Quick overview…Leticia is the Southernmost city in Colombia. It is also a substantial port city of the Amazon River. It is in what’s known as the “Tres Fronteras” which means the “Three Frontiers”….the intersection of Colombia, Brazil and Peru. They are open borders and we will spend time in all three countries at some point this week. There are only two ways to get to Leticia…air or boat…literally, no roads lead here!
The team left XNA Saturday on our way to Bogota. We landed in Bogota on time around 9:30 PM local (Central time zone). Thank the Lord that we made it down here safely AND that all of our bags arrived without any issues! Following a stop at the currency exchange we made our way to the hotel.
Bogota is a major metropolitan city of 8 million people. It is also at elevation…8600 feet above sea level. The temperature was mild as you would expect…far different than Leticia which is close to sea level in the middle of the Amazon Jungle…very HOT…very muggy! Reality is that Leticia and Memphis in the summertime are almost identical climates…with the only exception being the tremendous rainfall that can come very quickly in the Amazon.
This morning we awoke for breakfast and headed out around 8:00 AM to Monserrate…a roughly 2000+ foot mountain that is the highest point in Bogota providing some gorgeous views of the city. The biggest issue with getting to the top is that you have to travel on either a cable car or a rail tram system that scales the side of the mountain. After a successful cable car ride to the top we were able to enjoy the panoramic views of the city below! Once we rode the rail tram safely back down to terra firma we were off to the airport for our flight to Leticia.
On the way we stopped by a local church to pick up Darwin, one of the former children of La Aljaba, who is now an 18-year old studying music in Bogota. We had lunch with him prior to departing for Leticia at 1:30. It was great to see him and what God is doing in his life. He has a gift for music that was seeded and watered during his time at la Aljaba (guitar, piano and drums). I look forward to seeing how God continues to develop his gifts through his studies in Bogota.
We landed in Leticia right around 3:30 PM. There is nothing quite like landing in Leticia…all you can see in every direction are trees with the only contrast being the massive Amazon River weaving a path right through the lush remoteness…it is truly awe-inspiring! Upon arrival we went to the hotel to check in and meet up with Lucy Palma, Director of La Aljaba. Following the introductions we went to La Aljaba for a few minutes to introduce the team to the rest of Lucy’s staff and tour the facility. The team got to see some of the older children as the younger kids had already left for the church that they worship at Sunday evenings.
We attended a local church (Pastor Julio) with the older kids at 6:00 PM for a two-hour worship service. While the entire service was conducted in Spanish it is amazing how much you still worship. When the Holy Spirit is in attendance it doesn’t matter what language is being spoken. The highlight for me was during the praise and worship time when they sang the “Revelation Song” in Spanish…Santo (Holy), Santo (Holy), Santo (Holy)!!
Following the service we went to dinner with Lucy, Pastor Julio and his family…a great way to end our first day in Leticia! Tomorrow we will be taking 15 of the children on an Amazon adventure in the AM followed by an evening of evangelistic outreach at the Barrio Nuevo (the poorest section of Leticia).