Hodges share experience in Cali, Colombia
By Anna Erickson
Pastor Bill and wife April Hodge have returned from a two week mission trip to Cali, Colombia and are now working on ways to incorporate some of what they learned into ministry at Evergreen Church and the community of Park Rapids.
The trip was from Sept. 17-Oct. 1 and was two parts. The first week was about work and witness.
“We helped build onto a church in Cali that has been growing,” Bill said.
The second week, they attended a Master Plan conference to learn about different ways to pray and disciple.
The trip was a life-changing experience for the Hodges.
“Everyone was so in tune to God,” April said. “It was just a great experience.”
Bill said one of the churches in Cali had grown tremendously after making a commitment to get back to the basics and praying.
“It’s something that is very different between South American and North American cultures,” he said. “Here as Christians we have a tendency to talk about prayer but don’t do a lot of praying.”
In Cali, one of the churches they visited had activities and prayers nearly every day of the week.
“They have aligned themselves with Him and you could see that translated,” Bill said.
Bill and April don’t speak Spanish but didn’t have too much trouble spreading the word with people in Cali. They were able to use pictures to tell stories and music seems to go beyond languages and bring people together, they said.
They participated in an outreach where they talked with people about prayer and invited them to attend church.
They were able to participate in a church service by playing music with one of the bands while they were in Colombia.
Tuesday mornings a group of people pray from 4 to 6 a.m. at one of the churches in Cali, Colombia.
“It just really blows you away. Everyone is just concentrating on prayer and being with God at that time of day,” Bill said.
The Tuesday morning prayers are something the Hodges have started implementing in Park Rapids.
“It’s early but it’s important to make prayer be in the forefront in our lives,” he said. “We’re praying for the lost people in town.”
Fasting is also something that is a big part of the culture in Colombia.
Bill has brought that message home and has charged Evergreen Church members to fast on Wednesdays.
“Fasting is basically about denying the flesh to feast on the spirit. We’re mind, body and soul and often that’s not balanced,” Bill said.
People who cannot fast due to medical conditions are not asked to fast.
“The goal as a church is to be fluid as well as accountable,” Bill said. “We’re a small church and we want to be close and want to be fruitful.”
They will continue to pray and look for ways to do some outreach and be community minded.
“We want to be focused and deliberate,” Bill added.