BADGER - On April 25, members of the Badger Lutheran Church were given an insight into the work conducted on the latest mission trip to Colombia, South America.
The Rev. Paul Butterfield of Winds of Fire Church, Fort Dodge; the Rev. Madai Taylor, Agape Church in Fort Dodge; and Harry Armstrong, of Badger Lutheran, recently returned from a week at the ElCamino Foundation in Palmira, Colombia.
Taylor said these trips are a message of hope to the people who have endured so many hardships. These men spent their days showing concern for the Colombian people by preaching, leading, teaching, befriending and making repairs. They visited an Indian church that had been roofed as a prior mission trip project with a local donation.
Harry Armstrong, a plumber from Badger, took a mission trip to Colombia with the Rev. Paul Butterfield to help with plumbing problems at ElCamino Foundation in Palmira, Colombia. Here he works on the water lines with a helper from the foundation.
The ElCamino Foundation was founded by the Butterfield family in 1999 in Palmira, a Colombian city of approximately 500,000 Spanish-speaking people. His family had been going to Colombia for many years and had found it uplifting. This Christian children's home and missionary center are in southwestern Colombia in a beautiful countryside with lush gardens, where the people are happy despite their hardships.
Palmira is known as the agricultural capital of Colombia, where they grow tobacco, sugar cane, rice, coffee and corn. The average temperature is 73 degrees, and it sits about 3,300 feet above sea level.
Two pastors serve as directors of the children's home by parenting the abandoned children and offering them hope. The children are left behind and homeless or are from abusive homes. They may have worked in the factories for long hours and endured much abuse in the family.
Problems from drugs and prostitution are common for these abandoned children as they grow up. The rescued children are given food and safe beds at night and are introduced to education, nutritional and health programs. One girl was able to continue with her education and has now graduated from nursing school, which is viewed as a great accomplishment, since many girls end up in prostitution, sex trade and/or drug abuse.
These children are vulnerable and have endured harsh conditions, but the help and aid at ElCamino offer successful programs to save the children who need support in keeping them out of poverty.
This program is funded solely by donations from churches and individuals who want to make a difference in the lives of young children. Monthly costs for the foundation's expenses are approximately $1,500.
The missionary center on Foundation grounds was created as a home base for missionaries as they came to minister in the Cauca Indian communities. On one of his recent trips to Colombia, Butterfield saw a plumbing problem, so he called good friend, Harry Armstrong, of Armstrong Plumbing of Badger, for the answers he needed to make the repair.
Following the phone call and further visiting with pastor, Armstrong decided he would go on a mission trip in the future. The soft-spoken plumber said he wanted to go to Colombia to help the people, but they ended up helping him. He said it was humbling to observe their simple way of life and to see how they are so hospitable, offering what they have to make visitors comfortable.
Butterfield makes the trip to Colombia a couple of times a year, staying a week or two at a time. Anyone who has questions about this project or who is interested in making the mission trip with him may contact Revival Fires International, the Rev. Paul Butterfield, Box 1171, Fort Dodge, IA 50501.
Goals for the future include sharing the faith and continuing with the programs and expansion of the property.