Colombia Trip

 Trip Report
by Martin Hudzinski
 
The Faith Church Colombia Missions trip is over and I am home enjoying some of the simple pleasures of life in this country and thanking God for them, like a shower head that actually sprays water at a temperature I have selected, rinsing my tooth brush under the faucet, drinking cold water from the tap, not worrying about what kind of water the ice was made from, and going to Olive Garden and having two big helpings of salad,  raw vegetables are generally not recommended to consume in 3rd World Countries.  Colombia is a land of contrasts, modern earth moving equipment lined up out front of a hardware store right next to a donkey hitched to a wagon standing patiently waiting for instructions.  There were homemade bicycle taxis next to motorcycle taxis, and small yellow cars for taxis everywhere.  We crossed the Magdalena River in wooden canoes with hand hewn beams and boards with pitch on the joints, powered by modern outboard engines.  We saw Egrets and Herons and Hawks as we crossed the river.
 
In El Pinyon where we held our first clinic, there were paved roads and dirt roads, and pigs and donkeys and chickens wandering the streets and eating the grass that grew there.  We held the clinic in a school and things went well even though it was very hot and there was really no air conditioning except in one room and that barely cooled the room, and the light was provided by a florescent bulb plugged into an extension cord and tied with string to the drop ceiling.  The people were appreciative, some we could treat, some we could reassure that the treatment they were taking for their blood pressure was working.  Some we could only tell them that their vision problem was related to cataracts and only an opthamologist could help them.  The Pastors working with us and taking time to speak with the patients about spiritual things told us that several made confessions of faith.  Pray that the word takes root and His church there grows.
 
On Wednesday we said our good byes, reboarded the canoes, recrossed the river and walked up to the highway, and praise God our bus was there waiting for us, with air conditioning and an on board toilet.  We traveled to Santa Marta and checked into our hotel, nice clean, but very basic, bed ( I am convinced mine was poured cement sides with a plywood top and a mattress), TV, Closet, and a bathroom with shower that had no temperature control, oh and air conditioning that worked quite well.
 
We held our clinic in Nueva Ciudad, a poor suburb of Santa Marta, and the  church which is really a garage building.  We got there in a small van that sat 14 tightly pushed together, which was labeled as a school bus, with all our gear for the clinic lashed to the roof.  Praise God we got there safely and everything intact.  We ran our clinic in fairly tight space but it went well and despite the heat, we all stayed hydrated and did not suffer heat stroke, though a couple people managed to bump their heads on low overheads, but without serious injury.  Again we were able to help some and reassure others, and seeds were sown.  We had a second day of clinic here but made it a little shorter because of the extreme heat.  Pray for this church too that it might grow in numbers and bring glory to God.
 

After clinic that second day and returning our gear to the hotel, we went to the beach, cooled off in the ocean, and then ate and visited a local bazaar and did some shopping.  The following day we returned to Barranquila and did a half day clinic for the employees of the church sponsored school, and played with the children.  On Sunday we went to the church in Barranquila and then boarded taxis for the airport.  We checked in and went through airport security and had some of our checked luggage searched, but we all boarded the plane and flew home without incident, and had no problems making our connection in Panama.

We saw God working in the details.  The travel arrangements plane, bus, taxi, boat all were without problem or incident.  All our luggage and gear arrived with us and was undamaged.  Customs had many questions about what we brought in but in the end passed it all through.  The team came together and there was not any interpersonal drama.  We had good cooperation from our hosts, the Gospel was preached in deed and word and people were helped.