Friday, May 08, 2009

Bogota, Columbia - Missions Trip

In July, Nancy and I are going to Bogota, Columbia on a week-long short-term missions trip with a group from our church. We have a sister church there, and we hope to be involved in remodeling and equipping the school there. Our church sponsors and organizes several such trips each year, some domestic, some international and we are looking forward to it with increasing anticipation for a number of reasons.

While our church is by no means huge, here in our area we happen to be one of the larger congregations and we have people who come not only from nearby Richmond, but from any of a couple of dozen small rural communities within a 60-70 mile radius, stretching into nearby eastern Ohio. Our team of approximately a dozen is made up of some people with whom we already enjoy close friendships as well as some people that we are only just now meeting and getting to know for the first time, which I really like. There is an especially interesting and highly diverse mix of ages, personalities, experience, and areas of personal skill.

Nancy and I like to travel and we are both excited about seeing a new place, experiencing a new culture, and meeting new people. I am brushing up on my Spanish, which was always merely functional, at best, and is now more marginal than ever, having lived in Indiana for the last 10 years.

It has been fun to research and learn about Colombia, too. I was astonished to learn that the Bogota metro area has over 8 million people, which puts it just under the size of Chicago and appreciably larger than Washington, D.C.

It will really be interesting to see and hear, first hand, what life is like there. In addition to participating in the work projects, I am anxious to try the local cuisine, see some of the city, and just soak up the local culture. My hope and expectation is that we'll meet new friends, learn new things, and come away with a broader perspective on life and faith. My compadre and worship leader extraordinaire, Steve Mathews, is leading our group, so we are hoping, too, that there will be some good musical interaction, too.

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