Monday, September 16, 2013

Bogotá News

We have now completed the first Church Planting Course here in Bogotá.  It was a 13 week course and we saw God do amazing things through this group of students.  The class members reported sharing their testimony 348 times with 148 decisions to receive Christ as Lord and Savior.  To God be the glory!  The students are starting new works in 8 areas of the city.  We will continue to meet with them at least once a month individually over the next 12 months to coach them and encourage them in their church planting endeavors.

We are also excited to have Mark and Pam Grumbles here in Bogotá and working with us on the Bogotá Urban Team.  They have served for over 30 years in El Salvador and Costa Rica, and are such an asset to our team.

We will be starting two new classes this Saturday September 21.  We will have a morning class and an afternoon class.  We are praying for God to put these classes together with the people that He is calling to plant churches throughout Bogotá.

Cavin is away this week in Montreal, Canada at a conference for Global Urban Strategists (GUS).  We miss him when he's gone, but are believing that it will be a great week for him to learn and interact with other missionaries from many urban cities of the world.

John Robert is now here with us for 3 months.  He is able to take online classes this semester so that he can be with us here in Colombia.  He is enjoying being back in a Latin culture - and we are enjoying being together as a family.....  now if Cavin will just get back from Canada!

Please continue to keep us in your prayers.  Christian and Preston are now in full swing with homeschooling, and believe me, it has its challenges.  Pray for all of us in this endeavor!  Also, keep us in your prayers in regard to ministry.  We pray that God is being glorified in all that we do, and are trusting him to use us to make a difference for His kingdom here in Bogotá.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cawthon Update

We are all doing well in Bogotá.  The church planting course is in full swing.  We are so excited about how God is using this group of students for His glory.  They are faithfully sharing their testimonies and using other tools to reach the communities they have chosen to work in.  We are teaching them the concept of "abundant sowing."  To date, they have shared their testimonies 228 times and 118 people have accepted Christ.  They are working in 8 neighborhoods around the city.

We are working toward a start date of September 21 to start at least one - and possibly two - new church planting courses.  We are thankful for the people God is putting in our path.  It is exciting to see their enthusiasm and their desire to reach this city for Christ.

We will be welcoming new teammates to Bogotá on September 1.  Mark and Pam Grumbles - veteran missionaries who have served for over 30 years - will be joining us to work with us on the Urban Bogotá Team.  We are so excited about their arrival.

In family news, Preston and Christian are doing well and have started home schooling for this year.  This is a huge change for all of us, but we felt for at least this year this is what God has led us to do.  They are doing well and are advancing in their studies.  Preston is in 6th grade and Christian is in 10th grade.

John Robert will be joining us on September 5.  He will be spending three months with us.  It will be great to have all of the family together again.  He is able to do some online courses for Fall semester and will also be working with us.

Please keep us in your prayers as we serve the Lord here in Bogotá!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Church Planting Course

Our first church planting course in Bogotá started on Saturday, June 8.  We are meeting each Saturday morning and are excited to see what God is doing in and through this class that He has put together.  We are studying the book of Acts because this gives a basis and foundation for church planting.  We have trained them in writing and sharing their testimony in 3 to 5 minutes, prayer walking, discipling new Christians and doing small groups.  They are putting all of these disciplines into practice and we are excited to hear what God is doing as many are coming to faith in Christ through the testimony of these students and soon to be church planters.

We are also in the planning stages of beginning another class on September 21 at the Colombian Baptist Convention.  Again, we are praying for God to put together the class that He wants, and for new churches to be started to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with this massive city of almost 9 million.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Small Group

We have always believed if you were going to teach something, you should also be doing it.  We strongly believe in the importance of having a small group in our home.  We have now started a group that meets each Sunday at 5:00 pm.  It's been great to see new people coming in excited to hear and study God's word.  Please pray for God to put people in our path who would like to be part of this group that will hopefully grow into a church.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Churches are Needed!

Yesterday we had a special breakfast designed to share with pastors and other church leaders about our plan for church planting in Bogotá.  We had a great turn out and those in attendance seem to very interested in church planting.  We shared with them some data about how many Christians there are in the city.

