Rebekah Sears, MCC Colombia (Policy and Education)
Spring seems to be “Delegation Season” with MCC in Colombia with the three delegations planned for 2013 scheduled from March to June. Organizing all of the nit picky details takes much time and energy, and can be very overwhelming and frustrating at times.
But the real reward of this work shines through when the delegations are actually here in Colombia – especially with a group like these Mennonite Brethren pastors and leaders from Canada.
This has been the fourth delegation to visit Colombia and our partners’ work in the year and a month since I started my work in the MCC Colombia office. And we were all so impressed with the level of engagement and the determination on the part of delegates to learn about Colombia while building connections with Colombian Mennonite Brethren.
Early on, one of my colleagues asked me how it was going. “Well,” I said, “the only problem I can see right now is that group members are asking so many questions and engaging in the topics so much that we’re never able to stick directly to the schedule. We’re always running behind,” smiling, “But that’s a great ‘problem’ to have!”
A big part of my job is to connect visiting groups, mostly from Canada and the U.S., but also from other Latin American countries, to Colombians: MCC partner organizations, pastors and church representatives, and our friends. I love watching people build relationships and find common ground across cultures and national boundaries.
From day one, delegates were asking each other, and the Colombians they were encountering, the tough questions – looking to discover Canada’s connections, both good and bad, to Colombia, as well as thinking constantly about how they could encourage and receive encouragement from our Colombian brothers and sisters in Christ.
This occurred in all spaces of the delegation as Colombians from across the country joined the group and walked along side them to visit various churches and projects.
And this was also evident in all places of the delegation – from the MCC office and the offices of MCC’s principle partners in Bogota, to the host family homes, to the slums of Cazucá just outside of the city and finally to the churches and communities along the San Juan River in Chocó.
As we all know, after a delegation like this, life can’t help but start up again, as normal. Family, church and work commitments take over and it would be impossible to maintain the same energy for promoting the work in Colombia.
So, on behalf of the MCC team and our Colombian friends and colleagues we want to thank this group of 9 people for taking time out of their lives to walk with us in Colombia for a time, and be open and willing to build connections and relationships. The enthusiasm and dedication were an inspiration to our team here in Colombia, as many of the reflections have been an encouragement to folks following along at home in Canada.
Gracias y Dios les bendiga! (Thanks and God bless you all!)