|Nicholas came to the airport to see Uncle John off.|
Today I said good-bye to my 16 year old son as he headed off on the adventure of a lifetime to spend his junior year of high school in Cali, Colombia, at the Colegio Americano. As I was driving home from the airport I couldn't hold back the tears, and the thought occurred to me that the very act of becoming a mother means that you will never again be the same, no matter how old your children get. A tiny piece of your heart will always be with each of your children wherever they go. You will rejoice when you see them make wise decisions, but if those decisions mean that they leave you for a time, that little piece of heart will go with them...and it will hurt for a while.
When John Carl (Juan Carlos to his Colombian and Peruvian friends) told his coaches at Westminster Christian Academy about his decision to go to Cali, one of his coaches asked him to write up something explaining why he was doing this. The incredible support he has had from faculty, administration, coaches and friends at WCA has been phenomenal. We are so blessed to have been part of such an incredible community of faith for the last 11 years.
I want to share with you what my son wrote because I am so proud of his willingness to listen to God's call. We have tried to raise him to be obedient, and now it's time for us to watch in amazement as he does just that!
|Juan Carlos in his uniform|
John Carl's Testimony
This summer I took a trip to Colombia for the 185th Cumberland Presbyterian General Assembly which was held at the Colegio Americano. The Colegio Americano is a private school that was founded by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1925; it consists of kindergarten to high school. They have around 120 kids in the high school level grades, so not much bigger than Westminster. However in Colombia, graduation is after grade 11 unlike the United States where it’s after 12th grade.
When I first arrived at the Colegio Americano, I was astounded by the campus grounds, the teachers, and all the students helping out for the General Assembly. That Saturday I had a wild thought that coming here to do schooling would be amazing. When I told that thought to my mom, she didn’t know what to think. She thought maybe coming down again next summer for a couple weeks would be good for me after school here had finished up just to see what school is like in Colombia. I knew in my heart that I truly wanted to attend the Colegio Americano for the entire year and graduate from there.
I have always wondered what God’s calling feels like because I have never been spoken to physically by God, and so I wondered how to know exactly what the Lord wants. The next three days we had services in which God directly showed me the way He wants me to take. We had a sermon on how to listen to God’s call and to go and make disciples of all nations. On Sunday there was a special missionary service where missionaries throughout the world were recognized.
My family used to be in the mission field first in Costa Rica and then in Peru. I was born in Lima, Peru, into a missionary family and would live there for the next 5 years. I remember parts of Peru but not all of it; however, I do remember the heartbreak it brought my entire family, including me, when we were forced to leave the country where I was born. One interesting note is that my trip to Colombia was the first time I had been back to South America since we left Peru. I didn’t realize how much of a longing I had to be back and experience South America again. I have dreamt of going back to Peru and perhaps someday I may live there again, but Colombia feels like the place I want to be, the place I need to be.
|The Colegio Americano has a beautiful campus!|
I still do not know what all God has planned for me as I go to attend the Colegio Americano this next year, but I do know that if I follow His will and his guidance I will be okay. I also know that people may worry about the safety of a gringo in Colombia. First off, if I am following what God wants me to do I am worried by nothing. Secondly, the city of Cali is a very safe city, and while I was at the General Assembly I never felt danger at all, only the loving kindness of all the Colombians. Someday I pray that I will be able to go to many countries in order to serve and proclaim the name of Jesus to those who are in the darkness, looking for light.