Gary had the opportunity to gather with representatives of nine different Covenant Churches from the Sacramento/Stockton, CA area the first week of December. The reason for the gathering was that all of these Churches have been active partners with the Covenant of Colombia and are looking to deepen, expand, and go forward with that partnership. However, all of these partnering Churches had never gotten together in one place to hear and talk about their experiences of working and ministering together with the Covenant of Colombia. Each one of the partnerships of these Churches with the Covenant of Colombia is unique. The Colombia Covenant Mission team is working with the challenge of matching the vision of global outreach and mission and the giftedness of the mission teams that are put together for ministry in Colombia from these Churches with the areas of opportunities for ministry that have been primarily determined by the Colombian ministries and Churches.
In spite of the negative reputation that Colombia had on the world stage, because of its war on drugs, civil unrest caused by subversive groups, corruption on many levels, etc. the Covenant of Colombia was continuing to grow and expand in its extension within Colombia and in its number of Churches and Social Action/Compassion, Justice and Mercy ministries. As a Mission we felt called to accompany God's movement and activity within the Covenant of Colombia and we realized that in order to fulfill that calling as the Covenant of Colombia grew, we needed partners. At this time in Colombia, Mary Lou, Gary and Cathy Campobello were the only missionaries on the Colombia Mission team. Because of our commitment to spending time with the Covenant of Colombia-its people (of all ages and locations), its pastors, its leadership, etc. to know their hearts and passions, we knew of many opportunities and needs. We wanted to find partners who could help us in fulfilling our calling of "accompanying" by bringing giftedness and works of service to these identified areas of ministry opportunity and need. Knowing that the Bible calls us to come together and work together and live as a "body of Jesus Christ", we took on this challenge of "matching the vision of global outreach and mission and the giftedness of the mission teams" with the ministry opportunities very seriously. We recognized that it can be challenging, as well, to find those gifts of ministry that are idiomatically and culturally transferrable. We hoped that all involved would sense that they were participating and contributing in this joint mission.
We believe that we are moving in the right direction as we have hosted 38 different teams, groups, individuals and visits since 2007. We have many areas to improve and develop as we partner together. Even though God calls us to love one another, it is quite a challenge to do so, as we all know. We have seen and been a part of some pretty amazing blessings as God has worked and revealed himself through so many. So, Gary met individually with some Churches and was a part of this gathering and experienced a "holy energy" as Churches with a common denominator of being involved in Colombia came together. Amongst all those that he encountered and talked with Gary found that all want to find ways to continue to partner together and accompany God in reaching the world of Colombia for Christ.
"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work." (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)