Medellín has a lot of tourists. A lot of ex-pats (foreigners living abroad). Frankly, a lot of gringos. (PS-this label has zero negative connotation. It is simply a way to identify people.) That said, here is an example of a common interaction for our family:
Local: Where are you from?
Kims: The U.S.
L: Wow, your Spanish is really good.
K: Thank you!
L: So, are you on vacation, then?
K: No, we live here in Envigado.
L: Really? What do you do here?
And that question, right there, throws the door WIDE open.
In a Catholic country, saying “we are missionaries” brings to mind a certain image of a small group of Catholic parishioners taking a short-term trip to do good works among the poor or oppressed.
So in many cases, we avoid saying we are missionaries, or at least give additional explanation. So, how do we respond?
Here in Colombia, most people know some of the stories in the Bible, but there are many who have never read it themselves. And of course, it can be difficult to read. So we help people learn how to read and understand the Bible for themselves. Have you ever read the Bible yourself?
With this question, some people shy away, others mention their personal religious experiences, but many seem to have a lightbulb moment, realizing they could read the Bible and know God! While not explaining the whole gospel, this response is one way we are taking the opportunity we have to plant seeds—the idea that we can read the Bible ourselves, the idea that we can know God, the idea that it may be a struggle to read but oh-so-worth the effort.
We have challenged many people to consider reading the Bible for the first time, and we know of at least one who actually is, praise God!
Written by Anna Kim