Monday, April 12, 2010

Farewell Bogotá

Farewell Colombia
In all we had over 10 flights to get around Colombia. The Lord looked after us. We met a lot of old friends and made new friends. Above all we came to appreciate the great things that God is doing in Colombia. He is raising up a powerful church that is effectively reaching out within Colombia and overseas.

Entrance to Bill and Angela's apartment
We got to appreciate the apartment where Bill and Angela live - even on the fifth floor! However, that was good as we were able to work off a lot of calories, but it is hard work at 8,600 feet above sea level.

Friends in Nuevo Colon Church, Bogotá
It was sad getting to know people and then having to farewell them.

Our good friends, the Vanegas family
Gilberto, Sandra, Daniel, Sandra Milena and Laura. All very capable people and involved serving the Lord.

Nancye, with Angela and Bill
We miss being with Angela and Bill. Here we are in front of government buildings on the Plaza de Bolivar. There is a charm about Bogotá never to be forgotten.

Zipaquirá and the Salt Cathedral

Zipaquirá Cathedral
Zipaquirá is a colonial town about an hours drive north of Bogotá. It is famed for its salt mine. After the salt was extracted a cathedral was built in the caverns inside the mountain.

The main plaza
Zipaquirá is impressive for its colonial styled buildings.

Family and Friends
Our visit to Zipaquirá was made with Bill and Angela, and friends Julian and Diana Gutiérrez. Julian studied at Talbot Seminary with Bill and is now back in Colombia.
Julian and Diana celebrated Thanksgiving Dinner with us each year in Long Beach while they were in California.

Contemplating the awesome caverns inside the salt mine and cathedral.
The cathedral has been carved out of rock that contains salt. It is located several hundred feet under the mountain. Entry is made through a tunnel. It is unique in that it is the only such cathedral underground in the world. Nancye and I first visited the former cathedral 39 years ago! It became dangerous. The new one is much more spectacular.


Air service to Málaga!
I flew in a Cesna to Málaga - pilot and three passengers. Nancye remained back in Bucaramanga. It used to take 5 hours over a difficult and dangerous road from Bucaramanga to Málaga, so it was a pleasure looking down and only taking 30 minutes. I could see landmarks that were very familiar in the past - la Mesa de los Santos, El Canyon del Chicamocha, Panache (the new theme park with cable car over a spectacular valley, La Laguna de Ortiz, Cepitá, Molagavita, San José de Miranda and then Málaga. There was a certain nostalgia about returning to Malága. I had been forbidden to go there last time in Colombia due to the town being held by guerrillas. Also in the past I calculated that I must have done over 150 trips to Málaga (along with John Duckhorn and Carl Lehmann) to help the church get established in a very strategic region. Málaga was very resistant to the gospel in the past and it was a miracle that a church was ever established. Over the years many people have been saved due to the witness of the local church and the faithful efforts of men like
Martín Sandoval.

Roman Catholic church on the main plaza.

Main plaza of Málaga.
In recent years the plaza has been revamped with new paving stones and gardens.

Martín and Lucia Sandoval
It was great being back in the home of Martín and Lucia and enjoying their hospitality. I have spent a great deal in the past working with Martín. He is a dear friend and it was great having a few days together with him again.

Sergio Gómez from Bogotá.
While in Málaga, Sergio Gómez from Bogotá joined us for 24 hours. here he is just before his return to Bogotá by bus.


Reunion with former workers
We stayed with Marcia VanderLaan (3rd from right) in Bucaramanga. She also had Sandi Stirling (1st right) staying with her. Sandi also worked in Bucaramanga with us in the 1970's. As well Bill and Angela came to Bucaramanga for a few days. This was Angela's first visit back in several years. On the day that Bill and Angela arrived, the church choir (made up of a group of young people) came to serenade us. This is a quality choir. Several of the members are also choir members at the local university.

I had the privilege of speaking at the Easter Conference.

Showing of my skill at spinning tops.
There's nothing like getting out with the local kids and trying out a few new skills. (He was better than me!)

Bucaramanga city.
Being built on a meseta (tableland) there is limited area for growth. In recent years old buildings have been torn down to be replaced with high rise apartment buildings. This has brought a lot of congestion to an already crowded city of well over 1,000,000 people. The city is hazy as, again, the problem is that it hasn't rained for months and the haze hangs over the area.

Medellín (Colombia's second city)

Looking out over part of Medellín.
It hasn't rained for months, hence the smog.

Bill and Liliana Loudon
Bill is the father of Bill our son in law.

Medellín and cable car.
The cable car is used a a means of public transport for the people who live on the side of the mountain. It is also a tourist attraction.

Forest above Medellín
The cable car takes 45 minutes to get to its destination which is a forest where they are developing a park.

Tuluá & Bugalagrande

Byron and Lyn Johanssen
Samuel and Alissa (daughter) Sánchez

For some years Byron and Lyn Johanssen from Australia have worked in Tuluá, two hours south of Armenia in the Department (state) of Valle del Cauca. It is a hot area where sugar cane is one of the predominant crops. There is a good sized church in Tuluá and they were able to buy a deep property that is in the process of being developed. The church meets in the back and they are still working on the front part of the allotment.

Meeting place for church in Tuluá

Front part of allotment in Tuluá under development.

In Bugalagrande, a half hour from Tuluá, a property was purchased to develop a campsite. Samuel and Alissa are working on the property and developing the campsite as well as using it for a church with people coming from Bugalagrande.

Swimming pool on campsite, Bugulagrande.