A letter from César Carhuachín in Colombia
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Dear friends, supporters of God’s mission in Colombia:
Greetings in the name of Jesus from the Reformed University of Colombia (CUR) in Barranquilla!
Thanks for your partnership in God’s mission in Colombia. May the God of Peace bless your life and church, and multiply your passion and resources to do the mission of Jesus Christ in this world.
In this time of the year we have warmer weather here, a daily average of 94-95 degrees, with rain and typical flooding on some streets. I have learned how to deal with the flooding on the streets: just wait until the water level comes down in about a half hour or so. That is what everyone does in that situation!
Our ecumenical partner, the CUR, is finishing the semester with one goal reached: to end the semester with graduates of some of the current programs. One of the eight graduate students is Maria Cecilia Amaya, a Pentecostal student. She has finished her schooling but she wants more. She is planning to start a specialization program at the University of Cartagena. The program is called: “Formation for Teaching at College and University Level.” She hopes to teach at the college level when she finishes. I invite you to pray for the life of María and for this unique Reformed school in Latin America, which is sponsored by our church partner the Presbyterian Church of Colombia (PCC) and has been supported by our denomination, the PC(USA), since its beginnings. I pray that the university continues as one of the most solid ministries of the PCC.
This past May 19 the CUR Theology Program’s Research Group Oidepaz led an event called “Tomorrow’s Peace Starts Today,” a prayer meeting for peace in Colombia. Here students, professors, pastors and guests all prayed for peace and celebrated peace with praises to God. The Rev. Sarah Henken, the PC(USA) World Mission’s liaison for the Andean Region, led the devotional time. Issues such as peace and justice, land restitution, ending violence against women, and human rights are part of our daily theological reflection in the Oidepaz Research Group.
I want to introduce to you one of our students, Apolo Escobar, a ruling elder of the Presbytery of Urabá, a region that has been abused by organized violence (guerrillas, paramilitaries, drug trafficking and military). Apolo is serving as a lay pastor in “La Samaritana” Presbyterian Church of Carepa, which serves children and families who are victims of forced displacement. Uraba is the strongest presbytery of the PCC, with 12 congregations and 15 ministries. Apolo is finishing his graduate work and hopes to graduate next semester and begin the ordination process, and hopefully to work as a teaching elder. I am encouraged by the sacrifices Apolo has made to finish school: he traveled from Urabá to Barranquilla and stayed for a semester in order to finish some courses he needed to begin writing for his graduate work. His wife and children stayed in Urabá during that time. Please pray for Apolo and his ministry and others like him, which are serving in that region.
We are almost at the end of this semester at the CUR. However, the next seven weeks are challenging weeks for me. I have to finish three articles for publication here in Colombia: (1) “The negative effects of alcohol on the person and family and the positive effect of the Christian faith on the alcoholic” for Palabra y Vida, a journal of the Theology Program of the CUR in Barranquilla; (2) “The Protestant Reformation, Human Dignity and Human Rights” for a book to be published in Bogota by Central Presbytery of the PCC; and (3) “The Theological Foundation of the Ethics of T. B. Maston” for Kronos Teologico, a journal of the Theology Program of the Baptist University of Colombia located in Cali. This work is part of my duties as a member of Oidepaz, the Research Group of the Theology Program of the CUR. Therefore I ask your prayers for me as I attempt to have them ready for the deadlines provided for these articles.
I spent June 04-08 in Bogota for personal matters. I had to add some pages in my passport for the U.S. Embassy and renew my religious visa in the Colombian Immigration Office. Thanks to God that everything went well.
I had several opportunities to preach this spring. I was happy to preach at Barrio Palermo Presbyterian Church in Bogota, where Rev. Fernando Sanmiguel is serving. This colleague is a blessing to our church partner since he is leading the ecumenical work of the PCC and coordinating the Diakonia work of Central Presbytery. I also preached at “Comunidad Del Camino” Presbyterian Church and the 5th Presbyterian Church in Barranquilla. My sermon at the 5th Presbyterian Church was titled “The Strength of Faith,” based on Psalm 118; Jn. 20:19-31; and 1 Jn. 5:1-4. The three main ideas I shared were: (a) The faith OF Jesus is the faith that we must have to inspire our faith; (b) The faith IN Jesus is the faith that saves us and moves us to a new life; and (3) The faith FOR Jesus is the type of faith that drives us to live the values of the kingdom of God here on earth. It is a blessing for me to support these congregations through preaching and hearing from them how useful and encouraging these sermons were.
If you would like to hear more about God’s mission in Colombia, please follow my ministry through my Facebook page: Cesar Carhuachín in Colombia. Also, check out my profile page at the Presbyterian World Mission site: www.pcusa.org/cesar-carhuachin. I would like to hear from you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your partnership. I could not be a part of this ministry without you. I invite you to continue your prayers and support for God´s mission in Colombia!
Peace of God be with you all,
The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 56, 57
Facebook page: Cesar Carhuachín in Colombia
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