From Kevin Maner, leader of the Generations missions care team for Colombia regarding their call with Edison, Meredid, Juan, and Johana:
"It was a great call and a great time to reconnect with them. They seemed genuinely happy to see and speak with us.
We told them that it would be a monthly call for us to reconnect and grow closer together and be able to share both praises and prayer requests and for them to let us know what is going on in their church and vice versa.
They shared with us about the addition that they are making to add another floor to their building to accommodate the foundation for the children that they run with Compassion and that they are renaming the Foundation as "Fundacion Calvary" so that it will be more closely aligned and integrated into the church. They shared that it's roughly a 100 square meter addition and that they have roughly 250-260 kids.
Johana asked for prayer for the families of the church, the families of the leaders. Edison shared that they have 8 new members and also new families in the church. Juan asked for prayer for the adolescents in the church and shared that they are meeting with them once per month.
They are in their second year of community groups. They have 5-6 groups. They shared that they have 4 elders and 1 deacon and that they usually invite the deacon to the elders meetings.
All in all it was a great time to catch up and spend time with them. We ended up with a time of prayer for them and their church."
In August, we were able to send a team of 4 (Lina López, Samantha Hammett, Kevin Maner, and Scottie Finlayson) down to Colombia to visit the brothers and sisters at Calvary. Lina and Sam taught at the church's first ever women's retreat, where they focused on the theme of unity. Scottie and Kevin got to spend a lot of time with Pastor Edison and his family. It was a huge blessing to get to reconnect with this church and hear how the Lord is working in and through their congregation! Please pray for the following:
- Pastor Edison has been traveling to a couple cities called Valledupar and San Juan in order to help small groups of believers there to get established and plant churches. Members of Calvary also support believers in an indigenous community close to Santa Marta called the Chimila people. Praise God for his faithfulness to bring lost people in these communities to faith in Christ, and pray that he would continue to use Calvary to help grow strong and healthy in their faith.
- Calvary partners with Compassion International to run a children's foundation in their community. They're doing an incredible job ministering to kids in the name of Jesus, but it's difficult to sustain financially. Please pray that they'd be able to make connections with partner organizations that can contribute to the work they're doing.
- Several different ministries currently take turns using the church building on Saturdays because there's not enough space for all of them. They would like to turn another room into a meeting place, and they've also been patiently waiting for months to talk with their landlord about purchasing a piece of land behind the church. Please pray for the Lord's favor and provision in these areas.
This past week we had the pleasure of hosting Pastor Edison for a few days as he visited church partners in Georgia and Nebraska. Despite the challenges of COVID and several brothers and sisters being personally affected by the loss of family members, the church remains strong by the grace of God.
They've begun a young adult ministry, which is being led by Juan Camilo and Camila (a couple that recently got engaged and who you may have met if you went on the Generations Colombia trip!). This group has been meeting every couple weeks and continues to grow.
Sadly, Edison recently had his motorcycle stolen, which was his only form of transportation. This made it especially difficult to get his daughter Sofía to her appointments for her medical condition. But praise God, another believer heard about the situation and gave her car to Edison's family!
The church continues ministering to children and their families in the community through the foundation. Kids used to come every day, but they've had to change it to an alternating schedule with smaller numbers because of COVID. They continue giving out food and hygienic supplies to families in need. Because of changes in how Compassion International supports the center, the church now has to bear more of the load of finding funding, which has been very stressful. Please pray that the Lord would provide for the needs of this ministry.
Lastly, the church is currently prayerfully considering starting a second service on Sundays. Colombia has restrictions on the number of people that can meet at one time due to COVID, so this would allow more brothers and sisters to worship together on a Sunday. Please pray for God to give them wisdom and to continue strengthening the church in Santa Marta and causing it to flourish!
Colombia continues to deal with constantly changing restrictions depending on the number of COVID cases in the country, but the church is healthy and doing well. They're currently doing two services on Sundays, with 40 people coming to the first service and about 30 coming to the second. Things are going well overall, but the daily grind of ministry and helping brothers and sisters in the congregation with their needs weighs upon Pastor Edison.
Please pray for Calvary's upcoming leadership retreat on March 25-26. Several church leaders and their families will be taking some time away so that they can pray together, enjoy a time of fellowship together, and get some well-deserved rest. Please pray that this time would be refreshing and energizing for them, so that they can continue giving themselves fully to the work of the Lord in Santa Marta without growing weary.