Wow, the events leading up to this date have been phenomenal (and some of them difficult.) And because of that, Cheri and I are fully confident that God is up to something wonderful.

Just to bring you up to speed, we have been planning this excursion pretty much since we were here last August (2009) because we fell in love with the people and with the ministries here. In that planning process, there have been many evolutions, glitches, praises, obstacles, and victories.

We have seen our team change drastically as initially we were hosting a group of High School students with us, which quickly dropped out when parents began to realize that this trip might me dangerous. Then, another group of high school teens fell through the same “danger” cracks (which totally amazes me … I mean, hey … we DO live in the Chicagoland area … you know the one that a few years ago was known as the murder capital of the world. I want preach that message but I have lived in Detroit (where I also currently teach) and I do live in Chicago and I dearly love both of those places … and yes, they can be dangerous … yet so can Ashland OH if you go into the wrong place at the wrong time. Besides, I feel perfectly secure in God’s arms here in Medellin … as I do when I am in Chicago and Detroit, and Ashland, and Toledo and … well, you get the picture.

We also had a group of carpenters and contractors drop out when their wives caught wind of the possible dangers of being here. But you know what, God DOES KNOW what He is doing and whom He is assembling for these tasks.

And the time leading up to this. Wow, it would have been easy to stop and consider not coming becasue of the intense hours that have taken place in the past two weeks (including moving, preparing, having a mom (whom I love dearly) in the hospital … at death’s door.

Yet here we are … and I know God is up to something good.

There are three of us: Cheri, Doug Bell, and me. We arrived here in Medellin early this afternoon and we were warmly greeted by Adam Cabeen, Pastor Pedro, and Pastor Pedro. (I love it: One Pastor Pedro told us this: Remember, you can always tell us apart: I’m black and he’s not.) These men are truly brothers.

Adam will be our interpreter for the journey and I will be preaching/teaching at least 13 sessions/sermons here … as well as all the other tasks we will perform but God is so good.

When Adam isn’t with us, we are having to use or (very) limited Spanish, including using our electronic translators and hand gestures … but so far today, we have been able to refresh with snacks (empanadas, guanabana juice (con leche), gatorade, agua, cafe con leche, coca cola, robalo (which was delicious) with salada, papas de francesa, baby beef, and the absolutely most delicious creme of mushroom (championones) soup I have ever put in my mouth. And we did most of this on our own with our Spanish (limited) and our waiter’s English (non-existent.) We also got him to put all of this on our room bill. (I am beeming with pleasure right now … I wonder if we will wake up in the morning and realize we just put everyone’s food tab on our room bill …hmmmn.

Anyway, It is time for a wonderful night’s sleep so that we can be rested for orientation tomorrow.