Posted by: Seekers Global Project | March 1, 2014

Can You Hear Me Now?

Can You Hear Me Now? Isn’t that a great slogan and it seems like everyone has heard it before. Immediately you think of a cell phone that is having difficulty getting a signal, while the person on the other line is struggling to understand what you’re saying. Sometimes it gets difficult to keep that connection going, but we press on looking for that perfect spot. Well, I am really liking this whole video blog idea and using it to communicate with all of you. I have been investigating the best methods and processes to do this, so please bear with me. I am trying to find the easiest and most time efficient way to do it. I am making some good progress, so… Please check out our latest update here…


I am also including a link to the clip that I shared with our congregation during my most recent sermon. “What would you do for a family member if they were in danger? Would you be willing to take this risk for someone in your family? How about for a friend? How about for a member of your church?”


Praises

  • Praising God for His provision and answer to prayer in regards to our financial deficit. We are so thankful to God and to His people who have stepped up and helped us in mighty ways.
  • We are continuing to praise God for the number of kids who are continuing to return to the church. We had some difficulties between them and some of the leadership, but God has been working in that situation and we’re starting to see the fruit of it.
  • The new missionary couple (Abraham & Mary Salazar of Houston Texas) have finally moved into their new apartment in Riohacha. We are so excited to see how God is going to continue to work in and through this remarkable couple.

Prayer Needs

  • Please continue to pray for our monthly financial needs and that God would continue to place it on the hearts of His people to partner with us in ministry here in Santa Marta Colombia.
  • Our children have returned to school and it has already shown the it is going to be a challenging year. Please pray for them and their new schedules.
  • Please pray for our ministry here both in the mother church and the church plant in Once.
  • Please pray for Silvia as she takes care of us as a family, works with the youth in Once and her work at the school.
  • We are continuing to see amazing growth in Once and we would love to see that growth in the mother church as well. Please pray for the leadership of the mother church as they seek God’s will and lead the church.
  • Please pray for our family, our marriage and our health. Every time the kids return to school, sickness comes back and we all end up fighting it off. It would be nice to stay healthy for a change!

Thank you so much for your friendship, continued prayers and support, as well as taking your time to watch our video and reading our blog!

May God continue to richly bless you,

Jeff & Silvia

Posted by: Seekers Global Project | January 14, 2014

We’re Still Here

Happy New Year America!! That’s right… we’re still here in Colombia! We have decided to shake things up with a video instead of a regular written out blog entry. On the video I share some exciting news, a ministry update and finish up with a tour of our church plant in Once de Noviembre. Below the video is our current prayer needs and praises. Thank you so much for checking out our video. Please leave me your feedback! As I mention in the video, I will be working on making two videos a month with some short written entries in-between so your feedback would be greatly appreciated.


Praises

  • Praising God for His provision and answer to prayer in regards to our financial deficit. We are so thankful to God and to His people who have stepped up and helped us in mighty ways.
  • We received funds from Generation Church of Oceanside for the purchase a new refrigerator in Once de Noviembre and the refrigerator was delivered this last week. What a huge blessing!! Folks from the church were thrilled and several of the ladies were so excited to see a light turn on when the doors are opened.
  • We are praising God for the number of kids who are finally starting to return to the church. We had some difficulties between them and some of the leadership, but God has been working in that situation and we’re starting to see the fruit of it.
  • We received a new missionary couple this last week (Abraham & Mary Salazar of Houston Texas) and we are praising God for His provision in their lives and their desire to serve with us here in Colombia. They will be serving in a town about 3 hours away from us for the next six months, but we will have regular visits with them.

Prayer Needs

  • Please continue to pray for our monthly financial needs and that God would continue to place it on the hearts of His people to partner with us in ministry here in Santa Marta Colombia.
  • Our children return to school at the end of this month, so please pray for them and us as we gear up for another year of school.
  • Please pray for our ministry here both in the mother church and the church plant in Once.
  • I will be preaching again at the mother church on the 26th of January. Please pray that God’s message will be presented clearly, concisely and hearts will be won for Christ. It is always a challenge to preach, let alone in Spanish.
  • Please pray for Silvia as she takes care of us as a family, works with the youth in Once and her work at the school.
  • We are continuing to see amazing growth in Once and we would love to see that growth in the mother church as well. Please pray for the leadership of the mother church as they seek God’s will and lead the church.
  • Please pray for our family, our marriage and our health. Every time the kids return to school, sickness comes back and we all end up fighting it off. It would be nice to stay healthy for a change!

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support, as well as taking your time to watch our video and reading our blog!

May God richly bless you,

Jeff

Posted by: Seekers Global Project | June 29, 2013

Joy, Sweat and Tears

Joy… isn’t that an amazing word! The word joy is often confused in our culture today with the word happy or happiness. Believe it or not, these two words are not synonymous and they are vastly different in many ways, but we’ll get into that in a moment. This past week God blessed me with the privilege of experiencing both of these terms, joy and happiness, in a way that is nearly unexplainable. I will do my best to share it with you and it is my prayer that you too will experience it like I have. Often times, we experience both joy & happiness but only after very difficult times that require us to sweat and shed tears. The greater the tears, the greater the joy. This is absolutely the case for us this past week as we had an amazing roller coaster ride of events that still have our heads reeling with amazement.

