Celebrating 3 Months!

Julian preaching

Julian Zuluaga always has a smile and an encouraging word. He’s a 4th year student and is so thankful to be able to participant with CCR in a meaningful way.

Manuel preaching

Manual Ramos is a 4th year student and is married to the lovely Loida Barbosa. Their son, Miguel Angel, is an amazing 2 year old.

How wonderful it has been to worship the Lord with our new small community on Saturday nights.  We have several new people joining us on a regular basis and we have visitors most Saturdays.

One of our hopes for the church is that it will naturally be a place to develop leaders.  To that end, we are privileged to have two of our students at the BSC on our leadership team. Both are heavily involved in the planning and administration of our Saturday Night worship service and in our strategic plans for growing the church.  They also fulfill many pastoral functions which include regular preaching and teaching, discipleship and visitations. We are so grateful for their commitment to the Lord and for taking on the responsibilities for co-leading our new church plant.

Summer Plans 2014

The kids are psyched that the 2013-2014 school year has come to an end.  It’s been wonderful but nothing compares to SUMMER TIME!

They are looking forward to:

  • Seeing their cousins, aunt, uncle, great aunt, second cousins, third cousins and most of all their grandmother in Texas in a few days!
  • Visiting San Antonio with the Alamo and the River Walk.
  • Floating down the Guadalupe River in an inner tube near New Braunfels.
  • Emilio taking the SAT Biology Subject Test on June 7 (well, looking forward to getting it done!)
  • Visiting and interviewing with several New England boarding schools!
  • Seeing all of their Boston friends.
  • Emilio celebrating 16 years of life.
  • Spending wonderful weeks at Camp Brookwoods and Deer Run in NH.
  • Natalie attending and Rochelle helping out at Kidsweek at Park Street Church.
  • Caroline spending two weeks with BFF playing beach volleyball in Long Island.

The unfortunate dog attack

A quick update by Rochelle of yesterday’s unfortunate incident:

Gustavo was asked to give a leadership conference over the weekend and generously the whole family was invited as well.  We drove almost 3 hours south to Ciudad Bolivar out into the most beautiful countryside and stayed in a big house on a finca (a ranch of sorts with cows, houses, a goat, fishing ponds, a nearby river and a pool).

Sunday late afternoon during the break from the conference, we were all swimming in the refreshing river.  Natalie and I decided to return to the finca walking up a hill a few hundred yards long.  As we reached the top of the hill, a dog who was tied up near the caretaker’s house got loose and ran after us.  Before we knew what was going on, the dog had bit Natalie in the lower leg.  She began to cry and scream and as I turned around to see what was going on and to help, the dog attacked my leg and then turned around and attacked Natalie’s other leg.  I yelled at her to run, I tried to beat off the dog with my pants (we were both in wet bathing suits) but not before he clawed and gauged the same leg.  Finally, the owner approached and the dog was pulled away.  Sometime in the chaos, I twisted my ankle on my hurt leg.

Emilio saw the whole thing but couldn’t run up the hill fast enough.  He felt so bad that he couldn’t help.  Once the danger passed, I sent him down for his father and Caroline and then I sent him up the hill to notify the owner of the Finca.  Within minutes, Gustavo was carrying Natalie into the Finca jeep and the dog owner was helping me hobble up the hill.  It was a gruesome sight.

The town was 15 minutes away through mountainous terrain.  The hospital was right at the entry of the town and we received quick and excellent attention.  We returned to Medellin today after the conference ended and then after unpacking, grabbing a quick dinner and getting Emilio and Caroline settled, Gustavo, Natalie and I headed for the nearest hospital.

Natalie’s physical wounds are healing nicely and she only needs a follow up in a few days.  Fortunately, the Xray showed no fractures to my seriously swollen ankle so with ice and time it will heal.  My wounds are a little more serious, so I need to return tomorrow to the hospital to follow up.  The bites are not much of a concern but the four claw marks need to be watched.

The dog owner said that the dog was vaccinated but as he recently received it from a friend he had no paperwork to prove it.  An investigation was instigated and we will be notified if the dog tests for anything abnormal.