By the data that we have obtained, there are approximately 8.8 million people who live in Bogotá, and of that number approximately 7 million do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  What a great need there is to start churches here.  There are only 13 Baptist churches and about 2000 evangelical churches.

That may sound like a lot of churches already in existence, but with the number of people in the city and the number of lost to be reached, we believe there needs to be 2000 more churches started.  In addition, there are certain parts of the city, that the government will not allow a church's membership to be more than 100 people.  Remember, the church is not the building.  It is the people - the body of Christ.  Churches can be started in houses or strip malls or anywhere people can come together to put into practice Acts 2:41-47.

We are planning to start the first Church Planting Course here in Bogotá the first week of June.  It is a 14 week class which takes a deep look at church planting through the study of the books of Acts.  Pray for God to call out church planters to reach this city for Christ.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday's meeting:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

On the Radio....

Yesterday Cavin had the opportunity to speak on the radio about church planting here in Bogotá.  What an awesome day he had sharing his ministry on this Christian radio station.  Friend and pastor, Fredy Ontibon, was with Cavin sharing as well.

Below are a couple of pictures from the day!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A New Month of Ministry

We have now completed two months here in Bogotá.  I won't lie and say it's been easy.  It's been hard going through transitions with all three of the kids. Yes, when I say "three," I'm including John Robert.  It's been harder than we ever imagined to leave our child in the States and move to South America.  Christian and Preston have also made huge transitions.  This is the 4th country that they have lived in since 2009.  Just writing that makes me want to cry a little for them.  Yet, God has been faithful.  He has been with us and never left us.  He has given us the strength to face each day, even when we didn't think we could.  He has given us opportunities to see Him at work forming friendships and relationships in which He can be glorified.

Yesterday as we celebrated Easter for the first time here in Bogotá, we were reminded of the high price Jesus paid for our sins.  He is why we are here.  He is why it's worth it to put ourselves and our family through change.  He paid it all for me - and for you if you know Him as Lord and Savior.

This week we are excited because we have several conferences planned for pastors where we will be sharing our vision for church planting.  We are excited to see what God is orchestrating and what He will do!

We are also excited to have two missionary couples joining us later this year to work with us on our church planting efforts here in Bogotá.  One couple will be arriving in June and the other in September.    As we learn more about the city and the magnitude of the lostness, we are overwhelmed.  It will be great to have these couples to walk alongside as we reach out to this city to start churches.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cawthon Update

John Robert left Sunday night to return to the States.  We had a great visit with him and were sad to see him go.  We had fun showing him around Bogotá and letting him see what life is like here!  He has a few weeks left in this semester and will also go the Summer Semester.  Then he plans to take off the Fall Semester and come back to Bogotá to work with us for about 4 months.  After that he will only have 2 or 3 semesters left to complete his degree.

Christian's 15th birthday was Monday (March 18).  For her birthday, we surprised her by finishing decorating her room.  She was surprised to come home from school to a "brand new" bedroom.  We intertwined the theme of New York and fashion, and it really turned out great!

We are hard at work preparing for a Church Planting Conference which will be held the first weekend in April.  We have had some great meetings as we are identifying pastors and others who have a heart for reaching this city through church planting.  Please keep this conference in your prayers that God will use it in a great way.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Reunited and It Feels so Good!!!

John Robert arrived in Bogotá last night.  We are so thankful for a new friend who allowed him to fly on a buddy pass.  What a blessing!!  He will be here for a week while he is out on Spring Break.

It has been a wonderful day having the whole family together for the first time since the rest of us left the States.  We slept late, enjoyed a nice breakfast at home and then Charlotte cooked a great lunch.  After that, we headed out to show John Robert the city.  We have been wanting to go up on the mountain - Monserrate - to see the whole city, but waited because we thought this would be a good thing to do as a family.

Monserrate was breathtaking.  We went up the mountain on a cable car.  It was overwhelming to view this massive city.  As far as we could see there were buildings.  It is amazing to think of all the people who live in this city, and to know that God longs to have a relationship with each one of them.  We realize what a massive task we have here in Bogotá.  Please pray that we can impact the lostness here as God is drawing people to Himself everyday.