VBS Invitation

VBS Invitation

As many of you who are on Facebook and are members of our Colombia Bound group know, we were planning and working out the logistics for our second annual vacation bible school (VBS) here in Santa Marta. We were coordinating supply needs and content with Calvary Church of Charlotte (CCC) as their team was being assembled and preparing for their missions trip here to Colombia. It was obvious to see God working in so many ways for both their trip to come together and for VBS to be ready in time to start on June 19th.

So as we began to develop the VBS and plan for the visiting Calvary group, feelings of anticipation and excitement began to bubble over. We had a lot of work to do and a lot of things to prepare for, but we could never have imagined the outcome that God had in store for us. Many of you may not know this, but our local church is going through an incredible amount of difficulties with conflict and division. There exists a great deal of pain and hurt within the church, for which has never been addressed and is in desperate need of healing. It has been our prayer and the prayer of South America Mission that God would bring healing and restoration to the church here.

Pastor Prado

Pastor Prado

In anticipation of CCC’s arrival and several other churches visiting in the next few months, we were desperate for God to begin that process of healing and many of us have been praying vigorously for it for a long time. This is where our tears really have flowed because it has really impacted our ability to do ministry here. As only God could work it, there is an amazing pastor from Calvary Church who is uniquely qualified to address the problems here. Through a string of events, which are way too long and complicated to express here, Pastor Prado volunteered to come to Santa Marta and work with us. It was an absolute miracle and answer to many prayers and we are still marveling at how God could orchestrate it all.

As time approached the arrival of the team we learned that at the same time we would be hosting the team and running VBS, Pastor Prado would be holding a workshop focused on conflict resolution. There was a lot of things going on and a lot of things that could have fallen through the cracks. Thankfully we have learned a great deal over the last year in regards to hosting teams and we praise God that He gave us the foresight to anticipate issues so that we could plan for them. To add to all of this we also learned that some missionary friends here, who worked with a different organization, were needing to return to the States abruptly and needed help as well. As you can see we were being really stretched and the stress of it all started to build. All of this was resting on top of our already existing ministries and we were so thankful that the kids were on a break from school during this time. On the day the team was due to arrive, we were supposed to attend a teachers retreat with the teachers from the school here but when we got word that our friends were leaving we felt compelled to help them and spent the day with them instead. When the team arrived later that night, we were exhausted but were so thankful the team arrived safely and all were ready for a great week.

Just to give you a quick synopsis of the week we had ahead of us;

• Sunday the 16th we attended church together and visited our church plants in the afternoon.
• Monday we spent the morning with the youth and college ministries at the beach and walked around the community inviting kids to VBS.
• Tuesday we spent the day gathering together all of the VBS supplies that the group had brought with them from the States and prepared the church and school for VBS.
• Wednesday morning was the first day of VBS with a turnout of over 160 kids (more than 3 times the amount we had last year) and in the afternoon we were blessed with an opportunity to use a local soccer field (with AstroTurf) for our Teen Soccer Tournament where one of our visiting teens from the U.S. was given the opportunity to share their testimony.
• Thursday morning was day two of VBS with a few less children but was still a very large group and the afternoon the kids were given free time to shop, site see or just rest. I should also mention that Pastor Prado was presenting his workshop in the afternoons so that we missionaries could attend as well. The teens from Calvary Church agreed to watch all of our children while we attended the workshop from 4 to 7 pm and it was such a huge blessing.
• Friday, the final day of VBS we had nearly the same amount of children and many of the kids left asking when the next VBS was going to be. In the afternoon we had a lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs for all of the workers of VBS and the visiting Calvary team. It was so neat to see all of the relationships that formed over the week and how well they all connected. Later in the afternoon we continued with the workshop, while the team went on a prayer walk around Santa Marta. They prayed for the church, the school, the community, the city, the government and the judiciary.

To sum it all up, it was an absolutely amazing week where God used Americans to bless Colombians, and Colombians to bless Americans. Both sides seemed to be extremely touched by what God did that week and we give God all of the glory.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As the bus pulled away bright and early Saturday morning, I was overcome with joy at what God had done in the lives of so many and was happy that the week went so well. As I mentioned earlier, joy and happiness are vastly different terms and it is important for us to understand the differences. Joy is not based on our current condition but transcends it. As Christians, we can know joy because that is what God gives us through Jesus and it is pure and at times is so hard to explain. When we are walking closely with God we are not only in tune with what makes Him weep, but also what makes Him rejoice. In regards to happiness, it is a momentary delight in which it is entirely dependent on our current situation and condition. Happiness is fleeting and even though we often confuse the two I know I am guilty of chasing after happiness from time to time instead of joy. This week was such a culmination of the two that it was so easy to differentiate between them. I would like to conclude this post with scripture that I think is very fitting…

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” – Philippians 2:1-4

Posted by: Seekers Global Project | May 7, 2013

Sweet Aroma?