It’s a challenge living in a 2 story home at the top of the hill on campus while being ambulatory challenged.  Lots and lots of stairs.  Fortunately, a friend on campus lent me their crutches.  It’s slow and painful, but manageable.

Please pray for

  • a quick healing for both of us
  • any resultant psychological trauma, especially for the children as they were all quite upset yesterday
  • the caretaker/dog owner so that he doesn’t lose his job

Muchas gracias,

The Karakey Family

p.s.  Please pray for Emilio as well.  He woke up in the middle of the night last night sick to his stomach and vomiting several times.  Due to our ordeal earlier that afternoon, he didn’t want to wake us.  Poor guy suffered alone.  He slept all the way back in the car ride and didn’t eat all day.  We’re hoping he feels better in the morning.

p.p.s.  Gustavo feels really good about his seminar but the rest of the family has had better getaways.  🙁

Comunidad Cristo Rey

Inaugural service cristo rey 2 On February 15, 2014, Comunidad Cristo Rey (Christ the King Church) was born.  Along with several Colombian families and students, we are working together to establish a new community of Christ followers and worshippers.
Initially, we are focusing on a worship service –one in which the entire community participates at some level.  Eventually we hope to add a youth group, mid-week bible studies and more intentional evangelistic efforts.

A brief look:

  • Worship time on Saturday evenings in the chapel on campus.
  • Web presence:  Comunidad Cristo Rey and Facebook Page
  • Two Biblical Seminary of Colombia (BSC) interns each dedicating 5 hoursperweek in addition to preaching one Sunday per month
  • Following a two year liturgical caInaugural service cristo reylendar with weekly communion observance and reading of the prescribed scriptures
  • Time of prayer ministry in small groups
  • Extended greeting and passing of the peace
  • Purposeful rotational participation in scripture reading, special music, preaching, teaching, communion administration, congregational prayer, children’s teaching, and various acts of service.

We are thankful to the Lord for our inaugural worship service.

 

 

Christmas Letter 2013

 

 

Recently, we saw a planetarium show on The Christmas Star. The night sky was transformed to what the stars would have looked like when Jesus was born. Speculations abound as to what astronomical anomaly would have been so fantastic to lure wise men away from their homes and cause them to travel many hundreds of miles following a bright light in search of the promised Messiah.

Although no one knows exactly when Jesus was born and therefore can only speculate as to what the night sky would have looked like, we do know that the heavens announced Jesus’ birth both through the Star of Bethlehem and through the heavenly host praising God in the company of the shepherds. It was an event like no other; one that would change the course of history and provide hope to all those who have faith and believe.

Not all events are so far-reaching, memorable or even positive. In fact, as we think on 2013, we recognize that this year in particular has presented our family with many challenges both personally and ministry-wise, from the loss of loved ones, to physical ailments, to the difficulties of living cross-culturally.

Even so, we take joy in reflecting on God’s goodness throughout the year highlighting some remarkable events: a particular lecture by Gustavo that made a poignant impact on a student’s life; the neighborhood high school students who experienced God’s love through the living testimony of the youth from Park Street Church; the impoverished family whose hope is lifted due to newly introduced economic development possibilities; the local church youth group whose knowledge, understanding and love of Jesus has increased due to our investment into their lives; our own family’s growing attachment to and care of the Colombian people and an increased love of their culture, land and way of life.

When the events in our lives don’t turn out as planned, there might be some who wish there were something as obvious as a star to follow and to lead them. Others might appreciate a host of angels singing words of approval that the path they are on is a good one. Still others are unsure of what to hope for or to look towards.

 

During this season of advent as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, my prayer is that we all look to Jesus to be our star, our celestial orchestra, allowing Him to lead us to a life full of purpose, direction and meaning. It is through the birth of Jesus, that we have hope – an eternal hope.

Merry Christmas, Gustavo, Rochelle, Emilio, Caroline and Natalie Karakey

Park Street Youth Mission Trip 2013

What a blessing it was toYouth on stairs have the Park Street Church youth serving with us in early August.  For the second year in a row, they taught ESL classes to the high school youth of Colegio Villa Flora — the public school next door to the seminary.  The students were thrilled to see their American friends again and to meet new friends in addition to learning more English.

