MWC Reflects Rich Diversity of Anabaptist Witness

(Blog entry written for the Anabaptist Witness journal blog)

I arrived at Harrisburg 2015 at the end of my two-year term in Ecuador as a mission worker, traveling straight to Pennsylvania before going to my home area. This meant enjoying the event with other colleagues or leaders I worked with in Ecuador (Ecuadorian, Chilean, Colombian, and US American), as I transition to life back in the United States. When we led a workshop entitled “Serving Refugees in Ecuador,” about the ministry of the Quito Mennonite Church, it certainly didn’t feel like I was leaving direct involvement in that work.

As my first experience of Mennonite World Conference I did not know what to expect or whom I might be able to see. In spite of more than 7500 attendees, it was relatively easy to run into folks. I felt blessed to be in a place where I could both see old friends and meet new friends from so many parts of the world. It was extraordinary to be able to see familiar faces from home, college, seminary, Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, and Ecuador all in one place. The conference did well at giving one a taste of the multicultural flavor of Anabaptist followers of Christ.

This was especially true of the music during the assembly sessions, which represented styles from the continents represented. All continents offered memorable songs, though the music from Africa provided particularly contagious rhythm and spirit inside the arena filled with Anabaptists.

The event certainly served to strengthen relational ties between sisters and brothers from around the world. It also emboldens delegates from around the world to encourage their congregations to claim an Anabaptist identity. Yet what an Anabaptist identity means in each corner of the globe is not a simple question. Anabaptists come from numerous cultures, have differing experiences of violence in their communities, and have differing economic realities and ways of relating to the natural world.

Faithful proclamation and incarnation of the gospel will look different in different contexts. Yet the variety of speakers and workshops demonstrates that, beyond contextual differences, Anabaptist communities embrace many different theologies, including different beliefs about salvation. I also heard affirmation of a holistic gospel from several speakers, a gospel that incarnates the love of Christ, addressing all aspects of human well being in this life.

Another question is how to respond to the tremendous social inequality between Anabaptists of different parts of the world, which simply reflects the social inequality of the world itself. I appreciated the public time of confession with which Kevin Ressler concluded his speech. This reminded me of our worship services in the congregations of Quito, where we have a time of silent confession and a time of spoken community confession. Kevin comes from Swiss-German as well as Suba and Luo (Tanzanian) background, but Kevin’s own public confession invited fellow US Americans to repent of the ways we have not examined our privilege and our usage of wealth. As a citizen of the host country, I feel shame at how many people my government excluded from this event because it would not grant visas, including twenty-five members of a thirty-person choir.

Our global Anabaptist witness must respond to an economic system that continues to produce disparity and environmental exploitation. We also live in a post-colonial world that still bears the marks of past western imperialism and racism. The challenge is to have an Anabaptist witness where all voices speaking from faithful Christian praxis are heard, regardless of race, country, social status, sex, or sexual orientation. These voices help us to see who the marginalized are in a particular context, those in whom we will find the presence of Christ.

Young Anabaptist Tigist Tesfaye Galagle from Ethiopia reflected on her journey toward claiming Anabaptist faith in the midst of doubt, at times wondering if it was simply the faith of white colonizers. Hippolyto Tshimanga recognized the reasons for calling for a moratorium on western mission in light of the western church’s complicity in colonial legacies, yet insisted that mission belongs to all churches. To be the church is to be in mission.

I hope all participants will be inspired toward the mission of proclaiming the love of Christ by living out the love of Christ in our respective communities. I imagine this will take as many forms as there are styles of music, so long as it is not built on the supposed superiority of any one group of human beings. This mission is for near and for far, and embraces the full experience and integrity of each human being. None is too small to count for God’s reign. As one of our songs eloquently states, “No journey too far, no distance too great…no creature too humble, no child too small for God to be seeking and find.”1

1. Colin Gibson, “Nothing is lost on the breath of God,” Hope Publishing Company, 1996.

Preparing to leave Ecuador

It is hard to believe that my time in Ecuador for my initial two-year commitment is drawing to a close. I will be returning to the States on July 19 in order to participate in the Mennonite World Conference, and in the following couple months I will speak in several churches in Iowa and Indiana, and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary about the ministry in Ecuador.

