The Rev. David Stains, pastor of OakView UMC in Waynesburg, and his team of 10 Volunteers in Mission have returned from a 10-day trip to Colombia, where they worked on an addition to El Camino Church in Sincelejo, an area hard-hit by power struggles over drug trafficking.
The work in Sincelejo is part of a Northeastern Jurisdiction Volunteers in Mission Project proposed by the Rev. Clinton Rabb, who died in the Haiti earthquake. Teams are needed to continue the project in Colombia.
In the Sincelejo area, with access to the Caribbean and the money to be made from drug trafficking to Central and North America, groups have battled 50 years for the power to do so. One generation of men is missing due to war. Many sons and fathers are missing or have been killed.
The church and community are made up of many single mothers and their children. While drug traffickers entice children to join them and abuse the young women, the church is teaching the children and women that they are created to be more, to do more and to become more than to serve these battling groups.
The team, along with the pastor and his family and other local Colombians, dug trenches for footers, built forms and poured concrete for six columns, cut and bent rebar and built support cages for the footers and removed dirt from the area to level the ground.
The community surrounding the church is made up mostly of women, children and older men. The addition will serve as a place for the children and women to come together. The women cook and sell food and other items outside the church to generate money for the church. Pastor Rennys continues to teach school because the church does not have the cash to pay him. The addition will give the children a place to meet, play and learn with one another.
The women on Stains' team also held a four-day Bible School for area children. They enjoyed singing, listening to and dramatizing Bible stories, making crafts and just spending time with the leaders and each other.
Before the team left Colombia, they visited the IPS Clinton Rabb Methodist Clinic in Hermosa Vista. The clinic is open; a medical doctor is there all of the time, and a dentist is available. They are set up for minor surgery and to deliver babies. A lab is equipped to test blood and perform other tests. A small number of beds are available for patients and families to stay overnight. Bunk beds are available for teams of medical volunteers.
Donations to the Encounter with Christ in Latin America and the Caribbean will aid this project and other Methodist ministries in the area. Learn more.