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By: Ruth Ann Elliott on: November 24, 2015
Story Type: Story    

At Risk Children in Leticia, Colombia


It is very encouraging to see people catch a glimpse of what God is doing in the world, understand how God wants them involved and then to see them take steps of obedience toward getting involved.

Elina and Sam tell about how their summer experience working with children at risk in Leticia, Colombia helped them grow in their spiritual lives. They worked at La Ajaba, which is a ministry to children at risk led by the director, Lucy Palma. (In Spanish La Aljaba means the quiver.)

Some children live at La Aljaba because they do not have homes. Most of the children attend school either from 6:00 a.m. until noon or from noon to 6:00 p.m. One group from the local community attends the program in the morning and another group attends in the afternoon. A total of about 100 children each day participate in the program. At La Aljaba they are tutored, helped with their homework and taught music, the Bible and games.

This helped Elina grow in her walk with the Lord. She is a university student from Toronto. With her permission we want to share a few excerpts from her last newsletter concerning worship and dedication. This is what short-term missions is about.

“One of the things that I have learned from the local churches here in Leticia is what it means to genuinely love and worship the Lord. As we attended different churches here, God drew my attention to the people. There are no lights, or incredible bands, but people are singing, they are clapping and rejoicing because they are in the presence of the Lord. He showed me the sincerity of their hearts, the love they express toward Him. They are found in his presence where nothing else mattered. God has been convicting my heart of these things, focusing my attention on bringing glory to His name. He has been preparing me for service within my own church, to make it a time and place of true worship.”

“God has been teaching me about selflessness and what it means to fully dive into my calling and service. Lucy has been a huge example of that for me. She has dedicated her life to serving in Leticia, fully committing her heart to the Lord in what He has called her to do. Because of her obedience God has been doing many great things, most importantly bringing hundreds of children into fellowship and relationship with Him. I have been reminded and greatly encouraged to do the same as I return home. These past weeks God has been showing me important changes that need to occur within my life.”

Sam was also in Leticia for the summer. He is a university student from London, ON. Reflecting on his summer experience, he wrote the following about what he learned in Colombia this summer.

“My experience in Colombia has been great! I’ve been learning things that I didn’t expect to learn and it’s impacted me in a way that will definitely shape my future. One of the biggest lessons that God has revealed to me is the importance of discipline in reading the word and taking time to meditate on it. When I got to Colombia I thought for some reason that my excited and encouraged mindset would be sufficient in getting me through these 8 weeks. I expected that I would be so overjoyed to be serving Him and the children at Aljaba, that I wouldn’t need the same type of spiritual nourishment as I did in Canada. This, however, was not the case. Our busy schedule and different circumstances often kept me from being able to quietly rest, read my Bible and pray. On top of this, it has been very difficult to understand the Spanish messages that the pastors have been preaching during church services. The music and time of worship at church has been one of the best places for me to see and experience God, but for a large portion of my trip I’ve been lacking personal time to encounter Him.”

Please pray for Elina and Sam and other young people as they take important steps of obedience to the Lord and become involved in practical service to the needy people in the world.

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