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‘My faith needed to be personal, not just something inherited or cultural’

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‘My faith needed to be personal, not just something inherited or cultural’
Posted on March 29, 2020  - By Elizabeth Abraham

Angela Loudon serves the Lord together with her husband Bill in Bogota, Colombia, where they live with their son Cedric. Her parents served the Lord in Colombia, where she was raised as a third culture kid (TCK). Trained as a high school math teacher, she worked for three years in a public high school in Los Angeles, before sensing the Lord nudging her to use her skills overseas and among children who were growing up torn between two worlds, much like she did. She served at an American school for missionary children before meeting Bill on the mission field. The duo has spent most of the past 23 years in Bogota, serving the Lord primarily through Bible teaching and discipleship.

Tell us about how you came to the Lord.
I was raised in a Christian home, to parents serving on the mission field in Colombia. My journey of faith began through hearing and reading the Word as a child, and a personal commitment to Christ at the age of 12. I struggled through doubts and the ‘big’ existential questions for about six months in my early twenties, but the Lord was good to provide answers through an apologetics class and faith to trust and follow Him.

What are some of the questions you struggled with?
It was a time when I questioned God’s existence and the truth of Christianity. Two things helped me through that season: the first was that I had a friend to talk to who was neither afraid nor dismissive of the questions I was asking. I had been raised to accept the truth of it, but it was important for me to work through it and make my faith personal — not just something inherited or cultural.

The first thing that helped me through my doubts was a friend to talk to who was neither afraid nor dismissive of the questions I was asking

The second was a study on apologetics and reading books that dealt with those questions that gave a defence of Christianity. JP Moreland and Josh McDowell are two authors that come to mind. I remember though, after having good answers to my questions, that there was simply a step of faith; that, at the end of the day, it was about a personal commitment and trust in Christ.

Tell us about the people you minister to.
We love the Colombian people. They are a warm culture, very welcoming and eager to learn. Our city has over 10 million people, and the town we live in (just a half hour from Bogota) has about 12,000 residents. Most of the people live very busy lives, spending upwards of two hours commuting to school or work each day.

As a general rule, Colombians value education highly and have a belief in God. Most come from Roman Catholic backgrounds, with varying levels of Biblical understanding. Unfortunately, in most, this means a faith that is only about rituals or externals, not an intimate walk with Christ.

What has the Lord been teaching you of late?
One of the churches we’re involved with has a high concentration of single young adults. On one hand, it is very exciting to work with them and we enjoy their passion for evangelism and love for the Lord. But on the other hand, they are not a very stable group! About a year ago, I found myself very discouraged because a number of those we’d worked with had moved on to other ministries and churches, albeit not for any particular negative reason. In many ways, it felt like we were starting all over again.

As I reflected about the experience, the Lord used it to make me more aware of just how fleeting life is and how many of our relationships are just for a season. We are to make the most of each encounter and minister to each person as the opportunities arise. It helped me to procrastinate less and be more intentional about using each visit or meeting for God’s glory!

The Lord made me aware of how many of our relationships are just for a season, and that we are to make the most of each encounter

How would you encourage those of us who have had similar experiences where people we have discipled are moving on or even leaving the faith?
I would encourage us to remember that, ultimately, we are just tools in God’s service. He, through the Holy Spirit, works in all of our hearts to convict us. It is helpful to hold loosely to the things of the here and now (even people!) and trust Him for the outcome of our efforts. When we get possessive of people and ministries or want to be in control of how things should be or look like, then we are losing sight of our role and purpose, which is to glorify God with our lives and be instruments of His grace. Sometimes, we can become obstacles to His work by being too assertive or controlling. Wisdom is knowing and obeying what He is really calling us to do in a particular ministry situation. I am still learning and growing in this area, imperfectly seeking to ‘practise what I preach’!

What are some personal spiritual challenges you face and what is the Lord teaching you through these challenges?
Learning to “be still” and not rush ahead of what God wants in a current season of life is one. Being bold for Him with my non-Christian neighbours and finding the right words to be a witness as the opportunities arise is another.

Faith is an area I continue to find challenging. You would think that, after so many years, I’d have it all figured out, but I find that it is still a daily walk of faith in the Lord.

All over the world the political and social climate is very polarised. This is no less true for Colombia too. We want to stay centred on Christ and the gospel and not be distracted by the loud and argumentative voices on either ends of the spectrum. But we find that, even in our little churches in Colombia, the range of worldviews is quite broad. The challenge is to not divide over these issues and minister to people, regardless of their outlook.

How can the church stay focused on Christ while navigating divisive climates?
Good question! I’m still trying to figure that one out. I think we need to be sure that we are simply preaching and pondering Christ, resting in His grace and completed work. When talking over ‘hot topics’ with others, remembering that we are brothers and sisters and letting love, respect and grace permeate the conversation is important. To be honest, I’m still wrestling with how this looks and wondering how we, as believers, can truly shine for Christ in this current age.

How can we pray for you?
Please pray for daily strength and focus on the ministry. Pray as I homeschool Cedric, support Bill’s ministry and interact with the women in our community.

Elizabeth Abraham

About Elizabeth Abraham

Elizabeth Abraham — or Elsa, as she is usually known — has lived in the Lone Star State of Texas for most of her life, where she works as a physician assistant. From teaching preschoolers at Sunday school and mentoring younger sisters in Christ to conversing with co-workers and caring for elderly nursing home patients, her desire is to know the Lord and make Him known.



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