Thursday, March 25, 2010


Old People's Home - Santa Rosa The home in Santa Rosa, a town about 15 minutes from Pereira, has room for about 16 seniors.
As well the property has been developed to house over a 100 people for camps and conferences. We spent an night in an apartment in the complex.
The Gospel Hall, Pereira
This hall can seat a good number of people. We had fellowship with the church one Sunday morning and I had the opportunity to preach the Word.
Alan Knott, Australian missionary.
Alan was our host while overnighting in Pereira. We stayed in the home of Alan and Eunice Knott for a missionary conference in 1983 just six weeks after Jonathan's birth. We have had good fellowship together over the years.

Pereira, an impressive city located in a beautiful valley situation. Pereira has a moderate to hot climate.

Main north road out of Pereira
This road is typical of some of the serpentine roads that wind up and down the Andes mountains.

Armenia & "El Eje Cafetero"

Our hosts in Armenia
Fernando and Gloria Saenz
From left to right, Sebastain (twin) Nancye, Richard,
Fernando, Juan David (twin) and Gloria.
Our friendship goes back well over 3o years. Fernando visited us in Long Beach, CA. three years ago. Fernando works full-time as an elder, Bible teacher and preacher of the gospel in Armenia and beyond.

Brethren Hall in Armenia
I had the privilege of preaching twice in the local church (Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon). There is a good sized congregation in Armenia.

Coffee ripening.
The beans are red when ready for harvest.
Armenia is one of three major cities going north to south in one of the ranges of the Andes mountains west of Bogota. The three cities are Manizales, Pereira and Armenia. The area in between is known as "El Eje Cafetero" or "The Coffee Axel". At between 3,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level the area is ideal for growing coffee and is the heart of the coffee industry in Colombia. The area is very fertile and there are also big plantations of bananas, yuca (a root crop), papayas and corn. Armenia is also the hub of the growing tourist industry.
The Cathedral on Armenia's main plaza.
Plaza de Bolivar
With visits to so many homes and people there has been little time for sight-seeing.
We'll have to save the sight-seeing for the next visit!

Plaza de Bolivar
Much of Armenia was destroyed by the earthquake some ten years ago. There are still some allotments that are surrounded by walls where rebuilding has not taken place. Generally speaking Armenia is a nice city.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bogotá to Ibague

Bogotá Cathedral , Plaza de Bolivar
A visit to Bogotá is not complete without a tour of the historic downtown area with the government buildings and Cathedral.
Bill and Angela in front of the Government Building.

Avianca. Colombia's national airline.
Our means of transport for our "tour" of several cities.

The central plaza and cathedral in Ibague.
Ibague is an agricultural city with a population of 500,000. Rice is the main product.

Fabio & Xiomara Parra, originally from Bucaramanga.
Both sets of parents were fruit of our ministry in Bucaramanga. Fabio was a boy of two when his father first came to a meeting in 1977 and heard the gospel for the first time when I was preaching. Fabio's parents came over from Cucuta to visit with us while we were here. Fabio is the Regional Manager of 'Nacional de Chocolates' and has 200 employees under him. It is good to see them all go on for the Lord. The meal is caldo de papa (potato soup) and arepas (corn cakes).

Friday, March 12, 2010

Villa de Leyva

Main plaza of Villa de Leyva
Villa de Leyva is a typical colonial village established a few hundred years ago by the early Spanish settlers. It is located some three hours drive from Bogotá. The climate is good and it has a quiet atmosphere. We went there for a couple of days rest and relaxation. Villa de Leyva has the largest cobble-stoned plaza in Colombia.

Typical street in Villa de Leyva
Nearly all the houses in Villa de Leyva have the balcony on the second floor and many of the balconies have flower boxes and geraniums do very well. It is hard walking on the cobble-stones. You have to watch where you plant your foot! The cobble-stones are also bad on the springs and shock absorbers on vehicles.

