Things I’ve seen recently (1)

Last week I was in a taxi and I saw a man changing the tyre on a car.

He worked away with the jack until he got the car to the right height.

Then he picked up the spare wheel and was poised to place it on the axle when he did one more thing.

He crossed himself.

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The baseball-cap conjuror is at it again

This time I could see quite clearly what he did and how he did it, but it was still quite impressive.

He flung his baseball cap high up in the air from where it spun back down and landed neatly on his head.

I will keep you updated on any new tricks I spot.

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How did he do that?

While I wait to get my train home, I watch the street performers at the crossroads below.

Often, it’s unicycling jugglers who are quite impressive but this week it was dancers, a group of four young lads with coordinated moves; all mildly entertaining until one of them did this:

He flipped his baseball cap off his head and into his left hand and then, somehow, maneuvered it so it seemed to run up his arm and leap back on to his head.

How? How did he do that?

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In Scotland it’s Jack, in Colombia, Santiago

To take your minds off events happening elsewhere, I thought you might be interested to know the top names for babies in Colombia.

The most common for baby girls born in 2016 is Salomé, followed by Luciana, Isabella, Mariana, Mariangel and Gabriela.

The most common name for baby boys born in 2016 was Santiago (the Spanish for James) followed by Samuel, Jerónimo, Matías, Emmanuel and Sebastián.

The only name in common (in a way) in the Colombian and Scottish top 10s is Santiago, which is number 1 in Colombia and (in its English form), second Scotland.

I am sorry to report that Fiona doesn’t make the list in either country although Wikipedia reports the remarkable fact the Fiona was the 9th most popular name among babies of Asian or Pacific Islander descent in New York in 2007.

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A vote for change

Last week I asked someone from an area that was badly affected by the armed conflict how he voted in last year’s referendum on the Peace Process.

This was his reply:

I voted “yes”. Not because I think anything just was being achieved but because we have to get those people (the guerrillas) down from the mountains.

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Wedded bliss

One of our leaders on the Coast got married in December so when I met her I asked how she was finding her new life.

“Well, there is a lot to get used to,” she said. “I have to get up early and make the lunch now.”

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A prince

Imagine a little indigenous boy.

First his mum dies, then his dad and his brother, leaving him alone in the world. He looks longingly through the windows of the houses of his community but people drive him away. Friendless and poor, life is a desperate struggle.

Until, one day, the local pastoral couple take an interest in him. They let him live in the church, they share the love of Jesus with him, and little by little, he begins to understand the gospel.

Psalm 65 v.4 becomes important to him: Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts!

Fast forward to Saturday 7th January, 2017. The boy is now a young man. He is dressed as a king.

In fact, he is acting the part of the king in the Bible story of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35) at the Vive Kids’ Circus. He makes a good king, authoritative and then appropriately angry at the servant. The next day, children listen entranced as he tells his story and how he was able to forgive all the slights and hurts of his childhood and youth.

Unassuming but confident, he is one of our local facilitators, and now considered a leader in his wider family.

The LORD raises the poor from the dust and seats them with princes.” Psalm 113:7-8.

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The flag of peace

In Colombia, white is the colour which has been associated with the desire for peace. In 2008, two massive marches against the FARC were held in many cities and everybody wore white T-shirts.

At the circus, we divide the children into groups and each is given a flag of a different colour, making the circus tent into the most fantastic, multi-coloured spectacle. Throughout the event, the teams compete in different challenges and receive points which are totalled at the end and the winning team is given a prize.

Well, guess which team won?

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Hello world!

After several extremely pleasant weeks in Scotland and Germany, I am now back in Colombia.


I got to my flat last Tuesday morning and within six hours I was off again, this time to the Coast, for our annual Circus (crazy, I know!). At the Circus, we invite three leaders from each of our Clubs to spend five days together learning how to run an event for children. After three days of preparation, the leaders put on the event for the children in the community in which we are based, before taking the ideas home for the children of their club. This year, about 140 leaders came, and we had a wonderful time, preparing and then delivering an action-packed day-and-a half’s activty for about 350 children.


We chose “Peace” as this year’s topic: how to have peace with God and how to be an agent of peace in the world. To see the Bible’s message of peace, reconciliation and forgiveness unfold in an area that suffered terribly in the conflict of the past, was very moving.

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