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.

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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!!

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Responses

  1. Just incredible how much God was honored through this whole experience and to see the work of His hands on your ministry and in Silvia’s healing. Praise God! Again and again I am blessed through your service to our Lord and you sharing all he has done with those who love and pray for you.

    • Thank you Stephanie for your very kind words of encouragement!! It is a huge blessing to us and it is nice to be back in the saddle again… so to speak! 🙂 We pray that you and Ron are both doing well! Peace and blessings to you and the entire Kenaston clan!

  2. What a blessing and a shining light you are to Colombia. Love reading about your journey!

  3. Hello, Jeff & Silvia!
    You have been on my mind many times through the months, but even though I help to support your efforts, I let life in the way of writing a note to you! I read the whole novel above, as I tend to write the same, so I gave it a valiant effort! I enjoyed reading all the wonderful things going on with you now, which you are accomplishing for the Lord. Sorry to read more of your illness Silvia, which I knew a little bit about before, but I certainly remember my own full open GB surgery & sympathized greatly with your ordeal. Been there, as you may recall me writing about that. We are sisters in the Lord as well as old style GB surgery! I did not however have such a ordeal of the aftermath & infection, yet it took me years to feel like me again. God Bless you as you grow in strength and spiritual power to help others endure similar ordeals. Thanks be to our Lord, what a marvelous thing is happening through you Jeff as well in the church there. Keeping you both in my thoughts and Prayers, along with your 3 children. I leave you with my favorite hymn: “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”. It is such a comfort to me in my own life!
    Your Sister in Christ,
    Susie Kirk


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