For those of you who bake, you might be able to relate to this analogy but if not please try to stay with me here. Sometimes, I feel like ministry can be a lot like baking bread. You add the flour (love and lots of it), salt (to add flavor and to cause reaction) and yeast (so that we can rise or grow in our relationship with Christ and others) and then you mix it up a bit. French BreadWe then add a little olive oil (to keep us pliable and useful to God) and then we add the warm water (life’s lessons). It is that warm water that can really test our faith. If the water is too warm, it will make it difficult to work the dough. If it is too cold, the dough won’t rise. Much like us Christians, if we get too comfortable or cold our relationship with Christ won’t rise and when we hit a ‘hot’ season in life and if we take our eyes off of God, we won’t be productive in our service (kneading the dough if you will). But when we stay focused on Jesus, work the dough sufficiently, and allow enough time for Christ to work in us, we will see the dough rise. Much like our faith, it will grow and we will become useful to God. When it is time for the real testing (putting the bread in the oven) and the heat really gets turned up, we will let out a sweet aroma in our worship to the Lord. It may sound a little corny, but sometimes I wonder if I’m letting out a sweet aroma or just smelling burnt.

This is not to sound negative or pessimistic, but sometimes we have our own expectations of what ministry should look like or how it should function and when. I also think that sometimes, we are harder on ourselves than God is. It is only because of our deep desire to serve Him and also see the fruit of our labors. The problem is that I am a bit impatient and make the mistake of wanting to see it in my own timing rather than God’s. This is where we need to be very careful and where I have honestly felt as though I haven’t been as successful in ministry as I think I should be. Then our mighty God has a way of reminding us that it isn’t our timing, but His that is perfect. I have two examples of this and one of them is very personal to me, so I will share it with you in my next post.

Loving & Sharing with the least of these: Mabel with her sheet across the street from our church.

Loving & Sharing with the least of these: Mabel with her sheet across the street from our church.

For now, the first example of this is with Mabel. You may remember me writing about her in a previous post and I have been a little reluctant to write about her any further. You see, I have really struggled with writing about her only because I don’t want us to take any credit for the things that have happened in her life. We don’t take any credit for anything, but are only thankful that God allowed us to be a part of His work in her.
Mabel: A Year Ago

Mabel: A Year Ago

You see, at the end of last year Mabel offered to help us clean our house a couple times a week. At the time, we were a little hesitant because we weren’t sure if we could trust her in the house or with the kids. So we prayed about it and we decided that we would trust God by having her come one time just to see how it went. We were amazed at how thorough and fast she was in her cleaning. In about 5 hours she was able to clean the kitchen, which included cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer. She also cleaned out all the cupboards and the pantry while organizing them. She then cleaned the living room and dining room, including the windows. She cleaned the bathroom and the patio. I have to honestly say that she really surprised me and I was as pleased as punch. So since then, she has been coming twice and sometimes 3 times a week in the mornings to help us clean.

Do you see a difference in Mabel? We sure do!

Do you see a difference in Mabel? We sure do!

During these times that she has been helping us, Silvia has had the pleasure of sharing the Gospel message with her and we pray with her every time she comes. We also invited her and continue to invite her to church. For what seemed like several months she said she would come, but never would seem to make it. A couple months back however, she finally made it. Imagine our delight as we walked into church with her that Sunday morning. There came a time, just before the service ended that they recognized new visitors and she actually stood up. You see the Pastor lives in the same complex as we do and he, as well as many others at the church, know who she is and her reputation.
Mabel Going to Church

Mabel Going to Church

We were not sure how the church would receive her, but when she stood everyone clapped and made her feel welcome. They then took her to the side and gave her some information about the church. After the service, she made a comment to me that the people at the church were so much friendlier than she ever thought they would be. Since then she has visited the church several times and we continue to invite her regularly. I cannot say that she has completely conquered her addictions or has had any miraculous revelations that prevent her from falling back into her old ways, but we have seen some major victories in her life.

Mabel is a shining example of how God can take a person who has suffered so greatly and transform their lives and give them hope. She is an inspiration to me and God has used her to reveal Himself and the vastness of His love. In our time here in Colombia, we have seen the destructiveness of Satan’s lies in the lives of so many people and the glorious work of God and the redemption he provides to the lost through His sacrifice on the cross. At times, I feel so unworthy to have the privilege of witnessing the awesome power of God in such amazing ways, but then I remember that it is not about my unworthiness, but rather God’s sovereignty. In Mabel’s case, she continues to struggle in so many areas of her life yet we see such an amazing change in her spirit. It is because of these struggles that when she praises God, it is a sweet aroma indeed to the Lord. God is continuing to work in her life and it is one battle at a time. One of the greatest gifts that God has given us, has been the front row seats to watch His work in Her. Won’t you join us in praising God for the work He continues to do in Mabel and pray for her continued spiritual growth?

Posted by: Seekers Global Project | October 31, 2012

That’s Right… We’re Back Baby!!

It has been a rocky road since the last time I posted to the blog. At the end of June of this year, I posted an entry introducing you to Mabel and I had intended on writing a few posts about her and her life on the streets in Santa Marta. However, God had some other plans for us that really stretched us and has taken us some time to recover from. We are thankful to you all for your prayers and financial support, as we faced uncertainty in our ministry and our living here in Colombia.

