For several months, we have had a burden to reach out to English speakers in other parts of Medellin, specifically Laureles. This post is titled Laureles Update and tells a little more about our adventure with God in this community.
Why is Laureles so important? Laureles is the second most popular area for North Americans and other Expats who live here. Laureles is on the other side of the Medellin River from Poblado and is much flatter than most other parts of Medellin. So walking is much easier. And from what we have been told, prices for rent, food, and most other things are less expensive there than in Poblado.
Search for Location
This week, the Lord opened up this community to us. Sweet Georgia Cafe is a restaurant owned by Robert Lester from Fort Valley, Georgia. They have great food and a very popular feature – they serve breakfast all day long! Robert is a Christian, and almost all of his customers speak English. So it is a very comfortable environment, especially for Americans.
At one time we had talked with Robert about allowing us to host a small group Bible study in his restaurant and he agreed. The last time we visited with him he also encouraged us to check out a Spanish Evangelical Christian church just around the corner from his restaurant.
As I explained in my last post, we visited the church the next Sunday morning and immediately connected with Pastor Carlos. Pastor Carlos was excited about the possibility of an English speaking Christian group and wanted us to hold it in his church. So fast-forward to this week and let me share with you all God has done.
Tuesday night, Michael, Nichole, Paulette and I drove over to Laureles, with all the supplies we thought we needed to host a small group. We got there early so we had dinner at Sweet Georgia Cafe. Nichole had the standard breakfast – Waffles, scrambled eggs and bacon, while Paulette had the same but skipped the eggs. Michael had one of their specialties – Waffles and Fried Chicken. I was the boring one and ordered the grilled chicken salad. Everything was delicious!
While there, we met several new friends and having previously received Robert’s permission, we put up a poster about the new small group Bible study. Then we walked over to the church. We arrived early, and while we were waiting, Michael couldn’t help but try to entertain them and make them laugh. That allowed me to show off the article and pictures of Michael in his Christian clown ministry.
We didn’t know if anyone would show up, but we went in faith. The church had a men’s Bible study group scheduled at the same time so we shared the sanctuary with them. We had a few logistical issues especially when both groups were singing – different songs in different languages! Even though they outnumbered us, we held our own, especially in the singing department! But afterward, we got this photo of both groups. We were all able to encourage each other. God is very good!
Our First Visitor
One young man from Colombia who spoke English and who had traveled some in the US attended our group. We had a wonderful time singing, studying John Chapter 1, praying, and sharing Communion. During prayer time, I got a little bit “nosey” and we ended up praying for a Christian wife for him!
We ended right on time at 8:30 so everyone could get home at a reasonable hour. We can’t wait to see what plans God has for this group.
God Is Opening New Doors
As part of this expansion to Laureles, we have met several new people who I feel are going to be very important for the future of our group. I told you in my last post about our meetings with Pastor Carlos at ICC and Pastor Diego at Redil Estadio. Both of these pastors lead fairly large congregations of Spanish Evangelical Christians. I have been excited to learn of the many Evangelical churches in this area of the world that is so heavily dominated by Roman Catholicism.
Pastor Diego referred me to Shane Keely who is the owner of OLSA (Official Language School of the Americas). Please click here to learn more about Shane and OLSA. Yesterday, Shane generously gave me an hour of his time to get to know him and talk about ways we could work together to accomplish our goals. Shane immediately gave me 3 ideas for how we could expand the ministries of Grace Church Medellin. Two of these would also assist OLSA in providing additional services to its students, so a “win-win solution”.
Live and Serve Christ in Medellin
Over the next few weeks, we will be praying about and discussing how God wants us to use these ideas. As I said last week, the Holy Spirit is moving quickly to accomplish His purposes concerning Laureles. He is already using this to train us and design a process for expanding to other areas of Medellin in the future.
Please pray for Medellin and especially for this growing ministry to the English speaking community. As Jesus said in John 4:35,
Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.
And in Matthew 9:37-38,
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
We at Grace Church Medellin believe that God is calling and equipping individuals and couples to live and serve Christ in Medellin (as well as other parts of Latin America). We pray that many others will catch this vision and see the benefits of relocating to help fulfill the Great Commission!