Monday, February 1, 2010

the month.

it has been a really long time since i've updated.
whoa. it has been a month!

i'm happy that i finally can get a chance to update you!

whoa this one's a doozy.

week 1
january began with a trip to beautiful MELGAR with my 2nd (3rd?) cousins.

rain + heat = awesome

week 2
teaching english in bosa

i remember struggling in wanting to serve in bosa to teach english.
but, it was such a blessing!
during those 4 days, i was loved like none other in the community and the church.

pupils and teachers

they love GOD.
truly they hold fast to HIM as their only hope.
and GOD has been ever faithful.

an encouragement from a lady named olga:
she was telling me a story.
how she had a bitter and angry co-worker.
she began to pray: "LORD, how can i minister to this little lamb of yours?"
out of nowhere, she said to the bitter lady: "has anyone told you how beautiful your eyes are?"
bitter lady: "what?!"
olga: "yea, let's go to the bathroom and check for yourself"
after the bitter lady looked at herself in the mirror, tears started flowing down her eyes.
and she just started opening up to olga.
olga was able to share the gospel to her.
and bitter lady, amazed at the good news, accepted CHRIST as her LORD and Savior.

oh man, we only have 5 bread and 2 fish. i mean, all olga said was: "your eyes are beautiful"
but GOD turned it into a miracle.
dang, simply ask and trust GOD to use you.

the story of the stolen camera
after the last day of classes, we were invited for lunch at the house of one of the church members.
we had walked about 15 minutes, when i realized that i had left my dodgers hat in the park.
i truthfully had no hope of getting back. however, one of the kids, airon, volunteered to bike to the park and check.

when we arrived to the house, i lent my camera to one of the girls to play with.
i was then asked to accompany augusto, the man of the house, to buy some meat.

on our way back from the butcher, we caught a glimpse of airon, who had the hat with him!
nobody had taken it!
"GOD, i don't need that hat, but why are you so good to me?"

as i was internally rejoicing, we saw janet, augusto's wife, running out from the house chasing a young man. they jumped over the adjacent sewer, and on the other side, a mob of neighbors talked the young man and started beating him up.

one of the last pictures taken 
before the camera was stolen

all i could hear in the commotion was: "la camara, la camara!"
the young man had snatched my camera from the girl i lent it to and attempted to run away with it.

when i reached the other side of the sewer, i found him against the ground as a man was sitting on top of him. the neighbors were yelling at each other: "we have to kill scum like this" vs. "he's a human being, treat him like one!"

haha someone was asking if the young man could breathe, so i sat next to him and started asking him if he could breathe.

i reclaimed my camera.

the cops came, and they placed, freddy, the 17-year-old pilfering young man, in the patrol car.
to my surprise, the told me and janet to sit in the back with him.

"GOD, what do i say to him?"
i began to just talk to him.
about his deed, about sin, about justice.
that i forgave him about the camera,
that he should ask forgiveness from the family and the girl.
that his sin wasn't against me but against GOD.
that he didn't deserve to be beaten up.
that justice needed to be served as he was arrested.

"GOD, how do i lead him to you?"
he is addicted to drugs and when he saw the camera, he'd seen another puff.
with teary eyes, he was admitting that he hated what he was becoming.
he wanted freedom.
we began to talk about CHRIST.
suddenly we stopped in front of a large brick-walled building.
unbeknownst to us, the cops took us to the prosecutor's office, where we would spend the next 6 hours.

the cops had reclaimed the camera, and knowing their reputation i was worried that i'd be a vicim of theft twice in one day. fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. haha. they didn't steal the camera after all.

for 2 hrs, freddy was being questioned by the prosecutor and the cops.
for the next 2 hrs, he was taken to the medical office for his bruises.
for the next hour, we were reunited, waiting for the prosecutor.
it was crazy.
as we were sitting next to each other, he was listening intently to what CHRIST had done at the cross, of HIS love for us and HIS promise to those that submit to HIM.
our last hour together, we continued talking about restoring his life through JESUS.
we chit-chatted about his future plans, ironically, as a prison guard.
how he now wanted to live with his christian sister.

our hope was that he would return to the neighborhood and visit janet's church.
last time i heard, he hasn't showed :(
please pray for freddy.
let's hope that he's being ministered to by someone. maybe he went to his sister's!

but isn't GOD so crazy?
what a truly unexpected opportunity to preach the gospel!
freddy and i would've never, ever crossed paths.
man. i hope i see him in heaven.

haha, i was left with a little thought at the end.

"GOD, i don't need that camera, but why are you so good to me?"

week 3
dental ministry at amazon

we were able to visit 3 countries in one day!
we couldn't land because it was too stormy.
so after circling the city for and hour and a half, we went to iquitos, peru to refuel.

leticia, the colombian city, is directly adjacent to tabatinga, a brazilian town.
the church in leticia was only a block away from brazil.

peru, brazil, colombia = tres fronteras!

ministry was mostly focused on dental treatment.
however, they were many that came to the church that were not christians and we got to share a little with them.

dang. missionaries are awesome.


leticia - airport

the team

one of the first victims

weird flower at the hotel

to the native village!

on the boat

incredible how they were able to set
up at a native village

to the left is missionary julio.
he's been working up and down the amazon
planting churches and bringing many to CHRIST
to the right is ronaldo.
he is the GOD-fearing son of the local pastor

lunch time!


go, go, go

our neighborhood

sleep time!

the waiting room, UNDERNEATH the church
the stilts are there because the amazon river can grow
up to 2 meters above current levels!

the dentists, the helpers and the pastors

week 4
grad school applications

this last week i've been stuck at home working on grad school applications.
they were due feb. 1st!
i should've worked on it earlier.

thanks to all the avatars and surrogates that helped me remind the professors for grad letters. all received!

