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Colombia: 7/23/06, Sun.

5:30 a.m. Well, I managed to get up without much grogginess.

7:50 a.m. We're on the little plane! I got a pic of me & Kristi, and one of the group, in the hotel lobby. Breakfast was wonderful - scrambled eggs, bread, orange drink & hot chocolate! I took a pic of the hotel from outside before we left.

This plane is very small - 9 rows of seats, 2 propellors, and you board from the tarmac! (A first for me.) I got scolded for taking a pic of the plane from the terminal, so Pastor Fabian (from Colombia) got 2 pics of the plane as we boarded. It's a 25 min. hop over the Andes mountains. Ibague is much lower elevation than Bogota, but it'll still be cool.

8:20 As we took off, I got a pic of the wheels retracting, and then some of the city and hills. And then I realized how high Bogota is - there are valleys below the city, filled with clouds!

The Andes mountains are beautiful, and I took several pics. I also saw a wide, winding river. The stewardess said she'd ask the "Comandante" which one it was. The coffee she served is delicious!

8:45 The river turned out to be Rio de Magdalena. We were met by Pastor Lucho at the airport, and we boarded a small bus. The road is full of bikes and pedestrians, and we drove in the middle half of the time, honking to get them out of the way - and to say hi to the driver's friends!

4:10 p.m. Busy day. We were warmly welcomed at the small building where the Church meets. They gave us fruit - I hope we don't get sick! We circled around and talked a while. Sharlla had me translate as she talked with the kids, so I became famous with them as well. I sat with them when the service started.

Edit: Sharlla is in her 50's, wrinkled, but with a wide smile. She's extremely outgoing, and a bit loud, and has a huge heart for God. She can always be found in the thick of things, talking about God to everyone she meets.

Pastor John (from our Church) talked about "living stones," mentioned in I Peter, with Pastor Fabian translating. Then we were introduced, the children gave each of us a gift, and we got to pray each of us for individual members. Several of the teens approached me to ask for prayer; I felt honored.

Sharlla got out the jumprope, and roped most of us into at least one game. Finally we ate lunch - chicken & rice with veggies & pieces of hot dog. I was very tired, but there was really no place to rest.

we took 4 taxis to downtown, then walked around until we stopped for pastries inside a little mall. The house where we'll be staying should be ready soon, and I'm looking forward to a nap. Even writing is tiring...

I did get some more pics of the "park" (one city block), which is being renovated. Ancient trees have what look like tiny palm trees growing on high branches. The cathedral was also too beautiful to resist. I've finished the roll, and will have to get out another camera. But not today!

One more comment. I have no idea how cars keep from hitting each other and pedestrians! They ignore lanes except at stop lights, and even then they jockey for positions. Crazy!

Tomorrow we're relaxing, and tonight as well. I plan to go to bed early, and wake when I wake.
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