Please allow me to give you a breakdown of the events over the last few months that include both our personal life as well as some big ministry events. So buckle up and lets get started:

CCLE’s First VBS 2012

  • June 27-29, 2012: Very first Comunidad Cristiana la Esperanza (CCLE) Vacation Bible School (VBS) held at the church and school with an amazing 60 kids in attendance!
  • July 2, 2012: Youth outing to ‘Playa Grande’ beach for fun, relaxation and fellowship. The outing required a pretty good hike.
  • July 7, 2012: Silvia was taken to the Emergency Room for severe abdominal pain and admitted into the hospital.
  • July 11, 2012: Silvia had emergency surgery to remove her gallbladder due to 3 massive gallstones.
  • Clinica El Prado - Nurse Checks Silvia's Vitals

    Clinica El Prado – Nurse Checks Silvia’s Vitals

  • July 13, 2012: Silvia is urgently taken to the ICU because of liquid in her lungs (both lungs nearly half full of liquid) Not expected to survive the night.
  • July 15, 2012: Silvia has second surgery to remove 2 infectious masses attributed to her gallbladder having lacerations.
    Silvia’s dad arrives from San Diego.
  • July 18, 2012: Silvia returns to ICU due to liquid in her right lung.
    She received a chest tube thoracostomy to drain the fluid from her lung. However doctors are not sure that she would survive.
  • July 20, 2012: Silvia leaves ICU to recover in a private room.
    She begins using a breathing device to strengthen her lungs and remove any residual liquids.
    Fellowship Bible Church (FBC) arrives in Santa Marta to do outreach and work projects.
  • Fellowship Bible Church - Checking Into Hotel in Santa Marta

    Fellowship Bible Church – Checking Into Hotel in Santa Marta

  • July 21,2012: FBC team visits Once (Once de Noviembre) church plant for leadership introductions.
  • July 22,2012: FBC attends church services in Once and puts on a children’s bible camp with an amazing 50+ children in attendance.
  • July 25.2012: FBC team completes work project in Once – New concrete multi-purpose patio at the back of Wilber and Prudencia’s home.
  • July 26, 2012: FBC leaders take time out of their busy schedule to visit Silvia in the hospital. It was an amazing encouragement for them to visit!
    Begrudgingly, Silvia’s dad has to leave Santa Marta to return to San Diego
    FBC team performs a drama at CCLE (Comunidad Cristiana la Esperanza) church
  • July 27, 2012: FBC team leaves Santa Marta to return home to Charlotte, NC
  • July 28, 2012: After exactly 3 weeks in the hospital, Silvia is allowed to return home to continue recovery. We praised God for His mercies!!
  • August 1, 2012: Mabel pays Silvia a surprise visit and we learn that she had been working in Cienaga and has been doing well.
  • August 2, 2012: Farewell dinner for our beloved friend, brother-from-another-mother and co-missionary, Sam Tse, who was instrumental and an absolute godsend in helping us deal with the hospital.
  • August 5, 2012: Sam Tse leaves Colombia to return home to Canada
  • Once de Noviembre Soccer Ministry - Group Photo

    Once de Noviembre Soccer Ministry – Group Photo

  • The month of August and September was largely spent on recovery and trying to get back to a somewhat normal routine.
  • August 18,2012: New youth ministry started in Once de Noviembre. Every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. there is a devotional time and then soccer games are played at a local field. We have had up to 45 kids come and be a part of the fun and learning about our Savior. From this ministry we have seen a steady growth in attendance on both Saturdays and Sundays. We look forward to seeing how God is going to continue to use this ministry.
  • September 2, 2012: Silvia’s first visit back to Once after being away for several months. It was neat to hear of all the people who had been praying for her in Once.
  • September 9, 2012: The Comunidad Cristiana la Esperanza – Once de Noviembre (CCLE-Once) church held their very first service in their newly rented space. The church has been moved out of Wilber and Prudencia’s home where it was first started. It was a long move across the street, but we’re praising God for His faithfulness as the church stepped out in faith.
  • Once de Noviembre - Our New Church Building

    Once de Noviembre – Our New Church Building

  • September 10, 2012: We had a small celebration for our son Brandon’s 11th birthday.
  • September 12, 2012: we welcomed a new member to our missionary team, Mitchell Clayton who is working with the University ministry here.
  • October 2,2012: Dave Broucek, our SAM field director arrived in Colombia for a quick one week visit. It was a blessing to have him come and spend some time with us. With all the events of the last few months, it was good to have someone from the home office here. Although it was a short visit, it produced much fruit.
  • October 9, 2012: Dave Broucek returns home to South Carolina.
  • October 21, 2012: Two of the couples from our Wednesday night marriage study and mentoring group announced that they are pregnant. We are praising God for his mercy and grace on these two couples and for the blessings He has been pouring out on them.
  • October 28, 2012: Consistorio (Eldership) from Comunidad Cristiana la Esperanza (CCLE) mother church visit Once church plant, recognizing the leadership of the church in Once. It was a huge step in building up the structure of the church leadership in Once de Noviembre. We had an amazing 80+ adults, children and teenagers, being one of the largest groups we’ve had yet. We’re praising God for the work He is doing in this young church plant.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The last four months have been a real challenge for us with all the time spent in the hospital and then trying to recover, but our God is a faithful God and He has revealed Himself over and over again. I can’t explain it, but at the moments when we felt the deepest despair, all we wanted to do was sing out to our God in worship. It was then that we found our greatest comfort and our greatest strength in Him. For me, there were two scriptures that really touched me in new ways during this time and I would like to share them with you.

