Sunday, October 14, 2012


Well hello blogging world!  It has been quite a long time.  I realize that about 4 months ago, I had said I was going to continue to blog randomly.  And throughout the past 4 months, I have thought about that fact that I have not blogged randomly.  Sometimes I really wanted to, I just had so much going on that I couldn't fit blogging in for that week.  Other times, I really didn't have any desire to blog.  This lack of desire was due to lots of different things each time.  But all of this meaningless background info is just to say, I haven't blogged in a long time, but I am excited about this post.  So here goes.  :]

Lots of things have happened in the last 4 months, and at the same time, not a whole lot has happened.  How this is possible is really beyond me.  But its true.

This summer was.......weird.  I feel like weird is the perfect word to pick because weird is neither bad or good.  It's just different.  And that is exactly how I felt pretty much the whole summer.

For one, I worked a lot.  This was good because it kept be busy, but most of the time, when I was working, other people were free, and then when I was free, other people were working.  I feel like I didn't hang out with people this summer like I normally would have.  Coming back from being gone for almost a year is a weird enough feeling.  But then, add to that the changed relationships that come from being out of people's lives for so long, and you have yourself a confused, out of place state of mind.  That is where I was a lot of this summer.  I really love being back home.  I do.  But, it definitely hasn't been the easiest thing.

I'm not gonna lie.  There were definitely times when all I wanted to do was move away to somewhere where no one knew me and just start over.  Most people have felt this at some point in their lives.  I just had this feeling a lot more than I ever have before for longer periods at a time.  My reasoning behind this feeling was just selfish.  I was feeling sorry for myself and sick of it being so hard.  All I wanted to do was run away from  the frustration, hurt, and responsibility I have here at home at times.  When I felt lonely, acted like a brat and hurt my family, or got caught up in thinking about the past, I just wanted to leave and start over in a place where I had no expectations for what life should look like.  Is any of this making any sense?

This is making my summer sound awful.  My summer was in no way awful.  I did do fun things with amazing people.  I have the best people in the world in my life.  I am being so serious. If you don't believe me, step in to my life for a week, and I will prove it to you.  But, as a warning, you might leave feeling depressed about your own life.  :]  Ok, so I am probably a little biased.  But for real.  I am so BLESSED.  My life really is filled with wise people who look out for me even when I don't realize I need to be looked out for.  I have people who make me feel special with random things in everyday life.  I have people that I can fight with and yet still know that they are never gonna leave my side because they are that loyal, not because of anything I do.  I don't know.  I am just overwhelmed by a feeling of blessedness.  And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I love blogging.  It makes me realize things that I know but don't necessarily pay attention to.

- Marti
- PB nights
- Clippers game
- 130 am Redbox runs

If you understand any of these references, then you know you are in a memory that came right to my mind when I thought about the summer.  THANKS.

After the summer, school started.  Basically, I got back from Florida and went directly into making sure I have everything I need for college because it started 3 days later.  True to form, I did not have everything I needed for college.  Yay procrastination.  I will never forget my first day of college.  It was awful.  That day was probably the dumbest I have ever felt in my life.  But that's what makes memories, right?

Since that first day, my time has been pretty consumed with school, homework and work.  I have started serving at the Der.  Woot.  So yeah.  I guess in the past almost 2 months of school, my mind has been on school a lot.  Not only does this mean that I haven't been able to hangout with people very much, but I have realized recently just how deep I have fallen back into the American tradition.  And I don't like it.  At all.  You see, when I came back I had a lot of plans.  I was going to get really involved with outreach in Columbus and around home.  I was going to really invest my time in the lives of others and change my world.

The funny thing about plans is that if you don't carry them out, nothing happens.  Shocking, right?  Yeah.  I have been so absorbed by my own little life.  True, school is pretty demanding at times and quite the switch from high school and life in Chile.  And work is necessary to be able to live at this point.  But, I have let these things keep me from doing what needs to be done and what I know deep down I love.  Basically, my added responsibilities have been an excuse that I hide behind.  I don't know why.  I just haven't prioritized the actual IMPORTANT things in my life as important.  But I realize that now.  I'm sick of getting so caught up in this endless fight to be on top.  I'm tired of the empty conversations.  I'm fed up with being so into me and what I am doing that I hurt those around me.  I want to be done.

When I got home, I distinctly remember talking to my dad about cell phones and saying, I don't think I even want a smart phone anymore.  I don't need it.  And I just have to have the new iPhone.  When did this happen?  When did all the things I learned in the last year get switched out for more Americanized thinking?  When did washing the dishes become such a pain again?  When did time start going so fast that there is no place for letter writing?  When did pointless reality shows become so necessary in my week?  And when did Chile leave my everyday thoughts to be replaced by pointless, ridiculous, petty desires of my flesh?

I don't know when exactly, but the why is what really concerns me.  What changed and why?

As I type this, I realize just how much I miss my Chileno family.  If I could see Nacho right now for even just 5 minutes, I would probably cry.  And I am not a cryer.  But I miss my hermanito.....tanto.  My desktop picture is one of Josue and I pretending to be a lion and a tiger in a fort we made out of chairs and blankets.  He is absolutely ADORABLE.  I mean, how have I become so unconcerned with what is happening in his life?

I love them.  And nothing is gonna change that, although it hasn't been easy at times.

Sometimes I wonder why God called us to Chile.  Sometimes I just don't understand it and don't want to understand it.  But deep down, I know that even if I can't see it right now, God had a plan and reason for taking us there.  And as much as I hate to admit it at times, a part of my heart is still in Chile.  Its in the hands of the beautiful people down there.  And to be quite honest, I don't want that part of my heart back.  I want that stolen piece to fuel me, push me, and break me.  It has to flame the passion.

Sometimes life just doesn't go how we envisioned it would go.  Have you ever had a meeting with someone and thought you knew what they were going to tell you, only to find out that it is exactly opposite of what you were expecting?  It can be a shock to your system.  Or sometimes, horrible things can happen out of the blue, and you are just left wondering how in the world you are gonna make it.  And this sucks.

BUT----there is something that has gotten me through whatever sucky situation I have been in.  More like a Someone.  Jesus ALWAYS carries me through.  Even when I don't understand it or even want to understand  it.  Even when I just want to be mad and depressed, He gets me through.  I don't deserve it.  He just loves me.  He loves me because He loves me.  And the same is true for every single person on this earth.  No matter what, Jesus loves you because He loves you.  You can't do ANYTHING to change that.  Its a crazy concept, right?

I don't really know where I am going with this post.  All I know is that I have a lot of things to process from just this past week even.  So I am just sorta spitting out whatever comes to my head that I need to get sorted out.

Friends are the biggest blessing in life.  They are the people, who on your most stressful days drop off a coffee Monster to get you through.  They are the people you have memories with from years gone by and that appreciate those memories just as much as you do.  They are the people who love you in the most selfless ways.  They care. They ask questions.  They make you think.  They push you.  They call you out when you are being a brat.  They love you through all the imperfections.  And they make it known how much you mean to them.  Yup, I got the best ones out there.

I have been put on this earth to glorify my Father.  I have been put on this earth to love others.  I have been put on this earth to grow in knowledge and wisdom and use it to help others.  I have been put on this earth to change my world.

I have not been put on this earth to feel loved and accepted.  I have not been put on this earth to feel important or receive credit for anything.  I have not been put on this earth to feel entitled to anything.

With these concepts in mind, I realize how wrong I have it sometimes.  But now, as I realize how selfish I am at times, I just want to go and love on some kids who have never felt love before.  I don't need to feel the love of others.  I have the Love of the universe backing me up.  What is holding me back?

You guys, this post is all over the place.  It probably makes no sense to anyone besides me.  And that is ok. Sometimes God just needs to get my attention, and this is one way that works pretty well.

He redeems my life.  He loves me.  He saved me.  And IN HIM, I am complete and lack NOTHING.  Worship Him.  Love Him.  Praise Him.  Serve Him.  Share Him.  Be blessed.

Redeemed.  Big Daddy Weave.  Listen. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

All For HIM.

Hey guys.  It's been a little while since I last usual :]  I promise things have changed for me since coming back, but procrastinating is NOT one of them, much to my mother's dismay.  So I'm gonna just jump right in this time.  I am in much need of processing my thoughts anyway.

So, things since being back have had their ups and downs.  This past week was very good in my life.  I was very busy, but it was good.  I had the opportunity to help out at a trailer park and get to know some really awesome kids every morning last week.  It was like a mini VBS thing that we did there, and I LOVED it.  It really confirmed and encouraged me.  I have no doubt that I do in fact want to work with kids.  I love it and have a passion for it.  And the devil can not take that away from me.  I won't let him.  So that was just a really great experience.  I am very amped to continue to get involved there and further the relationships with the kids there.  God is opening doors for that, and I am just so excited.

Another thing that has been going on is a lot of work.  This has been keeping me busy and has really helped normalize life here again.  And I really think this is good.  I mean, it gets a little crazy at times, and I definitely need to balance what I do better....what I fill my time with.  But, I am very thankful that I have a job and am able to get hours.  I have a new appreciation for what I do as well.  I view things differently now.  But hold up.  I am in no way trying to say that I am an expert on life now.  Not at all.  I just....I don't know.  I feel like my heart has an increased desire to impact people in the small things in life.  Like, I have more of a purpose at work now than just getting people their donuts.  Are you following?

It's like, my eyes have been opened to the importance of being a testimony in every area of my life.  Like I said, I am no expert at this, but I am beginning to realize how this is possible even in just being friendly and genuine with customers and coworkers.  I definitely fail at times.  There are moments when I just don't feel like caring and just want to be tired.  But I just really enjoy my job a lot more than I used to.  And I know, I am just now getting back into it, and I haven't been there for very long, but I really do feel like this is a change that has been made on my heart.