In the meantime, a lot has happened since I last wrote! Most significantly Beth Swartzendruber and I got engaged on April 28. Beth came to Ecuador for a two week visit at the end of April, after almost 6 months of physical separation. Beth has been a major support as we have talked every day via Skype. We are excited about building a future together with God’s leading for us both, as we will soon join our lives to one another, when we get married in October in Iowa. While I will be saying goodbye to Ecuador for at least awhile, we are discerning returning to serve with the Quito Mennonite church as a couple.

As coordinator of the ProPaz program for leadership training, it was exciting to witness Jerrell and Jane Ross Richer’s class entitled Love of neighbor: Creation and Economic Justice. This was an intensive course with great participation for members of the Quito church and visiting Methodists. The course focused on several different indigenous communities with whom Jerrell and Jane have had personal encounter asking what it looks like to love these neighbors, who are marginalized by the industrialized society we participate in. We learned that there are different forms of capital, including environmental and social capital. Communities that lack financial capital may have other valuable types of “capital” that we lack in the United States.

We have also continued with a Bible workshop every month, with the same group of participants. The most recent topics were on an overview of the Old Testament, Genesis 1-12, and the Exodus event, as the program moves through the important moments the biblical story. The idea is for these monthly workshops to continue once a month even when I am not here, until finishing the year-long series. Thankfully Luis Tapia, pastor at the Quito church will be able to continue coordinating the ProPaz program after I leave.

My work in Calderón has continued fairly normally, though there continues to be changes in the families that are present in Calderon. Another family has returned to Colombia, so our numbers are even more reduced. I have enjoyed working with Maria Helena and learned much from her. With the church council of the Quito church, we recently decided to consider Calderón as a cell group rather than a church plant, recognizing that most of the families are not here long term. Our goal has been to accompany the families that are here, as long as they are here, inviting all to deeper faith and to be formed by Christ-like love. Since a number of us work with refugees families that may carry trauma from experiences of violence, Paul Stucky and Nathan Toews came from MCC Colombia to offer a needed retreat for a few days in April. We had a similar retreat right when I arrived, and this time second time I had the benefit of bringing experiences of working with families with stress or trauma.

A recent highlight for me was receiving the Ditzler family here in Calderón. They have been life-long friends. Paquita is from Ecuador, but this is their first visit to Ecuador as a family in quite a few years.

Striving to be the church

The months go by quickly even as the church in Ecuador continues the same work. The principal goal of this work is to be a faith community that is a sign of God’s reign that Jesus announced, where each person is able to freely share the gifts God has given him or her in order to build up one another. We are very imperfect but hope that worship services, ministry with refugee families, workshops, and courses work toward that end.

Most of my time continues with the church plant in Calderon, which this last week had to say good-bye to Esneda and her two daughters as they travel to Sweden. We have also welcomed the family of Marta and Moisés, who had been here last year in Calderon for a time. There are also another small family and a single woman who have begun to attend. While the Calderon church can hardly be said to be “established,” my call is to offer pastoral accompaniment to the persons that God has brought our way. We continue with both Sunday morning worship and “small group” on Thursdays. María Helena López has returned as pastoral coordinator in Calderón with me and as one of the national coordinators for the new Mennonite denomination.

What is most rewarding in this work is to experience the energy and expressions of faith of the participants in the church. At the same time, it is difficult to know how to respond pastorally to the great number of problems that particularly the refugee families have.

We have been able to start out the year with several ProPaz activities. The first of these was a workshop I led on Understanding and transforming conflicts. It was good to have a large group (21 people). We also this month had the first of a series of Bible workshops. The idea is to continue for 12 months covering topics that include basic Bible knowledge and how to interpret the Bible. The goal is for participants, some with little knowledge of the Bible, to feel able to contribute whenever we read and interpret the Bible together as a church. Finally, we are at the tail end of a complete ProPaz class taught by pastor Luis Tapia entitled, “Let’s be the church,” that discusses the Anabaptist understanding of church, including communal discernment and equal sharing of gifts as part of a universal priesthood.

María Helena shared a poem with the Calderón group written anonymously by a Spanish mystic that calls us to love the God revealed in Jesus without any concrete reward or punishment:

I am not moved, my God, to love you
By the Heaven you have promised me.
Nor I am moved by Hell so fearful
To cease therefore to offend you.
You move me, Lord. I am moved seeing you
Nailed to a cross and scorned.
I am moved seeing your wounded body.
I am moved by your insults and your death.
I am moved, in a word, by your love, and in such a way,
That though there were no Heaven, I would love you.
And though there were no Hell, I would fear you.
You need give me naught for me to love you.
For though I hoped not for that which I hope,
By the very same love, I would love you.