The first is Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God…” and at the moments when the weight feels like it’s too much, I remember that it isn’t all about me, my wife, our family or our current situation! It is all about God, His glory and our worship!!

The second scripture is Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” There are times in this life that we are going to suffer and groan, but the real question isn’t simply whether or not we get through it, but rather do we trust God and His sovereign plan for our lives?

What is the most exciting part of all of these events, is that at the moments when we felt the most out of control, we could clearly see God in control. There are so many more things that happened to us and around us that I wish I could write it all down for you, but then I am reminded of two things… firstly, I am reminded of John 21:25 where it says, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” and secondly, your time is precious and I don’t want to bore you with all the mundane details. As a matter of fact, I might have already reached that limit! If I have, I hope that you will forgive me for being so long winded. If not, keep an eye out because I will be posting more again soon! In the mean time, God bless you and thank you for taking the time to read our update!!

Posted by: Seekers Global Project | June 21, 2012

Mabel: An Introduction (Part 1)

I have decided to do a short series of blog entries that would allow you to peer into the life of one Colombian woman, who lives on the furthest periphery of society. For many, Mabel and others like her are the offscourings of humanity and to whom many say deserve to be marginalized and ignored at best. Years ago the question was asked, what is the opposite of love?

Mabel (pronounced Mah-bel)

For many the quick response would be hate, but that isn’t the case. Because for hate to exist, you actually have to care about that which hate is being thrusted upon. No, the opposite of love is indifference, apathy or unconcernedness. According to the Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language of 1828 (the political correctness free version) defines it as “a state of the mind when it feels no anxiety or interest in what is presented to it. No person of humanity can behold the wretchedness of the poor with indifference.” This is exactly how Mabel is treated everyday by her countrymen. It is true, she is homeless and lives on the streets of Santa Marta. It is true that she has a drinking and a drug problem that has taken her captive and has stolen countless years of her life. It is true that she does whatever she needs to do to survive in a very dangerous world. It is true that she is surrounded by people who only want to abuse her and take advantage of her; in response she cowers and submits. What do you see when you look at her?

A couple of months after arriving here in Santa Marta, Silvia and I were walking on our way home from a quick trip to our nearby “Tienda” or “mom and pop convenience store” when we noticed a very frail woman sitting on the curb at the intersection

Silvia, Mabel and a Friend Enjoy A Good Laugh

of our apartment complex. We asked her if she was ok and she said in a very timid and shy voice that she was hungry. Silvia and I looked at each other and we knew that we had to help this woman and we told her that we would be back to bring her some food. From that time on we have seen her periodically and have had the pleasure of sharing the hope of Christ with her over some food. Unfortunately, she has an uphill battle with the lies in her life that have enslaved her. I am reminded of this scripture verse, “…all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10, but remember to read it in context) At some point in her life she started believing in a lie and it eventually engulfed her in a life of sin, pain and despair. Her scars (both emotional and physical) are visible to the naked eye and you can hear the hurt, sorrow and the sadness in her voice. Despite it all, every time we meet she speaks to us with respect, complete humility and such gentleness. Not every time we meet, is she lucid or completely cognoscente but her meekness shines through. It is a sheer miracle of God that she often leaves us with a smile on her face, for which we must praise God for, because we know they are few and far between.

Saying Goodbye – Because each time, we never know if we’ll actually ever see her again.

I firmly believe that every person in this world, from the very wealthy to the poorest of the poor, has a story and every person in this world desires to share their story with people who are willing and interested to listen. I have heard it said that the loneliest places to be are at either extremes of society. With Mabel, we enjoy taking the time with her and listening to her story. Not to judge her but rather to give her the common courtesy of feeling heard in a world that so often disregards her existence. We desire to share her story with you for two reasons; we desire for you to get to know her like we have and for you to pray for her in real specific ways. In our next couple of blog posts, we will share with you what we have learned about Mabel, how she got where she is, how she sees herself, and the hope we have for her life.

Earlier in this post I asked you, “what do you see when you look at her?”… for us, we see a beautiful child struggling in this world, who is in desperate need of the saving grace of God. By the end of these posts, we pray that you too will get to see her in a different light. For now, I’ll end this post with a short scripture that seems so apropos to this post and to our future posts…

” …Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least
of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

~ Matthew 25:40

Posted by: Seekers Global Project | May 29, 2012

Hurly-Burly Swirlies and Holy Communion

Whirling from another exciting monthly Sunday morning service in Once de Noviembre, I began reminiscing this morning about the past months here in Santa Marta. As many of you know, we have had our share of struggles and spiritual battles but God has always proven faithful. As missionaries and people in ministry we face all kinds of different challenges.

Roof Work Project: One of our members needed a roof and God provided! It was a huge blessing to be a part of such a great project.

There are the normal ones with raising kids and fostering our marriages, but when you add in a different culture it adds a unique twist to say the least. We are already a cross-cultural family, but when you add a third culture it almost seems like a reality TV show in the making. There are moments when you just want to pull your hair out by the roots, but as time goes on you begin to realize it doesn’t do any good to sweat the little stuff. God has it all under control and He doesn’t need our two cents!