You know, I just really want to change my world.  I do.  That is what I want to do.  And you know what else.  I bet a lot of people would agree with me and say that they want to change their worlds too.  So then I just gotta ask the question, WHY AREN'T WE DOING IT?!?

I guess what has been on my heart for the past couple of days is why are we content to just live life?  Sure, I say I wanna make a difference.  WHAT DON'T I?  I have so many opportunities all around me.  But I get so wrapped up in MY life with MY comforts and MY wants.  It's time for me to move to action.

I believe the last time I posted, I told you all I am having some difficulty balancing stuff.  And that is still true. It's hard.  I don't really know how to take the things I have learned and that I know are good and apply it to my life and encourage those around me to really get involved as well.  How do you encourage and push for passion without passing judgments?  One part of that I have realized is you do it in LOVE.  Love has to be the thing that backs all of my actions.  And I have failed miserably at this many times, especially with my family.  And I am very sorry about that.

Love is an action, and its a choice.  And I have the FREEDOM TO CHOOSE.  That is something that has been on my mind a lot since reentry at the RIC.  It was mentioned in a session that we have the freedom to choose how we let the stuff that goes on in our lives affect us.  So true.  And very difficult.  But so worth it.

I am a pansy.  My initial reaction a lot of times to hard stuff that happens in my life is......poor me.  PATHETIC.  I mean, buck up, Kirsten!  Your life is so easy.  I have absolutely nothing to complain about.  EVER.

Really, all I wanna do is glorify God.  That is what I wanna do.  But, as hard as I try, I seem to always fall short and mess up.  I hurt people, am too harsh, forget to think before I speak, and just end up doing more harm than help.  And I am finally realizing why.  I CANT DO IT.

I have been trying to do it on my own strength.  And although that works for a little bit sometimes, it without fail always fails in the end.  Yes, without fail always fails.  But I am serious!  That has been my problem, and I am finally realizing that today.

I began writing this post alone at a coffee shop after having a less than pleasant argument with my family in which I frustrated a lot of things.  This really helped me sort some stuff out....I just needed to take a step back and out and figure out what was going on.  Then, later tonight, my mom and I had a much needed and wonderful heart to heart.  I just really love that woman a lot.  She is a wise one and so patient and forgiving with me.  I don't know what I would do without her.

She brought some really good truths to my realization and showed me a different perspective to look at life from.  I just realize how I have been going after this whole "world change" thing all wrong.  I need love.  I need patience.  I need Jesus and His strength.  I am literally worthless without Him.  How is that for a humbling thought?

Like I said earlier.  I wanna glorify God and change my world.  I really do.  So that is what I am going to strive for in everything.  But, I am not going to try it on my own anymore.  You would think I would have learned this already, but I am stubborn.  I have been very challenged though.  And the thing about challenges is they take time and perseverance.  They take some failing and frustration and getting back up and trying again.  Success is difficult to accomplish.  Its a battle and a struggle.  But the refreshing thing is, I don't have to struggle alone.  My God is always with me, holding me when I can't take another step, and pushing me when I just don't feel like it anymore.  He never gives up on me, even when I feel like quitting.  He is FAITHFUL.

So yeah.  I guess that is what I am working on right now.  I am trying to prioritize my life better.  I love my life and the people in it.  Exciting things are happening and change is still happening and coming.  It's scary and thrilling all jumbled together.  And in the midst of everything, God is working here, and He is working in Chile.  He is working in my heart, and He is working in the lives of you all too.

The song of the post is AWESOME.  One of the best songs I have heard.  Powerful words.  Life anthem material.  Let's go do it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


I’m….home.  Yup.  That statement pretty much sums it up, yet doesn’t explain a thing.  And honestly, I have no idea where to even start, or what I am even going to say in this.  All I know is that I need to say something.  So….here goes. 

First off, the song of the post is one of my all time favorite songs.  Mayday by The Icarus Account.  I actually got it sung personally to me by the band once.  Great day.  But the song is basically what I have been feeling all day.  So I hope you enjoy and can be soothed by it too.

Ok.  Now for stuff.  That is basically the only word I can think of to describe the things going on around me and in me.  Stuff.  But the encouraging thought that I have right now is that I was warned that I would be feeling what I am feeling right now.  During our week re-entry period at the RIC, we had classes and teachings on the “stuff” we would be dealing with and feeling as we try to readjust to our American culture again.  So, I guess in a very strange way, what I am thinking about and feeling is NORMAL, although it feels like the farthest thing from it. 

Today was a hard day for me.  I feel like re-entry has finally slapped me in the face.  Have you ever felt so alone that you only want to be even more alone?  Or too crazy abnormal for anyone to be able to even understand you?  I don’t think I have ever felt so different that I couldn’t even understand myself.  But, that was what it was like today.  And since I cant really even understand it myself, I have no idea why I am even trying to explain it to you all.  Makes no sense to me.  But I feel like there is WAY too much stuff penned up inside of me that needs to come out, and I don’t know another way to do that besides through writing like this. 

One interesting fact to get started is that I have not cried since before leaving Chile.  And, this is just not good.  Part of the dramaticness of this is due to this fact.  I have not been able to express my feelings very much, so now they are just piling up too high I guess.  To help solve this problem, I am typing this as I watch my go to cry movie, My Sister’s Keeper.  I REFUSE to watch it with anyone else.  I can’t.  I just feel like it would be too awkward for everyone involved to have me sitting on the couch corner sobbing while we tried to finish the movie.  So, hopefully this continues to work its “tear magic”, and I can get some of this emotion out of me. 

Also, just so you all can understand me a little bit more, I need to inform you all of some crap that happened.  During our time of re-entry, my team and I found out some really hard, tough stuff.  To protect the security of those involved, I will just say that basically, we found out some stuff that has broken trust with our coordinator.  I can’t go into details, nor do I really want to.  But, I would like to ask you all to pray for E and his family right now.  It’s a heavy situation, and I am pretty worried for my Chileno family.  But God is bigger.  I wholeheartedly believe this, and it is what keeps me hoping.  Also, if you guys could keep my team in your prayers as well, that would be GREATLY appreciated. 

Today got pretty overwhelming for me, and as a way of coping, I took some alone time and went for a walk and a drive.  Yup, I doubled up.  And, it was really good for me.  I love walking.  A lot of people like running, and I think I would and hopefully will, but at the moment, I can handle walking much better.  ANYWHO.  Walking helps me think.  And after I started thinking and walked for quite some distance, I realized I needed to sort through memories and old thoughts.  So I grabbed some old journals, notes, my Bible, and anything else Chileno I could find, hopped in my car, and drove to a special spot where I could sort through some thoughts alone.  And it was VERY helpful. 

Being home is hard.  It really is.  And you know, most of you guys will not understand that.  You will try to see what I am saying, but you just wont be able to comprehend it because you haven’t gone through a time like this.  And it just wont make sense.  I am well aware of that.  But the thing is, its true.  Life at home is hard.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  Its good too.  I really enjoy being home and being with my family again.  That is not a lie.  It is GOOD.  But, it’s a lot harder than I ever anticipated before. 

It was almost easier adjusting to life in Chile than it is to readjust back to life in the States.  You see, in Chile we had no idea what to expect.  We just had to go for it and at times be uncomfortable and look stupid.  But we got the hang of it and had some really great times.  But here, I know what to expect.  I know how life here works.  But I don’t know how to insert myself back into it without going back to my old mold.  Is this making any sense? 

There have been times when I am alone that I feel so very alone. And in those times, all I want to do is be alone.  There have been times of sheer frustration with myself for acting the way I do.  There have been times of being a butthead to those I love because I give up and lose control.  There have been times when all I want to do is leave and move to a place where no one knows me and start over.  These are the times that are hard.  These are the times that other people do not understand.  These are the times that even I do not understand. 

SO……the above blogging was written a little over a week ago……

And I have no idea why it took me so long to get around to finishing up this blog.  I just kept putting it off, along with a lot of other things.  Basically, I just haven’t wanted to deal with it, but it has gotten to the point where I have to.  And this is confusing, but necessary, so just bear with me.  I am going to continue from where I left off, but I promise, I have come to some realizations.  Its not all depressing anymore. 

But you know what?  It has not all been bad.  Not even close.  I have had some really great times since coming home.  I have people who genuinely care for sure.  When I think back to the past 2 weeks of being home, some specific “great times” come to mind.  Family time the first full day home with cousins, games, and pizza.  “Limboing” with my best friend.  “Researching” Macs with friends and the other events of that day.  Literally talking all night with 2 silly girls.  You know?  Good times.  And you guys know who you are.  And I just want to thank you for your true, genuine friendship.  Thanks for being there for me.  And for loving me in this awkward time.  I love you all a lot. 

It really has been good to be home.  And I think that will continue.  I just need to figure out how to balance, how to take the changes made in me and apply them to this totally different culture and still be me.  Oh, boy.  That brings up a totally different topic of “who am i?”.  But I think I will save that for another time. 

Basically, I have just needed to get some of this stuff out of me.  And I want you guys to know where I am at.  I want to be REAL.  Fake is just a huge pet peeve of mine.  So here it is, folks.  Here is the reality of what I have been feeling lately.  I’ve been confused, hurt, misunderstood, hurtful, fake, alone, ugly, and out of place.  The world is harsh sometimes.  We were warned it would be hard.  John 16:33- I have told you these things, so that in ME you may have peace.  In this world you WILL HAVE TROUBLE.  But take heart!  I have OVERCOME THE WORLD. 

