FINAL FULL DAY IN COLOMBIA
After a more restful Saturday, my final full day in Colombia was a full day - leaving by 7am and not returning 'home' until 11pm.
The morning began with worship at San Pablo Lutheran Church with about 30 Lutheran World Federation guests from all over the world. One of the delegates from the Lutheran World Federation Council, Rev. Dr. Robin Steinke (Dean of Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg), preached on the parable of the mustard seed.
After visiting so many of the families of San Pablo in their homes, I understood a little better why people greet each other on Sunday morning before worship like they haven't seen each other for a month. Part of it's the culture, certainly. But part of it is that it's family.
During the announcements, at the close of the service, I was given a sweater and said my goodbyes. I joked with them that even though I didn't want to leave, I knew that it was time to go because I had no more room on my wrists for the bracelets that are so often given as gifts.
The usual fellowship followed the service and I began saying my goodbyes to so many who I had grown to know and love in a short and long three weeks.
From San Pablo, Pr. Jairo and I took a quick bus ride to Miriam's house. Every Saturday and Sunday Miriam transforms her home into a restaurant and serves 100-150 people a fabulous home cooked meal. It's her main source of income to support herself and her elderly mother who also lives with her. I finished everything on my plate, but was I ever stuffed.
After a leisurely lunch (and one last conversational Spanish test in which I visited with a family for about a half an hour), we walked and took one more bus to the Caracoli neighborhood. I was fortunate to get a haircut (just a little off the back since I guess I'm growing it long again) with one of the main lay leaders at the 'Luz y Vida' mission.
Before long it was time for one final worship service at 'Luz y Vida.' As with the previous week, there were about 25 people who joyfully gathered around word and table.
When worship was done we made our way to one last meal together. Besides Pr. Jairo and me, six others gathered at 'Crepes & Waffles' (one of my favorite trendy Colombian restaurants) to process my time in Colombia and talk about the relationship between San Pablo Lutheran & Custer Lutheran Fellowship. I will simply say that it was a holy conversation.
By the time we got home it was 11pm. After another hour and a half of final packing, I went to sleep only to wake up about five and a half hours later. I took the taxi at 7:15 am and made it to the airport by 7:30am - record time because it was another national holiday and no one was out and about. My flight left Bogotá at about 9:30am and my connections in Atlanta and Minneapolis were as smooth as could be. With that I landed in Rapid City around 11pm and was thrilled to be reunited with my family.