As I have mentioned before, and to be as transparent as I possibly can, I have had my share of cultural struggles here in Colombia. One area that I have struggled with is the perception of folks and ‘machismo’ or macho’ism (I know, it’s a made up word). Here in Latin America, machismo is a pretty common thing.

Roof Work Project – Sad picture, but evidence that missionaries aren’t affraid to get a little dirty!

Many men here have the view that they are macho men and no woman will ever tell them what they should or shouldn’t do. It is an interesting cultural thing, especially with the rise of feminism around the world. With that said, my approach in terms of my relationship with my lovely bride Silvia has been one of mutual love and respect. I want to hear what she has to say on a given subject and in the end I will make the final decision, but some people here have interpreted it as though she is in charge. I have struggled with finding that balance between having an ear for my bride and reflecting a strong masculinity without being artificial or fake. I know who I am in Christ, who we are as a Christian couple and we are called to be all things to all people reaching out for the cause of Christ and in some cases that may mean conforming a little to cultural demands. It has been a challenge to say the least.

We have also learned that although drivers here like to drive with their hands on their horns, people for the most part are largely non-confrontational. If you have a conflict with someone, they will often try to use a third party as a go-between in hopes that the one person will realize that they have offended the other and apologize.

Team Building Teacher Retreat: Another opportunity to strengthen relationships with the teachers from La Esperanza School.

Unfortunately, it seems like it just turns into a whole bunch of gossip and in the end not much gets resolved. This has proven challenging for both Silvia and I, as Christians and Americans we naturally want to address the problem at the core, get it out in the open and get it taken care of. This is where we know that we have to tread gently as not to offend our Colombian brothers and sisters, but still holding to the biblical principles of conflict resolution (i.e. Matthew 18:15-17). One thing is for sure… we definitely see God molding and shaping us and we are happy for it. Sometimes it feels like hurly-burly swirlies, where our lives seem to be spinning wildly out of control making us dizzy but it is because of God’s amazing grace we are able to have the faith to hold on for the ride.

School Soccer (Futbol) Tournament: My Bride Loving on Kids!

As I had mentioned earlier, we just had another monthly Sunday morning service at Once de Noviembre for which we were so excited to see some new faces and some old ones too. This time though, we had a bit of a surprise during the communion time that really made me take a hard look at myself and my dark little secret battle with legalism. I know what you must be thinking, “Jeff, legalistic?” Well, it’s true… growing up in a fairly conservative Nazarene church and Silvia also being conservative, we have grow to have certain expectations during the communion ceremony.

Loving & Sharing with the least of these: in a future post we’ll share the story of Mabel.

As our great friend Rafael Gamez gave the communion devotion, we received the bread and ate it. As he continued, they began passing out the little cups. Now for many of you, who are familiar with a traditional communion service you receive a piece of bread or cracker and some sort of juice (usually grape). As they drew closer to us, we noticed that the cups were filled with a very dark liquid which was obviously not our usual grape juice. Coming even closer, we could see little bubbles in the dark liquid… yep you guessed it… Coca Cola! We had communion with bread and my favorite cold beverage. Which you can understand, I was feeling greatly conflicted. I was happy to receive the drink in the spirit for which it was given, thankful that it was a beverage of my liking but at the same time a little disturbed because it wasn’t what I have grown to expect during communion. I didn’t know if I was disturbed because it was Coca Cola or that they only gave me a little cup of it, but I really had to look at myself truthfully and ask why I felt disturbed. Was it disrespectful not to have juice? Was it because it was carbonated? Was it because I liked it too much? Or was it just a simple case of me being legalistic? I am sorry to say it was the later and I have had to come to terms with that fact. Truly, it was a sacrament plain and simple. Between you, me and God, I was humbled to receive it and gave thanks to God for the opportunity and privilege of taking communion in the first place. As I took the cup, I drank it, enjoyed it with a smile and I thanked God for it and His sacrifice so that I could be spared from the debt of sin. Wow… it was a first for me, but I hope and pray it is not the last.


Prayer Requests and Praises


† Please pray for the leaders of Once de Noviembre for encouragement, clarity, and protection.

† Please pray for our relationships with the leaders and for further opportunities to share the love of Christ with the people of Once de Noviembre

† Please pray for our continued financial support needs, so that we can continue serving our great God here in Colombia.

† Please continue to pray for team of missionaries here in Santa Marta. Some are scheduled to complete their service, while others are working toward either returning or coming for the first time.

† We have another group coming on July 20th, please keep them in your prayers as they prepare to come to Santa Marta to witness to folks and build new relationships.

† Please pray for our family in regards to health, marriage, our kids, encouragement, our continued Spanish learning and all of the relationships we have been working hard to foster.

† Please pray for our young married couples group, as we dig deeper into our Love & Respect study.


• Please join us in praising God for the wonderful turn out on our Sunday morning services. As I mentioned earlier we had some new faces and we are praying that they will soon become regular faces.

• We are praising God as our children have really started taking off with Spanish and are able to complete there homework much faster each day with less misunderstandings.

• Just the privilage of being here in Santa Marta, serving with some very Godly people and for our support system back home

Posted by: Seekers Global Project | April 25, 2012

Rising In Christ!

