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God’s Mission in Colombia

A Letter from César Carhuachín, serving in Colombia

Summer 2021

Write to César Carhuachín 

IndividualsGive online to E200425 for César Carhuachín’s sending and support 

Congregations: Give to D507559 for César Carhuachín’s sending and support 

Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery) 

 


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Hello, friends of God’s mission in Colombia!

Greetings from Barranquilla!

I want to share with you all that Colombia is doing better as far as the COVID pandemic is concerned. Currently, it is the 25th country in the world with more COVID-positive cases (146,927). Barranquilla is making the vaccine available to people 20 years of age and older and children between 12 and 19 years old with serious underlying conditions. The availability of vaccines is why some institutions, businesses and offices are making changes to mass gatherings, face-to-face meetings and in-person work mandates. This is very important because whether or not people can meet in person is very closely related to the national and local economy, which is a serious concern.

The protests that have taken place in multiple cities in Colombia are major conflicts that are still ongoing. This past August, there were groups of people protesting in many cities such as Bogotá, Cali, Medellin, Pereira, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga and others. The reasons the protests continue are: 1) The 10 demands that the National Strike Committee presented to congress have not been acted upon; 2) The 41 recommendations on Human Rights that the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (CIDH) presented to President Ivan Duque and that the Workers Union asked the president to respect has not received an answer; 3) The National Strike Committee rejects the Tax Reform Law proposal presented to congress; 4) There continues to be open and above-board persecution of the youth who have participated in the public protests; 5) Sixty-seven social and community leaders have been killed as have 283 demobilized FARC guerillas although FARC signed a Peace Agreement with the Colombian government in 2016. Evidently, Colombia is a country where work for peace and reconciliation is needed. Please pray for our church partner to be able to proclaim peace and reconciliation and be a living example of the peaceful society that this country needs.

Our ecumenical partner, the Reformed University of Colombia, is also adapting well to the new COVID situation. Two hundred twenty-three new students have enrolled in this new semester, and there are a total of 2,529 students in all 12 programs. The university is delivering classes according to a hybrid model whereby some courses are offered online while others are offered face-to-face. Some administrative personnel are going to the campus while others are not. The school gathered for “The Second International Seminar on Reconciliation, Non-violence and Sustainable Development” on August 19-21, 2021.

I am still teaching, attending meetings and guiding students remotely. This semester, I am teaching three courses: Systematic Theology 1 and 2, and Ecumenism in Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Perspectives: Contributions for the Human Fraternity. This last course is offered in partnership with Saint Thomas University (Bogotá) and Saint Vincent Ferrer School of Theology (Valencia, Spain) and is taught by three professors with three different theological backgrounds: Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Reformed. I am teaching the Protestant perspective. Twenty-seven students have enrolled in the course. We hope the students will enjoy the course and be excited to do theology from an ecumenical perspective. Ecumenical dialogue and joint church ministries are not common in this region. They are not usually seen as valuable in Colombia, where the Roman Catholic Church is the largest and oldest church, and the Pentecostal and Neo-Pentecostal Churches are the largest and fastest-growing non-Catholic churches.

Our church partner, the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, is following a model of hybrid worship services. Some churches continue holding online services, and others hold in-person services with a few people in attendance. These worship services have the additional challenge of sharing them through Facebook live, Zoom and YouTube. Fifth Presbyterian Church of Barranquilla, where I preached on Sunday, August 8, 2021, follows this model. About 20 people attended, and the service was transmitted through social media. Other congregations have two monthly in-person services and two online services. The main reason people hold in-person meetings is that they miss each other after 18 months without personal contact. Please pray for our church partner that is trying to keep people connected and keep governmental safety regulations in place.

One challenge our church partner is facing is to keep ministries going in the middle of some financial limitations. The economic problems in the nation have resulted in reduced income for congregations. I am really impressed that some congregations continue serving the neediest people, such as Venezuelan immigrants and persons displaced by violence. Please keep our church partner in your hearts and prayers in times when the church strives to be faithful by following Jesus in service to the most vulnerable people in the city.

Thank you for your faithful prayers and financial support of God’s mission in Colombia and my ministry in Barranquilla. Your financial support allows me to co-work with our church partner here. If you want to learn more about God’s mission in Colombia, please check out my World Mission profile page at pcusa.org/cesar-carhuachin. If you want to contact me, write an email to cesar.carhuachin@pcusa.org.

God bless you, your family and the life you live in the church.

In Christ,

 

 

Please read the following letter from Sara P. Lisherness, the interim director of World Mission:

Dear partners in God’s mission,

I don’t know about you, but daily my heart grows heavier. News about the pandemic, wars, wildfires, gun violence, racism, earthquakes and hurricanes cloud my vision. It’s hard to see hope; our world is in a fog. Yet we trust that God’s light and love transcend the brokenness of this time.

God is at work transforming the world, and you, through your prayers, partnership and encouragement, are helping us share this good news. Thank you for your faithful and gracious support of our mission personnel.

How can we see through the fog? What will the church be after the pandemic? Could it be that God is doing “a new thing” and is inviting us to perceive it? Through all the uncertainty we know that God’s steadfast love and care for all creation will prevail and that God’s Spirit is at work in each of us.

We all have an integral part to play in fulfilling God’s mission. As we seek to grow together in faithfulness there are three important steps I invite you to take in supporting our shared commitments to God’s mission:
Give – Consider making a year-end financial contribution for the sending and support of our mission personnel. Your support helps mission personnel accompany global partners as together they share the light of God’s love and justice around the world. Invite your session to include support for mission personnel in its annual budget planning.
Act – Visit The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study to delve deeper into the work God is doing through the PC(USA) and its partners in ministry around the globe: pcusa.org/missionyearbook.
Pray – Include our mission personnel, our global partners, and our common commitments to share God’s grace, love, mercy and justice in your daily prayers.

Thank you for your faithfulness to God’s mission through the Presbyterian Church. It is my prayer that you will continue to support this work with your prayers, partnership, and financial gifts in the coming year. We hope you will join us and our partners in shining a beacon of hope throughout the world.

In the light of hope,

 

 

Sara P. Lisherness, Interim Director
World Mission
Presbyterian Mission Agency
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

To give please visit https://bit.ly/PCUSAmission

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16


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