A little history…
Medellin is a city of 3.8 million people nestled in the northern most part of the Andes Mountains in Colombia, South America. It is the second largest city in Colombia, and the capital of Antioquia . With a population so large, poverty avails. In the early 1990’s Medellin was ranked #1 in homicide rate. Drug traffickers, local gangs, guerrilla militia, paramilitary groups along with petty criminals terrorized the city and added to the death tolls. Illegal activity took over the city leaving the hardworking people in deep despair, and some with no source of income. Children were sent to work, to get money for food however possible. Some were sold into slavery, or used for sexual exploitation, some joined the violence (kill or be killed), a lot of these children ended up homeless, strung out on whatever drugs they can get to numb the pain…
That was over 20 years ago. Although the violence has drastically decreased, the aftermath is still painfully obvious, especially to local children and outskirt of the city. The government is working especially hard to create a better city, and Medellin has improved the most over the last 10 years. The fine citizens of Medellin and Colombia do not want to be known for "drugs and "Pablo Escobar"- there is so much more to this beautiful city & incredibly mountainous country.
ONE Ministry is partnering with local organizations and churches to reach out to the areas that are still under developed. We are using the avenues of education and sports to share love, build community and advocate for change.
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
God has placed a burden on our heart for the city of Medellin, especially the children, the future of this beautiful city.
Being a part of One Ministry Foundation this year was such a humbling experience in my life. Stephen and Kari had an incredible trip planned for us to help minister to the people of Medellin, but it ended up being the people who ministered to us. Their hunger for God and seeing their city and country changed because of the Gospel was refreshing but also convicting. We were able to serve alongside many during this trip who are extremely passionate about reaching others with the message of Jesus Christ. We were able to serve at a church plant in the middle of the city, an orphanage in the mountains overlooking the city, and a soccer league whose purpose is to use sports as an avenue to share God’s love. Every one of them were using their life and circumstances to bring people to Jesus.
I also had the opportunity to walk the streets of a barrio in Medellin called Santo Domingo with Stephen. There was a day when these streets were overrun with gangs, drugs, and murder. The homes are literally built on top of each other. Most in the area are smaller than you average kitchen in the States. There was a year in this area that the murder rate was over 20 a day! 20 A DAY! Needless to say I was nervous. As we approached one of the soccer fields where Stephen holds his Strive Sports Clinics, it was so cool to see random kids from the neighborhood recognize him (as if it's hard to miss him), and come up and start talking to him because you could tell they admired him so much. They admired him because they knew that Stephen has a genuine love and care for the people there. I asked Stephen after we left if he ever gets nervous about being there and he said “No, because I know this is exactly where God wants me.” And he is right. It's apparent in those streets and neighborhoods the impact One Ministry is having in Medellin. I could not be more proud to be a small part of what Stephen and Kari are doing in Colombia!