A letter from César Carhuachín serving in Colombia
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Individuals: Give online to E200425 for Cesar Carhuachin’s sending and support
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Dear brothers and sisters:
Greetings from the Reformed University in Barranquilla! After some weeks of vacation visiting my family in Lima (Peru) and Buenos Aires (Argentina), I returned to Colombia on the first days of January to prepare for the five courses I will teach this semester.
My prayers are with you all in the United States for the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the new president and his staff. I know that people might be divided because of some of the current administration’s decisions, but I pray that the Sovereign God may lead the politicians and the people in the U.S. for the good of the country.
As some of you might remember, last year the Colombian government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) signed a Peace Agreement. Praise God—this comes after more than 50 years of armed confrontation. The implementation of that Peace Agreement is working, but not without problems. The FARC is making steps to disarm its forces, but disarmament is by no means complete. Peace Agreement activists are still victims of threats of violence. In addition, though reduction in coca production is central to the Peace Agreement, consumer demand for coca (both nationally and internationally) interferes with achieving it.
For a video account of FARC disarmament, please watch the following video: https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/americas/100000004819711/a-deadly-peace-in-colombia-as-farc-disarms.html
For information on attempts to reduce production of coca, please read the informative article that may be accessed at the web address below:
As is usual each year with our ecumenical partner, the Reformed University of Colombia, in 2017 we have changes at the leadership level. The new university’s president is Helis Barraza, a ruling elder of the 5th Presbyterian Church (a congregation founded by former PC(U.S.A.) missionary Richard Shaull several decades ago), and the new Theology Program’s director is the Rev. Luís Romero, a teaching elder of the same congregation. Helis, who was born in Barranquilla and raised in the 6th Presbyterian Church in the densely populated “Las Nieves neighborhood,” is also the vice-president of the World Communion of Reformed Churches. Luis was born in The Quindío (Coffee Axis) in a coffee farming family and raised at the 5th Presbyterian Church. We hope that God will bless them with wisdom and grace so the whole university may grow (we have 12 programs) and the theology program may continue touching the people’s lives in our congregations beyond the Presbytery of the Coast. I invite you to pray for these two men who took these positions in January.
From March 2-4, our ecumenical partner received Rev. Dr. Hunter Farrell and his wife, Ruth. Farrell, former director of Presbyterian World Mission and current director of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Global Mission Initiative, visited our school to sign a partnership between Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the Reformed University. We pray that this partnership will serve to improve cultural proficiency in both schools, open opportunities to our graduates to continue with their theological studies, and enable the Reformed University to contribute to the Pittsburgh ministry. I thank God that as Reformed Christians we join hands to work together to train Christian leaders for God’s mission in a divided world.
As you know, in 2017 we celebrate the 500th years of the Reformation. And the Colombian Presbyterian Church and the Reformed University of Colombia are really involved in this. From March 16-19, we had “The International Conference of 500 years of Reformation,” with keynote speakers Rev. Dr. Jerry Pillay, president of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, and Rev. Dr. Chris Ferguson, general secretary of the same world organization. These four days of church gatherings, dialogues, interviews, conferences and worship services were very enriching experiences for all. An interdenominational audience attended the conferences and was very involved in raising questions. I conducted an interview with Drs. Pillay and Ferguson that will be published by the university.
As a part of this academic event, the university launched a new book, Reformed Theology and Contemporary Challenges, written by Rev. Milton Mejía and me. In the book, I reflect on the Reformation’s contributions to today’s theology and hermeneutics and propose that the Reformed view of human dignity and freedom in Christ might help us respect human rights of all individuals in our world. In addition, I offer a contextual reflection on how in the last 50 years European, United States and Latin American churches have been addressing their negative attitudes toward other Christian churches and toward indigenous people on the America continent. Finally, focusing on the perspectives of the poor, women and minorities, I consider how we read the Bible. I thank God for the opportunity to support the educational ministry of Colombian Presbyterian Church, which, through its theology program, is really impacting the region with Reformed views of the Bible, theology, ecclesiology and Christian life.
I want to share with you about a Presbyterian congregation in the city of Medellín (one of the most advanced and beautiful cities in Latin America) where I preached this past January 22nd. It is located in La Floresta, a middle class neighborhood. And although it is not an organized congregation yet, it is a growing congregation with 61 members in one of the most advanced and beautiful cities in Latin America. This congregation is five years old and belongs to the Central Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, where the Rev. Isay Perez is ministering. According to Isay, the congregation’s major achievements are creating a great worship and praise group; developing an effective evangelistic group; building a strong sense of community; and establishing a strong youth ministry. In fact, the average age of the congregation is 28-30. Its major challenge is finding a larger location for holding worship services. In order to collect money for this goal, the congregation is selling food such as empanadas after the services. I invite you to join me in praying for our church partner’s growing congregation and for the ministry of the Rev. Isay Perez.
Please check out my page at the World Mission site: www.pcusa.org/cesar-carhuachin, where you can read my past Mission Connections letters. If you want to contact me, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also check out and like my Facebook page: Cesar Carhuachin in Colombia.
I want to thank you for your prayers and financial support in God’s mission in Colombia during the past year. Without your faithful support, I couldn’t minister through mission here. Your support really makes a difference. Peace!
César G. Carhuachín
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Tags: Isay, peace agreement, reformation, Reformed University
Tags: César Carhuachín