Wow.  Ok.  So that was a really good encouragement/reminder for me this morning.  I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner.  It is helping already.  But anywho.  It says right there that its gonna be hard.  But we have the OVERCOMER of death itself looking out for us!  That is incredible!  And you know, when I  think about it like this, I have had it easy.  Yes, re-entry is hard.  It’s difficult, and I gotta work to keep what I have gained through this experience.  I have to be diligent and deal with being uncomfortable in my “comfort zone”.  But I have a good life, family, support, and home.  I am BLESSED.  And I will testify to that. 

This is probably the worst written blog I have ever written, and for that I am sorry.  I don’t really even know why I am writing it anymore.  Although, it definitely has helped me process.  I am so stinking blessed.  Now what am I going to do about that?  Sit back and soak in all my blessings?  Or am I gonna move and bless others with those blessings? 

I am a brat at times.  And I don’t think those times are over.  I also don’t think this hard stuff with re-entry is over yet either.  I think there are going to be more low points coming where I am confused and lonely as ever.  But I also believe that there are going to be more great times to come.  And I am going to chase those times. 

I want to seek beauty.  I mentioned earlier that I was reading through old journals and stuff from Chile last week sometime.  And I came across some stuff in my journal that was really good for me to read.  So I think I am going to share a little with you guys.  Some stuff I read brought back some really hard times for me personally over there.  But through those times, I grew a lot, and it was so good for me to go back and see where I have come from.  Anywho.  Let me just share a little with you guys on this. 

Also, as a disclaimer, this is kinda weird for me.  But I feel like it’s a good step in the right direction for getting out of my comfort zone and being real.  So, judge me if you want.  This is what I was thinking about on outreach at some point, and there is truth in it.  Take what you can from it and leave the rest.   

“Beauty is ONLY found through the Father.  And there is beauty that can be found in EVERYTHING He created.  Especially humans.  I can learn something from every single human.  And when I become annoyed and can only see the obnoxious traits in a person, I need to remember that I am annoyed/mad at the sin, not the person.  That, or it is ME that is sinning.  And when I am annoyed, I need to seek to understand and see the beauty inside of them.  There is something beautiful in EVERYONE.

In talking about beauty, I want to be beautiful.  Beauty is important to all girls I think.  But I realize that so often I chase after outward beauty.  I find myself thinking that people will like me if I cover up my zits and straighten my hair.  HOW SHALLOW!  And how often to do I judge other people wrongly by their outward appearance?  Some of the lamest, meanest girls are the prettiest.  Not all, but I am just saying.  Why don’t I get the inside of me cleaned out and beautiful.  That is REALL beauty.  When someone is sweet and kind and genuine, people are drawn to them.  They want to hang out with them and get what they have.  People like to be with people who tell them the truth in love, who encourage them, and listen to them.  People love the Jesus in each other.  I need more beauty on the inside, but I need to clean out the ugly so that the beauty can grow.  When there is beauty on the inside, that is when true beauty can shine to the outside. 

God wants my heart, Each day, each moment, He wants my desires and dreams.  He wants my worries and doubts.  He wants my thoughts.  He wants my everything that is stored up inside of my heart.  And He wants me to daily hand it over to Him.  That way, He can clean it out, little by little, and fill it with Himself.  He fills in the old ugly spots with parts of Himself!  And He shapes and molds it to just the right shape.  And as He holds my heart, He speaks to it and shows me which way to go.  If I just let Him have my everything, He becomes my Everything.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The end.....

Hola!  So wow.  I can not believe that this journey is coming to a close.  And to be honest, I have no idea where in the world my thoughts are.  So I am just gonna start throwing them out there.  Good luck.  Haha

Oh wait!  I forgot to tell you all….i don’t have a song of the post this time.  My emotions are all too over the place to figure out which one it should be……sorry! 

Ok, so I just found out today that 3 of my very close friends are probably going to be leaving the country this year, 2 through REACH.  And my mind is kind of going crazy.  First of all, I am already praying for you guys… know who you are.  I know that REACH is a great program.  I believe in it.  This has stretched and grown me so much.  I have learned things that I would have never learned without REACH.  And my eyes have been opened to so many things.  Its been incredible, and at the same time the most difficult thing of my life.  Honestly, it is NOT easy.  But I know that if they do this, they will be going through the same things.  And I am so excited for them!  Also, the thought that at least someone I know might be coming back to Chile is so exciting for me.  I would love it!  So cool.  And it would be especially cool to be able to keep up with the family here through that person…you know?  But on the other side of my excitement, I am selfishly saddened that they would be leaving my life for another year almost.  Just a long gap of not being with friends.  But then, I am filled with excitement again because I know that God is bigger than distance gaps and will continue to be faithful in all of our lives.  Basically, my conclusion is that until I know for sure that these people are leaving for something like this, I don’t know what to think and am just going to pray.  So yeah.  One thing on my mind that probably just got very confusing for you all.  My apologies. 

Also, HOW THE HECK AM I GOING TO LEAVE THESE PEOPLE?!?  Thought number 2.  I just really don’t know.  A few weeks ago, I really didn’t think it was going to be too difficult.  Like, I knew I would miss them, but I really didn’t think it would be too hard.  But now, I am going crazy at the thought.  I am SO STOKED to go home.  I really am…..more on that later.  But, for real.  It is gonna be so hard.  And like, I know that more teams are going to come to Chile through E and his family.  And this is so exciting, but I mean already it is hard not for me to be protective and jealous.  You know?  Like, they are my family, and I don’t want them forgetting about me when I know that I definitely wont be forgetting about them.  But it is bound to happen.  So yeah.  I am sad that I might not ever see them again and be forgotten when there is no way I could ever forget them.  And, I mean.  I wanna see them again!   They are so…..I don’t even know.  It is just going to be so hard to say goodbye and not be able to communicate with them very well.  I love so many people here, especially the family.   And Nacho is literally like my little brother.  I am going to miss him the most, I have to admit.  I just don’t want to lose touch with them.   This thought also makes me want to take all the Spanish classes I can to remember all that I have learned and learn more. 

Geez la weez.  This is so confusing.  I am sorry guys.  But my brain is just too full and these things are just spilling out of my heart.

Speaking of Spanish classes, I have made a decision concerning my future plans.  As some of you know, I was asked to be on the REACH staff team for 2013.  This was a very difficult decision for me to make.  First of all, I know I would learn SO much and grow a lot more if I did staff.  And, after I found out some of the other people that got asked to do staff as well, it was an even harder decision to make.  My mind and heart were back and forth on the issue several times.  It has been between doing staff and attending OSU for some time now.  At first, I really did not want to do staff for very selfish reasons.  But as I prayed and had some time to think everything through, I realized how great of an opportunity it would be for me.  But at the same time, OSU was a great option.  And there is a pretty big opportunity for me to serve at my church and really get involved this next year.  And through all of this, I just really didn’t know what God wanted me to do.  I was praying and praying, but I didn’t really feel His call on me either way.  They are both REALLY great options.  So yeah.  I was going crazy for a few days, trying to figure out what He was telling me.  I finally came to the conclusion that maybe He was just letting me choose.  You know?  I don’t know if this is necessarily the right thing or conclusion.  But, if I am going into either decision with the intent to glorify God and learn and grow more, I feel like He would honor that too, you know?  (I say that a lot, don’t I?....heehee)   Also, during my time of decision making, in the span of 2 weeks, I saw 4 random strangers wearing OSU apparel.  Since being here, we haven’t seen like ANY stuff like that here, much less OSU.  I just took that as another sign :]  it was pretty crazy tho.  So I ended up saying no to staff, and I am officially going to OSU next year, living at home, and getting involved in the ministry with my church.  I am very excited about this, but it was a very hard decision, especially when finding out who else had been asked to be on staff.  All in all, I think this was a good choice for me. 

Back to more feelings.  So, this week has made it especially difficult for me to leave.  Things are just going so well, and I feel like I have gotten even closer with some people here in the past week or so.  I just don’t know how I am going to leave.  On Sunday, they threw us a going away party outing thing that was SO fun.  And it was just……hard.  I seriously almost cried at one part.  And I am not a cryer!  Then tonight, we made an American meal for our family and Anita and Roberto’s family.  They are definitely the people we are the closest to.  And it was so fun.  How can we leave?  I mean, I want to come home, but at the same time, I don’t want to leave these people.  It makes me sad.  But, I do have plans….ideas really…..of coming back and visiting pretty soon.  So that makes leaving a little easier, knowing I will hopefully see them again, if God allows.  Still.  Just very hard. 

I am so stoked to come home tho!  I cant believe I have lived in Chile this long!!  6 months!  I mean, I missed 9 months of normal life.  This is CRAZY!  I am SO EXCITED to see my family!!  May 25th is going to be the most emotional day of my life.  lol being so happy to see my family, and at the same time being so sad to leave my team and other friends at the RIC for an undetermined amount of time.  GAH.  Gonna be so crazy, so if you guys could keep us all in your prayers, that would be GREAT! 

I feel like…..going back to the States is going to be pretty hard.  Like, readjusting.  My eyes have been opened to a lot of things here.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  The culture shock coming here was not too terrible.  Their way of life is not much different than ours.  But, at the same time, it is.  One of our best friends here, Anita, said something, and it really hit me hard.  She said something to the affect of, “I have known North Americans before, and even missionaries.  And they never really spent time with us.  I always thought they were busy people with a lot of money.”  That is what people see us North Americans as!  Busy people with money.  WHY!?  We are such a selfish nation!  We have SO MUCH and how much do we give?  How many purchases do we make that only profit ourselves?  Its ridiculous!  I don’t want to go back to my old way of living.  I want to make a change in this area of my life especially.  Things have changed in me.  I want to keep those good changes.  Its gonna be hard, but I am gonna fight to keep them.  And I want to keep them with the right attitude.  I want to make a difference. 

