Thank you for praying for us as we are in Medellin, Colombia from Jun 22 to July 7! Also while we are away you can get daily updates here on our GO Team Blog! Check back each day.
 

Day 16 – Saturday:

The Final Day
Continuing from what was really a very long (and emotional) last day on the Friday, we packed the bus at the church at 1:30AM Saturday morning to head to the airport for our early flight home. It was bittersweet to be parting ways with our new friends and Colombian family in order to be reunited with our families back home. On this mission, each team member truly poured out their hearts in order to connect with the Colombians. The enormous impact this had was palpable, but the impact was two-ways. Many tears were shed. Many good-byes (or rather, see-you-laters!) were said. I think it took at least 5 rounds of hugs and good-byes for each person before we could really mean it!
 
On Saturday, we travelled home without any complications or problems—with the exception of an extended delay in waiting for our checked baggage after arrival. But by now we know the meaning of the word “adjusting” to the many unforeseeable changes in our schedules! So we made the best of it as a team, despite our exhaustion. And now we’re home safe and sound!
PRAYER REQUESTS
• Processing Emotions: That we learn how to embrace and reflect upon that wild mixture of emotions we are all experiencing after such a moving mission
• Colombians: That the leaders especially would have wisdom, and the people would continue to grow and be inspired and impassioned by our visit
• Future Missions Planning: That we would be given wisdom and direction as we seek to plan for future initiatives and projects and to develop our partnership with Redil Poblado and our efforts on the coast



Day 15 – Friday:

There was a complex mixture of emotions in all of our hearts today. The whole team is looking forward to going home to our own showers and beds (and of course, our families and friends too!). But seriously, taking time to catch up on the rest that we need will be wonderful. Nonetheless, we are still sad to leave the people that we have formed such strong bonds with. Despite the short amount of time we had here in Colombia, we were able to build invaluable connections with members of the Redil churches as well as the non-believers we encountered. Oh man, and the kids! Everyone is going to miss one other very much. Many tears were shed when it came time to leave.

Today was a very simple day, because until noon when we met at church, each pair of team members spent time with our host families. Some activities include: riding the bus, metro and cable car, touring a castle, and going to malls for coffee and souvenirs. At noon, we ate lunch with Diego and Claudia – missionaries that City Centre Baptist Church supports. After lunch and until Transformados (the name of the youth group at church), we held a very long onsite debrief meeting for the whole missions trip. We also set up to celebrate Jerusha’s birthday for after Transformados. The debrief meeting was much-needed and satisfying, in order to begin reflecting on all that the Lord has done in and through us. Jerusha’s little birthday party was filled with love, because everyone loves Jerusha! The celebration, mingled with long “see you laters,” lasted until after midnight, when we finally had to pack the bus with our bags to head home.

PRAYER REQUESTS
• Sickness: That multiple sick team members will recover quickly – little baby Clara included
• Home-Away-From-Home Sickness: That we will all adjust well to a Canadian summer apart from our Colombian family as well as from the close quarters lifestyle we grew accustomed to with one another on our team
• Fruitfulness: That the seeds planted through our ministry will grow in our absence.



Day 14 – Thursday:

 

PART 1: BACK IN MEDELLIN FROM THE COAST
Today began very early for a few members of the GO Team. We got up at 5:00AM to swim in the ocean during the sunrise. (It was well-worth the tiredness we experienced later.) It was so nice to see so much beauty, and to be able to fellowship with the Colombians that had come to the coast with us. 

At 7:30AM, those of the Colombian group that were not flying with the GO Team began their long drive back for Medellin.

The rest of us had breakfast with ocean views. We got packed up, boarded a bus, and headed for the airport. We had lunch at the airport, and began debriefing about our coastal mission, sharing the high points and what we each had learned from the experience. 

We were thankful to arrive safely in Medellin, with no lost baggage or other complications.  

The GO Team from the Coast was glad to be reunited at the El Redil church with Caitlin, Christina, and Clara.

We will be spending the evening with our host families. Time is going so quickly, but we are thankful for so many blessings experienced thus far. 
 
PART 2: IN MEDELLIN

Today is day 14 and I (Christina) can’t believe it!  It seems like just yesterday we arrived and by tomorrow evening we will be headed back to the airport…to home.

Today was a special day for Caitlin and I as we were reunited with the rest of the GO Team.  It was great to see them and know that they are in good health. We sure did miss them!

