Thursday, June 29, 2017

Colombia #3. The Brisas Staff

Just like in any church, sometimes the staff rotates. The same applies to the church in Brisas. This year, upon my return, some of the same staff remained, but there were new staff, too. Truthfully, I could dedicate an entire blog to each of these people, as I have grown to love them so much.

 I already talked about John, the contractor who does all of the building projects.

 Today, I will introduce to you Miguel and Pastor Javier, I will tell you about Yuleida, who is the clinic administrator. And The kitchen staff, Delci and Deanna.

 This team went out of their way to make us, their guests, feel special, loved, and at home.

 First, the kitchen staff.
  Let me just tell you, these ladies can cook. And they don't get enough credit. They spend so much time in the kitchen that out of the staff, I probably get to talk to them the least. As a team, we tend to be immersed in the construction or with the programs we do, so we aren't found in the "kitchen" too often.
 Let me tell you what I mean by kitchen.

  It is not a "kitchen" by American standards. The kitchen is built under a cabana type structure. There is no oven, but there is electricity that runs to it from the extension of the clinic/housing/cabana area, so they can and do use blenders. The counters are wood, probably made from boards. The handiwork of the "legs" of the tables in the kitchen is beautiful. Simple, carved from trees. There is nothing elegant about it, but it's hand done and the love behind that does not escape me.
 the floors are dirt. The Walls are also parts of trees, for a lack of good verbiage. The roof is made from palms. They use large pots to boil things and blenders to make juices. Since I am not the world's greatest cook, describing the kitchen is not my forte. But the food that they deliver to our table is exquisite.
 There is truly nothing they made that I did not like. Deanna and Delci do a great job cooking. The meals are huge compared to what we eat, or so it seems. We are told the menu is designed around what our work is for that day. The harder we are scheduled to work, the more grandiose the meal in order to replenish our bodies. Soup, meat, beans, rice, plantains, yuca, fresh juices, fresh fish. Everything tasted so good. I'll just do a different blog about food, but the point is to talk about the ladies who cooked it. These ladies have a semi-thankless job. They go often unnoticed, as they truly spend their whole day in the kitchen. They cook well and they cater to everything the team needs. When one team member didn't like something, much to his chagrin, they cooked him something special. When one team member had a difficult time chewing, they went to the extent of chopping up her food more. Seriously, there is nothing these ladies did not do for us. They are wonderful servants, humble women, lovingly giving to us. They are beautiful.
Deanna serving up the bowls to Mileth, who then brought them out to us

Delci, preparing to serve us

 Yuleida is the clinic administrator.  I will tell you more about her when I write about the clinic. But she is part of the church staff. She lives in Medellín, but does all of the purchasing and tracking of items for the clinic in Brisas. She is a beautiful woman and has grown to become a very good friend of mine. During the week, she and I shared a bed (everyone shares beds there... they do a great job of making the accommodations comfortable.) But she and I slept up in the loft (I will tell you more on that later) and her daughter, Taliana was there during the week, too. Taliana is 3.
 Yuleida and I cry together and laugh together. We share stories of our lives and we bond in a beautiful way. Yuleida works so hard to make that clinic the best medical facility within her ability. I won't say too much more, because I want to share about that in a blog about the clinic. She was the first one when I stepped off the bus to throw her arms around me in love. She is a beautiful soul.

 oh, Miguel.... he is spunky and loving. I knew Miguel from last year, but at that time, he was sort of one of the teens who was in a leadership role. This year, he was the third to greet me off the bus with open arms and loving words. Miguel comes from the neighboring village of Alto de Julio, but is now part of the Brisas community. Last year, we would chat, but I got to spend a little more time talking to him this year. At our first meal, I asked him, "Miguel, tell me what is new" and his eyes lit up and he said so much... and I asked what and he began to tell me about how he is studying to be a pastor now! Miguel, at 18 years old, is now being mentored by Pastor Javier and others, who are helping him to be the pastor he desires to be. To see how far he has come in a year's time, it makes my heart happy.
 He was a huge help with the activities we did and his eagerness to serve and to pastor others was evident. I am so excited to see how God is working in him and will continue to do so. For someone who has grown up seeing so much devastation in his small village, what an incredible story of how God has healed and brought him to this place. He laughs a lot and even though he doesn't speak English and many of the team did not speak Spanish, his desire to communicate through love and efforts of English phrases was fantastic.
I love that Chris caught this photo on our first day (Thanks, Chris) This is Miguel and I chatting when he was telling me about becoming a pastor.

Me, Miguel, Mileth on our last night there.

Pastor Javier
 Now, Pastor Javier really deserves a little more than a paragraph, so perhaps for now I will introduce him and then speak of him more later. He was new to the staff from my time there last year. He comes from Medellín, but he grew up in Baranquilla. He is there pastoring while his family is in the city still, while his youngest child is finishing up high school. But the call on his life to be in Brisas has brought him there, and he is doing a great job with the community. I will discuss him later when we talk about the church service and the church community, but there you have a brief intro to him.

Our last night, Pastor saying a few words and Juan translating

 Doctora Jennifer.
  Doctora is also new, and I think it's best to discuss her along with the clinic, too, but at least let me introduce you to her with a photo. She is beautiful, quiet, and full of love. More on her soon.

 There are a few nurses there, who unfortunately I do not have photos of, but they serve just as diligently. There was a quiet, humble woman who worked hard for our team in all of the cleaning she did. Here name is Rosario. She got no praise and we did not have a lot of contact with her. But she diligently emptied our trash (which, mind you, was not wonderful, because all the toilet paper goes in the trash and not in the toilet!), cleaned the bathroom, made our beds every day, including folding our blankets and pajamas we left all over the bed, swept the floors and made sure we were in a clean place. Here we are in the middle of a forgotten little village, and there is a beautiful woman, seeking no praise, cleaning up after us! I heard Emma, the youngest member of the team, take note especially of this task.  I will forever remember her face and her acts of love.

 This small staff worked hard to make us feel at home. And they succeeded.
Tomorrow I will dedicate a page telling you about our translator, Juan.

 So many stories.... this will take a few weeks to share, as I told you...

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