On Sunday, we each got an envelope and were told not to open it yet.  I guess we were supposed to wait to open them until we were on the plane, but I didn’t know that and some of us opened them early.  Anywho.  Inside was a little notebook full of notes from some of our best friends here.  It was awesome!  So sweet.  Really, I am probably going to cry on the plane rereading them.  Anywho.  Something from one of the notes really stuck out to me.  Robert told me to, “Rompe la forma cultura de los Americanos.”  Wow.  That means, “Break the cultural form of Americans.”  LETS DO IT.

My head is pretty much swimming with lots of jumbled thoughts right now.  Our home has turned into just another house as all of our pictures and memories are being packed, clothes are being left here and burned, and everything is being returned to the kind owners that lent them to us.  Time is dwindling.  Last minute visits are taking place, and final pranks are taking effect.  I cant believe that THIS WEEKEND I will be attending RBC grad and hanging out with all my friends from all over the world.  I am stoked and depressed all in one.  And I just don’t think that you can understand me fully unless you have been through a similar experience.  Saying goodbye to people that have impacted you so much and that you might not be able to see again is SUCKY.  Let’s just put it at that.  And to make it worse, I cant speak good enough Spanish to fully express to them how much their friendship has meant to me.  Its just hard.  So, in closing, I would just really appreciate prayers for our team here.  Pray that our relationships with these people could continue.  Pray for the people themselves here, that they could continue to find their strength in the Lord and that the church here would GROW.  And pray for the other teams that are leaving as well.  Transitioning is gonna be hard, and I am a little nervous to see how “normal” life looks again. 

So, as I wrap up this FINAL post from Chile, feeling overwhelmed and….just confused…., I want to tell you all how much you have meant to me.  Seriously.  Thank you all SO MUCH for all of your support and love.  I have been spoiled so much by you all.  I love you all SO SO MUCH.  THANK YOU!  You guys are truly the best.  I have learned so much about true friendship from you guys.  Thanks for the encouragement, emails, pictures, letters, packages, and videos.  Trust me, its not normal what you guys have done for me.  You have gone above and beyond.  I am so blessed.  And I pray that I can be half as big of a blessing to you all as you have been to me.  May God bless you all and keep you safe.  Cant wait to see you all VERY soon and catch up and swap stories.  Praying for you guys.  Keep looking up and seeking more of Him DAILY.  He is the only thing that matters.  SEEK HIM! 

Love you all so much.  I really do.  Be blessed.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Adventures in Porcelana

Hey guys!  So, I know it has been a little while since I last blogged.  And there weren’t many details in my last post.  So I hope to fill you all in a lot better this time.  This past week we were in a new island, Porcelana.  And it was…..CRAZY.  Lots to talk about.  So buckle up :]

Ok.  So on Tuesday morning we left E’s house at 625 am ish.  Yeah.  It was an early morning.  That was fun.  We got to the bus station at 7 and found out that that bus was full.  So we had to wait for the 8 o’clock bus.  It was fine.  We shared a lot of laughs while waiting (Lady Fru Fru and soft noses :]).  That bus ride then took us like 4.5 hours.  I spent most of my time sleeping and thinking.  We did have a big of an event happen on the way tho.  It was HILARIOUS.  When we were almost at our destination (we didn’t know how close we were at the time), Beth decided to try the bus bathroom.  She entered the teeny room and shut the door and began to take in her surroundings.  Before she could really do anything, the bus lurched to the side, and she flew out of the bathroom.  Yup.  She plowed right through the closed door and fell butt first into the aisle.  When this happened, Jeano and I heard the loud commotion and turned to see what was happening.  From my seat, I couldn’t really see anything, but Jean could, and she just lost it.  At about this time, a guy was helping Beth up off of the floor, and she was trying to put on her professional face.  As she tried a second time, she couldn’t get the door locked properly and realized there was no toilet paper.  So finally, she just gave up and came back to her seat.  Then she explained everything that happened to us and I got a pretty serious abs workout.  Honestly, we laughed for like 5 minutes straight. 

Soon after, we arrived at our destination, a boat dock.  Now, it was a little after 1 at this point, and I was very hungry.  Luckily, we found a little store with a bathroom where we relieved ourselves and bought cookies :]  we waited for the boat for an hour, and during this time, I managed to break a restaurant sign in half…..oops :]

When the boat came, we realized we were about the only ones on it.  So that was nice.  Basically, I slept some more.  It was FREEZING so sleeping helped me deal with the cold.  And finally, after about 4.5 more hours, we arrived at our final destination, the house of Boris and Gaby Hernandez.

My first thought when we got there was Alaska.  I have never been to Alaska, but I feel like from what I have heard and seen in movies, it would look like this place did.  It was beautiful.  The weather was risk and a little chilly since we were so far south and all we could see were mountainous islands and water all around.  And the house is like…..solo.  Just a lone cabin on the front of this jungly, waterfally island.  I mean, there are more houses, but very few and far away.  Across the water is a scientific research center place that is pretty hi-tech.  We never got to see that tho. 

So we get in the house and meet Gaby (Boris picked us up from the other boat in his).  We talked for a bit while having bread and tea/coffee.  Then, soon after, she began making dinner.  As we were setting the table, she pops out a package of JB ketchup.  Yes, THE ketchup.  It is the best stuff ever, and we eat it with everything.  I liked this lady already :]  we had rice and eggs and were even more thrilled.  Delicious dinner.  But wait….it gets better.  We got HOT SHOWERS!!  Ahhhhh!  I was so excited.  It was basically glorious :]  ok, not quite, but it was REAL good :] And to top it all off, we all got to sleep on our own bed and they were wonderful!  Warm covers….not a sleeping bag.  Ahhhh.  So good.  We were truly blessed.

Now, from here my log is going to be a little different.  I want to tell you what we did and stories and things, but it’s gonna be long.  So what I tell you is just going to be fun facts.  The order I describe things is not necessarily going to be the order they took place.  I just want to remember these things and find them interesting.  So here we go.  

First off, we thought we would be coming home on Friday.  Maybe Saturday, but probably Friday.  Nope.  Didn’t work like that.  We ended up leaving Sunday on the boat that brought us and this time, it was FULL.  No problem, just different.  So when we finally got off of the boat, a guy came to pick us up and took us to the bus station.  It was like 6 at that point, and the bus didn’t leave for a little over an hour, so we went to a church service, although we didn’t know we would be going to a church service at the time.  So that was fun.  Lol we just showed up in our nasty travel clothes while everyone else was all spiffied up and sat in the service for like half an hour before leaving again.  Very interesting.  Then we went and waited some more for the bus at the station.  I was so ready to just get on the bus, plug in my ipod, think, and sleep.  So finally, that is just what I did.  That ride was quite eventful for Beth again tho.  She pretty much exploded her insides onto herself, the window, and a few neighbors.  Needless to say, the ride was pretty rough, stuffy and smelly, so it caused some problems that her body just didn’t like.  I felt very bad for her.  Finally, at like 11 o’clock, we arrived back in Puerto Montt and were picked up by a friend and his truck.  WE MADE IT.  Granted, we were pretty smelly and down to our last pair of clothes the day or two before we got home, but we survived.  And that is all that mattered.  :]

HOST DESCRIPTIONS: Boris and Gaby are a mid 40’s couple that lives alone with their dog Chimutrophia.  Yes, that name is WAY too long for a dog.  They don’t have any kids and have been together for 8 years (Gaby has an adult son from a long time before, but that is besides the point).  Boris is a quiet guy who likes to laugh.  The guy always had a smile on his face.  So sweet, always doing stuff for his wife.  Good sport about everything.  Just a very good, sweet, hard working guy who has lived on this “middle of nowhere” island his whole life.  Gaby, his wife, is quite opposite.  She had quite the different background and LOVES talking.  I mean LOVES.  She is hilarious and tells it like it is and has lots of opinions.  She always made sure we had everything we needed and just loved talking.  Also, fun fact.  She listens to a “rock and pop” radio station that plays tons of oldie/current rock and pop songs.  And she knows a lot about artists and current music that she can’t even understand :]  and according to her, “Justin Bieber tiene pechugas.”  If you know what that means, you know she is hilarious.  If you don’t know, you don’t need to know :]  ahhh.  Too funny.  We all loved them a lot and had a blast and lots of laughs.

CLEARING:  the purpose of us going to Porcelana was to help Boris clear an area of land so that he can make a long dock.  When we got there and saw the stuff we had to clear, it was a little overwhelming.  Fallen trees and brush were EVERYWHERE.  We did have a chainsaw, hatchet, 2 machetes, and 2 axes tho, so that was good.  We started a pile of useless brush and branches to be burned, and the rest we either chainsawed or macheted up.  By the time we were done, the change was huge.  Granted, it’s still not ready, but we got a lot done.  The burn pile was massive, wet and still pretty green.  We had burned a little corner of it, but it started to really dwindle.  Then Jean started her magic and Jeff and I helped and before too long, we had a dang good fire going :]  that was really fun.  I love fire.  We burned the whole pile in like…..2 hours.  It was exhilarating :]  and very hot.  Also, I burnt my hair AGAIN!  And this time, it was for real with REAL fire.  No false alarm, Skylar and Malarie (remember sparklers :])  Luckily, it was just a tiny spark and I didn’t lose much hair at all. 

