A Letter from Cesar Carhuachin, serving in Colombia
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Greetings from Barranquilla, Colombia (South America).
In the pandemic era, here in Colombia, the situation is bad, but not too bad if we think about how other South American countries are being impacted by the Coronavirus. In Latin America, Brazil has the highest number of positive COVID-19 patients, Peru ranks second, and Colombia ranks sixth. There are 21 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Here, in the city of Barranquilla, the mayor issued an order that allows people to leave their homes once every two weeks, depending on the last number of their IDs.
Our church partner, the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, celebrated a virtual worship celebration on Sunday, April 19th, with people from Colombia and U.S.A. All our congregations in Columbia are holding virtual worship services on Sundays. I thank God for all the congregations here. The quarantine has pushed many church leaders to work more closely with youth members than they had in the past since the younger members are much more familiar with technology and computer applications (Facebook, Zoom, WhatsApp, Youtube, Skype, Wetransfer, etc.). We will all know how to manage these technological resources in the post-pandemic era.
During this time, of course, my work is done virtually. Like all my colleagues in Barranquilla at the Reformed University, I am teaching my three courses using Microsoft Teams. The platform works wonderfully. Just take a look at the screenshot of my Tuesday night Ethics class. The only problem occurs when we have a weak internet signal. I am also doing my advisory work on graduate papers with three students using Whatsapp on my computer. I have been sharing virtual sermons with different congregations; sometimes, they are “live,” and sometimes they are “pre-recorded.” I also have had the opportunity to talk about God’s mission in Colombia to one congregation in the U.S.A. Something new that I have experienced is to take part in an hour and a half virtual conference with others via a radio program in Bogotá. I have never before had so many commitments “virtually” with so many people. I must confess I am having to learn how to deal with all these resources.
Next semester, the theology faculty has invited me to teach a new online course called “The Christian Tradition and Pandemic” for the Ecumenical Community of Theological Education of Latin America (CETELA). Please, pray for me as I design this new class.
I would like to share some news about two of my students. They are Juan Carlos Serrano and Maribey Villarreal. You can see them in the photo above. They began studying in 2013, the same year I began teaching at the Reformed University as a PC(USA) mission co-worker. Now, I am their adviser for their graduate paper. The title of their paper is: “Perspectiva bíblica-teológica sobre el salario en Colombia y su relación con la justiciar.” They are addressing the theological and biblical perspective on wages in Columbia and their relationship to a just distribution of resources. Maribey is a single mother and the pastor of Quadrangular Christian Church “House of Prayer.” She is the mother of a young lady. Juan Carlos is married to Elena, and they have three daughters. He works as a quality supervisor in a Solar Energy company. He is a member and a leader of the congregation, where Maribey is the pastor. I request your prayers for them as they are finishing their graduate papers this month.
Here is a short update on my health. I feel much, much better these days. The tendonitis in both of my shoulders is much less painful. Since I am able to work from home these days, I have learned how to take care of my shoulders, so I don’t have such terrible pain. One thing I have learned is not to sit in front of the computer for many consecutive hours. I have also learned to move with my laptop from table to sofa after a couple of hours, then from sofa to table, and back again. These practices are helping me. I really appreciate your prayers.
It is difficult not to be concerned in the middle of the pandemic when people we care about have come down with COVID-19. I want to request your prayers for Melquisedec Donado, a new student in our theology program, who is sick from COVID-19. Also, pray for my student Liliana Giraldo. Her mother has cancer and needs surgery, but the doctors told her that she has to wait because, right now, the priorities are the COVID-19 patients. I also request your prayers for two of my friends in Lima. They are Luís Duymovich and José Chuquipiondo, two Peruvian Baptist pastors who have tested positive for COVID-19. Please also pray for Aline Suarez, who is also COVID-19 positive. She is my niece Jenny’s mother-in-law and lives next door to Jenny. Finally, please pray for my dear friend Viviana Monton, who lives in Como (Italy). She is the mother of three children and works with Africans and Middle East immigrants. She has also tested positive for COVID-19. Thank you for praying for these brothers and sisters in Christ.
I thank God for your prayer and financial support. That allows me to serve here as a mission co-worker. If you are not yet part of God’s mission in Colombia, I invite you to consider joining me as I spread God’s message of hope in Columbia.
If you wish to contact me or want to receive my mission connections letters, please email me at email@example.com. I invite you to check out my mission-connections web page at https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/missionconnections/rev-c-sar-carhuach-n/, and visit my Facebook page “Cesar Carhuachin in Colombia.”
In Christ’s service,
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