 Some prayer requests to remember:

  • For wisdom for all leaders in knowing how to accompany families with unique sets of problems
  • For families that deal with loneliness and uncertainty for the future
  • For the church as it seeks to move more toward being a body where everyone is equally valued and has something to share for the community to be built up
  • For new participants to the churches who have gifts to share and will receive from what God is doing here
  • For the new legalized Anabaptist Mennonite Christian Church of Ecuador (ICAME) as we figure out how to do accounting as the government requires

Closing out a year

Please trust that I haven’t forgotten you and that the long time without news is because there has been plenty to keep me busy. The most striking changes are that a number of families that attended the church plant in Calderón have left Ecuador. Leider and David are in Phoenix, Arizona. Oscar and Katerine with their two daughters are now in Nova Scotia. Most recently, Giovana and Humberto, with three young adult children Julián, Santiago, and Mariana left for Florida. With each family leaving we had a farewell celebration with the progressively smaller Calderon group.

There are a few new families that may be interested in participating, both Colombian and Ecuadorian, but there is still plenty of uncertainty. It leaves me with a sort of void saying goodbye to some of the primary people I have related to over the past year. Maria Helena has returned to Colombia for the holidays, but will be back in January. One of her roles will be to continue with the Calderon church, so together we will work to find a way to invite more families to participate, including Ecuadorian families. One new family has visited but may also depart for a new country before too long. Because we have primarily had Colombian families, the church has taken on the character of being a community of support for refugee families.

I had a good visit to Iowa (and very briefly in Indiana) at the end of October in order to see Beth and my family. Soon after returning I gave a workshop on conflict transformation and conflict styles at a Methodist missionary training. The middle week of November was the Partnership meetings, with the folks from Central Plains Mennonite Conference (including my former pastor Dave Boshart), the Colombian Mennonite Church, and the Mission Network. It was nice to have company as Brady Peters who works with MMN stayed at my apartment. Following the meetings, Patricia Urueña stayed longer to give a ProPaz course on Theology and Gender. December is a busy month for most people here so ProPaz will continue with more courses and workshops starting next year.

I am really excited to receive my family over the holidays: my parents, three sisters and brother-in-law, and my grandpa. They will arrive the 22nd and be here a week. This last week Sheldon has kept me company, a puppy that Giovana and Humberto’s family had been caring for before departing for the States. I am looking for a family to give him a permanent home.

You can see pictures clicking where it says “Photos/fotos.”

Some prayer requests you may want to remember:

  • Pray for additional families for the church in Calderon.
  • Pray for the families who are establishing themselves in new countries, with a new culture and language.
  • Pray for María Helena López and the Ross Richer family as they prepare to arrive to Ecuador in January.
  • Pray for wisdom and conviction for the Mennonite churches in Ecuador in order to faithfully live together in a way that provides a glimpse of God’s kingdom, including in our economic relationships.

Most recent update letter

A lot has happened over the last number of months which gives me more to tell for this update. I continue working in two main areas: pastoral ministry with the church plant in Calderon that meets at my house and coordination of the ProPaz theological education program.

The church in Calderón continues with an additional family and two young men that have moved here. We are glad to still have Nicolas and Victoria worshiping with us. They are an elderly Ecuadorian couple that are active in the church in spite of aches and pains. We continue with worship services on Sundays and a Bible study or small-group meeting on Thursdays (at this point we are still one “small-group”). As Colombians seeking refuge in Ecuador, many of the families still live with precarious situations, and it is their trust in God that gives them strength. They are eager to share their gifts and ideas and have vibrant faith.

For at least four months I will have the support of María Helena López. María Helena arrived toward the end of July at the time of a visit from César and Patricia. She is a retired pastor and nursing home director from Bogotá, Colombia and is sharing leadership with me in Calderón. This will be of major help to me and will allow me to focus more energies in ProPaz. While the church is small, we try to have a close accompaniment with the families in their many needs.

The ProPaz program continues with workshops and courses. Luis Tapia, pastor at the Quito church led the most recent workshop was on Communicating the Word of God (which includes but is not limited to preaching). Luis also finished a course on theology in Anabaptist perspective in June and I just began a course called Biblical and Theological Path to Nonviolence. This course will maintain a focus on a commitment to nonviolence throughout, looking at the Old Testament, the life of Jesus, the early church, the early Anabaptists, contemporary forms of violence, and a spirituality of peace. I enjoy teaching and preparing for class, even if it is a challenge to find the time I would like to dedicate to preparation.

