The past 4 days were incredible. Along with the other leaders of Corazones Abiertos, Beth & I went up to a place in the Andes called Cacheuta. The cabañas we stayed in were surrounded by beathtaking mountains & crystal clear rivers. A truly refreshing change of pace & scenery.
The first couple days the ladies held meetings. A few of which I participated in, others during which I went exploring. The meetings I participated in were really great. I finally got to see some of the inner workings of Corazones Abiertos. It is truly a powerful ministry. I find it unfortunate that there are so few ministries similar to it. I was encouraged in learning many stories of God's healing power in the lives of the ladies there. I was also challenged to examine myself & I realized new areas inwhich I need healing & transformation.
During one of the meetings Monday, I decided to climb a mountain. My Florida eyes did not do my surroundings justice. It was not until I started the climb (literally on all 4s at times) that I began to realize the scale & magnificance of what was before & around me. When I reached my destination - the top - I sat for a long time, thinking on things like: how much water it must have taken for the world to be completely flooded, what the earth must look like from the perspective of a bird & how it is that I am able to pray to the Creater of the heavens & the earth.
Tuesday, was my birthday & I was convinced 10 minutes after waking up to walk with Pablito, the 14 year old son of one of the women there, to see how much it cost to go horse back riding. Reluctantly I went...it's so cold in the morning, I hadn't eaten & it's especially tough for me to communicate in another language in the morning! Pablito was full of questions. He kept asking me things I either didn't understand or didn't know how to answer. I found it odd that he kept wanting to show me random things & take the long route of walking for everything. But when I arrived back to the cabaña, I discovered a wonderful surprise brunch from all the ladies! It was so sweet of them. It nearly brought me to tears. They even had a little bag full of gifts for me. One of which was a 850g bar of white chocolate!!
I had a wonderful birthday! I missed sharing it with family & friends, but for it being a birthday in another country, with a bunch of people I hardly know, I couldn't have asked for anything better. =) I believe out of all the time I have spent here thus far, I have been the most content & at peace these past few days. Thank you for your prayers =).
I have a special prayer request for this comming weekend. One of the CA leaders, Claudia, has an incredible story. She & her husband were a drug dealers for many years. Now a Christian, Claudia chose to leave her husband who, although dying of AIDS, continually abused her physically. She now has a ministry to drug addicts. She regularly visits very poor barrios (neighborhoods) to minister. I asked her if I could go & she said I can this Saturday. It is dangerous to visit these barrios unless you are familiar to the people there or you go with someone who is. Claudia understands the lifestyle of the people & is respected by many. She has instructed me to wear the trashiest clothes I have, to not wear jewerly or anything that would draw attention & to hide my camera until she gives the "ok" to take photos.
I desire to see how these people live, to gain a better understanding of reality. I know by going, my perspective in life will be challenged.
Love you all!