WOOD CHOPPING:  it’s true.  I am officially Lumber Jill, compliments of Miss Beth Hale :]  Ok, so I am by no means a professional or even good at chopping wood.  But I did do a little of it.  And I have come to the conclusion that I could NEVER make it in the wilderness.  Hard, hard work.  As I was chopping, I thought, “Kaley would never believe this.”  But Jean said she would testify for me.  But seriously, it’s real hard.  When I actually chopped a piece off tho, I did feel like a boss :]

Food:  during our stay there, we had delicious and new types of food.  We got to eat LOTS of fish that the boys caught on our first night there.  They caught like 150 fish with a net…..Jesus with his disciples style.  So that was REAL good.  I have realized I love fresh fried fish :]  also, I had crab for the first time.  That was delicious too.  You see, E used to e a diver when he was young and before he knew Jesus.  So one day he took us all out on the boat, and he went diving and got a ton of oysters, some crabs, and a few sea urchins.  Sea urchin, by the way, is weird.  Tastes like sea salt egg snot (Jean says boogers).  But anywho.  We also had fresh bread almost every meal.  I am definitely going to miss this bread.  So good.  But I won’t be missing eating SOOOOO much of it :]  oh, and we had curanto which is like the most cultural meal here.  It’s basically a heaping plateful of clams, oysters, chicken, sausage, milcao (weird potato cake thing with meat inside), and whatever other meat you want.  Basically, if you eat a full portion of that at a restaurant or something, you don’t need to eat again for awhile.  So yeah.  That was real good.  We ate very well while staying there. 

BEDS:  I know I mentioned our amazing beds before, but I just feel like I need to elaborate a little.  To give you a little feel for why this is such an exciting topic though, let me describe our current bed situation.  No granted, things could be TONS worse for us.  And really, its not bad at all.  But it does make me appreciate a good bed when I sleep on it.  Jean sleeps on a bed made by Jeff.  It’s a pretty sturdy bed with the best support.  Beth and I are on beds held up by sporadic boards lying horizontally.  Beth usually wakes up having some part of her body falling through to the floor.  And almost daily, the boards on my bed fall through, and it sounds like the bed is breaking.  So these really nice beds we had in Porcelana were GREAT!  We had actually sheets and comforters.  COMFORTERS!  And not just any comforters……down feathered comforters.  It was wonderful!  So warm.  And the beds had real mattresses.  Not a 3 inch thick thingy.  Ahhhhhh.  So good.  Also, another funny side note.  Every morning we woke up, and this bird just repeatedly ran into the window.  Over and over again.  Haha.  Very comical.  And, the view from my window was fantastic.  The water with the mountain behind it….just breathtaking. 

Ok.  So the next part of my post is gonna be the details of our second day there.  We went on a CRAZY trek to some hot springs and a geyser.  It was the best adventure of my life.  But, you know me and my details.  This could get pretty long.  I wanna remember all this stuff tho.  So prepare yourselves.

TREK:  So to start off, I began this adventure not really knowing what I was getting myself into.  I was rocking gym shorts with hiking boots tho.  Quite attractive if I do say so myself.  When we left the house, I asked how far away the hot springs were, thinking we would be there in like 10 minutes.  NOT THE CASE.  I was informed that they were like a 2 hour hike away.  OH.  Haha.  Let the adventure begin. 

Before we began tho, we went to Boris’s dad’s house and picked up two random girls.  One was from Australia and the other Austria.  We had no idea anyone else was going to be coming with us.  It was just very random.  But, no problem.  We found out that they were from the research foundation place and just wanted to see the geyser and stuff.  So after picking them up, we started down the trail.  I had no idea what was ahead of us, so we were just walking along, chatting with the girls and explaining what we do here to them.  Just happy as ever walking along, taking dumb pictures and whacking things with a stick. 

Then, after a little while of walking, we came to a bridge.  Boris said that we had to be really careful walking across, and only one person at a time could go.  So we are watching everyone kind of shuffle along the sketchy looking bridge.  I was one of the last people to cross.  So I am jokingly telling the two other girls behind me to not laugh while I cross.  I get no more than 4 steps before I COMPLETELY wipe out.  I mean, my foot slipped while my other one was stepping and I was airborne, crashing down on my butt.  This was……terrifying at the time to say the least.  If I had not been holding on to the cables, I would have slipped right off of the bridge and probably died.  Yeah.  I was so shocked that I didn’t really know what to do.  E was staring at me on the other side pretty shocked himself.  When I finally did reach the other side, we were able to laugh about it.  Basically, I am a huge clutz who doesn’t really know how to walk.  Haha.  This was made very clear to me as the day went on.  But before I get to that, I need to tell you all that SOMEHOW E got my fall on CAMERA!  He was taking a video, and it captured the whole thing!  Basically, I am famous around here now, since EVERYONE I know has seen this video of me wiping out like a dork.   How happy :]

So after that happened and we all made it across safely, we continued on our way.  We got to the river that we would have to cross…..3 times!  E, Boris, Beth and the Austrian all put on a wet suit, while the rest of us just went in the clothes we had on.  Our whole team minus Beth had to cross barefoot because we only had our hiking boots along.  So here we were, facing this pretty strongly flowing, FREEZING river, knowing we have to cross it.  I got my game face on.  The first time we crossed, we had to go around this jut in the wall, and we tried to make a train and cross all together.  E stationed himself in the water so we could hold on to him to keep from slipping.  Well, the train idea wasn’t our best.  I was the caboose, and as I was standing still in the back with COLD water up to my stomach waiting for the others to move, I almost spazzed out.  My whole body was in pain from the cold, and I couldn’t go anywhere.  Jean was in front of me, just talking away to keep her mind off of it, but I couldn’t say anything.  I just bit my tongue and tried to be as patient as possible.  Finally, we all made it around that jut and got out of the water.  We had a little ways to walk before we had to cross again;  since my feet were numb, I just decided to walk across the rocks barefoot instead of taking the time to put my boots on. 

The next time we crossed was a lot more mild.  We had to cross to the other side of the river, but it was more shallow and not as strong of a current.  Also, they tied a rope from one end to the other so we could use that as a support.  Of course, I still almost fell in, but I managed to stay up.  And, since our bodies had just been in the water, it didn’t feel as cold the second time in.  So that was good.  After this crossing, the trail got a bit more intense.  So after putting on our shoes, we walked for about 10 more minutes before we came to the next point of crossing.  The path definitely got harder now tho.  We had to use a rope to get down a steep cut off and things.  Just very adventurous. 

The next crossing was a little more difficult, but not as long as the other two.  E had to pull us up onto a big rock, and then we crossed a couple yards to the other side by walking through waist deep water again.  After this part, we only had to walk another 5 minutes or so and finally made it to the HOT SPRINGS!  This was pretty exciting. 

First off all, the springs were all natural.  I mean, hardly anyone has ever been to this part of the world.  Its just so hard to get to, and since Boris is the one that found all of this stuff, not many people know about it at all.  So that was a cool thought.  And, since they were all natural, there was moss and floating sticks and stuff everywhere.  It looked pretty nasty at first, but it was awesome.  In parts, it was TOO hot to get in.  Somehow we added cold mountain water to the one spring, but still, it was VERY hot.  It felt wonderful though.  I didn’t want to leave.  My poor body had been through some drastic temperature changes that day. 

After about a half hour in the hot springs, we continued on to go to a geyser about an hour away.  I had said before that to the hot springs was about 2 hours, but it definitely took us closer to 3 to get there.  So, I prepared myself for another long walk to the geyser.  The trail to get to the geyser was definitely the craziest.  First off, we had to repel up and down steep drop offs numerous times.  I felt so legit while doing it.  I have never done anything this trekky before in my life.  it was CRAZY.  Also, at one point, we had to walk along the rocks beside the river, so they were mossy and very slippery.  I honestly have no idea how many times I fell.  It was awful.  Lol I just have no coordination.  And I was wearing my hiking boots!  I finally just gave up caring.  Jean is seriously like a tree/rock monkey.  The girl can just fly over all these things with no difficulty, and I was making my way very slowly through them, falling and slipping multiple times.  It was a very humbling experience. 

AND THERE WERE LEECHES!  Ok, so if you don’t know, I have realized I HATE slugs.  There are so many slugs here, and I despise them.  And the thought of a slug like thing attaching itself to me and sucking my blood gives me the shivers just thinking about it.  GROSS.  Almost everyone had at least one on them at some point, but thank the Lord, He spared me.  I probably would have had a breakdown.  Ok…..maybe not that bad, but I would have freaked out for sure.  So I guess it was just as good for the others that I didn’t have one as it was for me :] 

Also, along the way, we got to see some crazy nature.  It was beautiful!  The colors and tranquility of it all was breathtaking.  We saw waterfalls, and finally made it to the geyser as well.  I don’t even know how to describe it.  I have a few pictures and lots of videos tho, so if you are ever interested in seeing the, just ask when I get back :]  There were spots of very hot sitting water and just a few feet away were freezing water.  I don’t get it and have no idea how it is even possible.  And some parts of the rocks were like….squishy and warm.  Ahhhh.  Just so insane.  I have never seen anything like it before in all my life. 

By this time, it was about 3 o’clock.  I hadn’t realized how hunger I was since I was so busy trying to keep up and not die.  We each had 2 little biscuits with butter and honey that we brought along.  So that was really good.  And we drank the natural creek water.  I felt very outdoorsy.  It was great.  Lol  The worst part was knowing that we had to do everything again.  It was really fun, don’t get me wrong.  But, at this point, I was ready to just be done.  You know?  I wasn’t really looking forward to going through freezing rivers again.  But, whatever.  I knew I would probably never do anything this exciting and adventuresome again, so I just got back in the zone. 

The way back was just as clumsy, if not clumsier than the way there.  I am telling you, I just cant walk apparently.  I also sunk my entire shoe in mud TWICE.  My clothes were VERY filthy as well.  I just couldn’t get over the fact that in the states, the average human would never attempt this.  Lol it was just so…..i don’t even know the word to describe it.  Unless you were a serious hiker, you normally wouldn’t ever attempt anything like this.  Becca, the hike on the Rainbow Trail in Gatlinburg has NOTHING on this.  That is a kiddy trail.  Oh man.  Just so crazy.  Jean loved it, and Beth hated it.  So if you know them, you can kinda picture what I am talking about a little better. 