After going up on the mountain, it was getting late so we decided to try a hot wing restaurant called "Wingz."  It was a good ending to our adventure in the city.  The kids all enjoyed the buffalo wings which were served with "He Man Sauce"  (extra picante buffalo sauce).

Here are a few pics from the day!

We even saw a billboard advertising the show Duck Dynasty here in Colombia!  We really got a good laugh out of that!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cawthon News

We've now been in Bogotá just over four weeks.  Yesterday was a bit of a sad day for Charlotte.  She learned that her uncle in Mobile, Alabama passed away.  These are the times when it hurts so bad to be so far away from home.  Please keep Charlotte's family in your prayers during this time.  Her father is grieving the loss of his brother which is the second brother he has lost in just over 7 months.  We are rejoicing that her uncle was a Christian and lived a full and meaningful life here on earth and now he is in Heaven.  He was 85 years old and still working.  He was planning to go to work yesterday, but God had other plans.

On another note, we are now in our apartment (without furniture).  It feels good to start to get settled and we are hoping to receive our furniture on March 8 which is the same day that John Robert will arrive in Bogotá for his Spring Break.  We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of John Robert - and hopefully our furniture - but we are more excited about seeing John Robert!

We are now in the process of planning our first church planting conference here in Bogotá which will take place in April.  We are making contacts with local pastors who have expressed interest in being a part of it and are training some pastors who will be helping to teach the conference.  We are excited to see what God will do through this conference.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cawthon Update - Week 3

It's Sunday morning.  We are up and getting ready to attend our third church in Bogotá.  Tomorrow will mark 3 weeks that we have been in Bogotá.  It's been an adjustment but overall, we are doing well.  We are still in the mission guest house.  The first apartment we found did not work out, but we found another one this week.

We will start to move in on Tuesday. I say "start" because initially we will just have mattresses and appliances and our personal belongings.  We have ordered furniture directly from the furniture makers.  This is a little stressful and a little exciting as they will be custom making the furniture for us.  It was also a great savings for us as we realized that in going to the furniture stores, they then go to the furniture makers and it still takes 3 weeks to get the furniture.  They said we will have the furniture in 3 weeks.  Hopefully, we will love it!  But in the meantime we will be living in a basically empty apartment.

Last Sunday we attended Central Baptist Church.  It was in the central part of the city and seemed to be a strong church.  They welcomed us with open arms, and we had several members offer any assistance we might need in our ministry.  We also met the pastor after the service and plan to meet again with him at a later time.

We had two other great meetings this week.  One was with a friend of ours whom we met several years ago through another mutual friend.  His name is Mauricio Rozo.  He is a pastor in another city - Cali - and also Vice President of the Colombian Baptist Convention.  We met for lunch and shared with him our plan for church planting in Bogotá.  He was excited and offered to help, mentioning that the convention is also emphasizing church planting to reach this massive city and country.

The next day Mauricio set up a meeting with the leadership of the Baptist Convention.  We again shared our strategy in reaching this city.  They too seemed excited and wanted to be a part of what we are doing.

God is orchestrating some great meetings and also is giving us random opportunities to share.  Some people are just curious as to why we are here.  When they ask, it gives us a great opportunity to witness to them and share that we are here because we are following Jesus in our lives.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us.  We are still in the midst of so many transitions.  We all need your prayers everyday and need to be reminded of our calling. We were in a large store this week and heard the song "Sweet Home Alabama" on the sound system.  At times like these (and others) we miss our "sweet home Alabama," but have to remember the reason we are here:  God has brought us here and He desires to have a personal relationship with the people here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Second Week in Bogotá

Hello from Bogotá.  It's a beautiful day here.  The sun is shining brightly and the sky is a beautiful blue.    We are glad for this because without the sun the temperatures seem quite cool due to the high elevation.  Yesterday was a cloudy/rainy day and we were cold all day long.  Houses don't have heating and air here, so we are planning to purchase a few space heaters today.

Today is a day that the government has designated for no cars to be on the streets.  The only vehicles allowed are public transportation vehicles such as busses and taxis.  They do this to show what a difference there is in the pollution level without so many vehicles on the streets.

