Monday, November 25, 2019

B-Real

Last month my son, Nathanael, and I visited Bocachica. It was a blessing to spend time with just my son, as you can imagine, alone time with one child out of 8 kids is a treat in itself. He was ecstatic when we purchased the tickets and found out he'd be joining me on this trip. He couldn't wait to see his childhood friends, sleep in his old house, love on his pets to whom he had to say goodbye, and of course eat the Colombian cuisines.

Crepes and Waffles! 'Than's favorite restaurant.

'Than with Marcus. His family takes care of our house while we are in the States.
This was a hard goodbye. Marcus cried himself to sleep this night.
Back in March of 2019, our close friends, Emily and Ausberto, shared with us a vision of theirs. They want to open a Christian sports studio for the youth and young adults on the island. A place to train in sports at the same time as being mentored spiritually. They already have land where the studio can be built, but there are a lot of aspects that go into making this vision a success.

We later shared with vision with other people and when Juan David heard it he wanted to help. He put a team together and they came up with the weeks agenda. Juan David has a heart for Bocachica. We first met him in January of 2012 on his first mission trip to Bocachica. Since then, he has been to the island numerous times and our family has been able to build a close friendship with him.  Juan David mentors two young adults from the island. Not only does he spend time with Papo and Yaikder, Juan monetarily supports Yaiker making it possible for him to study at a private school in Cartagena. 
Yaiker, Juan David, Papo
"Than and I had the opportunity to cheer them on during a race that was held in Cartagena, Colombia
Yaiker ran 10K and Juan David and Papo ran 25 K
3,000 people ran this race
Not only was it a special trip due to sharing it with my son, it was also special to spend the week with a team from Bogota. Three of the team members we know well. I have missed each of them dearly. I loved reconnecting and hearing about how the Lord is working in each of their lives. I also had the opportunity to meet new team members who were amazing! It is honestly one of my favorite things about doing mission work. Meeting new people and hearing about their lives. I am so thankful to know God made us relational beings. I am thankful to have worked along side each of them.
B-Real team 
This week was dedicated to see what kind of interest the island would have for a sports studio. The team offered a week long clinic that focused on boxing and cross fit.  The clinic was for ages 12-25 years of age. The training was intense, but the youth embraced it with enthusiasm. In one of the sessions I noticed an older gentle man standing against the wall. I thought he was watching his child train. After talking to him, he shared with me that he wasn't watching a child, he was interested to see what was being offered and thinks this is exactly what the island needs. He said the youth have nothing to do with their time and energy. They often get into trouble which can include drinking and doing drugs.
Boxing training
The man against the wall thinks this studio is a must!
The ladies loved this! Even older ladies in the community want to participate.
During the week we had 297 young people who came to the camp. The last three days of the camp the team held cross fit competitions for each age group. This competition was comprised of numerous, high intensity, timed exercises  which narrowed the competition down to 40 competitors who advanced to the grand finale. The grand finale was held at the beach where friends and family members could come and cheer the competitors on.
The winners of the cross fit grand finale
This week was confirmation that the island would benefit from a Christian arts center. The locals want something like this as much as Emily and Ausberto do. It was a privilege to come along side Emily and Ausberto to see their excitement and desire to help the young adults. The youth need avenues where they can focus their time and energy into something positive at the same time being mentored. Please pray as they go forward with making this vision become a reality. There are a lot of aspects that go into making this center successful.

 There is big news on the island. We have gas! This was promised for years and it's finally here. The funny thing is the company which was installing the gas lines and meters installed 200 meters into various houses and thought that was sufficient. The Bocachicans took it upon themselves and told the government officials if the gas wasn't installed like promised they would protest by closing off the canal making it impossible for the cargo ships to pass through. Companies and the government would lose a lot of money if this protest took place. Needless to say, all house on the island are suppose to get gas before the end of November. This posed a problem for the school. The company would only install gas lines and meters to houses that had functional kitchens. If the school didn't have their kitchen done by November they would have to pay the company 1,500 US dollars to get it installed. Since the school did not have a kitchen we started on this right away, and thanks to donors like you, we were able to send funds down to get the kitchen in place. I received an update yesterday and they have the walls up and the roof ready to be installed.
Kitchen walls are up and stucco has begun.
During the week we also painted the 5th classroom of the school. This classroom will be in operation in January of 2020.  This was a nice way to unwind and enjoy the teams company. The team enjoyed seeing the school, hearing classes in session, and spend time with the kids during recess.

5th classroom being painted

'Than above and Karol below, enjoying recess with the kids.


Please pray for Bocachica, October starts the rainy season. This makes normal living on the island more difficult. It is an art to walk on dirt streets with rain. Not only is walking hard, rain means the chance of losing electricity increases. Rain also brings the mosquitoes. They recently lost a 5 year old little girl to Dengue fever.