As I said before, all the falling and stuff was very humbling for me.  But really, my whole time in Chile has been pretty humbling for me.  Pretty much every one of my comforts have been taken from me here.  And it has been so good for me, but also very difficult at the same time.  I can honestly say tho, that I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.  I have grown so much through it and have realized just how truly blessed I am.  And although there have been some really low points for me personally, there have also been some very high points as well.  Jesus has just been so faithful in my life.  I don’t deserve a thing, but He has blessed me and loved me with an infinite love.  Through Him, I have gained eternal life and can do all things. 

Also, something that came into my mind as I slipped and fell so much was the verses that refer to God as the steadfast rock on which we can stand.  Until this time, those verses had been nothing more than just that….verses.  But now, I can relate with them very well.  Without God, I am screwed.  I can’t depend on myself to keep me up and going.  If I tried to go throughout life without Him, I would end up bruised, broken, and helpless.  He is the only thing that I can count on to ALWAYS be there for me. 

We finally made it back to the hot springs, and it felt even more wonderful than the last time I am pretty sure.  I went completely under because it felt so good.  I was advised against it since I would freeze on the way back, but I just didn’t care.  I might never get to be in natural hot springs again.  I had to take advantage of it while I was there.  When we left, I was cold, but it was worth it.  Lol

We survived going back through the rivers again.  Beth had a scare one time tho.  She fell face first into the icy water, and E jumped in just to make sure she was ok.  Luckily, nothing happened, and she was fine.  I have no idea what we would have done if something would have happened to her tho.  Just thanking God that nothing did. 

After getting through all the rivers, I was pumped.  We were finally on the last leg of the journey.  It filled me with an extra spurt of energy.  We finally did make it back to Boris’s dad’s house.  And we all survived!  I seriously did feel VERY accomplished on our way back to Boris’s house.   It was a very good day filled with tons of memories that I will never forget.  And I have lots of videos to reminisce with :]

WOW.  Ok.  So that is the end of that trip for you guys.  So much to write about and tell tho!  I still have a little more to talk about, but not much, I promise. 

BUS ACCIDENT!  Yes.  We were on a bus that ran into another car.  Sounds pretty exciting, doesn’t it?  Well, it really wasn’t.  I actually had no idea anything even happened.  I was listening to my iPod so I didn’t hear the loud crunch, and buses are usually pretty jerky, so I didn’t think anything was out of place.  But, as people began looking around and standing up to see what happened, I realized that something indeed had happened.  Apparently it isn’t too unheard of here tho, because everyone seemed to know what to do.  Another bus pulled up and picked us all up free of charge of course.  I just think it is fun to say that I have been in a bus accident.  :]

Also, when we got back, our puppies were gone.  I didn’t really have hope of ever seeing them again, but then, the next day, I found Piggie at a neighbors house sniffing around.  I was so excited!  She is like the cutest thing ever now.  In full adorable stage.  What a fuzzy little fur ball.  And she is chubby.  Just so cute and soft!  And then, the next day I think it was, we found Petey!  She was just roaming around our street.  I gotta admit I went a little crazy.  I was just so happy they were both still alive!  And they are just the cutest things.  I want so bad to take them home with me.  And, I realize how much I am going to miss Hopey!  For real.  She is the most loyal dog.  I love her.  She is kinda gross and not cute at all, but she is for sure the most loyal dog I have ever seen.  One day, I went on a very long walk pretty far away, and she walked with me the entire time!  And anytime she sees us coming down the street, she runs to greet us.  sniff.  I am gonna miss her.  For real. 

Also, as I write this, Beth is eating a banana with ranch dressing.  She says she doesn’t care if I put this in here because no one is going to read it anyways.  It’s the 8th page.  She says, “Tell Aunt Millie I say hey.” :]  Because I know you are faithful in reading, Mildred.  I love you! 

Whew.  That was a lot of writing.  But I just don’t want to forget any of those details.  If you made it through this whole post, give yourself a pat on the back and treat yourself to some ice cream.   Thanks again for all of your support.  GUESS WHAT!  I will see you guys in 17 days!  I cant wait!  I love you all so much.  Keep looking up and serving the Lord Almighty with your lives and attitudes!  Enjoy and God bless! 

Ps. SONG OF THE POST!  If You Want Me To by Ginny Owens.  She is blind and puts all of her trust in Jesus.  BEAUTIFUL. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sermon blog! Here With Me

Hey guys!  Ok, so last time I said I was going to share my sermon with you all.  So I have my written out sermon here following.  But, I just want you to know that I didn’t actually read this off.  I made an outline from it and just “wung” it, as I normally do.  And I just want to tell you all now, your prayers for me were truly felt.  Honestly, I had such a peace the week leading up to preaching and trying to figure out what I should be preaching on.  And that morning, I was hardly nervous.  Like, I just honestly had such peace.  And I know that it was because I had so many people back home praying for me and also, God was just directing my words and giving me strength in that.  but thank you all so much for your support!  It is incredible.  And I guess I should tell you.  I finished my notes at 130 that morning……yup.  Don’t worry, Mom.  It’s the same procrastinating Kirsten :]

Before I get to the sermon notes, I will give you all a little update.  My next blog will be more about what we have done here in the last little while.  But for this time, I am running out of time and will just give a brief overview. 

First off, our puppies are walking!  Yay!  They both have eyes and are toddling around.  Piggie is a ton bigger than Petey, and its making Petey be able to walk so much quicker.  Lol Piggie needs to exercise,  but she hardly can.  Its just so funny.  But they are finally in their cute stage!  I am so glad we got to see them like this before we left.  Also, hey Mom and Dad.  Do you want another puppy?  Because I am gonna sneak em in my suitcase :]

Another thing.  Monday…..2 days ago, Rebekah left us.  It has been good having her with us, and I am so glad that we had the opportunity to hang out with her more, but she was ready to move on with her travels and decided to head over to stay at Travis and Bekii’s house for a little bit.  So, we are gonna keep up with her through facebook and things and keep praying for her.  I think its for the best.  This gives us time as a team to really focus here and finish out strong.  And we can still keep up with her well later.  So yeah.  God is working everything out. 

So last week, we took our last trip to the big island of Chiloe.  Half of the group left on Tuesday morning to go to Quellon, where they visited the man with terminal cancer again.  They said they had a really good visit with him, so that was awesome.  The rest of us left on Wednesday morning and met them in Quempchi, where we hung out with Travis and Bekii, some missionaries with EMM.  That was really fun.  We got to see some people that they have Bible studies with and things.  Also, we went to their friend’s house to watch a Chile vs. Peru game.  I went along to see Alexi Sanchez :D  unfortunately, he wasn’t even playing this game because it wasn’t an important game.  So that was a bit depressing.  I ended up falling asleep on the table by the end.  haha.  But yeah.  It was fun hanging with Travis and Bekii for a little.  Then, Thursday afternoon-Sunday morning, we were in Montemar again, for the last time.  I got to stay with my old host family again!  I just love that couple.  They are so sweet and funny.  So it was really good to be able to hang out with them again and see them one last time.  When we had to say goodbye, it was just sweet.  Hard, but good.  They are just such sweet people.  I am praying for them and will always remember their hospitality. 

On Saturday then, most of us left to go back to Quempchi to help Travis and Bekii with their kids program and youth group.  Both of those things were so fun!  They kids were great and had such enthusiasm.  It gave me a lot of good ideas of things I can do with kids, here and back in the states.  And then the youth group was a lot of fun too.  E gave the message which was really good, then we taught the kids how to play Signs.  I just love that game.  So we just had a really good time with them.  Also, Bekii gave us some Puppy Chow.  I was SO EXCITED!  While we were doing this, Clay and Beth were back in Montemar finishing up their mural thingy for the wall of the church.  It turned out really good!  Very proud of them! 

Then on Sunday, I preached at our church.  Ha.  It went really well.  and I just am giving God all the glory for it.  So yeah.  Also, take note, that there was a little illustration thrown into this.  I just don’t know how to explain what I did with the bags and prize, so yeah.  I guess that note didn’t help you guys at all!  Lol so sorry.  So here it is.  Starting……now :]

This morning, I am going to be talking on discipleship, faith, and surrender.  Before I begin though, I just want to say that I feel pretty intimidated with trying to preach on this topic.  I don’t feel very qualified to do so.  This whole adventure of joining REACH and coming to Chile has been a journey of faith and learning how to surrender.  I have so much to learn when it comes to this stuff.  I am in no way an expert at them at all. 

You see, I have been a believer in Christ my whole life.  I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was really little, I attended church and a Christian school my entire life, and all of my friends and family were Christians.  I have had GREAT influences surround me and have always been very supported in all I do by my parents.  I have had a very blessed life.  But a thought just hit me in the past week, and the understanding has really struck me hard.  I have been a believer my entire life, but until this past year, I haven’t been living as a disciple.  And until this past year, I didn’t even know there was a difference between them.  But now, I realize there is a HUGE difference. 

The definition of a believer is someone who has confidence in the truth or existence of something without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.  According to the definition, one can just hold this thought and not do anything else and still be a believer.  Do you understand what I am saying?  There is no action that needs to follow, just the act of believing. 

But discipleship is different.  The definition of a disciple is a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another; a follower.  The action of discipling is to teach or train.  Therefore, one who is a disciple must be being taught and training under the authority of another.  There is an action that follows the belief.  And that is what has been missing in my life for so long.  Until I decided to come to REACH and do this, I never pushed myself to dig deeper into the Word, to reach out to others, or to even talk about my faith with others.  I was a stale believer who was happy to just love Jesus and go nowhere with it. 

