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November 1979 Newsletter
COLOMBIAN CHRISTIAN MISSION
Dale and Jeanie Meade
In the jungle and prairie of Southeastern Colombia
Volume 7, Issue 11 November, 1979
Crossing the river in a dugout canoe is a common occurrence for missionaries who "go where the people are."
LET YOU LEGS DO THE WALKING TO THE FRONT DOOR
I remember that slogan, "Let you fingers do the walking through the yellow pages." But that goes for those of you who have telephones. We don't have a telephone, but we do have the front door. And that is all the farther we have to go to the shopping if we want.
It all starts about 5:30 in the morning. A little boy will come down the street yelling "Tiempo!" Tiempo is the name of Colombia's leading newspaper. We have made arrangements with the boy to push the paper under our door and come back later for the money. (We don't get up until 6:30 or 7:00 a.m.) Then later on in the morning comes that lady selling tripe and animal insides. Still later come the other sellers of their wares. There is a man who comes along with his vegetable and fruit cart. Men come down the street with bags slung over their shoulders selling oranges and lemons. Ladies and children come by selling bread and cookies. One lady will deliver milk to your door.
In the afternoon come the other salesman. Little boys come to the door with machetes in hand and ask if you would like you yard trimmed. (Our front yard is about 6 feet by 6 feet. We have no back yard.) A man walks down the street yelling that he is a shoe repairman. Ladies come to the door selling cosmetics, hand lotion, jewelry, and other like items. Men come along with their arms laden with pants, shirts, dresses, and shoes. Pressure cookers are common here and the parts are sold door to door. A truck arrives filled with rugs, bedspreads, and curtains. A young lad comes along and tries to convince you to try you luck at buying a lottery ticket. Some days you can open the door to find vases and flower pots being sold and other days there are paintings waiting outside for you to buy. Occasionally people come along selling furniture. Young boys come along at times with sewing supplies. Your kids will come in begging you to buy taffy, peanut brittle, or gelatin candy being sold by young people walking down the street. Around Christmas you will be bombarded by the toys salesman.
And almost every day the beggars come. Healthy looking people that try to convince you that they are very ill and are hard up for cash. People come by collecting old clothes for the leper colony and other causes. Blind men stumble to the door. Occasionally we will be entertained by beggars trying to convince us that they crazy. They will sit out in the streets heckling everyone who passes by or act like radio announcers.
And so you see we have no farther to go than our front door to do our shopping. So we let our legs do the walking instead of our fingers! J.A.M.
THEY KILLED THE FATTENED CALF
The time was rapidly drawing near for the 16th anniversary of the "Way of Life Christian Church." Down here it is a custom to celebrate every anniversary of the church, since most congregations are so new. Only this year no elaborate plans had been made and the time had almost arrived. "Let's have 'Hermano Roberto' handle it this year." I reluctantly accepted, on the condition that I was not going to work alone.
I didn't want to just get a guest speaker, as that can prove boring to visitors. So I began to plan something completely different. Each night would be something special and something different. The first night we had a singspiration. There were special numbers by members of the church and animated choruses by the congregation. A brief and inspirational background was given about each number. The next night we had a testimony night. Different members told what the church had meant to their lives. We again sang and had specials but there was not sermon as such. The testimonies were short and interspersed with singing. It was a good evening. The following night we had a communion service in the "catacomb" style. The believers all sat around a long table in the front of the church. Instead of tiny crumbs, the loaves of unleavened bread were real loaves. There was one loaf for every two Christians. The grape juice was served in goblets. We related the reasons for the underground meetings and talked of the tremendous faith of the early Christians. We also talked about the "Holy Inquisition" in Europe and South America, during which approximately six million Protestant Christian died for their faith at the hands of Jesuit priests. Finally we ended with remembrance of the thousands of martyrs who died here in Colombia during the religious persecution of the 1950's. It was a moving service and left quite an impression on many visitors that were present, many of whom had lived through the persecution of the Christians here in Colombia.
The next morning we had an installation service for the new church board. A charge was given to the new elders and deacons. Afterwards we all participated in a unique church picnic. A member of the church, who has a cattle farm, had donated an 18 month old calf. It had been butchered the night before and was roasted over a slow-burning open fire. This "ox roast" was a real treat for all who participated and provided some real time of Christian fellowship. That evening, we had an evangelistic service with over 200 people in attendance. I had the privilege of delivering the sermon. I challenged them to continue to look forward rather than concentrating on past victories. The yearly anniversary meeting had come to a close with everyone expressing their satisfaction at a very different type of meetings.