There have been many other happenings over the last couple of months. At the end of June, I had a needed break with the visit of my girlfriend Beth. She was able to participate in a Sunday service in Calderon and a Thursday small-group meeting, as well as spend time with Luis and his wife Jennifer. Of course we were also able to get away and do sight-seeing. We were able to have quality time together in a town with cloud forest and a town on the beach.

I also accompany the events we have with the young people.We had an outing a couple of weeks ago to a Christian campground in the valley southeast of Quito that had a pool. In July the whole church celebrated with David Shenk and Eliana Tejedor in their marriage. David has worked in Ecuador with MMN for almost four years.

I trust that God is constantly teaching me through all aspects of life, even when things get hectic. Thanks to those who support me in many ways.

More pictures:


More than six months

I have now passed the six-month mark since I arrived in Ecuador on October 14 of last year. I have had a few transitions since the last time I wrote, and my routine is busier even though it involves much of the same work as before.

One of these transitions is the departure of César and Patricia from work in Ecuador, although they remain as denominational coordinators until the end of this year. Luis Tapia is now pastor at the church in Quito and has become a good friend. We have a plan to read the same theological essays (in English) and discuss them as Luis wants to refine his English.

I have just finished teaching the first upper-level ProPaz course of the year, on how to study the Bible. There were a total of eight students enrolled in this course, and it focused on some practical methods for reading biblical texts, finding orientation for pastoral problems when the community reads Biblical texts, and an introduction to formal exegetical methods. This weekend a second upper-level class on theology in Anabaptist perspective began taught by Luis. We also have had two congregational workshops on worship and community pastoral accompaniment.

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On March 23, the church plant in Calderón celebrated its first anniversary. In order to celebrate we had a joint service at my house with everyone barely fitting. However, we have had a lot of transition since that date. Tatiana who was instrumental in the start of the plant in Calderón decided to withdraw from her leadership responsibilities. So I have been pastoral coordinator alone. This has meant increased preaching responsibility, and coordination of activities, but I have stepped up to the challenge. The folks that meet in Calderon continue to have motivation to be a church in spite of the changes that have occurred. This does mean, however, that other than an elderly Ecuadorian couple that continues their involvement, the remaining families are Colombians seeking refuge in Ecuador, a fact that continues to define the character of the group.

I appreciate the support of relationships here and abroad, and the occasional opportunity to get away as when some of us went to a beautiful lake within a volcanic crater. I relate to the words of one of our hymns, of which I share an excerpt:

In the midst of life you are present O God,
nearer than my own breath, the sustenance of my being.
You rush the blood through my veins at every heartbeat,
You move my heart with the rhythm of life.

You are at work in the field and the city.
The bustle of each day is a hymn to life.
The hammer-blow and the keyboard stroke
make out their praise to the God of creation.

You are in the moments of joy and pain,
you share with the people the struggle for good.
You have come in Christ to redeem life,
to remake the world as a pledge of your kingdom.

An Update…

Life has resumed here as normal. I returned from Guatemala a week ago, and have now recovered from sore throat and cough that had bothered me since returning.

One of my recent occupations has been finalizing a calendar for the ProPaz program. It includes six all-day Saturday workshops and five college-level courses. At this point they are planned in Quito. We have  a workshop beginning Saturday and a course this next week. I have a visit pending at the church in Riobamba in order to see if any courses can be done down there. We have a number of people teaching/leading workshops including myself. I am slated for the college-level course “Biblical and theological bases for non-violence” which will being the beginning of May. It is about time for me to start gathering resources together.

From February 7 through the 16th I was in Central America. The purpose of the trip was to attend an Anabaptist conference in Guatemala. Since Guatemala is within reach by bus from Honduras, I traveled a few days early to San Pedro Sula, where I had previously lived, to visit the family I lived with and any other friends I could manage to see. The event in Guatemala City was hosted by the Semilla Anabaptist seminary and held at a retreat center at the edge of the city. It included input from a variety of speakers on topics of how to generate hope in ministry in Latin America. Pastors and theologians, women and men were among participants, and almost all the Latin American countries were represented. The event was oriented more toward ministry on the ground than academics, but many people responded with specifically Anabaptist perspectives (peace, interpretation in community) that often are lost at the congregational level in Latin American countries. At the tail end I witnessed the establishment of RELEA (Latin American Network for Anabaptist Studies) that hopes to have events and put together an academic journal.