Tonight was the women’s monthly event. We had a great turn out with about 60 women. They welcomed us both with such warmth, kindness and hospitality. We had a great night of fellowship with the night kicking off with some tasty sandwiches, Colombian coffee and finger foods. Then Caitlin had the ladies play a game which was a great icebreaker. Then we opened up with prayer and praise and worship which was led by the Redil church band who did a fantastic job as usual.

Christina then shared her message on identity which was translated by Cindy who did a great job. Thank you Cindy!

Once again Caitlin put together a beautiful craft for the ladies. Laminated scripture verses on key chains reminding us of our new Identity in Christ. It was a big hit with the ladies!  We then closed with more worship songs and a time of prayer. Overall, it was a great night and we were both blessed to be a part of it.

 
PRAYER REQUESTS
• Safety for those driving back from the Coast to Medellin
• Transformados tomorrow evening – testimonies, worship, and message
• Time with host families – for unity and opportunities for conversation on how God has been working
• The journey home on Saturday – time to reflect on trip, safety, and help in adjusting back to regular routine
• That the women will reflect on what they have heard tonight
• That they will memorize the scripture verses that they have on their keychains
• That the GO Team will continue to be healthy, energized and have sound sleep after a long and challenging week



Day 13 – Wednesday:

PART 1: ON THE COAST

Today was our last day of kids camp at the coast. It was an exhausting, and thankfully fruitful day of running around and just making sure everything would work as smoothly as possible. Though the idea of finally getting out of the heat of the field and the school area seemed like a refreshing prospect, we had made such astonishingly strong connections with the children over the two days of having run camp that we started missing them before they had even left.

Just like yesterday, we left the hotel early (7:00AM this time) with our bags packed, Colombian breakfast in our stomachs, ready to serve. The first day, we had arrived late due to traffic and certain cars getting slightly lost on the drive there. But today, we arrived early enough to set up a bit before the kids came in their buses. 

After attendance was taken, the first thing we did was to “warm up” on the soccer field. Warm ups are not the best part for leaders, seeing as it’s already very warm out, but the kids seem to enjoy it. Throughout the day, speaking and teaching and drinking loads of water and playing almost as recklessly as they’d like – were spread out activities. Water is VERY important, and the plastic they come from are quite similar to Ziploc bags minus the zipper section. Art was held in the afternoon, after another refreshing lunch in the shade, and so many kids wrote the team notes about how we’re beautiful and about how they “love their ticher.” It was adorable, and their smiles truly showcased the innocent beauty of God’s creation. At the end of the camp day, we handed medals out to each group’s ‘Camper of the Week,’ and took a last huge picture with everyone in it. We were very sad to see the kids go, and we will keep them in our prayers.

Once the campsite was cleaned up, the locals involved with camp prayed over us, and then we hit the road. After this, the only highlight that stands out is our “night-time swim.” It felt like midnight because of how dark it was and how many constellations we could see, but it was really only 7:00PM when we got into the radio, and extended no later than 9:00PM. For some team members, this was a wildly crazy experience. The water was so warm, we sang worships songs, and one couldn’t tell where the ocean met the sky, where the waves crashed into the stars.

We wrapped the day up with an excellent dinner at the new hotel (the fried fish especially tasted very authentic) and retired to bed, some of us planning to wake up before the sunrise and spend as much time with the driving team back to Medellin. The whole day was such a wondrous experience, full of mixed emotions. Ciao for now!
 
PART 2: IN MEDELLIN
Medellin Women’s Ministry

Today Caitlin and I (Christina) had a wonderful day. First we started the day off by meeting at Redil Church where we collected our supplies for the arts and crafts for the event tonight. Caitlin came up with the great idea to laminate beautifully designed scripture verses and make it into key chains for the ladies. The final product looked fantastic and the women really enjoyed putting them together. Thank you Caitlin for your creativity and hard work!

