President’s Blog: 30th January 2023
The last few weeks have been filled with the most amazing experiences. I was privileged to visit Colombia with Sandra Lopez, who acted as interpreter, and accompanied by my husband, Michael. This was my visit as MWiB President, facilitated by the Global Relationship Department of the Methodist Church, with whom we work closely. We went to see how the work of the United Methodist Church of Colombia and CEPALC (Centre for Social Communication in Latin America, Media Communications Program, Colombia) impacted on the Zenu indigenous people, with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals of: Education for All, Gender Equality and Climate Action.
What an amazing country and what resilient people! We travelled extensively – from Bogota, in the mountains to the the Caribbean city of Cartagena, by air, then up and down the coast to meet Zenu communities and Venezuelan refugees, before returning to Bogota. We ventured into the Andes – a five hour journey to meet a mining community with CEPALC, then back to Bogota, to meet the team. We then flew back to the coast to visit some of CEPALCs projects on Gender Equality and Human Rights. The adrenalin kept us going!
The thing that impacted me the most, was the sincerity of the people. People who had little, few rights, no water, no benefits – but they had such a strong faith in God, who gave them the strength to live. We were given such a warm welcome everywhere we went. We visited a new Methodist Community in Bajo Grande. The community had built the Church together with the pastor, using mud and cow dung and thatching it with palm leaves.
As we waited for the congregation to arrive, a small lady arrived , greeting us with her powerful testimony of what her faith meant to her, how God had been with her and strengthened her when her daughter died of covid, how he helped her with her sick and disabled son, how God helped her through the day, always beginning the morning with God and coffee! The village had no water and had narrowly avoiding starvation during the pandemic – but God was good, and they relied on him to see them through. The words tumbled out of her, and her face radiated that faith. As the people arrived, one by one, we heard many similar testimonies. It was a humbling experience and a memory that I will treasure. For the people who had virtually nothing, God was everything!
‘Give me the faith which can remove
and sink a mountain to a plain;
give me the childlike praying love,
which longs to build thy house again;
thy love, let it my heart o’erpower
and all my simple soul devour.’ Charles Wesley