A Sabbath in San Gil

Saturday, June 23, 2018
San Gil, Santander, Colombia
Sabbath morning started off with our group breakfast and then our daily Compass Check based on the sub-theme for that day. Rofolfo presented the topic of God Begins Your Story.  His experience as a teacher really shows when he is talking with the campers.  He is able to ask the right questions to make them think and to respond.
We then had free time for a little while after that, and then we had hymn singing in the salon.  David and Rodolfo did this activity together.  Rodolfo is a music teacher, so he started the campers off with a few breathing exercises, and some mechanics of singing to help everyone sing better.  We have hymn singing so that we can praise God, but this makes an excellent opportunity for the campers to learn new songs that their congregations do not know.  After camp, they can return to their congregation and help the congregation learn the new hymns.  Because all the hymns have been written in English and then translated into Spanish, sometimes the wording and syncopation is a bit strange.  Rodolfo gave the campers tips on how to sing these parts to make the song flow better. Scott sometimes teasingly says the Spanish words are very long ones just to make it harder to sing.
We had a leisurely forest walk planned after hymn singing, but all but one camper and one staff had been on it before.  The campers wanted to practice their Bible Skits, and in the end Montana and Rodolfo were the only ones who went on the forest walk with Angel, the hotel employee.   It is a very interesting walk to hear and see the history that happened in this place 500 years ago—the Spanish came in and wiped out an indigenous tribe, and they are buried here.  Remains of the tombs can be seen.
We had lunch, some personal time, and then Sabbath services.  The hotel had unbeknownst to us rented out the pool area for a birthday party at the same time as our services, so we were concerned that the music from the party would be loud during church services.  Colombians like loud music at their parties!  Janet and Jaime went to the reception to inquire, and the man in charge of the party happened to be there too.  He was very willing to help us out; he even came into the salon to see how loud the music was and turned it down accordingly.  We had no problems with the volume all during church services.
Ronaldo led songs and gave announcements. David gave a sermonette on the theme of the day and Jaime S. gave a split sermon.  Laura and Leo, cousins, presented a hymn for special music.   Montana and Geraldine made a welcome sign for everyone wishing them a good Sabbath.  We had some time for fellowship and photos after church services.  We had dinner early, so the campers could decorate for the dance after sundown.  About dinner time, a huge tour group of about 40 people arrived by bus to spend a few nights at the hotel.  This would indeed change the quiet atmosphere of this tranquil setting.
We started the dance at 7:30 p.m. with Colombian songs, and then a few American songs added in.  With the fewer numbers this year, only 14 campers, the enthusiasm at the dance was less, but we all tried to create a fun and lively environment for all.  We finished the dance at 10:30 p.m., and then had quiet music until 11:00 p.m.  I left to take a shower and go to bed.  When I got out of the shower, at 11:07 p.m., I was surprised to hear very loud music.  Scott went to investigate, to make sure it was not our campers, and/or staff who were up supervising and found it was the tour group playing the loud music, sitting at tables and playing pool. Usually quiet hours at the hotel start at 10:00 p.m.  Finally, about 11:40 p.m., Scott when to the front desk to complain about the noise.  Soon after that, the level of the music became somewhat less.  I was able to fall asleep somewhere about midnight. Scott stayed up to make sure all the campers were safe, and that the others would retire without further interruption. He said, “The onsight dog did not stop howling and whining until early a.m. towards sunrise.”  


Bernie M.

Great photos. Nice group. These people are the future of the church in Colombia. Very nice.

Victoria Reding

We are blessed to have a pastor/shepherd looking out and caring for the sheep/children. The youth will keep you young... looks like they had a great time