Bogotá, Colombia – In the previous Casa Wájaro Creating Space blog post, we mentioned that part of Wájaro’s mission is to create space for Indigenous voices at the table… any table to which we have access. From its inception, the dream for Casa Wájaro has been to do just that. To create space in the heart of Colombia’s capital for our Indigenous sisters and brothers to have a place of their own when they are away from home. Casa Wájaro is a space for those who want to see the Indigenous church grow. To see Indigenous communities flourish. And to equip Indigenous leaders who are God-breathed agents of change in their communities and throughout Colombia.
More than just a new and bigger office for our team, we dream of equipping Casa Wájaro with dorms, office space, a full kitchen, artisan shop, and plenty of space for collaborating, working, resting comfortably, and building community together. Many of the Christian Indigenous leaders that we work with fill many roles. They are pastors, artisans, advocates, missionaries, translators, legal representatives, directors, teachers, human rights activists, environmentalists, students, mothers, fathers, friends. They often travel like the radical disciples we’re called to be in Luke 9, trusting that God will provide along the way. Casa Wájaro is the “welcoming place, where people can stay until they leave the town.”
Like many God-sized dreams, the process took far longer than we anticipated. Never in a million years did we think that it would take so uncomfortably long to find the right house after God miraculously provided the money. We were trudging through ever-changing housing regulations, red tape, a pandemic, and countless numbers of professionals telling us contradictory stories about how to do things the right way. We often felt like we were lost or the house was simply hidden from plain sight. Like feeling our way through a dark room– we held on to the promise that God could see what we could not, so we trusted that there was light even when we felt totally blind.
Diligently, we saw every possibility through to the end, sometimes going back to houses six, seven, and eight times with different professionals. Anxiously, we often felt that we were probably wasting our precious time. Though frustrating and disappointing, it was not wasted. His hand was guiding us, His Spirit was teaching… speaking to us along the way. “The road is difficult, but the gift is good.” “Walk. Don’t run.” “Wait on Me.” “I will be faithful to do what I have started.” “Keep surrendering.”
He led us. He provided. We have the keys to the house he could see all along. We closed on January 27. When we say that Casa Wájaro will offer a seat at the table for Indigenous voices, we mean it very literally. The next day, four of the main leaders of RELIEC (Evangelical Indigenous Leaders of Colombia), who happened to be in Bogotá at the time, came to see the house and their new office! The timing was perfect. Together, we dedicated the house to the Lord and asked for God to continue providing the resources that are necessary for us to complete the vision!
Keys in hand, the Wájaro team quickly got to work: changing locks, installing security systems, replacing broken windows, planning a volunteer work day, and prepping the house for workers and moving in. On February 25, we hosted a volunteer work day, which brought together a beautifully diverse group of enthusiastic workers! Folks from churches, partner organizations, and different communities worked and celebrated with us. Several times I fought back tears as the doorbell rang. “This is really happening! We’re finally opening the door to Casa Wájaro!
RELIEC purchased flights for two of our dear friends, Alba Jeny and Eeniith (from the Misak and Nasa communities respectively), to work with us that day. They spent ten hours cleaning the kitchen alone. That gives you some idea of the kind of work this house needs. While pausing for lunch, Jeny and Eeniith shared their dreams for Casa Wájaro. They prayed for the space in Namtrik and Nasa Yuwe. In moments like these, it is clear that we are in this together. It was a gift for our Bogotá community to witness the vision of Wájaro and the purpose of Casa Wájaro. We are so thankful for what God is doing and how he’s invited us to participate. We feel so honored to partake in building the kingdom with Indigenous communities. Working, praying, and praising God together in four languages that day is only the beginning… He’s got so much more in store for us.
The Wájaro team is loving our new office space, working hard with the communities and the projects we have under-way. We’re also painting, cleaning, and improving the house as we have the time, as well as doing our best to search for funding in order to remodel and supply Casa Wájaro with the furniture, office supplies, bedding, kitchen supplies, etc. that it needs. When the dream began, we set out with a carefully calculated financial goal (cost of a property, cost to remodel/supply it, including a normal rate of inflation). We could not foresee the extreme inflation and exponential housing costs that have been felt around the world. Praise God we still had enough to make the purchase, but we’re humbled to be functioning and faithful with a bare-bones bank account. We trust that just like God provided miraculously in 2021 to get us to our matching grant goal, he will see us through to the final touch of Casa Wájaro. Pray with us that we will also have the resources to fund new projects in Indigenous communities this year!
Thank you for walking with us, for praying, and for giving sacrificially to this project. We are so grateful. Please continue praying for us to steward this gift wisely and that God will provide. We invite you to follow The Wájaro Foundation on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about Casa Wájaro, the communities we work with, and how you can get involved. Wájaro means “Let’s go together” in Eduria, a small Indigenous language, and we mean it. You’re invited!
Set the table with us and get hungry for heaven.
Lauren Jones is co-founder of The Wájaro Foundation with her husband, Jake. They have served as SAM missionaries since 2017. She is also a photographer, women’s health educator, outdoors expert, social worker, and mother of four. Lauren is passionate about living in authentic community with others and caring for populations that mainstream society tends to overlook.