The hill to my house. This was just a morning shower. Imagine it after a full day of rain.
Look how cute this family is. Rain water means bath time!
Why not play in a puddle?
This was another great trip to Bocachica. As a parent it is rewarding to see your child spend a week in harder conditions then he's normal to and hear his heart on wanting to stay longer. It was a blessing to know after living in the states for almost 4 years and seeing how life is so different here vs. there he never once complained. The heat, the rain, the noise, bucket baths, losing electricity, he was able to adapt. He even asked his dad if he could start working with him to save up money for another trip... (we will let him be a kid a bit longer before he has to go to work) I pray he continues to have a heart for people. That he can see people for who they are not what they have.

Thank you to the team for your time and dedication to the project. The week was a success and very enjoyable. May the Lord bless each of you for your hearts.

Thank you readers, for your prayers for Bocachica. The school, the sports studio, the church on the island and of course the people.

Blessings and love,
Tara

Friday, September 27, 2019

A fashionable clean-up

We recently received a video update of the school. The engineer who is working on the school documented the progress for us. We are on track to open the new classroom in January. This will host third grade when the new school year starts in 2020. This video shows the office, classrooms, and bathrooms.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfhDZmbFmx8  


Last week the Christian School of Bocachica had visitors from Teach Beyond out of Bogota. The school dedicated the week to learn more English.  Currently, the kids have English three time a week from an English professor out of Cartagena. Teach Beyond taught more vocabulary to the students. They learned about American sports, animals, school supplies, and even learned about the importance of recycling. One day the kids had a fashion show showing off their creations they made from trash. Below are photos from the week. 

This video below will bless you! Take a listen to this sweet prayer by Raishelin grade 2. They are learning so much. 


The team of teachers from both The Christian School of Bocachica and Teach Beyond.

The school is decorated for English week

look at his imagination

First place goes to Jana Chaly. 

Futuristic recycling

How about this for recycling?

Some of the second graders hanging out with the Pastor

Learning about American football and Soccer

Artwork has been added to the playground. This makes it so inviting
 Below are photos of the teacher's bathroom and the 5th classroom. 
The 5th classroom. Next month the painting will be done and windows and doors will be installed.
We are so thankful to see the provision of the Lord. These kids are receiving a quality education in a loving environment. Thank you for helping us make this possible.
Next month I will be traveling to Bocachica with my son, Nathanael. We will be assisting a church from Bogota with a project and also helping out at the school. I'm excited to go back and visit with everyone, see the school in session, and for Nathanael to reconnect with his childhood friends.
Prayers are appreciated.
In love,
The Ariels

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The new video for 2019

We have a new video this year compliments of our friends at Snoot photography. Please enjoy!
It shows the context and environment of the Bocachica very well.




We have one in English and another in Spanish




We have new photos of the school as well:





Thursday, March 21, 2019

February school trip

We got to go back to Bocachica to see the new school progress! We have been talking about it and raising money, but we finally got to see all they have done in a year. There are four classrooms, two multi-unit bathrooms, a playground, and now a new office constructed. It was great to hear from them the testimony of the last year as well.
 It seems that if you are doing something good and sacrificing more than necessary that God would have everything go smooth. Contrary to that idea, it seems the powers and principalities get aroused by such work, remember Nehemiah?
 Many of you may remember talk of the building being slowed down by the government due to stricter building codes. They changed the plans to meet the expectations. However, not long ago, they received a complaint from Bogota that someone locally reported them as operating illegally. It is thought perhaps the public school may have done it because they lose revenue if a student isn't enrolled. This would be like someone taking the time to report you to someone in Washington DC. This was a big deal, Emilie, a friend of ours on the island, was telling us the story. She said many tears were shed by the Pastor's wife as well as the teachers at the school. They didn't know what to do. The school was essentially ended. The school leaders said that they would move forward and teach for free even if they weren't allowed to open the school. The parents were upset because they had invested money for something that they thought would be legally recognized and now the government rejected the school. They even had a lawyer that they paid that told them there was no recourse.
 Emilie told us that suddenly she thought of going to the mayor of Cartagena to see if they could help. The pastor's wife asked what good that would do if they had been rejected at the federal level. Considering there were no other options they decided it was worth a try. When went to the office they discovered you can't talk directly to the mayor. He has three secretaries that you move through before you actually get to him. So they went to a meeting with the first secretary. Upon meeting her they discovered that she was a native of Tierra Bomba, this is the name of the island where we lived. She had been a political activist for the rights of the native of the island when the Colombian Navy came to take the island to use as a new naval base. I remember when this happened when we lived there. There were lots of fights over the land, but in the end, the Navy only got what they had been using and a little more. This lady had a price on her head for her fight against the military take over of the island. This happens a lot in Colombia when there is a standoff between two groups, there were 120 activists killed in Colombia this past year. You kill off the head of the weaker party and you can win. Thankfully this didn't happen in this case, she is now the secretary of the mayor in Cartagena. When she found out about the problem of the school she wanted to help them. She advised them about a law put into effect by President Uribe. Law 70 of 1993 allows for indigenous and minority groups to have a local community council have ruling authority over their groups. This would help protect the interests of the group. This power is second to the power of the president of Colombia. Since Bocachica is primarily Afro-Colombian the local community council can decide what they want to do independent of what any other authority in Colombia says except the president. Therefore the complaint and decision of the Department of Education of Colombia is now meaningless. The school had this power available all along but didn't realize it. Sounds like a Gospel sermon there! The only stipulation of this special law is that they whatever ruling they implement it has to be in the interest of the indigenous group. Therefore they have to go back to their legal founding documents and make an accurate vision of what the school will accomplish as relates to Afro-Colombians. So they are going to develop as part of the school a curriculum on the history and culture of their people group.  Part of what Tara and I thought was essential in Bocachica was to promote good culture. The culture that is generally by default in Bocachica is bars and drinking.  This is a good challenge for the school to implement for the community. Recognize and promote the positive aspects of the culture.
  All that happened this year has been an emotional roller coaster for those working to implement change for the children of Bocachica. Please continue to pray for Bocachica as they work toward this new vision.
 We had a great visit with our friends, here are some photos to enjoy:


