Winfrees Going South

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a New Year

P1000076Well, things have really picked up for us over the past few months.  Good stuff.  Our Spanish is coming along, and we find that our conversations are growing in depth.  Our team had a wonderful time together over Thanksgiving.  We can find turkeys here in November.  It was a good time to witness to the grace of God during the time of Thanks.  The Colombians were very curious about this holiday and the Lord used it to share more of Christ and His goodness to us.  United Church of Bogotá, which is the english language churchP1000090 where some of our MTW team works, had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.  Becky and I helped out a bit there.  They had many people come who were not members of the church.  The Pastor, Andrew Lupton, gave a brief devotional where the Good News was clearly presented.  There was quite a lot going on during the Christmas season.  It is as commercialised here as in the States; however, there are other religious holidays for them around the same time.  Again, this was a great time to witness to the grace of God.  We had several parties where non-Christians were invited.

We have enjoyed working with the conversational English classes as a ministry of El Refugio, the Colombian church where we have been working and worshipping.  We are thankful to the Southern Baptists for having some great material that uses the Gospel of Mark for the teaching.  Our conversation class has, I believe, been helpful with the Colombians who speak some English and we have been able to generate some good discussions on Mark.  In our class we have had two teachers, a university student, three high school students, a pastor, and a few young professionals . We have taken a break over the past month, but will pick up again in February.  You know, English is a tough language, especially the pronunciation.  We have gained a new appreciation for people who come to the States and have to learn our language.

Becky and I have been helping with the music during worship at El Refugio over the last several IMG_1004months.  This has been great fun.  We are learning a lot; and we hope that we are actual helping.  I am thankful for all of the thinking that our home church, All Saints, has done over the years about music in worship.  It has been a long time since I have played so much guitar.  I forgot how much I enjoyed it.

This coming week will be busy.  We are flying to Bucaramanga on Saturday.  The two pastors that we have worked with there have passed all of their ordination exams and will be ordained and installed next Sunday.  We love these churches in Bucaramanga and are looking forward to our time there.  This is a very important occasion in the life of these churches and we are happy that we can participate in this with them.  After the ordinations, I will be traveling about two hours by bus from Bucaramanga for the General Assembly of the Iglesia Reformada Evangélia Presbiteriana de Colombia (IREP).  I am looking forward to meeting the pastors from the coast and the border that I have not had the opportunity to meet.  This is the denomination that we have been sent here to help; but all of my time with the pastors here has been such a blessing to me.

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Joe Harrell

In April I hope to go to a conference in Medellín.  Richard Pratt and Joel Beeke are two of the speakers that will be there.  While in Medellín I have been invited to visit two of the reformed seminaries there.  Last week we attended a conference here in Bogotá hosted by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.  I have enjoyed meeting some of the other pastors in the area and

Javier Muñoz on left. Daniel Lanchero, pastor of Cristo Rey, on right.

Pastor Javier Muñoz on the left and Pastor Daniel Lanchero of Cristo Rey on the right.

hope to continue to expand our horizons here as we meet others and see the work that the Lord has been doing here.  Javier Muñ0z, the pastor of El Refugio, knows so many of these pastors throughout Colombia.  He has discipled and taught many of them over the years, and he is greatly respected here.  He was one of the speakers at the conference here last week.  He also teaches periodically at the seminary in Medellín.  Javier and Joe Harrell (our team leader) have been teaching and discipling in Latin America for many years.  They have worked with pastors here and in Costa Rica, Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, and Ecuador.  I am so grateful to be working with them.

P1000263On a personal note, Becky and I got to spend Christmas in Playa del Carmen in Mexico with our daughters and their families during the first week of January.  We are so thankful to the Lord for giving us this incredible week.  Kids, sons-in-law, and grandkids are all doing well.  The week was wonderful, but it was very hard to leave them all behind.

We do want to thank all of you who have supported us in this work.  We could not do this work without you, your prayers and your finances.  If you interested in supporting us financially, please go here.  If you are interested in receiving our prayer letters, please email me at winfreesgoingsouth@gmail.com.

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