Monday, February 29, 2016


Colombia has been experiencing quite a drought this year. This drought has contributed to a number of communities being displaced from their land, as well as the heightened reality of thirst and hunger in La Guajira, a desert in northern Colombia.

The word for today, "thirst", reminded me of this reality here in Colombia, as well as to consider the importance of water for all aspects of life.

Our water jug. Photo by Katie. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016


Today we were able to celebrate friendship with Pastor Atahualpa, Pastor Angelica and their daughters, along with two visitors: Bishop Musa from South Africa and Pastor Raj from India. After worship we all went out to lunch.

Photo of all of us out to lunch. Unfortunately the waiter taking the photo cut out Pastor Raj, and Atahualpa and Angelica's daughter Mariana doesn't like photos, so hid under the table. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016


Curtis and I both decided to take today, Saturday, as a resting/healing day. We have had an intense January and February, and with the IELCO National Assembly in one week, we wanted to start the week with clear and rested minds. 

We spent part of the day drinking coffee and reading on our terrace.

Friday, February 26, 2016


When we first arrived in Colombia, Katie and I were lucky enough to find an apartment just five blocks from the IELCO offices. That means the days we work from the office we are able to walk to work. Quite a blessing. On the walk we pass by and "see" this park, always full of various activities. From soccer, to security guard training, to children playing with their dogs and fruit juice vendors.

The park during the lunchtime break. Photo by Curtis.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Jenny and Cate are wonderful young women. After knowing me for awhile they told me after they had met me for the first time, they left and said, awe, that poor girl, she speaks so slowly. It was true, and extremely funny when they told me. I was learning Spanish at a very beginner level, and had to think very carefully about every word that I said, I did speak slowly. They (like so many others) have been so gracious, patient, and kind. I thoroughly enjoy them. When they asked me if I would help them with their English, I couldn't say no. Now, Thursday afternoons are a time I look forward to, always filled with joy and lots of laughing as we practice English. 

P.S. It is with lots of joy, I thank you for your prayers for rain, it rained today and yesterday. Very needed!

Jenny (blue glasses), me in the middle, and Cate (pink glasses), photo by Curtis

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Bogota is divided into a stratified system of housing. What area of the city you live in will determine what "strata" you are in. The "strata" ranging from 1(low) to 6(high) will define the price you pay for services such as electricity, water, even internet/cable. 

The word for today, "shelter," reminded me of this system, and all of the different shelter's that people live in. 

Me standing on the balcony of our apartment. Photo by Katie. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


As I was thinking about covenant, I was hoping it would rain today and there would be a rainbow I could take a picture of - what better reminder of a covenant than a rainbow - but no such luck (please pray for rain, it is still desperately needed here). I thought about other important covenants, and of course I thought about marriage. This is a photo of the wedding vows Curtis and I made at our wedding seven and a half years (wow) ago. 

The inside cover of our 'bucket list' book. 

Monday, February 22, 2016


I have enjoyed all the different ways I have been able to learn and to some extent understand the specific context of Colombia, so to be able to develop a "vision" in accompaniment with my counterparts here for working for peace and justice.

Map of Colombia in the IELCO library. Photo by Curtis Kline.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


This morning at El Divino Redentor (Divine Redeemer), I was very warmly welcomed by the congregation. At worship, we celebrated the second Sunday of Lent together with Lutherans all around the world.

The ability to worship together, share holy communion and offer peace to one another is a great way to understand celebration. "Celebrate" is the word of the day for every Sunday during this Lenten photo challenge. It is a great word to remind that during the Lenten season of prayer and reflection, we still have much to celebrate.

Pastor Sergio preaching. Photo by Katie. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016


Rush hour in Bogota, with car-filled streets and jam-packed buses made me think of today's word: "live". With all the cars and buses rushing by I was reminded of all the millions of lives being lived in a city as big as Bogota.

Busy corner not too far from our house during rush hour. Photo by Curtis Kline. 

Friday, February 19, 2016


Pastor Sergio and Belky are couple I have gotten to know well. Pastor Sergio is the pastor of Divino Redentor (Divine Redeemer) in Bucaramanga (where I am this weekend), as well as a couple of mission communities around the city. Belky is a member of the Christian formation team and participated in ProFILE.

They are a couple who love IELCO and both serve faithfully. As husband and wife they love each other, I have seen them show each other so much respect. They are also very gracious hosts and have received both Curtis and myself with love.

Pastor Sergio and Belky. Photo by Katie. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Today's word "refuge" reminded me of a famous song by a famous singer/activist from Venezuela, Ali Primera, well known throughout Latin America. The name of the song is "Techos de Cartón" (Roofs of Cardboard). The song is about the experience of homelessness and sleeping under cardboard. It starts with the words:

"How sad the rain sounds on the cardboard rooftops."

Walking in the city today I came across this pile of cardboard, and thought it was a good image for today's word: Refuge.