There was a smaller than usual turn out but it worked out wonderfully. The atmosphere was intimate and casual and allowed for great discussion time. We had many questions following our sharing and it was so touching to see how the women opened up. We both were so truly blessed by their openness and transparency. There was genuine unity and a strong bond tonight amongst the women.  It wa a perfect ending to a great day.
PRAYER REQUESTS
• Pray that the future of the kids we left behind would outshine their circumstances, though many of such circumstances are of brokenness and darkness
• Pray for health, because lots of us are on-and-off sick
• Pray for us to be able to hold onto our sanity for these last few days, clinging to willpower and the patience of the Holy Spirit to get us through
• Pray that Christina will deliver the message on Identity with boldness and clarity
• Pray that the ladies will be impacted by the message and that they will feel comfortable enough to share the struggles that they are facing
• Pray that those who do not know the Lord will come to a saving faith in Jesus


Day 12 – Tuesday:

PART 1: ON THE COAST
Today was our first day of camp on the coast. The camp was organized similarly to City Centre’s sports camps. We had breakfast at 6:45AM, and were all sitting in the cars by 7:15AM. Despite our best efforts to be early in order to set up for camp, we arrived much later than planned due to unexpected delays (including a flat tire). The empty camp site we explored yesterday was now packed with over a hundred kids running around. Most of the kids sported the FIFA shirt of the Colombian team.nWe rushed to set up, dividing the kids into different teams based on ages. Each of the GO Team members had a team of between 10 and 20 kids.
 

The kids spent the morning playing soccer, doing drills and team activities. The weather was hot and humid, but the kids weren’t phased by it.

To be honest, there were times when the GO team members felt frustrated and sad. Even with 1 translator for each team, the language barrier made communicating and getting to know the kids extremely difficult. It’s heart breaking to hear a child call your name, eagerly trying to tell you something or ask a question, but feeling completely lost in what they said or how to answer. A few of us prayed about our frustrations over lunch.

After lunch, we set up the FIFA game on a projector in one of the rooms. The kids cheered loudly for their team. Sadly, Colombia didn’t win.

Meanwhile, another room was set up for arts and crafts. Each of the kids got a Canadian notebook to decorate, and a Bible verse colouring sheet. They were so eager for basic art supplies, like stamps and markers.

We combined teams and then split into small groups with individual teams, where GO Team members shared a simple gospel message.

Despite us feeling frustrated and inadequate, we ended the day on a high note. The kids were all smiles and hugs, thanking us, and giving us cards they made with the art supplies. It was extremely humbling.

We cleaned up the camp, and drove back at the end of the day to debrief as a team. God is good!

 
PART 2: IN MEDELLIN
Medellin Women’s Ministry
Wow! it is already day 12 and only four more days to go. We cannot believe it is going by so fast. We are really enjoying it here and don’t want to leave.

Today was a quiet day for us. Caitlin and I (Christina) decided that we would spend the first half of the day preparing for the young women’s event on Wednesday night where we will both be sharing with the ladies.

Caitlin will be sharing her past struggles with self esteem and dating in her teenage years. I will be sharing how I longed to be married as well as the struggles I now face in marriage in terms of submission, respect and what it means for the husband to be the leader of the home.

In the afternoon we were both with our host families as they watched the world cup soccer match against England. Unfortunately Colombia lost in overtime.

The evening was spent preparing some final notes and talking with our host families and then off to bed.

PRAYER REQUESTS
• Safety in transportation of kids to and from camp. They come from their churches on busses
• Second day of camp tomorrow: clear gospel message and invitation, and that kids would accept Christ. Pray for help in communication
• That Caitlin and Christina would be able to have authentic conversations with the young women and that they would feel Christ’s love for them
• Pray that the ladies would feel safe enough to share what is on their hearts without fear of judgement
• Pray that Caitlin and Christina would be led by the Spirit and use wisdom and discernment when speaking


Day 11 – Monday:

PART 1: ON THE COAST

We began this day bright and early. We had breakfast with the Colombian mission team members, who have joined us for this mission trip on a mission trip.

Breakfast was not the typical arepas and eggs we were used to from Medellin. The Colombians explained that the breakfast we ate was more typical of coastal food.

After breakfast, the team split into a few cars and a van, and drove from our resort at Gerazim to the camp site at the coast. The GO Team members enjoyed good conversations during the hour long drive there.

The camp site was a school ground. There were 2-3 classrooms (pavilion style, with wooden tables and benches) and 2 outdoor field spaces, each of which we could use for camp.

Under the shade, we met for a team meeting to prepare for camp tomorrow. We quickly began to notice the heat and humidity.

We walked down a block of fields to a place where one of the churches in the coastal area would usually meet for services. It wasn’t a building, but more of a pavilion open space, made out of bamboo, and with a dirt floor. The church family was so hospitable, and we ate a homemade meal together. Next door to this meeting place, a new building is being constructed. They hope to have the roof of this new church building completed soon, and will serve as a new meeting place.

