Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Regional Christian Formation Retreats

We are starting off 2017 with a visit to each of the four regions of Colombia where the Lutheran Church has congregations. The retreats are with the Sunday School teachers and the faith formation leaders in the congregations.  

Zulma and I, along with the coordinators in each region have been in charge of these retreats. We have completed three of the four retreats, with the final one this Saturday. It is a full-day retreat focusing in the morning on Baptism, how we live into our Baptismal promises and how we teach the children in the church to do the same. In the afternoon we look at our own emotions and how that affects the ways we interact and teach children. 

In Paz de Ariporo (The Llanos region)  the group always has the meetings in the kiosk outside, because closed indoors is too hot. In this photo the group was doing small group presentations. (Photo by Katie)

In Sogamoso (Boyaca Region), here I am wrapping up the section about emotions and how that affects our work with children. We used the book "7 Desires of Every Heart". I divided the group into 4 groups and gave each group a 'desire' to work through - looking at 4 places in their life: how that desire was fulfilled and not in their own childhood, and then how their are each fulfilling and not that desire in the children in their classes. In every region this has turned into delightful conversations. (Photo by Zulma Ojeda)
The other piece, as I mentioned, is looking at our Baptismal promises and how we live into that. At the end of the whole day, in an activity of closure, I have lead an activity of remembering your Baptism. In my experiences in the states, this is a normal/common activity for us, or at the very least, nothing new. That is not the case here. I gave everyone a piece of paper with summary and key points from the day, on the bottom of the paper, in big italic letter is said (in Spanish of course): Remember your Baptism, you are a beautiful child of God, in your Baptism you were sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the Cross of Christ forever. 
Above, Juliana is marking Pastor Sergio in the retreat in Bucaramanga (Eastern Region). (Photo by Katie)

Photo of the participants in the Boyaca Region, (Photo by Katie)

Participants in the retreat in the Eastern Region, (Photo by Belky Hernandez) [We forgot to take a photo of the group in the Llanos Region, and haven't had the Central Region retreat yet.]