Well, I haven’t been writing much recently, since we haven’t actually had internet access for most of the past week.
Last Sunday we went to church at Fifth Presbyterian, just a short walk from the presbytery/university campus. It was nice for me to be there again. The last time I was there was on election day at the end of May. I had been asked to preach, but didn’t get the message until the day before! It was good to be there simply as a part of the congregation this time. One of the things that stood out to me from pastor Milciades’ message was the proverb, “No wind is favorable if you don’t know where you’re going.” He was talking about the need to trust in God’s promise to be present with us as we walk along the roads that are laid before us. After lunch, we went for lunch at a friend’s house with some of the young adults, which ended in some living room dancing (and lessons for Jake).
On Thursday we had two long meetings, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, talking about ideas and situations impacting the church and the accompaniment program these days. We got to see the new work scheme of the Presbytery of the North Coast with its three programatic areas: education, evangelization, and diaconia (service). We also arranged some meetings with leaders from the local organization of displaced persons, starting with a visit Friday to a cooperative farm project undertaken by seven families.
I was really grateful for the opportunity to visit the farm. It represents an important step along the road to self-sufficiency for one small group among the many who have been displaced by the violence in Colombia. They are still struggling to make it a profitable enterprise–a late planting and poor rainfall made for a meager harvest this year. The men are eager to work, but they are struggling to get by and provide for their families while they are working the fields. Yesterday they were clearing brush from some land they want to begin to cultivate. I hope the next harvest will be better.