Saturday, June 25, 2011

Raising the Roof in Bogotá!

One of the highlights for me during our time in Colombia (and there were many) was hearing Frank preach on Psalm 146 in two services Sunday morning to a warmly receptive Casa Roca congregation. 

This particular psalm became even more meaningful for Frank as he entered the difficult journey of grief after the death of his younger brother, Kelly James, in a mountain climbing tragedy on Mount Hood back in 2006. 

My historian husband pointed out the connection between this psalm and Martin Luther's own struggles to trust God and the powerful hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is our God," that resulted from Luther's pondering the psalmist's words.  Speaking as much to himself as to his Colombian hearers, Frank called us all to:

  • Remember what God has done in the past,
  • Remember who God is,
  • Remember God is with us in our troubles.

He later described that Sunday morning as "one of the most extraordinary preaching experiences of his life"—a remarkable statement given the fact that he was speaking through a translator. But, as you will see from the video, Diana Jalube is no ordinary translator. It was incredible to watch the two of them in action. They raised the roof!

And, of course, the amazing group of believers in the Casa Roca congregation were eager to extend greetings to their American brothers and sisters in Christ.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Colombian Ezers

Frank and I had an unforgettable time in Bogotá, Colombia. You could call it perfect, except I got the flu the night before we came home, which meant staying an extra day and getting some rest we both needed anyway. But the memories of the people and of the way the gospel is taking hold in so many lives will stay with us for a long, long time.

I loved the women's retreat and meeting so many of the 1,200 women who gathered from all around Colombia on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Clearly the weather was powerless to stop the women from coming or to dampen their spirits that day.

Pastor Dario had the video I filmed (above) shown during the 4 worship services at church on Sunday.

Diana Jalube (left) interpreted my messages and also Frank's on Sunday. Watching her in action alone was worth the trip. It is gratifying when a translator pours herself heart and soul into the message like Diana does. Watching the two of them . . .  well, you'll just have to see for yourself when I post the video. 

When I returned home, I received this message from one of the women, which makes me thankful for the good news I have to offer women.
"Gracias..... tus palabras penetraron a los más profundo de mi corazón, de nuevo gracias por hacerme entender que soy una Gerrera Ezer para Dios."

In English: 
"Thanks ..... Your words penetrated to the bottom of my heart, again thanks for making me understand that I am an ezer-warrior for God."
The next morning at church, I met a beaming little 7-year-old who had learned from her mother who attended the retreat that she is an ezer too.

Check out my FaceBook page for more photos.

Below is a hearty Colombian "hola!" to you from the ezers in Colombia.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Midday Finale

Tune in Wednesday for the final segment of Midday Connection's 8-week series on Half the Church.

I have loved doing this series with Anita Lustrea and Melinda Schmidt and have been looking forward to this final broadcast. Anita and Melinda have done an amazing job of getting to the heart of my book, which isn't always the case in radio interviews. But instead of being in a plane today, heading home from Bogotá, I have been sick in a hotel bed all day with 24hr flu and praying Frank won't get sick too.

To wrap up the series, Anita will be playing interviews she conducted at Synergy2011 in Orlando this past March. Don't miss this opportunity to hear some of the great things Synergy women are doing to respond to what Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof describe as "the greatest moral challenge of our time."  Anita and Melinda will also be taking calls from listeners to see how they are engaging in ministry and/or how the series on Half the Church has impacted them.

The final chapter of Half the Church"Waking the Sleeping Giantess"—brings us to the unavoidable conclusion that we must act. I am personally heartened by growing numbers of women and girls who are stepping up to address this crisis. I pray their numbers will increase.

Midday Connection airs daily at 1:00 ET/noon CT. You can listen online or check their website for local listings.  If you missed a previous broadcast, they're filed by date, and you can listen here to catch up.
  • April 6:     Introduction—Seeing Beyond Ourselves
  • April 13:   Chapter 1Going Global  (I was in the Moody Radio studio for this session and got caught on video, which Midday has posted on FaceBook.) 
  • April 20:   Chapter 2Identity Theft 
  • April 27:   Chapter 3—Bearing God's Image in a Broken World  
  • May 4:      Chapter 4The Shaping of a Leader's Soul 
  • May 11:    Chapter 5The Ezer Unbound 
  • May 18:    Chapter 6Here Comes the Bride! 
  • May 25:    Chapter 7—The Blessed Alliance
  • June 1:      Chapter 8—The Great Debate
  • June 8:     Conclusion—Waking the Sleeping Giantess 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Casa Sobre la Roca

Frank and I are wrapping up a mind-boggling time with the people of Casa Sobre la Roca in Bogotá, Colombia who have warmly welcomed and welcomed us as members of the Body of Christ in Colombia.  We have been blessed by the friendship of our hosts, Ricardo and Diana Jalube, who lead Casa Sobre la Roca in South Florida. Diana is a gifted and energetic translator who invests herself in every word. She belongs to the Synergy Women's Network.

This Colombian network of 30 churches (so far), including several in the U.S., gives solid evidence of how the gospel is surging in the Global South.

The Casa Roca movement was founded by the former leading Colombian political television journalist, Darío Silva-Silva, with a Bible study group that met in his garage. That Bible study group has mushroomed into a congregation of 15,000 in Bogotá.  Pastor Darío is a leading advocate for evangelicalism in Colombia and a deeply beloved pastor/father figure for the Colombian church. His wife Esther's heart beats for the poor and the homeless, and she is an unstoppable ezer-warrior for forgotten children.

Saturday, Frank addressed a men's retreat of 800 men and a gathering of academics, while I spoke to a throng of 1200 exuberant-shouting-joyous-clapping-jumping women who arrived from all over Colombia for a one-day women's retreat. (Those of you who know me will smile to learn that I was lovingly described as "muy stoica" compared to my Colombian sisters.) Despite my lack of rhythm, the ezer message has arrived in Colombia and been passionately received!

Sunday, both of us gave greetings at all four worship services (total of 14,000 people), and Frank preached at two of the standing room only worship services of more than 3500 people each. We were struck by the fact that the congregation was predominately young people and as many men as women.

Under the leadership of Esther Silva-Silva, Casa Roca now has an outstanding network of homes for children—11 homes to date—where children who were formerly homeless and without hope are receiving the best care, education, loads of love, and a bright future. Frank and I were blown away to see how they are flourishing and to hear them tell their stories of how the gospel is taking root in their hearts and they are becoming solid contributors to Colombian society as university educated professionals.  

We have much to process, and I will be blogging more when we get home and I can hook my camera up to my computer. I have pictures to back up what I'm saying!

—CCJames from  Bogotá