We arrived in Columbia Sunday afternoon. It was a beautiful sunny day, but very chilly. Even though Bogota is in the tropics, it is at an altitude of 8700 feet, which makes it very cool much of the year.
What a delight to see Steve Bartel greet us as we came out of customs. He took us right away to the Bogota Street Kids bus. We call it the Beast! This is a 13-year-old vehicle that was built purposely on a truck chassis. It has been over many mountain roads, and has hit many potholes, causing lots of wearing and tear. The ministry has had this bus for 13 years, and Steve was lamenting, that by law, they can only use it for 7 more years to transport kids. Steve took us for a late lunch and then we headed off to the hotel for a good night’s sleep before a busy week ahead in this amazing city.
Our first full day began by meeting the 30 staff of the Bogota Street Kids ministry. They are an amazing assortment of people from different backgrounds, and different nationalities. After spending some time with the staff, we headed off to a park where we would have a morning filled with fun activities. These are people who have laid down their lives to minister to children from poor neighborhoods and from terrible family circumstances. Many of the children that they minister to are the children of prostitutes, or children who themselves have been sold in the sex slave trade. It was so good to be able to have some fun time with these heroes.
Next, we headed back to the ministry center for a time of teaching. I had the privilege to share on the subject of the Father Heart of God. As I shared I had a strong sense of God’s great love for this staff. They live day by day in the reality of God’s Father Heart, as they show that heart to these desperately needy children.
After the teaching and prayer time, we went next to The Oasis. This is the Half-way house for children rescued from the streets. Alex is only 34 years old, but he has led this ministry house for 9 years. These kids have been radically transformed by Alex and the staff of this ministry. We heard heart wrenching stories from the kids in the home. They were also stories of transformation and hope.
We already feel at home here in Colombia. It’s so good to have the Rannells family and Daniel with us on this journey.