Journal Entry #1: SRL Medellin – July 4, 2021
Dr. Del Belcher, SRL Executive Administrator
My wife, Nancy, dropped me off at the Metro-Detroit airport at 2:30am, Sunday morning, following the advice posted at the Spirit.com site, to check in 3 hours before departure, 5:30am, instead of the usual 2 hours… due to my trip taking me out of the country. However, when I arrived at the Spirit check in desk, no one was there, and I found myself first in line! A representative arrived about 15 minutes later. I was checked in, no issues, and my suitcase (maleta) was checked through to Medellin… as I had one layover at Ft Lauderdale. Security? I was the only one going through at that hour. Got through in minutes and arrived at my gate in good time. I had TSA clearance but that line was closed til 6am… so I still had to take my shoes off to go through security!
Both legs of the trip, from Detroit to Ft. Lauderdale and Ft. Lauderdale to Medellin, went very smoothly. There were some delays getting through customs and baggage claim but my brothers were there to pick me up and take me to my hotel in Medellin.
Flying into Medellin, I realized we were in the mountains — the Andes mountains, that is. So beautiful and majestic.
Medellin’s nickname is “The City of Mountains” and I could see, firsthand, why. Mountains all around, and the city, with a population of over 3 million, built in the valleys and up the slopes… amazing and awesome. The roads and streets winding around, up and down amazingly steep grades… trucks alongside the road with smoke pouring out from engines that had given up the effort to climb the grades… motorcycles zipping between cars struggling with the steep grades, flying by along the shoulders, as if the cars on the road were an obstacle course… death-defying in some cases! The driver asked me if I was getting dizzy from the ups and downs and tight turns, thick traffic… actually, the drive was invigorating in contrast to the “sitting around” on the flights!
The hotel I checked into is built on a steep mountain slope. The window in my room is one entire wall, floor to ceiling, with a wide-open view of the mountains, valleys, and the city spreading out as far as I can see… breath-taking, beautiful, and yet ominous… considering the difficult history of Colombia. How could this view be so beautiful and awesome and yet at the same time, give such a powerful sense of the spiritual darkness that grips the city and the nation? The seminary is so small, tiny, and the city so huge. Bogota, the capital of Colombia, has a population of 12 million! How can the seminary ever reach and influence this city, this county, or Latin America for Christ?
But this is what God has given us to do. He has not chosen us for such ministry because of our beauty or number. He has challenged us to be faithful to Him and what He calls us to do: to go and make disciples, teaching them, baptizing them, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, knowing that He will be with us always to the ends of the earth, knowing that He will bring the fruit. Ok Lord, well, here it goes.
Tomorrow, Monday, class begins for the week; two three-hour sessions concerning the Elements of a Christian Worldview…going with the seminary’s hope of preparing pastors of His churches and for church planting throughout Latin America. God help me… God help us!… but what an amazing honor that He would use us to proclaim His glory and grace in Jesus Christ!