I think it’s easy to be a born again believer.  I mean, you confess your sins to God, ask for forgiveness, accept Him into your life, and know that He is the Lord.  When you do this, you become part of the family of God.  This is so exciting, right?  Of course!  But being a disciple is something so much more than that.  A disciple is someone who digs into truth, who has a desire to learn and grow, who moves to action, and who seeks the face of God with everything in him! 

It starts with faith.  In order to believe, we must have faith in something.  You need to trust the person who is trying to guide you, or else you are not going to go anywhere.  Hebrews 11 is a very powerful chapter and one of my favorites.  Verse 1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Faith is the necessity behind believing.  Nothing can prove what we have faith in.  But as Christians, we have the Creator of the world to put our faith in!  To me, faith is undoubtedly trusting that God is Who He says He is and depending fully on Him.  Last week was Easter, the time we remember what God gave up for us.  He gave us EVERYTHING when we deserve NOTHING.  So why is it so hard for us to give Him our EVERYTHING, when that is exactly what He did for us? 

Being a believer, we have faith.  But to be a disciple is to step out in that faith!  What good is faith if it doesn’t have actions to back it up?  There is no point!  James 2:14-17 makes this pretty clear.  It reads, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save him?  Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”   This is so true.  Unless someone actually demonstrates that they have love for you, do you believe them?  If I were to tell Jean everyday that I love her, but then I do nothing loving toward her, is she going to believe me?  No!  In the same way, unless we actually demonstrate our faith, no one is going to believe we have any. 

So where do we go with faith?  I think that the first step is surrendering.  As disciples of Christ, we realize that we owe Him everything.  So in return, we must give Him back OUR everything. 

A disciple is someone who follows Christ with their life.  He follows the example that Jesus gave as He lived on the earth.  And he follows that example even though he knows it means that he has to change the life he is living presently.  Matthew 4:18-22 says, “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew.  They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’  AT ONCE they left their nets and followed him.  Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John.  They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets.  Jesus called them, and IMMEDIATELY they left the boat and their father and followed him.” 

The disciples didn’t think twice about following Jesus, but instead left IMMEDIATELY.  They left their jobs, their families, and their futures and followed Him without looking back.  INCREDIBLE!  Luke 14:26-27 says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters---yes, even his own life---he cannot be my disciple.  And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”  If that doesn’t say it clearly enough, I don’t know what does.  Jesus just set the standard with this one.  Unless He is above everything else in our lives, we cannot be his disciples.  So lets give it all up, into His hands!

This is a lot easier said than done.  And until very recently, I wasn’t about to let it all go.  About 3 weeks ago, I came to a point of needing to decide if I really trusted God enough to know what was best with my life.  You see, I have been planning to go to college after this the whole time.  Its what I want to do, and I have been assuming this whole time that this is what God wants to.  So one morning, I was praying and asking God which university He wanted me to go to, and He asked me, “Since when did I tell you to go to college?” Tthis was a very hard question for me.  In asking this, He wasn’t necessarily telling me that I wasn’t supposed to go to college, but He was pointing out that I have been selfish in my plans and that I had not truly given Him every part of my life. 

Coming to Chile and living here hasn’t been super easy.  We have all had to give up a lot of things and trust God to provide for us.  Its hard being away from my family and friends in Ohio, and I have been in many situations here where I am out of my comfort zone.  But it has been great!  I have learned SO much since coming here.  God has been working inside of me and showing me His character through the lives of all of you.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.  This time here has shown me that when I give up control of my life to Christ and trust Him, He does something better than I could have imagined.  Sometimes its hard and the growing hurts, but in the end, its all worth it!

So, when God pointed out to me that I still hadn’t given Him control of my future, I knew what I needed to do.  My heart knew that God knows what is best for me, but at the time, my brain didn’t want to agree.  Giving up control and surrendering is hard and sometimes appears to be very stupid, but in the end, its so much better than anything we could have done on our own.  Mark 14:3-9 is a great example of how giving God everything we have is sometimes looked on as ridiculous, but it’s the best thing we can do.  It says, “While He was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard.  She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.  Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume?  It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’  And they rebuked her harshly.  ‘Leave her alone,’ said Jesus.  ‘Why are you bothering her?  She has done a BEAUTIFUL THING to me.  The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.  But you will not always have me.  SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD.  She poured perfumed on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.  I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.’”

This woman did ALL SHE COULD DO.  She brought to Jesus what she had to offer and literally gave it all up.  She was looked down for it by others, because it appeared to be a waste of everything she had.  But Jesus said that it was a BEAUTIFUL THING.  And she would be remembered for it throughout the world.  What an honor!  This was no waste at all!  And it has been a great lesson for me.

So finally, I just had to give it up.  I told God that I would do whatever He led me to, all He has to do is reveal it to me.  Now, I still know what I want, but if God leads me to something different, I am prepared to say, “Yes, Lord.  I will go.”  And that is what surrendering is.  Its stepping out in faith and following His way and plan, fully expecting God to do what He has promised, no matter what. 

In a book I was reading, a quote really stuck out to me.  The author was referring to his life, and he said to God, “I know that there’s not much here to work with.  But please, take it, break it, multiply it, and feed the hungry.  And whether by pain or by comfort, whether by sorrow or by joy, whether by life or by my death, glorify Thy name in all the earth!”  That mentality, that act, and that dedication is what discipleship is all about.  Its the giving of our whole beings to the Creator of the universe and letting Him do with it what He would have. 

To close, I would like for everyone to turn to Hebrews 11 again, this time to verses 32-38.  “And what more shall I say?  I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who become powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.  Women received back their dead, raised to life again.  Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection.  Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.  They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.  They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated---the world was not worthy of them.  They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”  This is crazy!  These people had such great faith, that at no matter what cost, no matter how much it hurt, and no matter if they had to give their lives, they were faithful to Christ.  They surrendered EVERYTHING!  And you know what?  THE WORLD WAS NOT WORTHY OF THEM!  If ever there was an honorable compliment, it would be this: to have Jesus say to you, “Well done, Son.  The world was not worthy of you!” 

I read in the same book as I had mentioned before, that to live for truth, you must first decide you are willing to die for truth.  Truth is a Person.  Truth is Jesus Christ.  And if we are truly going to live for Jesus, then we must first decide that we are willing to die for Jesus.  If we can say honestly that we are ready for this, then we are on the path to true discipleship.  Because that is what it is all about.  Its about faith, surrender, and following His way.

Ok.  Note.  End of sermon.  So yeah.  That is what God has been putting on my heart and what I thought I should share.  I would really appreciate your guys’ continued prayers as I am still trying to figure out what God has for me.  I have a lot of decisions to make before May 1st.  So I am really trying to seek His will, face, and voice this week. 

Also, one last thing before I end this.  The song of the post.  This week, I have decided that Here With Me by Everyday Sunday is going to be featured.  I LOVE it.  So much.  Just such a great song!  This is what I want my life to scream.  “And I will follow You forever, even if I’m standing in the fire!”  let’s do it, people.  God bless and enjoy!  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Thoughts and Updates

Happy Easter everyone!  WOW!  The time has FLOWN by.  Its crazy!  I can’t believe that it has been two weeks since my last post, or that we only have 40 days left here…….INSANE!  Less than 6 weeks…..WHAT?!  Really, it is boggling my mind. 

So, I don’t feel like too much has happened here since I last posted, but at the same time, I know there is a lot to update on.  That doesn’t make much sense I am sure, but I am happy to report that this blog post wont be NEARLY as long as the previous one.  Sorry guys.  That was MASSIVE.  I will never do that again, I promise. 

But ok.  Here we go.  Update number one.  Hopey and her puppies!  They are all surviving!  YAY!  Also, the names we gave them in the beginning have stuck.  We have Petey (Patrick Douglas) and Piggie, but the thing is….they are both girls we figured out.  Kinda funny.  Also, they are like 3 weeks old!  So, they are leaving the rat stage and heading straight for the cute stage.  I am SO EXCITED!  Sometimes we bring them into our house and cuddle with them.  Beth likes this a lot.  Its very entertaining to hear their little barks and see them twitch while they dream.  I have concluded that on a stressful day, the life of a puppy would be grand.  But on a normal day, I would be bored out of my mind.  All they do is sleep, eat, poop, and be cute.  Not much living going on yet.  But I still like em a lot :]

Update number two.  Roberto and his family.  So yeah.  You guys remember that long time ago when Roberto, E and Maria first left for Santiago?  Yeah, we haven’t seen Roberto since then.  Kinda been crazy actually.  We all agreed that we miss him, but we know we will have hardly any time to be with him before we leave.  Its very sad.  Basically, Anita and Mirian (3 year old) came back like 3 weeks ago or something.  Then the rest of her kids came back like a week after her.  They had a lot of catching up to do with school and things, but I think they are pretty much good now.  So yeah.  Its been very interesting.  I am not sure why Roberto is still in Santiago.  I know he feels like he needs to care for his parents and stuff there, but as far as I know, the kids are living with their dad, who is NOT actually mentally crazy, just not super fit to take care of his kids alone right now.  Anita would love to take them into her home, but they just cant do it.  They have 3 kids of their own, and a house that is not big enough for all of them as it is.  So yeah.  I believe Roberto is coming back like……nowish.  He should either be back now or coming back early this week. 

The thing that is really hard in all of this now is that while he has been gone, Roberto hasn’t been working.  He is a taxi driver, and without his income, the family is struggling.  Sometimes, I just don’t understand.  I cant see the big picture in situations, and it just looks helpless to me.  But the encouraging thing through all of this has been seeing Anita’s attitude through it all.  She has so much JOY.  That is definitely the word to describe Anita.  She is constantly being known by others as “the one who is always smiling and laughing”.  Its AWESOME!  Such a light for Jesus!  The lady is so friendly.  I just love her.  And although she doesn’t agree with Roberto staying in Santiago so long, she is just trusting God to provide for their needs here.  Its been awesome to see her dependability on God.  Such an inspiration. 

