YOUR! Colombian Connection

Patty’s Testimony

DSC02174I was born in Bogota, Colombia in a family of five girls.  My family was Catholic so we grew up knowing about God and we were always in the ceremonies that correspond to the Catholic religion.

My family started off happy and very united, but then my father began to drink heavily and cheat on my mother.  When I was 14 my father left us and my mother entered into depression.  Some time later a friends shared Jesus with my mother and she started her walk with God.  She overcame her depression and began to share God’s love with her daughters and the people around her.

I remember seeing the things that God did in our lives with miraculous provision and allowing us to continue our studies.  I attended church with my mother and sisters on Sundays more for a commitment to my mother than for conviction.  In my heart I still didn’t believe that God could transform my life.  My university years were the same; I understood that God existed, but that he could not completely transform my life.  On top of that I had a Catholic boyfriend and for Catholics its sin, then pray and do it again.

I received Christ when I was 19, but I still didn’t allow God’s power to transform my life in spite of the evidence of his power in my family.  I had seen how God held us in His hand as a family after my father left.  In Colombia being poor and fatherless means not being able to finish your studies and having little or nothing for food, dress and housing.  However, we saw God’s faithfulness through the church and we never lacked for our most basic needs.

My family and I attended a Christian Crusade Pentecostal church and we were baptized there in water.  In one revival service the Lord baptized me, my sisters and my mother in the Hoy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues.  I was 20 years old.

I finished university and left my home to work in the town of Arauca; a remote area of Colombia close to the Venezuelan border.  My boyfriend came to join me and we lived together for a time.  I ended up pregnant, but miscarried.  I had to have a D&C, but it was not properly performed.

Afterward the initial procedure I returned to Bogota in poor health. It was Dec 1991.  One evening a week after the procedure I started to bleed heavily.  I felt really sick and felt that I was about to die.  I was heading to the bathroom when I collapsed from blood loss.  I felt cold and realized that my life was passing before my eyes.  I was certain that I was going to die if a miracle didn’t happen.  As I was descending down that long tunnel watching my life go by, I remembered that Jesus had saved me and at the moment I cried out to Him.  Suddenly, I felt these large arms lift me up and I felt the reality of a powerful Father God that loves, protects and saves.  This was my personal encounter with Jesus.

My family took me to the hospital and the doctor was amazed that I was still alive in spite of the blood loss.  I had to have another D&C followed by two months of recuperation at home.  I spent this time studying the word, discipleship material and being discipled by my church.  It was in that time that I really dedicated myself to the Lord.

In 1993 I started teaching in the Christian School “God is Love,” in Bogota.  It was through them that I heard about a work with street children that my denomination was running.  I felt a strong call from God to volunteer and I started working with them in evangelism.  It was there that I came to learn about YWAM  when a group of people from their street children’s ministry came to train us.  They asked me to help tutor some of their children with learning problems as well as help them with the creation and implementation of a specialized school for streetkids called Light and Life.

That started my missionary career, learning more about God and how to live by faith.  I did my DTS (Discipleship Training School) with YWAM in Cartagena, Colombia in 1996 and then returned to work at Light and Life as a teacher full time. I worked in the school for several years, rising to the position of Director.  In addition to my DTS, we continually received continuing education from dozens of teachers that came to work and/or train with us.

It was in this same time frame (1995) that I met my husband for the first time while ministering in the streets, but it was not until 5 years later that we realized that God had ordained something more than friendship.  We have continued working with YWAM Bogota and now the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada as God has grown our vision.

Our work in the last few years has had five main focuses: 1. working to present the two handed Gospel to the poor in Colombia, with an emphasis in children. 2. Mobilizing the Colombian church in missions, both locally and internationally. 3. Training Latino missionaries and church workers. 4. Being facilitators/networkers for the mission and its workers. 5. Coordinating for International Outreach Teams and using them as a tool for mass evangelism in schools and other arenas where the national church has not been able to go.