Because of the ban on cars today, the kids are out of school.  They are also out tomorrow, as the school has designated it as a "virtual day" where they will have assignments given to them on the computer to complete at home.  The kids are glad to have a pretty light first week of school.  You can't beat being out for a month, going to school for 3 days and then having a 4 day weekend!

We think we have found an apartment.  We are just waiting now to process the paper work and see if their time frame for moving in is in line with our time frame.  We hope to move in no later than Feb. 20th.  Between now and then, we will be purchasing furnishings, appliances, etc. to be able to live.

This past Sunday, we attended one of the 12 Baptist churches in Bogotá. That's right..... there are only 12 Baptist churches in this city of almost 10 million people, and the majority of these churches are very weak.  We were told the church we attended on Sunday - "El Camino" is the strongest Baptist church in Bogotá.  The church has a team of three pastors, all of whom are professionals in the city.  Last night, one of the pastors stopped by for a visit.  It was good to share with him some of the vision that God has put on our heart, and to hear his vision for his church and this city.  It just so happens that his daughter is a classmate of Preston's.  We are hoping to get to know him and his family better before too long.

Things are going well for us, but I would be lying if I said we were not facing some culture shock.  Life is very different here from life in Panamá, and of course our life in the U.S.  The climate is different, the monetary system is different and prices are higher, there are fewer familiar products in the grocery store, much less English spoken here, no base of friends for the kids, and we miss John Robert greatly.  We are here because we believe God has called us, not because it's easy.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we find our place here in this city.  Pray that God will give us divine contacts as we strive to serve Him in every aspect of our lives.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

We Have Arrived in Bogotá

We have arrived in Bogotá.  We are living temporarily in a guest house owned by the mission until we can find permanent housing.  The last few days have been spent on processing our paperwork to keep us legal here, finding our way around, and just trying to adjust to our new life here in Colombia.  Everyone that we have met has been very kind and has made us feel welcome.  We are easing back into a life of speaking Spanish everyday, everywhere we go.... and we are finding (Praise the Lord!) that it is coming back to us!

We are starting to look at permanent housing options, but have not found just the right place yet.  We are praying that God will put us exactly where He wants us.  Friday we will be visiting the school that Christian and Preston will be attending.  We need to finish up the admissions process so that they can start school on Monday.  Their long, extended Christmas break is quickly coming to an end.  They are looking forward to it with nervous anticipation.

Please pray that they will make friends quickly and settle into their new school and life here in Bogotá.  Pray also for John Robert.  It doesn't seem right to be so far away from him.  Things seem to be falling in place for him to come visit over his spring break which is only 5 weeks away.  That has helped us deal with him not being here with us.

We are anxious to get the necessary details done so that we can begin the true work that God has led us to do.  Pray that God will put the people in our path that He wants us to impact for Him.  We are excited to see just how his plan will unfold.  It's exciting to have this blank slate to allow Him to work amazingly here in Bogotá!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Signing off from the U.S.A.

This will be the last time I write from the U.S.  We are in the process of packing and moving out of the mission house we have called home for the last 6 months.  What a blessing it has been to stay in the Oasis House of Eagles' Landing First Baptist Church.  We feel refreshed and ready to start the new ministry that God has ahead for us in Bogotá, Colombia.  We will be flying out of Atlanta early Monday morning.  We have a short layover in Miami and will arrive in Bogotá around 4:30 Monday afternoon.

We don't know how God will work in this new phase of ministry, but are trusting Him to guide us and show us how he wants to use us in this mega-city.  He is already connecting us with Colombians both here and in Bogotá that want to be a part of our work.

Please keep us in your prayers.  Pray that we will be bold in witnessing and sharing the good news of Jesus!  Pray also for the adjustments we will be making such as finding an apartment, making it feel like home,  making friends with new people, the kids adjusting to (yet another) new school, leaving John Robert here in college....  and things we haven't even thought of.   Most of all, pray that we will be faithful in following the Lord's guidance each day to do and be what He wants.

As we return to the field, I will be more diligent in writing weekly to let everyone know how to pray and also to share how we see God working.