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Welcome to the Jungle

As we make our way to the Jungle, I know we are not entering the safest part of the city. In Bogotá, Colombia, the lower the street number, the less safe it becomes——especially for gringos. We hop onto a bus around 187th Street and make our exit at 22. This is known to be one of the more hostile parts of town.

In order to get there, you have to pass through a place called “the tolerant zone.” Prostitution is illegal in Bogotá, but a blind eye is turned in this area and no apologies are made about it. Just beyond that is the transvestite zone—no explanation needed. Around the corner from our destination is a vacant lot with overgrown grass and a dilapidated fence that was once used by the FARC (a drug cartel) to train members how to build bombs. One such class failed by triggering a bomb that brought the building to ashes.

A Jungle Respite We finally arrive at the Jungle, but this is not the jungle you may be thinking of. You have to knock on the solid steel doors for someone to let you in. As the heavy doors swing open, the bright greens and blues of the wall bring much relief from the darkness of the city blocks. Massive murals of elephants and giraffes canvas the cinderblock walls. A putt-putt course gives way to a half-size basketball court. A high rope bridge leads to a fireman’s pole that brings you down to the base of a rock-climbing wall.

This “Jungle” is an old church renovated to serve as a Saturday morning drop-in center for at-risk children. It serves as a way to show children of the community the love of Christ. It’s also the first step toward building relationships that we hope will lead to education, discipleship, and housing. A congregation still worships there on Sunday mornings, but they have given up the traditional esthetics of a church in order to serve the children of the community.

As we leave the Jungle on Saturdays, I am reminded that though these depressed and dark areas of town are difficult to walk through, these kids don’t get to walk away. They live in them. It is our hope and prayer that in the midst of the surrounding darkness, the Jungle will serve as a safe haven for these precious children. They just need someone to hug them, to play with them, and to see that someone cares for them. Our conversations aren’t much, but they see that we love them.

“La Jungla” is part of a larger ministry, “Formando Vidas.” For more information on this ministry, visit: www.ColombiaStreetKids.org.


Nate Bonham, Bogota Colombia Jun 18, 2013
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Give thanks for the church leaders that God has been raising up in Bogota, Colombia. Pray that this growth will continue. 

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Pray for two missionary couples who have recently transitioned to the field in Bogota, Colombia, as they build relationships and share the gospel with university students, neighbors, and friends, that the Lord would use them mightily to expand His kingdom.

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Pray for new churches being planted in Colombia. Every church MTW helps plant is a missionary church whose vision from the start is to plant other churches.

Pray today for the MTW-RUF partnership in Bogota, Colombia, and for the development of MTW-RUF internships in other locations around the world.

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