Colombia: The Hub for Spanish Expansion
by Jim Fleming, Global Director
Colombia, on the northwest corner of the continent, is a beautiful country with tropical landscapes, and its capital nestled in the Andean peaks. It is also a pivotal country for the Emmaus work; it has become the hub from which we are seeing Emmaus assisted and opened in countries both north and south. There are a several important people involved in the outreach and expansion in South and Central America.
Gregorio Taborda, in the Pereira office, has been trained to be the Regional Coordinator. This will be of incredible benefit to Emmaus in Central America and the Caribbean. Gregorio is doing significant work in the efforts to open up new countries for Emmaus. We are thrilled to see ministries started in Panama and Cuba that are already thriving from Gregorio’s diligence and faithfulness.
In the Bogota office, Gilberto Vanegas is taking on the significant role of coordinating South America. Ecuador has a new office in their capital and we expect to see growth this year. We are praying for Gilberto and Gregorio, as well as all of those involved in South and Central America.
I visit Colombia most years in my travels as International Coordinator; it is where I did missions work for several decades, but it’s also an important location for the Emmaus work. It is worth the time and investment as we set vision for continued growth and expansion. Pray for our Colombian Hub!
Regional Emmaus retreat in Barranquilla, Colombia.
Veteran missionary Ruby Campbell has led the Barranquilla Office since the late 60s.
9-month Intern Discipleship Class of 2017 in Pereira. Jim taught an intensive week.
Jim teaching at "Emmaus Day" in Pereira with 250 students.
Gregorio Taborda teaching.
Colombia uses 20% of the 50,000+ Spanish courses distributed each year in just 1 of the 16 Emmaus Spanish countries. Some reasons include:
4 major offices in 4 cities — decentralized.
Annual meeting to coordinate their ministries, dividing the country into 4 regions.
More offices mean more volunteers and commended workers involved.
They are focused on the courses, limiting other ministries.
Three of the cities hold an annual “Emmaus Day” - 5 lectures in a conference setting on a holiday that hundreds pay to attend and go home with a course as students. In May 2017, Jim taught through 2 Peter in the city of Pereira.
The Pereira office also offers a 9-month intensive discipleship intern program. Graduates of this program leave knowing how to implement Emmaus in their ministries back home. Jim taught there for an intensive week in June.
Pictured above: Gregorio Taborda and his family