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.