A U-turn

11:24 AM   //   by cpaez   //   Blog, Visitors  //  No Comments

By Johana Parker and Emily Garrett

My name is Angie Johana Mantilla Parker. I come from a very humble and dysfunctional family. My parents are not from Bogotá; they arrived here in search of a new destiny, but the truth is that, due to drugs and “the easy life,” we ended up living in the run-down city center by the time I was three. My dad spent several years in jail for robbery, but when he was released he returned to the streets, to my mom, and to a chaotic lifestyle.

Johana with her husband and biological family/Johana con su esposo y familia biológica


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God uses all things for good

02:29 PM   //   by Joe McWilliams   //   Blog, Visitors  //  2 Comments

by Scott Smyer

Several years ago I performed at the Bigfoot Comedy night that raised money for Formando Vidas. I love doing comedy so this was an easy and fun way to contribute to missions without actually having to go. Just keeping it real!

I was told that the proceeds went to help pay for a building, called the Jungle, that would serve as a safe place for the kids to come in a play. Basically, it is a safe place for the kids to come and hang out and have the childhood that poverty took away from them.

That’s all I knew.

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The Return

09:26 PM   //   by Joe McWilliams   //   Blog, Visitors  //  No Comments

I’m standing at the park the day after I get back from Colombia with my beloved dog, Cooper. It doesn’t smell like Colombia and it certainly doesn’t look like Colombia. The grass is well groomed and each house is kept up to the unspoken standard of my subdivision. I try to reorient myself but this isn’t the place I grew up in. Colombia is still with me. I can still smell the urine and human feces in the less fortunate areas of Bogotá. I can still imagine riding on a bus hearing people next to me talking in Spanish. I can still taste the hot chocolate. My fourth time coming back isn’t any easier than the first.

Joe filming on the streets of Bogotá

Every time I ask somebody about a trip they took to an impoverished area they generally have very little to say. They tell me it’s hard to explain. I couldn’t agree more. Poverty isn’t an occurrence or an event that happens once or twice, it’s a way of life. That’s something that is nearly impossible to grasp until you have experienced it with every sense of your body, even if it’s just for a week. So, for the people who have trouble seeing the point in traveling all over the world when people are hurting in our own country: I hear you. It’s not something everybody has a heart for and I completely respect that. Do whatever you can to help your community. They need you. I’ll do the same as long as I’m here because where I am in the world won’t automatically built more character in me. I have to know how to reach the needy from my heart. That means doing it wherever and whenever. Read more >>