We drove back to Gerazim resort. We had all agreed that we were exhausted and would spend the afternoon resting, but we started a game of volleyball and continued until dinner.

Pastor Greg, a few members of the Go Team, and some of the Colombians went to one of the local churches. Pastor Greg preached there. The remaining part of the team prepared Bible lessons for the kids for tomorrow.

 
PART 2: IN MEDELLIN

Today was a holiday in Colombia. Caitlin and I (Christina) got a chance to spend some time with our host families this morning as as well as focus on any last minute preparations for tonight’s youth event for boys and girls.

At 5:00PM, Caitlin and I met at the Redil church where we met with the youth leader Jullian and our translator Sebastian. We were able to spend some time in prayer and connect with the youth as they arrived for the event starting at 6:00PM. We were welcomed with much love and enthusiasm.

The night started out with 2 really fun games, which Caitlin was able to participate in. We then transitioned into our testimonies where we all sat on the floor together in a circle. It was intimate and we felt very much like a family. I shared about my broken relationship I had with mom before I became a Christian and how God reconciled the two of us after the Lord saved me.

Caitlin shared the struggles she had growing up with her parents, also being from a broken home, and where she is now in her relationship with them. It was very profound!

The night ended with the group splitting up into pairs and sharing what was on their hearts. After that, everyone enjoyed a cup of ice cream. The night was great and we were both very excited and humbled by the experience!
 
PRAYER REQUESTS

• Camp tomorrow. We still remain unsure of how many campers will be coming. For campers and Go Team workers, that God would give us the words to say and would prepare hearts of the children

•Tomorrow’s preparation for our Young Women’s event on Wednesday night

•That the Lord would guide Caitlin and Christina to speak on issues that these young women are struggling with and that the Gospel would bring transformation and the breakthrough they need to live lives that glorify Him
 
•That Caitlin and Christina would be bold and courageous, and speak the truth of God’s word in love and clarity


Day 10 – Sunday:

PART 1: ON THE COAST
Finding joy

Well, today started the mission trip on a mission trip from Medellin to La Estacion on the northern coast.

We slept in during the morning, using Sunday morning as a rest day. We packed up our suitcases again and left for the church (Poblado), making it to the 12:00 service. 

The team then left for lunch with Carmen, who is overseeing the mission trip to the coast of Colombia (“the coast”). We ate in 20 minutes, and rushed back to the church, and loaded our bags into taxis. We said sad goodbyes to Caitlin and Christina/Clara, who are staying behind for women’s ministry in Medellin. 

When we got to the local airport in Medellin, we found out that our flight (previously delayed over an hour), was now an hour early, and the plane was waiting for us. We had nearly missed the flight!

We were surprised to find out we were the only ones on the 19-seater plane. We enjoyed a turbulent ride with lots of laughs among the team. 

We landed at the coast in Corozal. Carmen presented us with some good news and some bad news. The good news: we survived a turbulent flight. The bad news: 4 people’s checked bags were left behind in Medellin due to the flying conditions. 

The team made the best of the situation. A bus dropped us off at a local mall, where we ran around looking for supplies that would get us through 1-2 days without the missing items left in Medellin. 

We made it to the hotel at the coast, which is a Christian retreat centre. We had dinner together and a team meeting. We were joined by the Colombian team from the Redil church (who survived a 16+ hour drive in cars, one car getting lost along the way). We’re happy to say Jerusha also joined us at the coast, which was a change of plan after finding out the Kids Camp registrations were almost double we had planned for. But because we found out last minute, she ended up  taking the long car ride with our Redil partners. Apparently she had a blast!

We thank God for protecting us, and for helping us to find joy despite a few set backs.

PART 2: IN MEDELLIN

Medellin Women’s Ministry

Well it is day 10 here in Colombia and another great day although somewhat sad.

For the first part of the day we were able to spend some needed quality time with our host families because from here on in it is going to be go, go, go with so many activities happening and before we know it we will be back on a plane to Toronto.

We later met at the Redil church and from there we went out for a delicious lunch just around the corner. We then headed back to the church where the team picked up their luggage and waited for their cabs to drive them to the local airport to fly to the coast. Caitlin, Clara and I (Christina) will be staying back to help with the women’s ministry here in Medellin.  We will greatly miss the rest of our team.

