April/May Newsletter 2018
“What Does God require of us? To do justice, love mercy (or kindness) and walk humbly before our
God.” Micah 6:8
Dear Members and Friends,
The following are some of my reflections on my trip to Columbia, South America. (February 15-
21, 2018). Praise God that College Hill Community Church has chosen to be intentionally inclusive.
We declare that in our congregational faith statement each month when we take Holy Communion
Therefore we share our talents, gifts and offerings intentionally with people who may not be like
us; for example Christians in Colombia. I praise God for our Colombian partnership! When we
define only people like us as our neighbor we work against the gospel message of offering love,
justice and mercy to so called foreigners. Because of our Presbytery of Miami Valley (PMV)
Colombian partnership, our friends in Barranquilla and Cartagena Colombia do not consider us
foreigners and we do not consider them foreigners. We consider one another brothers and sisters in
When we don’t see God in other people who are not like us, than we don’t do justice, love mercy
and walk humbly with our God in faith. When I was in Cartagena, I learned better what it means to
do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. Why? Because of Pastor Angelica, the Pastor
of Cartagena Presbyterian Church who walked with us like Mother Teresa through the streets of
Barranquilla and Cartagena.
Pastor Angelica, the pastor of our sister church in Cartagena showed us two faces of Cartagena–
the have nots in the barrios or neighborhoods in walking distance of the Cartagena Presbyterian
church and the haves, the tourists and those who own businesses in the tourist area.
The face revealed to the tourists is the face that is advertised to promote tourism, and it doesn’t
include the severe poverty and the Afro-Colombian community of Cartagena except as peddlers.
The tourist area is not within walking distance of the Cartagena church but it is only a cab-ride away.
One morning in Cartagena we woke up at 4:30 to meet Pastor Angelica at 5:45 for a humbling 1
or 2 mile walk to a 6:00 sunrise service to hear her message about walking in the shoes of our
neighbor. We don’t understand our neighbor until we walk in his or her moccasins, shoes, boots or
high heels. Moses had to take off his sandals in the presence of God because he was on Holy
When we take off our shoes and humble ourselves we are able to do what God requires and to do
justly, love mercy or kindness and walk humbly before God. We actually exchanged shoes with each
other! That was quite a humbling experience.
In our devotionals each day in Colombia we were asked this question, “Where did you see God
today?” We saw God in a very financially poor member of the Cartagena church who lived in a tiny
shack with a dirt floor and a flimsy leaky roof. She had joy in her heart because she was able to
grow a little plantain tree in her back yard, which she proudly pointed out to her visitors from the
United States. I saw God in a very unique black bird with a pointy beak and a loud song which
made us look up to him and see him and the other birds with long fancy black tails. They illustrated
that birds of a feather flock together. But we are not birds, so we are called to embrace unity with diversity.
We had never seen this type of bird before. These black birds are smaller than black crows
with pointy long beaks and fancy frilly tails. I call these birds, the “Don’t mess with us birds.” Wow!,
there is such awesome and unlimited beauty in God’s diverse creation! Everything and everybody is
beautiful in its own way.
When I was boarding the plane at Cartagena Colombia to Atlanta Georgia for my connecting
flight on the way back here, it occurred to me that a surprising person was my neighbor. It was the
Colombian TSA agent in Cartagena or whatever you call it there, because I got to share my faith
with her. She asked me what my profession was and in response I said, “I am a Pastor of a church.”
She asked, “Which church?” and I said, “College Hill Community church in Dayton, Ohio.” Then the
TSA agent asked, what is your favorite book of the Bible? I said “Matthew is my favorite book of the
Bible.” She asked, “What is this book about?” I said, “it’s the story of Jesus’ life from birth to death.”
She asked, “What is your favorite passage in the book?” I said “it’s the beatitudes in Matthew chapter
5. She asked, “What does that passage say?” I said, “It says ‘Blessed are the meek, blessed are
the poor in spirit. Blessed are the peacemakers.’ I am a peacemaker and I was here for a week to be
a peacemaker with six others. I was here for Paz”. She smiled and said, “O.K., go ahead.”
I can summarize my trip to Colombia from a line in the movie “Black Panther”, “Foolish people
build barriers and wise people build bridges”. Thank you for supporting the building of bridges to
connect different types of people, as part of the Colombian Partnership.
In the peace and resurrection power of Jesus Christ,   Pastor Darryll Young