Calvary logo

Church of Charlotte

We had a group of youth from Calvary church of Charlotte, N.C. come to visit and spend their Easter week with us. It was such an amazing experience for us and for them, as they got to experience firsthand what life is like here in Colombia and forge relationships with new friends. The age range for the youth was between 14 and 18 years old, with 4 adult leaders. While they were here, we had some major difficulties as they were our very first group to host. As you can imagine things didn’t go as we all had planned, but then again, when does it ever? There was some miscommunications and unmet expectations in various degrees, but we could see God moving. It was a time of learning for us and for them.

Through all the struggles and stresses, God did some amazing things through these kids and leaders from Calvary. We wouldn’t give Satan a foothold and we’re so Glad that God was with us. At Once de Noviembre, we had a three day, vacation bible school type program, a movie night on Friday and our regular Sunday service. Once FlyerWe witnessed a huge attendance on all those days and an enormous number of kids got to hear the Gospel message and take it home to their families. I have mentioned before, but I’ll say it again, it is so easy to fall in love with the people in Once. The kids and their big beautiful smiles and the welcoming warmth of the adults that come is such a huge blessing. Each day seemed to bring more kids and on Friday we showed the movie “Courageous” for the adults. The total count on Friday was 46 kids and 28 adults, for a grand total of 74 people in attendance. We are just reveling in God’s amazing handiwork.

We also saw a community park in Ciudadela (another barrio here in Santa Marta where there is a church plant) transformed so it could be better used by the community and the church (they too saw an increase in attendance there on Sunday). Relationships sprouted between the group and the kids at the Esperanza school and most of all friendships cultivated between these visiting kids, their leaders and us missionaries. In the end we were able to take away some valuable lessons on how to be better hosts and how to be better facilitators to future visiting groups. We felt so privileged to spend the week with the group and in a small way to get to know them. We are praying that God will continue to work in and through their lives and that we will get to see them again here in Colombia.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As I had expressed to the Calvary leaders when they were here and have mentioned on this blog before, we are fighting a cosmic battle and we are on the front lines. Whenever you step out in faith, you are stepping out onto that line and are fighting against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. We must not surrender and we must not retreat, but rather must advance for the kingdom of God is at hand. God never promised that this road we are on would be easy or smooth, but He did promise to be with us every step of the way. Matthew 28:20 “… And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” No matter where you go in this world, the battle rages and we are all called to fight. When you invest in God’s kingdom and support missionaries, you are fighting alongside those who are entrenched in the battle and the victory is yours as well. When a person accepts Jesus’ sacrifice, you are among the victors and God’s kingdom advances. We might be beaten, battered, and bruised but through it all we will rejoice in all of God’s victories!

Vanessa Baptism

Vanessa Baptism

The week we spent with the Calvary kids and leaders, ended in a major Victory for our great God. On Easter Sunday morning, the day the group left for home, we had a baptism at the beach for a whole group of people, but one person in particular really touched our hearts… Her name is Vanessa and she has been attending the church here in Santa Marta for a long time, but she had never been baptized…can you believe the smile on Vanessa’s face as she came up out of the water? What an amazing thing, when an adult comes to the cross and is buried and rises in Christ. Rejoice with us as we celebrate yet another young lady coming into our family of believers. A week of victories for the cause of Christ, only to start the following week with another adopted child of God being welcomed into the family of Christ! God is so Good!!

Posted by: Seekers Global Project | April 14, 2012

Rejoicing In God’s Victories

As I have shared previously we have taken on a church plant ministry in Once de Noviembre (Once). Last month, we could really see our adversary trying to derail our efforts. Everything that could go wrong, seemed to. We had some difficulties in just getting the group of leaders together to discuss the church plant, let alone getting everyone all on the same page and unifying the group.

Nothing Like Sunday Morning Smiles

Nothing Like Sunday Morning Smiles

In the past there were some issues with unmet expectations and miscommunications that seem to keep the church plant from moving anywhere let alone forward. One of the difficulties in cross-cultural ministry is bringing enthusiasm and fresh perspectives to a group without stepping on toes and without offending leaders who have already been working in a particular ministry. Because we are working in a culture where change is often slow and progress is controlled it can be difficult to introduce ideas and principles that can radically change people’s lives. Praising God, we were able to get the group together and God was able to unify them despite all the impediments.
Rafael & Andrea - Some Dedicated Folks

Rafael & Andrea - Some Dedicated Folks

On March 18th we had our very first Sunday morning church service in Once! What makes this such a miracle is that this group has been together for almost two years and they had not been able to move forward! God has big plans for Once and it was obvious on that Sunday as we had a huge turnout of kids and adults. It was such a huge blessing to witness His handiwork and see all those smiling faces. The leadership group has decided to have a Sunday service once a month from now on and they are discussing options for having them every Sunday. Please keep them in your prayers as this small church plant starts to take form.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

While things were progressing with Once, we had another front to face with our young couples group that we have been meeting with and mentoring. As I mentioned in my last post, they had been experiencing their own attacks on their marriages, while we were getting some opposition as well from others within the church who did not want us to meet. It is amazing how Satan can use our emotions and fears to propel us to put roadblocks in the way of spiritual growth. I also had mentioned that we had begun the Love & Respect study with these couples, yet we found ourselves arguing which is not something we do very often. I had to admit to our group that I had let pride get in the way of what I knew I needed to do. It is so important as Christians that we be transparent and humble as examples to those who are still new to the faith. Despite Satan’s schemes to keep this group from coming together, we have only become stronger. We continue to have struggles in our marriages, but that should be expected, but we are feeling all the more equipped to deal with them. Please continue to pray for us and these young couples who are in fact leaders in the church here. Whenever we step out in faith, we put a target on our backs. As I have told them, Satan doesn’t want them to serve God and he doesn’t want their marriages to succeed. At this point, with God’s help they are not letting him win! Praise God!

