The next morning I was on a plane for Washington DC. Then on a plane for Houston. Then on to Bogota. (It’s a long story. I had to do it that way.) I made it onto the plane for Bogota just in time. There was an empty seat next to me and the man sitting by the window—the only one on the plane! I arrived in Bogota by 9:45. I connected with Pastor Guillermo Gomez, who speaks almost no English, and about 10:30 pm we began our almost two hour drive to the location where the module was held.
The first of 21 sessions on the Doctrine of Salvation (the Ordo Salutis) began the next morning at 9:00 am. There were six sessions on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Then three on Friday. 38 men were in attendance, mostly pastors, most in their 20s and 30s, and 40s. (see photos below.) They were eager, teachable students, full of questions. They had an exam on Wednesday, one on Thursday, and two on Friday. On Thursday night there was a special gathering, as this was the final course in this three year round of Marrow instruction. (Explain the Marrow of Theology program conducted by RBS International). This is the second group of Colombian pastors that have completed the Marrow program. Another group will begin this August. It’s very encouraging to see so many pastors studying biblical and confessional truth. [Roman Catholics, Pentecostals, Charistmatics, Cults]
Almost ten years ago, the Marrow program operated in the Dominican Republic. Pastor Gomez was there, and wanted to implement the same program in Bogota. He did that, and the first group began in 2008. Humanly speaking, he is the driving force behind this endeavor (“la pluma blanca”).
Behind the scenes was the kitchen crew (Elena, Adelaide, Edna, and Jason). They did an excellent job, cooking and feeding us. The meals were delicious. They served us diligently. Jason is a very Christ-like, single young man—a real servant—very thoughtful, considerate, and loving. He’s a member in Pastor Gomez’s church. He is unquestionably deacon material.
Eduardo Ferguson was my translator. He is one of the pastors of the Vida en su Palabra Church in Rio Hacha. He’s been there two years. He’s a young man, 26 year old. He and his wife, Edna, were married in November. Eduardo is an excellent translator. He’s translated for Pastor John Reuther, Dr. Sam Waldron, Dr. Joel Beeke, and probably a whole bunch of men we’ve heard of before. He is about to enroll as a student in Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary (Dr. Sam Waldron’s school).
Friday night, Pastor Gomez, Eduardo, Edna, and I drove back to Bogota. On the way we stopped at The Smiling Cow. We arrived at Pastor Gomez’s condo where we were warmly greeted by his wife Consuelo. She had a delicious meal prepared for us. After we ate, everyone retired for the evening. In the middle of the night I woke up with a nasty headache and a rumbling stomach. I believe it was altitude sickness (Bogota’s elevation is 8,660 feet) coupled with some little bug that my intestines didn’t get along with. Thankfully it wasn’t severe. I was better later the next day.
Saturday morning we hung out at Elena’s coffee shop and ate a good lunch. We rested Saturday afternoon. Then Saturday evening we went out to do a little shopping. We had some sandwiches before retiring for the evening. I had a chance to speak briefly with Pastor Line on the phone before going to sleep.
The morning of the Lord’s Day, we made our way to the Sovereign Grace Reformed Baptist Church. SGRBC constituted in Bogota constituted in 2000 under the direction of Pastor Stan Line, who mentored Pastor Gomez during the 1990s. (We used to pray for monthly meetings that Pastor Line had with various men. One of those men was Pastor Gomez. I met Pastor Gomez in 2012 at GRBC in Palmdale, California where Rich Barcellos ministers. We also used to pray for churches that were planted in Bogota and Medellin through Pastor Line’s efforts. Another one of those men is Julio Benitez who labors with Sergio Ruiz in a RBC in Medellin. It’s so encouraging to see how the Lord has blessed the work of the gospel in Colombia over the years. And we have had a part in praying for that work!) SGRBC has 91 members. They have 150 or even more in attendance on a Sunday morning. Many times they stand out in front of the building. They have only one elder, and no deacons.
The Lord’s Day ministries went very well. I taught the Adult Bible Class on The Problem of Evil. Then in the AM worship I preached on God’s Work of New Creation. The people received the word very well. Afterward many of them wanted to take pictures with me. Something funny happened. I met a woman who had a daughter who is in jail. I said I was sorry. Eduardo said, “Why would you say you’re sorry?” I said, “She’s in prison.” He said. “No, she’s in Jail University.” “Oh,” I said. “She’s in Yale.” He said, “That’s what I said—Jale!”
We had a Fellowship Dinner. After the meal I gave my testimony. Then Eduardo preached in a late afternoon service. Finally, we all went back to Pastor Gomez’s condo where a chef prepared a delicious meal for us. We had a delightful time of fellowship, with plenty of laughter and discussion about all kinds of subjects—some of them with their broken English, and me with my almost non-existent Spanish (which improved immensely by the end of the week!).
The next morning I was on a plane for Newark. I landed @ 4:30 pm.
Please pray for the advance of the gospel and the ongoing biblical reformation in Colombia and the rest of Latin America!
Jim Domm, Pastor
Englewood Baptist Church