A picture with the teachers of the School


A night of mentoring with the teachers and parents of the school. This is will be a regular activity with the church and parents. The whole family is involved with the education of the children.

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Sharing a devotion with the school parents on II Corinthians 4:17 about how this momentary light affliction doesn't compare to the eternal weight of glory that awaits us.


Many people sent greetings to you all here in the states. Katerin and Marley send their love.


Morning devotions before school.


Tara and Emilie touring the school


Working on the new office

Visiting a class in session, we also taught English class in each grade.


One of our original filters still making pure water.


Tara getting to hold the new babies since we have been there.

We had a lot more great conversations and updates from folks there. Perhaps we can share more later. Thank you to all who support this work. This is the gospel long term, the people are changing and the Holy Spirit is doing the work. A great mission's verse is Romans 12:2 "...do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." The Holy Spirit does this in our minds, but it isn't instantaneous. It takes time, gospel work is the same, it takes time and sacrifice and endurance to change places. It has been our privilege to help the local church in Bocachica effect this change.
 We are coming alongside what is already in action, and we are supporting them to help them get there faster. If you want more information write to us. If you want to help with the new classroom this year you can send checks payable to:

Juntos
3706 Union Ridge Road
Burlington, NC 27217
Email: ariel.family.mission@gmail.com

Blessings and love,
The Ariels







Monday, January 21, 2019

Exciting news: The Christian School of Bocachica opens this month!


We have exciting news to share with you from Bocachica, Colombia. It's hard to believe this time last year, Nate and a team from the States were breaking
ground on the school. Now they have gone from breaking ground to having four classrooms and a set of bathrooms complete. The most exciting news is that on January 28th, the school will open and operate at their permanent location.

Jay and Jorday work 2.jpg 
Jay and Jordan last year putting in the footers.
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Four classrooms! The bathrooms are located at the end of the right-hand side of the building.

IMG-20190114-WA0005.jpg 
The bathrooms are being finished with tile.   

When the school opens on the 28th they will have four grades. Preschool, Kindergarten, first, and second grade.  
Here is the look at the kids who just graduated from Kindergarten.
48371604_523389574737049_9198187396603052032_n.jpg 


Nate and I have been asked by the school and the local church on the island to attend the dedication of the school in February. We are excited to be part of this and also to see first hand the progress that has been made.
We can't wait to share with you photos and testimonies of all the good things that are taking place on the island.

Thank you all for your prayers for the school. It is a blessing know the kids are going to receive a quality education and hear the Word of the Lord daily.
Please continue to pray as they are in the final days of cleaning up and organizing things for the school to open on the 28th.

Blessings,
The Ariels

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Exciting update on the Christian School of Bocachica


Greetings from NC. We are thankful not to have been hit hard in Burlington with Hurricane Florence. Praying for those who have been affected in the path of the hurricane. It has been nice to have Nate off of work and Alicia home from college during the storm. This bit of down time has given me some time to share with you all what is happening with the school in Bocachica.

 Earlier this year the school had to go through some extra engineering code upgrades.  The government had okayed the previous plans for the school. However, with some new buildings in Cartegena that had been deemed as uninhabitable, the local government recalled the permit and stopped the building. Some adjustments had to be made to ensure all new building codes were met. Those changes have taken place and once again we can continue with more construction.

