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November: How long were we able to serve in Spain? Do you remember? As long as we were in PR/US transition between Nicaragua (NI) and Colombia (CO): 22 months… How did those 22 months go? Like this:
> 2016 Dec: Move from NI to PR to begin our US/PR assignment. Family time and church visits throughout the holidays.
> 2017 Jan: Begin visits in PR: Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico (IBPR) churches, women’s gatherings, friends and family.
> 2017 Feb: Visit churches in PR. Mission debriefing in Pennsylvania (PA).
> 2017 Mar: IBPR Annual Sessions. Visit churches in PR. Mayra’s happy birthday (HB).
> 2017 Apr: Holy Week. Visit churches in PR. Start preparing house for sale (Mayra’s Mom/Mami = Güeli/Grandma Hilda).
> 2017 May: Visit churches in PR. Distribute furniture to friends and family.
> 2017 Jun: Last visits in PR. Boxes to storage in PR. Move from PR to USA, Güeli to FL and BGs start with “reverse mission” in CA (Daniela’s HB) and Tijuana. OR visits with friends and attended the ABCUSA Mission Summit.
> 2017 Jul: ABCUSA Mission Summit in OR. “Reverse Mission” visit in MT. Move Güeli to a different location in FL while we continued our blitz. Time in PR to sign Hilda’s house sale. Back to FL, to drive and visit through GA, TN, KY, IN, IL, to Green Lake, WI. Conference for Missionaries (CFM) in Green Lake Conference Center (GLCC). Carlos/Mayra’s 29th from when we met, Carlos’ HB.
> 2017 Aug: Alberto’s HB during CFM. Visits through IN, OH, PA, NY, VT, NH, MA, RI, CT, PA. Alberto goes to Israel for a semester. 4 BGs go to explore Colombia (BOG CTG CLO).
> 2017 Sep: Carlos/Mayra’s 28th from wedding and Carolina’s HB while 4BGs are exploring Colombia. 4BGs return to PA the day before Hurricane Maria in PR. More visits in PA and NJ.
> 2017 Oct: More visits in PA, NJ, WV, and IN; including the ABWM Women’s Day and two full weeks of Fall Conferences. What a blast!
> 2017 Nov: More visits in OH, NC, SC, GA, FL, and end of official blitz. Güeli moves in with the BGs. ABFMS voted to approve BGs new assignment to Colombia.
> 2017 Dec: Family time in Chile.
> 2018 Jan: Move to FL. Trip to PR to retrieve boxes from storage, visit churches, and women’s gathering.
> 2018 Feb: Visit churches in FL. “Reverse mission” with FBC HI during Alberto’s Spring break.
> 2018 Mar: Visit churches in FL. Mayra’s HB. Holy Week begins.
> 2018 Apr: Visit churches in FL. Holy Week ends. Boxes received in FL.
> 2018 May: BGs to PA for Alberto’s Eastern University (EU) graduation. Visit church in PA. Carlos/Mayra’s express trip to Colombia for documents for resident permits. Back to FL for more visits to churches in FL. RRRPR with Alberto (meetings with pastoral leadership for ABCUSA/PR sister-church initiative).
> 2018 Jun: Visit churches in FL, Daniela’s HB, RRRPR with Carolina and Daniela (Women’s White Cross service, meetings with IBPR executive minister and his associates).
> 2018 Jul: Visit churches in FL. Alberto/Carolina’s learners permits. Change of Address for BGs. ABFMS votes for BGs to begin term to Colombia as of August 1st. Carlos/Mayra’s 30th from when we met. Carlos’ HB.
> 2018 Aug: Alberto’s HB, Alberto/Carolina’s drivers licenses. Boxes back to new storage. Fly/drive to PA for Carolina’s transition to EU. Carlos/Mayra sign agreement on August 22nd to serve in Colombia. Carolina moved to EU. Alberto moved to Kentucky (KY) to Seminary. Visit churches in PA
> 2018 Sep: While in PA visit churches in PA and NJ. Carlos/Mayra’s 29th from wedding. Güeli’s HB. Carolina’s HB. Attend ABFMS’ open house. Hurricane Florence delayed drive to FL to move to Colombia on September 27th, 2018 (30 years and 2 months since Carlos/Mayra met).
Looking at these 22 months and now being in Colombia, how are we not going to be grateful to God, to our family, and to you? We look forward to what is already starting to brew in Colombia. Here is a glimpse of what we have experienced thus far, since our arrival on September 27th…
Our temp quarters are not exactly what we had envisioned based on the website pics, so we are living out to our word and letting time go by while searching for other options. We have the airport’s runway, literally, in our backyard. So, we hear each plane landing and each plane departing from as early as 3.00 a.m. some mornings and until 1.00 a.m. most of the nights. Yes, as if they were in our apartment. It is so close that on our first trip to visit our partners in Cali a couple of weeks ago, we walked with our backpacks to the airport!
We walk a lot or take taxis most everywhere. And in between taxis (which are very economical and a better option than renting a car—or buy one right now, for that matter), you get to meet and talk to a variety of taxi drivers. Overall, they are kind and welcoming. Some has pronounced words that could be offensive in other places but are natural and accepted here. But, what has caught our attention is the negativism, pessimism, and sense of resignation that is evident in most of these male taxi drivers (haven’t seen a female taxi driver yet). And we ask ourselves, are we salty enough to season these lands?
We already met with our partners in Cali and planned our first year in Colombia where our main assignment will be to adapt to Colombia, meet lots of people, and support the Global Baptist Peace Conference that will take place at the UNIBAUTISTA next July 15-20, 2019. Registration is already open! We also met with our first Wayuu sister, a seminarian from the Guajira who is studying and serving her own people. We were able to connect with her for future ministry opportunities. In Cali, we also connected with an associate global servant candidate who has been serving through the UNIBAUTISTA for many years. We visited two communities south of Cali where another of our partners serves with the indigenous in the region and is preparing a shelter for the many families from Venezuela that are arriving to Colombia. So many are in need and seeking jobs and doing whatever they can to feed and shelter their families. Pray with us and these in need. This month we will be visiting in Bogota with the general secretary of the Colombian Baptist Denomination as well as another associate global servant candidate who has served for years in these lands with her family with the support of the Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico.
As our search for another temp quarters continues, we are reaching out to our partners, visiting places where we can relocate and from where we can continue serving to provide salt, water, and number our days… It is our prayer that during the time we get to be in Colombia we can be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5.13) that provokes such thirst that only the Water of Life can quench (John 4.13-14) so we can continue numbering our days to get wisdom (Psalm 90.12). And that, as we travel through these lands, the people God allows us to be in contact with, can get to feel positive, optimistic, and with hope as they meet the Person who brought us here, encourages us, and sustains us.
If we are here in Colombia after those 22 months of transition, it is because of God, our family, and you. Will you journey with us through your prayers without ceasing, encouragement, and ongoing financial support? All combined will allow us to concentrate on the tasks at hand. As we write, there is still a 15% gap that we are praying God will fill soon with support pledged (any amount and frequency you are able to commit) so we can truly concentrate on the tasks at hand. We deeply appreciate your tender loving care… God bless you!
Stretching further toward the goal “in Colombia and beyond”,
your BGs Et Al
Find us on www.facebook.com/BGsEtAl and “Like” our page for updates and pictures of our ministry. Please note that, when outdoors, we will mainly have the local phone with us which has limited social media capabilities. 8GB of Internal Storage does not provide for much… So, be patient if you are trying to reach us… If you’d like to reach us, send us your cell phone number and email via BGs Et Al’s inbox and we’ll be happy to connect with you as soon as we’re able!