 

 

 

SkitThe PSC youth started their trip with three drama presentations to the different age groups of Colegio Villa Flora.  There was laughter and tears as each child and adult responded to the word-less skits showing how Jesus heals those who are broken.

 

 

Their first Saturday was spent at the Open Arms Foundation boy’s farm in San Pedro located an hour from Medellin.  Street boys are invited to leave the streets and live on the farm, going to a local public school, hearing about Jesus, and having an opportunity to turn their lives around.

At boy's farm

Our youth were joined at the farm by the Lutheran Church youth group.  The church itself meets on the seminary campus and it is where we currently worship.

Hauling gravelTogether they hauled gravel up a steep hill measuring about 3 football fields, laid the gravel on a dirt road, and moved a massive bag of wood chips to the chicken house.

Moving wood chips

 

 

 

 

After a yummy lunch of Arroz con Pollo, all of the youth played sports together – soccer, basketball and volleyball – while trying to talk and interact with each other in their respective beginning English and Spanish.  It was a blast!

 

 

The ESL week of classes was based on Prince Caspian and it was a big hit!  165 students came over each day to watch part of the movie and then split into 8 classrooms for instruction and discussion based on the movie.

Teaching ESL

Thanks goes out to all the English speakers who live on the seminary campus who volunteered their time and expertise to help us out in the classrooms.

The PSC Youth not only lent their brains but also their brawn.  They worked hard physically for four mornings, painting, fixing, cleaning and removing debris as a service to the Biblical Seminary of Colombia.

 

PaintingPlease look at the photos that try to capture the team’s time here in Medellin.  Here’s a link to the Youtube video.

A special thanks goes out to the children of the Park Street Church Kidsweek.  Thank you for your very generous donation of school supplies. Principal Mazo was thrilled and very thankful.

We are also excited to announce that the principal of Colegio Villa Flora has agreed to let us use the school’s auditorium once a month on Saturday afternoons so that we can offer a gathering time for the Colombian youth in our city.  The gatherings will be characterized by games, movies, and other types of interactions followed by ethical and spiritual discussions.

We are already missing our PSC friends but please know that their time, effort and affection for the Colombian students was well worth it.  We are continuing those relationships by offering the Boston English Club twice weekly:  Boston English Club Facebook Fan Page.

It is because of the efforts and prayers of the PSC Youth that we have a wide open door to minister to the youth in our neighborhood.

Muchas Gracias Amigos y Amigas!

 

Great Expectations

At the beginning of my Acts class this semester, I asked my students in 400 words or less to tell me what expectations they had for this course.  Here are some of their answers:

“I want to more fully understand what Acts describes as the baptism of the Holy Spirit.”      – Eduardo

“I want to know why the things that occur so frequently in Acts (i.e. the works of the Spirit) I don’t see in my church today.” – Jonathan

“I want to learn how to accurately apply the Book of Acts to my modern church context.”     – Johan

I received about 45 expectations in all many related to having a deeper foundation for the subjects the book treats:

  1. The Christian church’s origins
  2. Baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues
  3. The planting of churches
  4. The apostolic preaching to different audiences
  5. The use of Old Testament citations by the New Testament authors

Many of the expectations had to do with how one could properly interpret and apply the Book of Acts to a modern church context.

  1. Which events in Acts were repeatable and which were not?
  2. What criteria should we use to make that determination?
  3. Should our modern churches try to return to the ideals or the practices of the “primitive church”?

Finally I should mention that a large set of expectations had to do with a deep desire to know more about the work of the Holy Spirit.  For some this meant being able to distinguish between genuine and questionable manifestations of the Spirit.  This topic was all the more relevant given the tremendous number of neo-Pentecostal churches that had taken root in Colombia in the past decades.

For others, as in the first set of quotes, they truly wanted to know why the dynamism and power so frequently encountered in the pages of Acts were largely missing from their corporate and personal church contexts.