Pile of city garbage or materials for a roof? Photo by Curtis Kline

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Today's word is "mighty" - the photo is the view of the mountains surrounding Bogota. Starting at 8,600 feet in Bogota (hence the name of our blog), these mountains reach up to 10,500 feet.

View of the mighty Andes and some of Bogota. Photo by Curtis Kline

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


"Go out and pray like it all depends on prayer, go out and work like it all depends on the work, go out and love until the final day til he comes, go out and sing the greatest song you know, go out and study His word so we all can grow: into the fullness of the likeness of His Son!"

As we continue with the Lenten "photo-a-day" challenge, today's word is 'go'. Neither of us could think of a good photo idea....and the lyrics to the song above kept playing in my head. Here we are, in front of the IELCO central office building "going" to work. 

Monday, February 15, 2016


Ajiaco is one of my favorite Colombian meals. This soup is comfort food for me, and very settling. It is a chicken broth spiced with guasca, a spice that is new to me here. It has a unique flavor, but delicious. Usually served with chicken, rice, corn, and avocado. Here, the chicken, corn and avocado are already mixed in the soup (I like it better that way). 

Sunday, February 14, 2016


This morning in worship we celebrated the First Communion of 6 girls. Here are the 6 girls right before their communion with the Pastor Angelica. The girls all had matching white dresses with a flower headband. Laura, on the left who has cancer and currently no hair, wore a white lace cap. It was quite the celebration this morning! 

Saturday, February 13, 2016


We don't live too far from Colombia's National University of Pedagogy (teacher's university), which is covered in murals. As I was walking past the campus today, this mural struck me as a fitting image for today's word: "injustice".

Carlos Alberto Pedraza Salcedo was a Colombian social activist and human rights defender involved in campaigns and social movements such as: Movement of the Victims of State Violence; Never Again Project of Colombia; the Permanent Campaign Against Police Brutality, for the Guarantee of Human Rights and the Disbandment of the Mobile Anti-Disturbance Squadron; Association of the Political Movement of Social and Popular Masses of Colombia; The Peoples' Congress; and the National Agrarian, Peasant, Ethnic and People's Summit. 

He was disappeared on Jan. 19, 2015 and his murdered body was found on Jan. 21, 2015 far from where he had last been seen.

Mural to memorialize the human rights defender at the National University of Pedagogy. Photo by Curtis Kline.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Looking Ahead

This morning, as I was headed to a conference/celebration of Red Hand Day, which is an annual commemoration day on which pleas are made to political leaders and events are staged around the world to draw attention to the fates of child soldiers, I came across this sign. La Paz es Ahora (The Peace is Now).

It reminded me of the numerous Colombian people "looking ahead" 43 days until March 23 when the peace accords between the Colombian Government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) are suppose to be completed and signed, beginning the long and arduous journey of their implementation.

Sign outside of the Center for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation in Bogota, Colombia. Photo by Curtis Kline.
The event was held at Colombia's Center for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation which was created as a place to dignify the memory of the victims of Colombia's armed conflict, to contribute to historical memory and the construction of a culture of peace.

P.S. If you are looking for a daily Lenten devotional, I highly recommend using ELCA resources. There is a Lenten devotion here. This is a devotional with daily reflection on ELCA World Hunger. Also, a specific Colombia table tent/meal idea here.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Pastor Nelson Celis from the congregation of San Pablo (St. Paul) in southern Bogota has a weekly radio show called "Enciende una Luz" (Lighting a Lamp). This week he asked me to participate on the program in a conversation about human rights, HIV-AIDS and the role of the church. The word for today is "Voice".
Me, Pastor Nelson Celis and Pastor Rocio Morales (currently coordinator of IELCO's  HIV-AIDS project) during a quick comercial break from the radio program. Photo Jorge Diaz, Communication Department of IELCO.

P.S. If you are looking for a daily Lenten devotional, I highly recommend using the ELCA resources. There is a Lenten devotion here. This is a devotional with a daily reflection on ELCA World Hunger. Also, a specific Colombia table tent/meal idea here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Celebrating Lent

As we begin Lent, we will start a 40-day photo challenge. The purpose of our challenge is two-fold. First, as is one of the purposes of Lent, to be more intentional, and to really notice and appreciate our surroundings. The second is to share our ordinary, our every-day lives. I love this challenge, and this list of words, because the word celebrate jumps out at me! As I looked more carefully, 'celebrate' is the word for every Sunday in Lent. I look forward to celebrating the ordinary, and sharing a little more of our lives.
Our challenge, from
The word for today is 'gather'. Today I am celebrating Ash Wednesday in Sogamoso with a visiting group from Minnesota.

This is from the Lutheran School in Sogamoso, where I am accompanying a visiting group from Austin, MN. The children gathered, eagerly.

P.S. If you are looking for a daily Lenten devotional, I highly recommend using the ELCA resources. There is a Lenten devotion here. This is a devotional with a daily reflection on ELCA World Hunger, also, if you sign-up, you will notice on March 5, Curtis is the author! Also, a specific Colombia table tent/meal idea here.