Embraced by Jesus Colombian Children's Home - Pereira, Colombia, South America

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fun in Colombia

By: Jaci
Age: 13
2:30 a.m. comes fast! Before we knew it we were bound for Miami and deliriously happy! We ended up getting to the Air Port 4 hours early, oops. We boarded the plane, everyone but dad not knowing what to expect and in my case kinda freaking out! It was a long day, we landed in the Air Port of Cartegena, Colombia but unfortunately didn’t get to leave the plane and see the sight. Within the hour we were back in the air, bound for Pereira! We landed in a small un-air-conditioned airport about 1 hour’s drive from the children’s home. Within 30 minutes we collected our luggage and some of the directors’ friends were there to pick us up. The driving was CRAZY! I would have thought I would have been afraid but I had complete peace! Me and Kayla sat, looking out the window, fascinated by how different it was from North America. We kept pinching each other to make sure we weren’t dreaming! The winding mountain roads seemed endless until we finally arrived at the Embraced by Jesus compound. One of the teenage boys helped unload our luggage and we were greeted with the directors’ smiling faces and a GIANT meal! When we arrived I was a little freaked out; it was pouring rain and the compound was really dark! I thought, “I just need some sleep.” I was right! 

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to much commotion.  Kayla and I were eager to meet the kids and explore. We hurriedly got ready and zoomed out of our room (which we shared with 12 other girls from the home!) The place was AWESOME! We met some of the kids during breakfast, but most of them left for school by 6:00 a.m., except for some of the teens that went to school on Friday and Saturday. The compound was beautiful and soooo mountainous! Everything was uneven. I was so tired but happy. We went to Dad’s and Galen’s cabin to pray the first day and Dad told us that a YWAM team from New Castle, Australia, was going to arrive that morning. Well, the YWAM team was awesome. They were so nice and fun and cool. 

One night, we went to a women’s meeting where Kayla did a dance. Another night, we went to a youth meeting that was amazing and the whole church was just great! We also taught the kids a drama. It was so fun and later they performed it at an outreach. 

I would take up a zillion pages if I wrote down every awesome thing that happened on the trip but I had to keep it short. I loved how easy-to-make-friends-with the kids were. I loved the food. The place was beautiful. My relationship with God grew to a new level and my view on things has definitely changed for the better. I can’t wait till God brings me back!


By: Galen

I had very few expectations upon my departure for Colombia. The small number of expectations I did have tended to be unfounded: the food was not spicy; the humidity wasn't that bad; among all the individuals on the compound (adults included) there were about a dozen words in English to be heard. While my Spanish was only slightly better the first day, by the last I could almost convey a coherent idea. Although my language skills were distinctly lacking, I held a tool more powerful than the most thorough dictionary: my camera. If a picture is truly worth something in the vicinity of a thousand words, I was chatting up a storm. I did spend much of my time shooting stills and video of the facility and its surroundings, but I tried as frequently as possible to capture the fleeting moments we had as we interacted with the kids of the facility.

Not necessarily an expectation, but rather, a fear of mine was that we would arrive to the sorrowful faces and grief-stricken spirits of 60 kids. To see children whose prior life, as it were, subjected them to a world that was far from loving or caring, a world that found them to be an expendable commodity; a tool to be used. I am most pleased to note that this fear was absolutely obliterated by the joy, silliness, and compassion of scores of healthy, happy, active children. This isn't to say they are want for nothing. We often are told by friends and family that traveling to another (specifically, poorer) country changes your view on life, the universe, and everything. I, for one, have heard this adage more times than I can easily recall. However, in my case, this is quintessentially true. I am well aware of the fact that it is a great inconvenience when you fall out of 3G range and the funny cat video you were watching on your smartphone fails to buffer completely. While it may be difficult to imagine yourself in a place were electricity is intermittent (when the bill can be paid), hot water is a far-off luxury, and you sweep, mop, wash clothes, cook, and do dishes every day, they exist in a greater number than most American suppose. Though each week is filled with tasks to be completed, every day seems to be greeted with some measure of gratitude.
The impression that has remained most vibrant is just this: the Embraced by Jesus family not only cares for one-another, but they do it with gladness in their hearts. I am exceedingly grateful I had the opportunity to travel to Colombia and meet a group of people who were able, in all of about six days, to not only teach me about a culture of which I had little knowledge, but also confirm to me that through love, compassion, and, most of all, family, any wounds can be healed.

My Trip to Colombia

By: Kayla
Age: 14

Oh, I never thought I would go out of the country, but I did!! It seemed like a dream until we actually got there, and even then I couldn’t believe it. It was amazing!!!! The scenery , the city, but most of all…the children! I couldn’t believe how happy they were. I mean, how could you be happy if you didn’t have any parents or you knew you had parents but they didn’t care about you?? And they were so…….loveable. You could make friends with them so quickly if you just smiled and at them and said “Hola.” Then they would smile back and hug you and be your friend. It was great!!!! You don’t see that in America. A lot of kids in America are too prejudiced to be that friendly. I liked the way they were in Colombia!!

The language barrier was very annoying, and how I longed to know more Spanish!!! I am planning to learn more Spanish so when we go back I’ll be fluent!!! Even with the language barrier, it didn’t prevent Jaci  and I from having fun with the children!!! We would stumble around, trying to communicate things and actually, that was kinda fun in itself!!! But we played soccer, played on the playground or just sat there and a child would  be there with you, either lying in your lap or with their arm around you. And they would say something and we would try to understand it but I think the thing we said most was, “No entiendo.”
Whew!! Hardcore work. I don’t think I’ll ever complain about doing dishes again after that!!! Oh, and washing clothes by hand!! I’ve never done that before!! Hardcore work, too! But it was kinda fun to try and get all the stains out. They had two washing machines and four dryers, but I guess the expense is too much to run them often. And dancing at the woman’s meeting. . . . I was so glad I did that. It was great!!!! And ya know, I felt at total peace with everything.  

I was surprised at myself that I didn’t even want to complain. Before we went I said to myself that I shouldn’t complain because we are going on a mission’s trip, and mission’s trips are all about working and so I shouldn’t complain about work. But even in my head I didn’t want to complain. I have missionary books and I read them again before the trip to see what I could possibly face in another country I don’t know maybe that helped prepare me or maybe it was just God. I could go on and on, but I would take up about 1,000 pages so I’ll close with this: I had an AMAZING time and I would LOVE to go back!!!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Home to 57 Colombian Children

The Home is a group of buildings and additions. 
The round building to the left is the central meeting house.
On the far left is a laundry/clothes drying building, next to that a new bath house, then the boys dorm. There is a main house where Jaime & Rubiela sleep along with some of the children. Then there is a kitchen/dining building and a girls dorm.
The climate is mild year round allowing for open areas for meeting and dining.  It is chilly on winter mornings but will warm up soon. Winter means rain, and more rain. 

This is a favorite spot for the young ones and the ball field gets a lot of use by the older ones.
The older children do most of the cooking, washing and care of the toddlers.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Well driller has hit Water

maquina poso 100_0157
Well Drilling Machine has finally hit water! 
        We have waited for 6 months for this to happen.  It took so long because they had to redo the septic system before they were allowed to drill.  There were also a lot of permits and paperwork to get in place. 
The first of January $5,000 was collected for this project.  Thank you to each contributer.  The water bill has been running about $400 a month so with a bit of math, you can see this well will pay for itself in a very short time.
  Praise to our Father God!