Friday, January 30, 2009

The continuing story of our trip to Columbia, South America......
We left the house around 4:30 p.m. and as we walked out the door we found out we would be walking to the church........which wasn't very far but here you have 2 white people (already a head turner as we walk down the streets) and now we are pulling our luggage behind us. We arrived at the church to see a large tour bus awaiting us for our trip to the "farm" for the "retirement." We loaded up and did the typical thing: we waited for everyone else who was late to arrive. Finally, we left for our trip DOWN the mountain. Now just imagine the narrow, very curvy roads going down the mountains here in the States (if you have ever been on those roads) where you can see where you came from over on the other mountain and where you are headed down the next mountain ... no guardrails, huge drop-offs, and a long line of 18-wheelers in front of and behind us. Of course, because we were their special guests we were privileged to sit on the front seat of the bus and we could see EVERYTHING! I'm sure we made all sorts of faces and sounds as we watched where we were going ... and as we prayed a lot! It was a very long trip. Our bus driver really went slow (which I was thankful for as I watched other buses passing the long lines of 18-wheelers and our bus going extremely too fast.) Jim made the statement that it was no wonder you hear of buses going over the sides of the mountain ... a very comforting thought as I looked over the edge of the mountain!
We arrived late at the "farm" where the "retirement" was taking place. We had no idea what we would be walking into. We found out that the "farm" was actually a retreat center and the "retirement" was actually a retreat! It was a beautiful location! Very tropical ... and right beside a large, rushing river. The church purchased the land and has built a open sanctuary, a full commercial kitchen, an open dining room, and dormitories. They have a family that lives there full time to take care of everything as well as a professional chef to cook. We were very pleasantly surprised as they showed us our accommodations ... a private room with a bedroom and full bath. What a blessing to have our own bath! It was small but new and served the purpose great! We settled our room and went to meet the others in the dining room for supper.
It felt like all we did was eat while at the retreat ... much different than the first couple of days. Every meal was huge and delicious. Every meal, including breakfast, had soup, a full meal, fresh juice, coffee, and fruit or dessert. I fell in love with the coffee. When you asked for coffee you get wonderful Columbia coffee and it is sweetened with sugar cane and loaded with fresh cream. I'm not a coffee drinker but I think I could get addicted if I lived in Columbia! We had all kinds of fresh fruit: papaya, plantains, bananas, pineapple, apples, tangerines, avocados (are they a fruit????) and other fruits I've never seen or heard of before ... but they were delicious. On the property were trees and bushes with every kind of fruit! Also, we had canaries and love birds everywhere. It was so neat to watch them playing and hear their singing!
We met our interpreter, Dianna. She is about the age of our son, Jamie. She is native to Columbia but spent 8 years in the States. She is a graduate of Oral Roberts University and spent some time here teaching after she earned her degree. She was an awesome blessing to us; not only was she a great interpreter, she also was very sensitive to the Spirit of God and moved right with us as we ministered. She plans to be back in the States in August to work on her Master's. She plans to come visit so hopefully all of you will be able to meet her. We really developed a heart bond with her over the few days we spent together.
Next post, I will tell you all about the retreat and the awesome way God moved!

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