My work with the church in Calderon continues pretty normally other than my absence in Central America. With the Sundays I was gone and this Sunday’s service in Quito with the new pastor Luis preaching, I have had another major break from sermon prep. Luis’s wife Jennifer is a psychologist and they both will make a great addition to the church. Life is stressful for those who are refugees, but I sensed less stress among the families this last week. Some folks have been finding temporary work, and one young man began cutting hair after the project helped him get a clippers (I went with him to find the clippers). He also cut my hair (shorter than it has ever been before).

It is sometimes difficult to know how to accompany those who are refugees when I can’t directly relate to their experiences. I know some of the stories in more detail than others of how the families found their lives threatened. All face the pain of not know when, if ever, they will be able to return to their native land and see family and friends. Ecuador feels like a temporary space before eventually being granted refuge in a third country. With the lack of steady employment and experiences of discrimination, it is difficult for families to “settle in” here or in any way embrace this place as a second home. It can also be hard for Ecuadorians to hear the negative perception that Colombians have of their country.  My hope is that the refugees I relate to find contentedness in their present, even while waiting for a better future.

Beginning a New Year

The start of a new year means it is time to update on what I have been up to. I have continued the activities that I mentioned in the last post. I have preached quite a bit over the past month or so, including once in the Quito church because of the pastors’ absence. I expect I will preach less often as soon as I have things to do with Propaz. Along with that my routine has been to make visits with members of the Calderon church. Whether the visit is social or becomes more pastoral is something I play by ear. The Christmas season was particularly difficult for families who were outside of Colombia for the first time for the holidays and couldn’t see friends and relatives back home. However, they had their own celebrations here with each other.

I finished my first course with the Propaz program. This was a New Testament Greek course that is considered the equivalent of 2 university credits and lasted four weeks, with three people completing all the requirements. This was not the course I expected to start out teaching but it was fun. I slowed down the pace a lot as there were some absences. One student commented that even if we didn’t get so far what we did cover was solid.
We had a youth retreat just before the Christmas service on the 20-21st of December. This was with young people from all three churches near Quito. The retreat was held at the same location where we had the STAR retreat. There were some complaints about it being cold, no pool, beforehand, but no one complained about being cold while there even though it was chilly. Highlights were Capture the flag that night (the terrain gave one side a huge advantage however), a bonfire, a speaker following day, and Minute to Win it challenges.

The retreat ended Saturday and Sunday was a joint Christmas service. I was in the Christmas choir which sang three songs, there was a drama about Mary’s revolutionary side (see the Magnificat) and we especially enjoyed music by David Shenk, Juan Moya and Andrea Moya (charango, flute, guitar). Then there was a delicious Christmas meal afterwards.

I was able to spend time with a few friends from abroad during the end of December. Bruce and Edie and Laura from my home church were in the country to visit a friend and we spent an afternoon in the historical section of Quito. I also had a day with Israel and Paquita Ditzler the following week, with Paquita’s parents and aunt. Most significantly, my girlfriend Beth came down for a week from the 24th to the 31st (flights were cheaper those days). We didn’t go very far, but still saw a lot of sights around Quito, including the cable car up the Pinchincha volcano, a train ride to the south of the city amid other volcanoes, the attractions at the Equator, and the museum of Ecuadorian painter Guayasamín.

If you happened to be in Quito on the 31st of December, you might wonder why the streets are filled with cross-dressers. This is in fact a New Year’s tradition. As a way of “grieving” everything that was bad about the old year, young men dress up as widows (often quite provocative widows without much black on) and stop cars dancing in front of them in order to ask for coins. The other major tradition is to buy large “dolls” (something like oversized piñatas intended to be filled with firecrackers). They are burned at midnight. In Colombia they basically function as effigies (politicians or bad soccer players), but since in Quito, quite a few of the “dolls” available for sale on the street were cartoon characters or popular icons like el Chavo del Ocho they clearly are not functioning as effigies.

Once again I appreciate the support and prayers I receive from so many people, including comments and best wishes people have left.

Entering a routine

img_0335I have now been in Ecuador for a month. Two weeks ago I also went with Cesar, Patricia,
Wendy, and Allyssa to Tena, a small town at the eastern edge of the Andes and start of
the jungle, where we enjoyed a swimming in a river and the local preparation of fish.