So that was kinda a weird update, since I don’t really know what is going on with all of that.  But its all I can do right now.  So moving on to update number 3.  Rebekah.  She has been here for 2 weeks.  How crazy is that?!  She can’t even believe it actually.  God has been working on her, and it has been a privilege and honor to see what is happening in her mind and heart.  She has such a desire to learn and grow.  Whenever we talk about the Bible together, she has SO many questions, and its really great!  She wants to know how everything fits together and why things happened so that she can go back and be a light for others back home.  She has so many influences right now telling her to move on and make the most of her traveling time.  And she is really confused with what God’s will for her is at this point.  She is unsure of if she should stay or just go or even where to go. 

Also, another thing that has been really hard for her is that her music teacher, a lady she REALLY respects, is like, totally anti-Christian.  But first, a little background for you.  So Rebekah is a singer.  And I mean, she can sing.  She has been in plays and has sang in the big opera house in Australia even.  She has a 20’s swing voice.  Basically, she got some old school skill going on in her vocal cords.  And it sounds BEAUTIFUL.  When we sing worship songs together, she just takes it away with her talent.  It truly is a gift of hers.  Also, she loves Michael Buble (YAY!  Shout out to my awesome cousin Jewel for introducing me to him and enduring my teasing before I saw the light :p) and that is kinda the style she sings.  So if you know him, you can kinda understand what I was trying to describe before.  But anywho.  One of her singing teachers is a 70 something year old lady named Janice.  Rebekah loves her to pieces.  Janice has trained singers who are now professionals all over the world.  Its crazy!  But she has a lot of dislike for the Bible and God.  And, since she is very intelligent and has had a lot of time to “figure things out”, she knows her stuff.  She has arguments and rebuttals for everything.  And she is a very persuasive woman. 

So here Rebekah is, learning about Jesus from a guy who knows SO MUCH about history and the Bible, while getting emails from Janice, filling her head with lies and doubts.  And she is confused.  She knows that God is real and powerful, but she doesn’t know how to show and convince Janice of this.  And she loves Janice a lot.  Janice has been there for her when other people haven’t.  and its just really HARD.  So I am asking that you guys keep Rebekah in your prayers.  The situation is confusing.  She doesn’t know what she should do or when or where she should go.  It seems like everyone has an opinion and she doesn’t know which way God is trying to lead her.  So please pray for clarity for her, for wisdom as she learns more about Jesus and the Bible, for protection over her heart and soul, and for strength to fight against the attacks of Satan during this time and stick close to Jesus through it all.  I will continue to update you guys, but right now, that is all I got. 

So yeah.  Its Easter.  YAY GOD!  An awesome day of remembrance of the power of God and His miracles and perfect plan.  He redeemed us!  He SAVED us.  Its too incredible for my brain to fully understand.  He knew we would mess up.  He knew He would have to send His Son to die for us.  But He still wanted us!  He made us, even after knowing that!  and His perfect Son came and saved us all.  He willingly died for us, a totally undeserving world of people.  What greater love is there than that??  NONE. 

But, E has a pretty interesting thought on Easter that I really think is important for us to remember.  I like it a lot.  He said, yes, Easter is a nice time to remember what God did for us.  Its incredible.  But, Jesus lives every day.  And isn’t that so true!  I mean, we need to remember and thank God for His perfect plan and sacrifice for us, but Jesus is living EVERY SINGLE DAY!  The resurrection is a miracle and a pivotal point in what we believe, but we should be thanking Him for what He did EVERY DAY.  So although Easter is special, we should make other days more special and significant.  We need to be living with the Easter attitude EVERY day.  Not just once a year when it rolls around. 

With that in mind, I think I will share the song of the post.  The More I Seek You by Kari Jobe is the selection this time.  And this brings me to another shout out to Megan.  Thanks so much for sharing it with me!  Great song.  So peaceful and assuring.

Now I am not really sure where to go with this.  But I think I will tell you guys in very few words what has happened in the past week, and then what the plan is for the rest of our time here.  I am going to keep it short though, so no worries. 

So on Monday, it was Beth’s birthday!  Yay!  We had oatmeal pancakes in the morning and the night before, we made delicious brownies and had ice cream.  I love birthdays :]  and I really love Beth, so it was just great :]  we played a Walmart game and then got some stuff from McDonald’s to eat.  It was a good life group and hopefully a good birthday for her. 

Then on Tuesday, we left for Calbuco.  Its about 2 hours from our house, a little over an hour from Puerto Montt.  So not a far trip.  We went to help a family rebuild their burnt down house.  This family has 4 kids, all under the age of 10, and the parents are like 25.  They are living in a TEENY house right now.  Its crazy.  Its like half of a trailer.  For 6 people!  So we helped to put up plywood and tin siding stuff on a lot of the walls.  The house still has a lot of work to go, but its coming and it will be SO much nicer than their original house even.  While we were doing that, we stayed with the family across the street, friends of E’s that we sort of stayed with before.  Their names are Ronny and Andrea.  Such a hospitable couple!  Seriously.  They were SUCH a blessing to us.  They house missionary teams regularly, so they have like two rooms just for guests with lots of mattresses and bunk beds.  And we had DELICIOUS meals.  Completos, home made french-fries, noodley goodness, and all sorts of good stuff.  Since I am not a carpenter of any sort, I helped mostly in the house making meals.  But, as you all know, I am not a chef of any sort either.  Its seriously awful.  But, I tried.  I peeled about a gajillion potatoes between the two days we were there.  But, I DIDN’T CUT MYSELF AT ALL!  It was so exciting :D 

So yeah.  We came back from there on Wednesday night and I got to skype my family :]  I just love those people.  A lot.  And I can’t wait to see them in person very soon.  And it was good to talk with them about the future and their lives right now.  Just so so good. 

On Thursday, we were just in Alerce.  I was given some time alone to just try and work on my sermon.  That was really good, but I had no idea what God wanted me to speak on then.  So I read through Romans, and that was really good.  But it didn’t really help me with my sermon, which I have to give in exactly a week.  So I decided that my next blog post will include my sermon notes, since I think I know what I will be speaking on now.  And I think I will be explaining a lot of what has been going on in my mind recently, concerning things of the future and such.  But you guys can keep me in your prayers.  True to form, I have procrastinated, but not all of that is my fault.  I think I work better with the “I HAVE to get this done NOW” mentality tho.  So it’s all good.  But if you guys could just pray that I would be open to the Spirit’s leading and that I would speak only the words He gives me. 

Friday, we went to a town like 2 hours away again.  We were visiting the family of Coti, a lady from our church.  It was such a good visit!  She has an awesome family.  And, we saw her dad and sister come to accept Jesus in their hearts!  It was so GREAT.  And E is going to be doing a Bible study with them once a month, like all day.  It was just so exciting, because they were really awesome people, and to know that they now have Jesus in their hearts is INCREDIBLE!  So yeah.  It was just a really good visit. 

Then yesterday, we just worked at the house all day.  We finished putting on the siding and E put up a lot of tile in his bathroom.  It feels good to be able to help them do stuff, but I don’t have much skill to offer with house projects.  So I did a pretty good job at running the level between E and Jeff, but other than that……I did nothing.  Lol.  But yeah.  It was good to then just chill with the family, talking and laughing and showing off brain teaser tricks.  Good times.  I am going to miss them a lot. 

This next week looks like this.  Monday, we have our free day to get stuff done and things.  Then Tuesday until Saturday, we will be in Chiloe again.  We will be with my host family again, and Beth and Clay will be painting a little mural on the church wall.  I am really excited to go back there and tell them bye.  Well, I am not excited to say goodbye, just to see them again :]  And then, Beth and I will for sure be coming back on Saturday, because on Sunday, I will be preaching to our church here in Alerce.  Eeeeeek!!  I am not really nervous yet, but, I still haven’t like written out anything for material.  I think I know the topic I will be speaking on, but I also know that God has the ability to change my mind on that in a matter of like 3 seconds the morning of.  But as of right now, I am working on it.  So that’s a good step. 

The rest of our time here looks something like this.  After next week, we have a week to chill here and then we are probably going to this place called Porcelana.  It’s a tiny island that is really cold with penguins and hot springs :]  I don’t know what we will be doing exactly, but that is the tentative plan as of right now.  Then the beginning of May we will be going back to the island of Tabon for like 3 days to cut a tree up for the family to use as firewood.  And then…….in like 2 weeks, we will be on our way back to the States.  CRAZY!  I had a little bit of a freak out moment today over how soon we are leaving.  I need to soak up every opportunity I have with these people.  Which reminds me….tomorrow we are going to go see The Hunger Games with most of the team and Nacho and Leo!  Pretty excited :]  like I am experiencing a little bit of normal technology again.  Weird, but exciting.  Anywho.  That was just a random and pointless fact that no one needed to know. 

Ok, so I am going to wrap this up and end with a little thought.  Like I said, next week I will be posting my sermony thoughts and it will probably be filled with a lot more personal thoughts and things as well.  But if you guys could just pray for me right now.  I have just had my future picking options confused a bit more this weekend.  And I just don’t know what to think right now.  I just wanna know what God wants me to do, and I will do it.  But some of my options that have opened up are exactly what I told God I did not want to do.  So, I am kinda in a frustrated stage right now, not wanting to accept the fact that this situation might be what God has in store for me.  So yeah.  Thank you all so much for all of your support and encouragement.  I know I always say that, but seriously.  Especially in the past week, your encouragement has been incredible.  Thanks for all of your personal encouragement to me.  I love you all a lot.  And I will be updating you more soon.  Keep looking up.  And remember, you may not know what the future holds, but you know Who holds the future.  Love you and God bless!