My students expectations have given me much to reflect upon as I’ve prepared my lessons.  Because many of them are training to serve in full-time church ministry, a course on Acts (which is mainly about “the church”) must balance academic inquiry with the practical considerations that the students will surely bring to the text.   I’ll surely have to be on my toes for this one.  Thank goodness for great expectations!

Gustavo M. Karakey

LAM/UWM Merger Announcement

Dear Friends,

A new day is dawning for Latin America Mission! I am excited to announce that, on December 31, 2013, LAM will formally merge into United World Mission (UWM), an inter-denominational mission organization, based in Charlotte, NC. We sense this is God’s clear direction. This merger will strengthen the ministry of your LAM missionaries and partners, it will reduce costs and enhance the strengths of the combined organization.

LAM and UWM have much in common. Founded in 1946, UWM’s mission is to “serve with Christian leaders globally to plant, nourish, and reproduce churches that delight God and surprise the world.” Together UWM and LAM share key core values, which include the church, integral mission, the spiritual formation of leaders and most importantly for LAM, partnering. We are convinced that our combined efforts will allow us to build upon LAM’s 92-year legacy and dynamically advance Christ’s Kingdom work in Latin America and around the world. John Bernard, President of United World Mission, believes, “Latin America Mission has a strong history of innovation, integral mission, and partnering with the Latin American church. Their ministries have been exemplary and their models are needed as North Americans learn to serve with the church and mission movements around the world. United World Mission is overjoyed to have LAM join forces with us to meet the challenges of God’s mission in today’s world.”

When the merger is complete, UWM will have a staff of more than 350 missionaries serving in 42 nations. Coming together, we will better steward Kingdom resources while also providing enhanced ministry support to LAM missionaries and ministry partners, as well as excellent service to donors. Latin America Mission will continue to function under the LAM name as “a Ministry of United World Mission.” The merged organization will operate out of UWM’s office based in Charlotte under the leadership of United World Mission.

I personally want to encourage you to stand by your missionary, partner and/or project in a special way during the transition to UWM. While the organizational structure is changing, the missionaries and partners you support will continue to count on you as they press forward faithfully in their ministries for Christ’s sake. We will keep you apprised of coming changes but until notified otherwise, please continue to either mail your generous support to the LAM address (P.O.Box 52-7900, Miami, FL 33152), or give online through the LAM website (www/lam.org/give). Giving through automatic withdrawal will also continue uninterrupted. Every effort is being made to minimize any changes to the manner in which donors have been giving.

Finally, I want to say thank you for giving so generously and faithfully to the work of LAM in Latin America. We truly consider you our ministry partners. Please pray for the families of LAM and UWM as we enter the dawn of a new day together.

Serving Together in Christ’s Name,

Steve Johnson
President / Latin America Mission

School Year 2013 has begun

School has begun.  Emilio (9th), Caroline (8th) and Natalie (7th) are excited about their new school year.  No, really, they are!  It will prove to be challenging to accomplish all that we set out to do but we are eager to give it a try.

Academics this year include:  Math, Science, Logic, History (1800 – today), Latin II, English Composition (online Veritas Press classes), French I, Spanish Grammar, and Literature.

IMG_5453Outside of home, the kids are super involved in a city-sponsored music school.  Natalie is learning the clarinet, Caroline the flute and Emilio just began with the saxophone.  Each week they attend four hour-long classes:  theory, choir, instrument instruction and beginning band.  Let’s just say we spend a great deal of time at the music school.  Thank goodness it is a short drive away or a 15 minute walk!

For sports, Emilio has found his love for volleyball.  After a few months in two different levels of mixed-gender beginner classes, he was promoted to the all boy competitive intermediate level class.  After only two classes, he has already learned more than he did in two months last spring!  His classes are two hours long, twice a week.  Emilio and Caroline continue with weekly tennis classes and the girls continue with weekly gymnastic classes.

Finally, the kids enjoy walking with their father on Friday afternoons to a local art studio where they participate in a two hour drawing and painting classes.

We feel very fortunate to live in a city that offers so many wonderful experiences.