy.  Your overflowing joy will get you through anything...because the source of your joy is HIM!

Rachel - In this day and age it's actually kind of hard to find someone that possesses true humility.  You do.  You are the one that thinks of others much quicker than you think of yourself.  This is a rare gift dear friend.  Humility paired with confidence in Jesus is a powerful tool that you are starting to use in the way that you serve and love people.  What an amazing thing to be able to see!

Allie - You are a friend to all.  It's so easy to form authentic bonds with you.  Whether it was in our team or with the Colombians that joined us, it's you that had the ability to break down walls and form true relationships.  I love that about you.  You have no maximum capacity on your friend quota.  I'm really really glad that I am one of them!

Dave - I know it's not easy being the "guy" leader on this team, as it is the one position that is never the same year to year.  There is no real job description other than to look after the guys and carry the first aid kit.  For someone with a bent to lead - that can be a little challenging.  But I have loved having you on the team this year.  From the first Wednesday morning that we started to meet you took on the role of Encourager and you carried that through to this day.  Whether it was to the team members, me, or anyone that crossed our paths - you blessed us all by your warm words, gentle hugs and genuine prayers.  Thank you for sacrificing 10 days from your family to come along with us.  Thank you Mary and kids for loaning your Dad to us! 

Denise - mi companero...mi amiga... mi hermana... I have discovered that I can't do this trip without you.  Not only because of the necessity for the Spanish element, but mostly because of the sanity element.  You are the stability factor that this team needs every year.  Your knowledge of the culture, people and language is invaluable but your rational and calm presence is even more so.  I'm so thankful for someone that I can rant to when I'm frustrated, talk to when I'm clueless, and laugh with when it's the only thing left to do.  I look forward to many more trips si Dios quiere.

It has been a fabulous journey.  It's one that I hope has not ended at the arrival into YYC.  I pray that ALL of us continue to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  To HIM be glory both now and forever!"


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