*** A Heartfelt Appeal ***

We need your fervent prayers. We need your financial support and your help pointing us to others who have resources to steward toward God’s work in the world. Right now we are receiving only about 50% of our monthly support need, which is about a 40% drop since we left the U.S. If we continue at this rate, we will have to leave Colombia in a couple of months and return to the States. It is very encouraging to us that more than 90 people and churches have given at some point to our work. There is momentum in that! Can we ask those of you who have given before to give again? Would some of you consider increasing your monthly commitment? If only half of our more than 90 partners commit to an additional $50 per month, we are staying in Colombia to continue this Great Commission journey God has sent us on!

~ Jeff & Silvia Roddy

Posted by: Seekers Global Project | March 7, 2012

The Battle Rages

We have been extremely busy since the end of January and it has been a challenge to say the least to keep up. The kids have begun school, for which all 3 of them are enrolled full time. With the challenge of language for them, it has not been that easy of a transition that we would have liked. Since they do not have the background of how things run in schools here, they are at a bit of disadvantage and are having to put in a huge amount of effort to keep up with their classes. We have also begun volunteering at the school for a few hours a week, to aid the English teachers and for me to continue my language learning. We have also begun working much more with the ‘Once de Noviembre’ church plant. Along with that we have been building relationships with folks and nearly every week we invite someone new to share a meal with us. Three times a week, I visit a friend from the church to practice reading in Spanish. All of which has been a great blessing, but has made our weeks so very busy.

'Once' de Noviembre Sunday Afternoon Service

'Once' Church Plant Leadership Prayer Time


J. Sidlow Baxter wrote, “Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers.” This quote reminds me that no matter what scuffle or scrape we may find ourselves, in this great spiritual battle that rages all-around us, it is through our prayers that we are able to take part in God’s grand design to rescue the lost. We have been experiencing this spiritual warfare first hand, as we serve here on the Colombian mission field. We believe that we are all called to be at the front lines of this battle and when we step out in faith, we are in fact stepping out onto that line.

Just today, I was telling Silvia about an experience I had as a child and I went to my first Judo tournament. Back in the day, a Judo tournament would last the whole day and there was food and it was a big production. I had been doing well and had won most of my matches, so I was feeling pretty good about myself and I remember thinking that, “I could win this thing!” It was shortly after that thought that I heard my name called to be next on the mat. When I got to the mat, my opponent was already there, and he was the largest man I had ever seen in my life. You see, back in the day they didn’t separate children and adults like they do now. The only separation was between the belt ranking, that way you knew you had earned your belt. Anyway, I knew deep down that this man was going to crush me and send me home in a body bag. That horrible sinking feeling in your gut that you’re out matched can make you doubt and feel like packing up and going home. It is at that very moment though, that we mustn’t give in or give up. Today, I felt that way a bit with being so busy and trying to deal with obstacles. I decided to take a little extra time in prayer, but I had no idea what God had in store for us.

We have also started a married couples discipleship and mentoring group here and it has been going for a little over a month now. We have started going through the ‘Love & Respect’ book, for which we have gone through many times in the States. The only difference is that this time, it is all in Spanish. This has proven to be quite an undertaking for me, but I’m thankful for my lovely bride who is at my side and who helps keep the conversations going. When we started the study, I told the group that we would be praying for them and that they need to be praying for each other because Satan does not want their marriages to succeed.

Enjoying A Meal With Friends

I also encouraged them not to give up because they are going to experience attacks from the evil one. I in fact asked them recently if they had noticed an increase in arguments, disagreements or misunderstandings, for which they all replied emphatically, “Yes!” Silvia and I have been experiencing an increase as well, for which I shared with the group. I was encouraged however, when they said that they would not be quitting or giving up and that they were excited to continue.

As I mentioned earlier, I was having a rough day but it was Tuesday and our group was scheduled to meet in the evening. Despite my desire to go back to bed, Silvia and I worked together to get the house and food ready for our group. During the study though, we received the most wonderful blessing of seeing two of our members share what was on their hearts and we could see firsthand how God was opening up their eyes. We had the distinct privilege of witnessing an ‘Ah ha’ moment in the lives of people we have been sharing with. It was the most amazing experience to witness and knowing that God is so clearly working in their lives, all the struggles of the day just seemed to fade away. That night we got to see God win and are so energized to continue the fight. Glory be to the King of Kings!

Despite all the frustrations with language, difficulties in school and the challenges we have been experiencing with keeping our schedules straight, we have never felt so blessed as we did last night. Please pray for us as we continue to stand firm on the battlefield and hold the line. It is because of your prayers and financial support that we have the privilege of serving here. Please join us in celebrating every victory for Christ, as we serve God together as partners.

Older Posts »

Categories