The new school year has started for the children of Bocachica. Right now though, they are not in the new building. The changes that needed to be made put construction a little bit behind. We are thankful to have a borrowed place that can hold the classes until the construction is complete.

For now, they are finishing up the fourth classroom. The large latrine that will service the first phase of the school has been built, and they will now work on the construction of the bathrooms. We are currently collecting funds to complete the bathroom project. If you would like to help Juntos complete that goal please look below on how to send money.

We were blessed to hear that the Colombian and American Navy gifted a playground set for the school. What a blessing to children of the school.





  Nate has been busy for the past two months helping a church in the United States ship a container of Bibles, and Tracts on John and Romans to Colombia. This material will be distributed in Colombia and Venezuela. The church reached out to Nate needing his help with interpreting for the American senders and for Colombian customs and the pastors receiving the materials. Nate now knows the ins and outs of paperwork, cost, and logistics of sending a large container to Colombia. In total there were 1521 boxes, 33,000 pounds of Christian material. It took about 30 days to complete the process.
Now we are working with them to ship them to various places around Colombia and Venezuela.

The container full from the U.S. ready to be shipped

Ausberto, our good friend, helping with transportation of the container to storage.
He helped us with logistics in Cartagena, Colombia.


As always it is a blessing to help in the Lord's work. Thank you all for taking a moment out of your day and reading what's new with our work. Please enjoy these last few days of summer. I know the excitement of fall is upon us.

Many blessings and love from the Ariels.

If you would like to support the school project:
 1. You can click on the Paypal logo above.
 2. Send a check to:
          Juntos
          3706 Union Ridge Road
          Burlington, NC. 27217


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Colombia Spring Update

Perhaps this will be my annual update in honor of the greatest holiday. Happy Resurrection, He is Risen. This past January we took a team to Bocachica to start the classrooms for the new Bi-lingual Christian School.


The local construction team is still working on the classrooms. We planned on fully building out 2 classrooms, but they decided to do four. Right now we are still in need of more funds to keep working. The church has expressed to us multiple times how encouraged they are by all the support they are getting. They are excited about investing in the next generation, bringing change that will last. This is a quote from one person " ESTAMOS MUY AGRADECIDOS CON DIOS QUE NOS ESTÁ CONECTANDO CON CORAZONES SENSIBLES  POR LAS FUTURAS GENERACIONES."
They are commenting that they are grateful to God to be connected to sensitive hearts for future generations. It is encouraging to us as well to see their response as they work to serve the Lord in building a new school that will build up the whole community. This is something that they desire and is not an agenda or plan that outsiders put into place to try and change them. Pray that this momentum will continue with the school and that it bears a lot of fruit.
  While we were there we met the new English teacher from the USA. She had just arrived so we talked a little about the island life and welcomed her to her new home. We were updated recently that she is having a hard time adapting to the cultural style of the island. Pray for her to adapt and feel at home, she is planning on being there long term.
The children also got new desks this past month.















The plastic filters are now being made, we have word that the first 50 are ready to be installed. We are waiting on logistics before they are shipped to us. We are partnering with the NGO to have five installed in Bocachica and five in Bogota to be used for field testing. These will be tested for a period of time to measure the quality of water produced by these new plastic bodies.

 Even though we are not in Colombia to be able to host people at our house, another family from the church lives there. So it is a blessing to hear that they are able to use our house for hospitality in our absence. This past week a music band we know from Medellin was going to a concert in Cartagena. They came out to Bocachica to play in the church and they stayed at our house while on the island. They had made a song about Bocachica and made another music video on a previous mission trip. Click on the link if you want to see the song and our neighbors too!  "If Your voice isn't there" They were making filters as well. These young people are good examples of using your talents to serve Christ.


 The Ariel family is still at home busy in North Carolina. Juntos is now a 501c3 recognized mission. This will help us with taxes and keep everything organized. So if you want to support a project you can send the money directly to Ariel Missions/Juntos. We still can receive funds through Antioch Community Church, if you send money there make sure to write in the memo what the money is intended for.
 The address for us is
Ariel missions/ Juntos
3706 Union Ridge Road
Burlington, NC 27217

This season we celebrate our salvation:

"Your Lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year... And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel. Now the blood shall be a sign on the house where you are. And when I see the blood, I shall pass over; and the plague shall not...destroy you."

So God gives atonement. "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for your soul.

John the Baptist sees Jesus and exclaims, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

" So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many," and "this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God."

 We are thankful for His salvation and we are thankful for the work He has given us. Thank you, too, for the support and partnering in this work. Hope you all had a great Easter!