Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Foundation Camino de Emmaus

This past weekend I kicked off my work with the Foundation "Camino de Emaus" (Emmaus Road). Since I have been in Colombia, every year I have lead a workshop with the students in elementary school who receive scholarships from the foundation.

The group of elementary students from Los Llanos

This year is part two of the 10 Life Skills. Last year we looked at self-awareness, emotions, and assertive communication. This year we are looking at the next three skills: stress management, inter-personal relations, and creative thinking. IELCO is also beginning to implement "Safe Church" policy, called the Child Protection Policy. Last weekend was the first of these retreats and we started in The Plains (Los Llanos). As you can see from the photos, I had a great groups of kiddos.

This girls in this photo were in one of the activities about inter-personal relationships. They had to draw each of their favorite animals while both using the same marker at the same time. 

Each of the children received a little container of play-dough to play with practicing creative thinking as well as stress management. 

The children are studying the booklets about the Child Protection Policies. We then played jeopardy to see how well they understood (they did a great job). 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

National Day of Remembrance and Solidarity with the Victims of the Armed Conflict

In Colombia, April 9th has been declared The National Day of Remembrance and Solidarity with the Victims of the Armed Conflict. On this day in 1948, Jorge Eliecer Gaitán, one of the most charismatic leaders of Colombia, a lawyer and ex-mayor of Bogota committed to social justice, and a presidential hopeful, was assassinated on the streets of Bogota. The violence that Colombia is still suffering today can be traced back to the consequences of this tragic event of 1948.

Yesterday (April 9th), we attended an ecumenical commemoration, to remember the victims of the conflict, to ask for forgiveness as churches for involvement (consciously or unconsciously) in the violence, and to look forward to the challenges in building peace in Colombia.

Gloria Gaitán (daughter of Jorge Eliecer Gaitán) is distributing the communion bread.

Listening to one of Gaitán's famous speeches with the family was a moment of raw emotion.

Pastor Nelson Celis of the IELCO was invited to offer the opening prayer at the event:

Let us pray:

In the love that brings us together today, God the Father/Mother,
We make of our prophetic voice, a permanent prayer:
the historical claim that, even though hidden and silenced,
Truth seeks light, and memory longs for reconciliation.

This is the time, caring and near God, to rejoice,
from our diversity, and in the coming together of sincere spirits,
to strive in the search and the finding of justice,
in the communal construction of a stable and lasting peace,
in the inclusive design of the pillars of a new generation.

Our heart is ready for selfless service:
to the cause of the helpless, the poor and the marginalized,
to be a challenging presence that remembers the struggles of the martyrs,
for much is the blood poured into this earth that screams: Never again!
We remain motivated by the rising hope,
Working on all fronts in compassionate harmony,
to put into action the curtailed longings of those who,
like Gaitán, had the certainty that “the people are superior to their leaders”,
and they reaffirmed it with their dedication. This certainty comes now to our days as a
powerful and lasting inspiration.

God of mercy,
Our prayer is addressed to you with a voice that, although calm,
is not uneasy, because we trust in the change that is happening.
It is a reality, and today, it is symbolically represented here:
in the diverse sectors and expressions of society that don’t get tired
of demanding justice, of keeping memory as a bulwark,
of taking their just claims and shaking up the corrupt establishment.
You, you listen to all, You, you are a God who draws near to everyone,
that's why we cry out to You, that's why we come before You,
stripped of hatreds and vindictive intentions,
to ask for Your support, in the cause of those, while forgotten by the State,
are always present in the voice of those who speak on their behalf.

Accompany us in our cause, which is none other than that of the Kingdom,
which Christ himself proclaimed! Kingdom of Justice, peace and reconciliation.
To find the power of your Word, loving God Mother/Father,
we can help restore those who have been harmed
and, with our transforming actions, we accept as our own,
the slogan of Father Camilo, that blessed prophet who taught us
that “Love’s effectiveness is not achieved but with revolution.”
In your hands we are a renewed strength, in the name of Christ Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter (Pascua)

On Friday we wrote about living into the reality of this broken world as we remembered the death of Jesus. Today, Easter Sunday, we remember that death does not have the final word. God's project of LIFE continues to flourish and struggle against death in this world.

This photo of Pastor Angelica Bernate during her Easter sermon this morning. 

Thank you for journeying with us this Lenten season.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday

This is a picture from a vigil held to remember and honor the victims of Colombia's armed conflict. We sang: "Our Father of the Poor and Marginalized." On this Good Friday, we remember Jesus; who was also a victim of hatred, violence, and fear. Today we live into the reality of the world we live in, and mourn. 

Father, Forgive them, for they know not what they do.   

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Maundy Thursday

Preparations are underway for the celebration of the Passover meal that will be held tonight at Vida Nueva (New Life) Lutheran Church in Bogota, Colombia. We were in charge of making the Charoset (apple salad), for the meal.

On this Maundy Thursday we lift up in prayer all those gathering all around the world to break bread together. We especially lift up all those suffering from food insecurity. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


This photo is from a workshop with the community in Medellin about reconciliation and the context of the peace agreements between the govt. and the FARC. We were closing the day with a trust activity, that our compañeros (companions) would help hold us up when we needed support.

This Holy Tuesday we pray for all those working for peace in Colombia and around the world. Help to always pray: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. 

Photo by Pastor John Hernández and blog by Curtis

Monday, March 26, 2018


This photo is from an activity I led at one of the Lutheran Schools with the elementary students. Every student made a creation wheel showing the different moments of creation. This Holy Week I am reminded of God's consistency. God created the world and God created us, and God said: it is good.

This Holy Monday we pray for the Lutheran Schools in Colombia and in the world. We pray for all students and all educators.

Photo and blog by Katie