14 Jan 2011

Spring Break in Colombia, the country?!?

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When Tina first approached me and told me that she was going to Colombia for spring break, my initial thought was “Colombia the country, Colombia?”. After all, Colombia is not the first place that comes to mind as a spring break destination for college students! But clearly, vacation wasn’t on her mind. Here is Tina’s story of how the good news of the gospel has compelled her to to be on mission with Jesus to Colombia (yes, the country, not the university, nor the district!).

[quote]Dear Friends and Family,

Hello! I hope this letter finds you well. This spring break I will be going to Colombia with my college fellowship to share the gospel, and I am writing to ask for prayer and financial support. God has been pouring out blessing after blessing this semester, and Reason #1 I’m excited about this trip is I know He only has more to teach me and I have no idea where He’ll lead me next! But let me tell you more about Colombia; specifically, what we’ll be doing there…

In front of me I have a sheet of paper with a brief overview of the country of Colombia. “Poverty…cocaine…multiple problems… civil struggles and violence…rebel forces…insurgent war…affected daily….” The very last paragraph begins with the sentence “Colombia is a nation that needs hope.” Their answer? “OneHope is moving in Colombia so that every child and youth will know the truth about Jesus and the relationship he wants to have with them.”

Reason #2 I’m excited about this trip is that it’s all about sharing the gospel. Our week will be spent going from school to school telling children that Christ paid for their life in full and has set them free! Of course, meeting physical needs is necessary work, but spreading the Word is even more necessary. “Colombia is a nation that needs hope,” and I get to tell people there the source of every good and perfect thing: Jesus Christ!

Finally, Reason #3 I’m excited: this trip is, and will continue to be, covered in prayer. After Jesus talked to the “rich young man” (Matthew 19:16-30), his disciples asked “‘who then can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” I’m excited to see our impossibles happen because of God, and I am excited to be asking for the impossible in prayer. Join me in praying for the impossible!

Please consider supporting me financially on this trip. Enclosed is an additional letter from my campus pastor, a donor form, and a stamped envelope. Thank you so much for your prayerful consideration. If you choose not to send financial support, please, keep the team and Colombia in your prayers. Thank you!

God Bless,

Christina Ko[/quote]

[message type=”info”]Support Tina financially[/message]

Overview of Colombia:

  • second most populous country in South America (approx. 45 mill. inhabitants)
  • standing middle power, fourth largest economy in Latin America ecologically, classified as megadiverse (most biodiverse).
  • long history of constitutional democracy, but also long history of political violence
  • current president: Juan Manuel Santos; current government has good relationship with US.
  • unemployment: 12% (2009)
  • population below poverty line: 46.8% (2008)“Only 5 years of primary school are offered in many rural areas. Literacy–93% in urban areas, 67% in rural areas.” (US Dept. of State)
  • 1.8-3.5 mill. internally displaced persons due to armed conflict, drug trafficking (2007)
  • four-decade long armed conflict between government, left-wing insurgents, right-wing paramilitaries ethnically diverse population, highly unequal distribution of wealth
  • “… highly stratified society where the traditionally rich families of Spanish descent have benefited from this wealth [natural resources] to a far greater degree than the majority, mixed-race population. With few avenues for social mobility, this provided a natural constituency for left-wing insurgents.” (BBC)
  • main left-wing armed group: “The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia [FARC]… is a Marxist-Leninist peasant army claiming to represent the rural poor in a struggle against Colombia’s rich and powerful. A guerrilla organization, it is funded primarily by kidnappings and trade in illegal drugs.” (NYTimes)
  • “illicit producer of coca [from which cocaine is made], opium poppy, and cannabis; world’s leading coca cultivator…; the world’s largest producer of coca derivatives; supplies cocaine to nearly all of theUS market and the great majority of other international drug markets” (CIA World Factbook)
  • drug production is large (main?) source of income for illegally armed groups
  • significant progress under President Uribe (2002-10) from 2002-08 homicides decreased 44%, kidnappings 88%, terrorist attacks 79% “As a result of the government’s military and police operations, the strength of the FARC has been reduced to approximately 8,000 members in 2010–down from 16,000 in 2001” (US Dept. of State)
  • urban areas much more stable; guerrilla groups retain power in rural areas and jungle
  • 81% Roman Catholic; 60% total population report not actively practicing their faith (2005)
  • one of three “restricted nations” in the Americas according to The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM); VOM classifies as “hostile nation”
  • religious freedom supported by government; hostility from guerrilla groups, notably FARC

[quote]My summary: extreme inequity + drugs + violence, but significant progress by government to rectify all three in last decade. Bipolar in many ways: 4th largest economy in Latin America, moderate presence in international trade vs. “one of the most violent countries in the world” (BBC).resource rich, paradisical scenery, glamorous Miss Colombia pageant vs. 46% in poverty, 17% inextreme poverty.[/quote]

about OneHope:

To affect destiny by providing God’s eternal Word to all the children and youth of the world.

We believe to accomplish our God-given mandate we must seek to…

  • present God’s Word in the most understandable and relevant format.
  • mobilize followers of Christ to personally and effectively present God’s Word to every child and youth of the world.
  • collaborate and network with other organizations within the Kingdom of God.
  • encourage new believers to enter into fellowship with the local body of Christ, resulting in a life of discipleship.
  • lead followers of Christ in intercessory prayer for the children and youth of the world.

We believe these endeavors will result in…

  • children, youth, their families and communities coming to a saving knowledge of Christ.
  • the furtherance of Christ’s great commission to His church.
  • the building of the Kingdom of God in every community where we work.

One Hope in Colombia:
multifaceted ministry including:

  • youth ministry – training youth to reach their generation
  • discipleship to connect children to parents, ministers, and educators (partner w/Palabritas)
  • church planting and missionary training to unreached people groups (w/ Crisalinco)
  • rural ministry (w/ Oasis Colombia)
  • Book of Hope/The GodMan (film) resource distribution to churches
  • o developing partnerships with NGO’s and the government to use the Spiritual State of the World’s Children research to create ministry programs
  • OneHope Teams to deliver God’s Word through drama, testimony, rallies, etc.

Prayer requests:

  • for the children and youth to receive God’s Word and respond to the truth and love found in Christ
  • for the fighting and narcotics production to stop
  • that the economy would continue to improve, alleviating the impoverished
  • that our teams, volunteers and partner organizations would stay safe and experience God’s blessing and provision
  • for unity as a team, financial provision, and safe travel
  • insight to know how to pray
  • the opportunity to pray people into the Kingdom
  • to get into every school in the city we are going to and favor with the school directors
  • for God to anoint our skits and testimonies

for more information on OneHope, please visit www.onehope.net
please feel free to contact me at tinako@gmail.com with additional questions or anything else. Thank you!

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One Response to Spring Break in Colombia, the country?!?
  1. Just a reminder
    It’s spelled “Colombia!”

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