At the start of my third week I moved into my apartment which also happens to be the
space where the Calderón church meets. In addition to Sunday worship there is also a time
of prayer Tuesday morning and Bible Study/conversation Thursday evening. A couple of
families have also gotten together to play soccer on Sundays.

My routine has mainly consisted in visiting families that attend the Calderon church–
learning out about their needs and trials– preparing for preaching or other church
involvements and getting my upcoming Intro to Greek course together. which will be Monday  and Wednesday nights in Quito for four weeks. Most of the people I have visited are Colombians seeking refugee status in Ecuador, and they face quite a few obstacles to
finding employment here while their cases are processed.

A road where I sometimes run (if I am willing to run straight up hill for a bit) has a
splended view of the valley where the new airport is located, and you can see the
Antisana volcano or maybe its Cotopaxi, both snow-capped mountains, if the sky is clear.
I just need a chance to get up there with a camera in the morning when it is clearer so
that I can post a picture.

I thought a bit about privilege one day when I went past a desired stop on the electric
bus line and had to get out, cross the street and pay an extra quarter to get in the
station going the other way. Not long before the same thing had happened to a refugee
family. Since they were several people and short on change, they stayed on the line more
than an hour of extra time, till they eventually reached a station that served both
directions so as not to pay to get in again.

I often cook rather simple meals, but eating out is quite tempting, given you can get a
complete Ecuadorian lunch for $1.75 or $2.00. An Ecuadorian lunch consists of a soup as a
starter, and then a plate of “dry” food also with rice, salad, and some sort of meat. I
was a little less enthused by the hoof meat, thought the soup it was in was quite good.
For one dolar more, there is also a oriental/vegetarian restaurant near the church in
Quito, where we have often gone ($2.75). Tortillas (Central America and Mexico) are
unknown here, and beans aren’t consumed nearly as much as other countries like Colombia (or Honduras of course). Bakeries abound, something I can’t complain about.

While on the subject of food, I also accidentally bought a 60 cent package of MSG
thinking it was salt. I tried a little, then looked up glutamato monosódico, reading most
of the Spanish Wikipedia article on it before it dawned on me that it was talking about
MSG. I don’t really know much about MSG, but it has a negative association in my mind, so
I decided that I would rather not intentionally add it on my food.

STAR retreat


It is hard to believe I have now been in Ecuador for two weeks. I have very much enjoyed it here. Yet I have discovered that if Colombians who migrate to Ecuador either as refugees or for other reasons find Ecuadorian culture to be quite different, the same goes for my previous Latin American experience in Honduras. There are a variety of cultural elements that are different, most notably foods, and every country has its own set of vocabulary. There are suddenly new words I must learn, and I have to be careful not to use words or phrases that only make sense in Honduras or Central America. Even so, I am discovering that climate influences the local culture, with a difference between the generally more open and amiable culture of hot, coastal regions versus the reservedness of people who live in the mountains.


This last week we had our STAR retreat with Paul Stucky, who traveled from Colombia. STAR stands for Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience, though in Colombia it is known as Church Coordination for Psychosocial Action. The retreat involved people who either work directly with the refugee project, have pastoral encounters with refugees (like myself), or are volunteers with the Quito church. We stayed at a campground owned by the Christian and Missionary Alliance church very close to the equator, but high enough that it got foggy in the afternoon and cold at night (fortunately there were wood stoves in the buildings).

Paul gave important information on the psychological stages of victims (which without healing can perpetuate cycles of violence), and we received important advice on how to converse with people that have traumatic stress, in particular engaging their emotions. At the same time, we also had opportunity to get to know each other better as a group, engage our own negative experiences and find personal affirmation.

IMG_0320We had really good meals brought in from town and some recreation time in which we played soccer. Unfortunately a number of people ended up injured, including César and Patricia themselves.

A song that got into my head after the one night when we sang various songs as a group ad hoc (And its translation).

I still have not quite gotten into a regular routine. I will be preaching in Calderon this Sunday and leading the small group meeting on Thursday. I have also spent some time visiting participants in the Calderon church, most of whom are Colombian refugees. This church is small, about 20 people that attend. It is also likely that I will begin an introductory Greek course (this was actually César’s idea, though I’m more than up for it) beginning mid-November. I have been staying at the house of Tatiana, who has been in leadership with the Calderon group, but I am moving to my apartment which will double as the place where the church will meet on Sundays.