Caitlin, Clara and I then met with a few of the Redil team leaders to discuss the upcoming women’s events that Caitlin and I have the privilege of speaking at.

From there we went back to our host families to spend the night with them and do some final preparing for our youth event tomorrow evening.
 
PRAYER REQUESTS
•Safety at the coast – insect-borne/water illnesses, malicious persons, spiritual warfare (something already encountered on Saturday)

•Planning for kids camp – we are expecting up to 200 kids!

• Team unity – between the Redil staff and GO Team

• The luggage left in Medellin would arrive tomorrow

• Boys and girls youth event in Poblado Monday night

• Pray that their hearts and minds would be receptive and transformed as Caitlin and I share pieces of our testimonies and what it means to obey our parents

• Pray that there would be a strong turn out

• Pray that those who do not know Jesus would be impacted by the Gospel



Day 9 – Saturday:

The day started with everyone having breakfast with their host families. After breakfast, the team met up at the church. Once everyone had arrived at the church, we left for Bello Oriente, an impoverished community up the mountain. The drive to Bello Oriente was a very disorientating one, due to the winding and very bumpy roads. Fortunately, we arrived before anyone got overly carsick. 

Upon arrival to Bello Oriente, we learned that the community had not actually expected us to be there today. This resulted in a small group going out to gather youth to bring them to the events we had planned. While the small group was out gathering youth, the rest of the group set up. Once enough kids were present, we started our planned activities. We started by playing some games, which allowed us to get to know the children – who were adorable! After the games, a snack was given to the kids. The drama team (Isabel, Julia, Justin, and Richard) then presented the drama skit, entitled Silla del Pecado – Chair of Sin. After a lot of laughter due to the skit and due to Justin being a “chino,” Jerusha shared the gospel with the children. We then played a game of fútbol. The Canadians played against the Colombians…and not surprisingly, we were thoroughly outclassed and embarrassed. Afterwards, we were able to spend some quality time with the children. By the end of our time at Bello Oriente, we developed some close relationships with the kids, who were all very sweet. The entire experience was very fulfilling, and eye opening. The experience of a Medellín slum and the conditions that the children live in had a strong emotional effect on everyone. But leaving the kids was by far the saddest part.

We left Bello Oriente, once again enduring the winding, and bumpy ride back to the church. Upon arrival, we continued preparations for the coastal mission. We then had dinner and a team meeting. Following the meal and meeting, we quickly transitioned into our third and final ESL night. We taught them English through a Canadian theme; Canada Day being tomorrow. It was very encouraging to see the improvement of some of the Colombians’ English, in only such a short amount of time. The ESL night also served as a way for us to further develop relationships with the Colombians.

After an extremely emotionally, and physically exhausting day, we all went home. We were also notified that we could sleep in the next day, which was phenomenal news for the entire team. 



Day 8 – Friday:

Halfway. It’s been a week since we arrived!

Today was our last day at the Transformados Retreat. In the morning, the campers played some water sports on the soccer field and in the pool. 

Then we had our first meeting. We worshiped together in English and Spanish. Again, it’s beautiful when voices unite to praise our God. Then Amy and Esh shared their testimonies. Following this, Pastor Greg spoke on the transformation of Paul, “A Renewed Strength.” From there, we met for the last time in our small groups to discuss the testimonies and message, and find application going forward. 

Later, the drama team (Richard, Julia, Isabel, and Justin) presented. Though the drama was wordless, it had a clear gospel message. 

The GO Team was called to the front of the meeting room. The Colombians expressed the ways that the testimonies of the GO Team members have been relatable and encouraging. They then prayed for us. 

The buses arrived to bring us back “home” to the church. We said many sad good-byes to our new friends from camp. 

Back at the church, the GO Team met to debrief. We each shared stories, laughs, thankfulness, and ways in which we had seen God work at the camp. We then began planning for ESL, the visit to Bello Oriente tomorrow, and the Coastal Mission trip coming up. We stayed late at the church preparing and sorting through supplies. Then we returned home to our host families. 
 

PRAYER REQUESTS: 

•Bello Oriente, mercy ministry tomorrow (Saturday).  We hope to encourage the women and children, and give clothing donations

• ESL tomorrow (Saturday) evening – final preparations, and good attendance

•Trip to the coast coming up next week. We now understand that we have 200 children expected to attend the Day Camp. (We had prepared for about 80 kids.) For organization of supplies and activities, for health and safety, and that God would work in the hearts of the children