Inner courtyard of house in Villa de Leyva

Standing stones of the Muisca Indians
In recent years a lot of archeological finds have been made of the Muisca Indians, a subgroup of the Chibcha Indians. These standing stones related to the worship of the sun along with burial grounds have been unearthed in recent years.

The fossil
This fossil was unearthed by campesinos (country farmers) in 1977 just a short distance from Villa de Leyva, and is simply known as The Fossil. It is a plesiosaurios and one of only two in the world. The other is in Australia. A plesiosaurios in a predatory marine reptile much like a crocodile. This one is about 7 metres long and is in the same position as where it was found. Nothing has been moved, but a leg and part of the tail was lost. All sorts of fossils, mainly shells and mollusks can be found in the area. This is some 8,000 or more feet above sea level and further evidence of the flood in Noah´s day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Visits to people and churches in Bogotá

Lunch on Sunday with two families who work with the
Nuevo Colon church in the south of Bogotá.
The tall man by me is Sergio Gomez, the leader of this new church plant.

Some of the folk who attend the J.J. Vargas church.
This is where Bill and Angela attend.

The praise team at the J.J. Vargas church with Gilberto giving an announcement.

Gilberto Vanegas teaching a class at the Saturday morning Bible Institute.
Gilberto was my first disciple in Colombia. It is great to see him as a leader in the churches in Bogotá with an effective ministry in preaching and teaching.
We go back 39 years. Gilberto was a lad of 11 when he was saved.

Bill teaches a class at the Bible Institute. Bill's vision is to develop the Bible Institute and see it get it's own facility. At present it meets in the rented facility of one of churches in Bogotá.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Bogotá: The Sights, sounds and smells

It is great to be back in Bogotá to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells! Bogotá is the capital city of Colombia with 8 million people and high up at 8,640 feet above sea level. Forty years have passed since we first set foot in the city. In some ways the city hasn't changed. The street vendors line the sidewalks, the streets are crowded with traffic, there are a lot of people walking and there are the sounds of busyness with horns being honked, car alarms going off and the rush of traffic. In other ways the city has changed remarkably. There are modern commercial centers and well stocked supermarkets alongside of the typical corner stores and street vendors.

Fruit stand in the entrance of supermarket

Interior of supermarket

Street vendor on sidewalk outside supermarket

Pitaya, beautiful fruit from a cactus plant,
developed commercially in the last 20 years.

Typical Colombian meal

Bill, Angela and Nancye - Ajiaco (potato soup)
Richard - sancocho (vegetable and chicken soup)
along with chicken, rice and salad

We are staying with Bill and Angela just across a main road from the supermarket. It is very convenient. The church, JJVargas, where they work is a few blocks away. I had my first meeting there last Wednesday. It was good to be back with old friends, including some we have known for 39 years. One thing has changed for us in Colombia. We arrived knowing no one in 1970, now we have friends all over the country. What a warm people the Colombians are. We are enjoying their hospitality. Today we will be spending the day with the extended Vanegas family. We helped teach them the Bible 38 years ago when they first trusted the Lord. What a joy to see over 20 in the extended family following the Lord and dedicated to His service.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Father and Son Missions Presentations

Jonathan and his missions presentation

Richard and his missions presentation

Sunday, February 28th was a special day in that as a father and son team, Jonathan and I did a dual missions presentation at Westminster Bible Chapel. Jonathan had already been asked to speak to the English church and talk about his leading to go with Operation Mobilization for a couple of years. His plans are to join the Turning Point OM team in London to divide his time between doing their computer work and being involved in the evangelistic outreach to the Muslims of the greater London area. Lord willing he plans to leave in August.

At the same time being my last Sunday before going to Colombia for five weeks I decided to do a missions presentation to our Latino church that meets in the fellowship hall at Westminster Bible Chapel. So while Jonathan was doing his presentation in English I was doing my presentation in Spanish. I focused on LEM and its purpose to reach out to the Latinos of Los Angeles and beyond.

Was I proud? It brought to mind the scripure in 3 John 4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

We leave March 2nd for five weeks of ministry in Colombia. We return to Los Angeles on April 8th.