- bosa santafe presbyterian church: that GOD would continue to capture the hearts of the people in the community. that His gospel truth would be sown into the hearts of the youth, and bring transformation to their lives. please pray for pastor carlos cadena.
- missionary julio and "ministerio de misiones": for pastors and leaders in the amazon region. many native communities can't be reached because there isn't anyone to shepherd a local church at the many villages. please pray for seminario tres fronteras, which is the only seminary in the area. also, there is talk of building a new seminary, so for wisdom in that.
missionary julio also has a church in tabatinga, brazil and his son has a church in leticia. for their churches to be lights in the area, and that HIS truth alone would be preached.
- united church of bogota: this is the only english speaking church in bogota. please pray that the church would reach the many english-speaking people in bogota. also for their thursday fellowship that is transforming into a young adults ministry.

- the cousins i went to melgar with: although we didn't get to share much. we had few conversations about GOD. that they wouldn't be discouraged by the hurt they've received at church. that they'd come to see GOD and not the people at church.
- my uncle: i've had opportunities to talk with him. he has a bad perception of church. he only sees sinners in it. he claims that he hasn't swindled anyone, and that he hasn't done anything deserving of hell. please pray that he'd not focus on others but on his own heart. 
i was distraught at his quick answer when i asked him: "what is gonna make you happy?" "MONEY!" he is in bondage over money, and JESUS you are freedom.
- my aunt: after hearing the gospel for the first time, she's been on fire. that GOD would continue to reveal Himself to her, and that she'd find a church ASAP!

- church: to be truly set apart from this world. that the thought of "living life is hard, its impossible to not be dirtied by it" would not be an excuse. no compromise as the bride of Jesus.
love, love, love. that the church would love each other completely, so that others outside would see CHRIST!
also, love between the 2 korean churches and not competitive animosity.
worship in reverence, in spirit and truth.
restoration and reconciliation within and outside the church.
- pastors: strength and perseverance to continue in the preaching of the gospel, even in the midst of fruitless seasons. also, for accountability for them.
- adults: control of the tongue. wholehearted devotion to CHRIST. weaning from the world, business and money.
- young adults: that they'd come to know GOD and love HIM. GOD is more satisfying than the world.
- youth: that they wouldn't fall into the temptation of being "cool". that GOD would provide opportunities for them to learn of HIM clearly.

school friends: their total evangelization.

- homeless: for the many homeless in the city. juan carlos was an exception in his hope in Christ. many are jaded, and broken. that they'd find rest in HIM.
- taxi drivers: that they would truly seek the truth. that they wouldn't believe in a god created by society but the true and living GOD.
- culture: many grow up within a religious atmosphere and develop a god of their own. "i think god should be like this and like that." that TRUTH would be proclaimed and preached.

me: to be led completely by HIM.
- diligence and perseverance: to do my utmost to bring as many to CHRIST. take every opportunity and not fall into slumber. watchful prayer and a healthy diet of the WORD.
- future: what after colombia? grad school isnt for sure.
- patience and humility: in personal relationships especially. also, that i'd always remember i am a wretched sinner, undeserving of anything good. everything has been revealed to me by the Holy Spirit and not because of anything I've done.
- accountability and community: it has been a gift to be able to share with some of you through AIM but please pray that i'd find a brother i can share with here. also that i'd come to love the churches here.
- ministry: "that GOD may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ...that I make it clear, which is how i ought to speak (col 4:3-4). " please pray that i'd always be ready to preach the gospel. the passage also encourages to continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving (v.2), to walk in wisdom towards outsiders, making the best use of the time and to let speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person (v.5-6). so that's my prayer for my time here.

there's only one month left.
time is so short.
please pray that i'd go ALL OUT for HIM.

also, please join me in fasting for colombia on thursday, feb. 11!


  1. hahaha you're getting darker~

  2. the story about your camera and freddy = wow! i really hope freddy will truly seek God.

    great update, leo! :)

  3. dang, time is def flying. your stories are both crazy and encouraging (: praise God for not simply doing what he does, but being who he is!

  4. thankee for sharing :)
    all Glory to Him!

  5. hi leo, thanks for sharing and updating. i know the prayer requests are many, but i will be praying that you get to share the gospel with your own friends.

    press on! our God is a God who saves.

  6. I'm so encouraged and I rejoice with you and all believers that God gave you the opportunity to share with freddy. I will continue to pray for courage and future opportunities to share. Shine brightly for you are light exposing those in darkness!

  7. good stuff leo. keep up the good work.

  8. leo! this is so inspiring :) i'll be praying for you and your prayer requests~ i loved the story about freddy and la camara, too!

    stay safe, and God bless :)

  9. wow leo, i am so blessed. your entries are so encouraging. i will definitely be praying for you, freddy, and for the other prayer requests you asked for. i hope that God continues to teach you amazing things. take care leo and let us know when you update your blog :)

  10. leooo! did freddy take any cool pics while stealing your camera?

  11. crazzzeeeee things going on in columbia. im jealous. I'll pray for you brotha

  12. :) :) :) LEO!!!!!

    Praise God =] i am so encouraged by you. you are coming back soon =]=]