Thursday, January 12, 2012


The Scoop this week is going to start with the song of the post.  This week it is Everything by Lifehouse.  Incredible lyrics.  So stinking powerful.  It just propels me forward and makes me want to abandon myself and just  EVERYTHING to Him who has created, rescued, and redeemed me. 

Life.  My life here is SO different than my “normal” life in the states.  And you know what….it is so refreshing.  I have just been blown away with how BLESSED I am to be here.  Seriously, this is most likely a once in a lifetime opportunity for me.  I mean, maybe not, depending on where God calls me to next, but you get what I am trying to say.  As I was trekking along the island of Tengalo on Friday it hit me just how crazy different and awesome my life is right now.  I have SO much to be thankful for!  My mind went to my family and friends, and I began to try to think of what they could be doing at that exact moment.  It feels so foreign to me.  This is now my “norm”.  I get up at 6 and have personal and group devotions until about 8.  I eat breakfast and then sleep for another hourish.  Then we have a Spanish communications/Bible study class.  And then we put into practice what we have been learning and go around to visit people from the area and church.  Then there is lunch and following that we have work projects.  Supper and different Bible studies or prayer groups usually end our nights.  And, it is becoming so normal. 

That was just a run down of our new schedule for January for sure, possibly the months to follow as well.  And I really am enjoying it.  Our days are pretty full with a lot of flexibility, seeing as to how this is Latino culture :]  But its good!  Our internet time is also a lot less.  We are insured one hour on the internet a week.  This isn’t a lot of time, but its enough.  And it is keeping me a lot more focused and thankful for the communication that I DO have.  If we have time, we can visit internet cafes for an hour more a week for about $1.20, but this is just an added luxury.  It is just so, so good.  I am learning so much here.  God is GINORMOUS.  He is opening my eyes to the ways He is working around me.  What a creative God we serve!  He is incredible.  My knowledge of Him is just being expanded from my time here, discussing different passages in the Bible, praying, doing Experiencing God, and just listening to E and J.  I have come to view this time as a time to solidify my faith and grow my knowledge to prepare me for my life ahead.  You know?  This experience is AWESOME and life changing.  But it doesn’t stop with this experience.  This is preparing me for the rest of my life.  I am just SO THANKFUL for the opportunity. 

You know, I’ve never been one for the normal.  Now, I’m not the crazy type either by any means, but the normal has never really been appealing to me.  And God knows this….He made me the way I am.  And He led me here.  For this, I am extremely blessed.  When I return back home, I don’t want to go back to my “normal” ways.  This has changed/is changing me.  And I want that to stick.  I realize now how pointless it is for me to follow the crowd or even just follow my own plans.  I wasn’t meant for that.  I was meant to love my Father with all of my heart and to trust Him completely.  He is my way.  He doesn’t necessarily show me the way, but He shows me where to take my next step.  And that is really all that I need.  Trust and moment by moment living with my Hero.  It doesn’t get much more exciting and fulfilling than that. 

I feel like this time I am not able to express my feelings in a very coherent way.  And for this I am very sorry.  I don’t know what my problem is.  I usually can think a lot more clearly as I spill my thoughts onto the screen.  But for some reason tonight is different.  My fingers are typing my thoughts out, but my thoughts are all jumbled in my head.  So, the way this post turns out could be very interesting and confusing, but I have decided that I don’t care.  I will try to be clearer next time, but for now, it is late and I have a lot more to still do tonight.  My apologies. 

Here are some pointless facts about my life that I have decided to share to give you all a little deeper view into my every day.  The ketchup here is AMAZING.  I’m not exactly sure what it is, but it is DEFINITELY better than American ketchup.  I think I am gonna have to bring some home with me.  I have found myself putting it on practically every food we eat.  It just makes everything more delicious!  Who needs Ranch dressing for vegetables when you have ketchup?  I’m being completely serious, it is delicious.  Mmm so good.  There is also this stuff called Manjar that is super tasty as well.  It is very similar to caramel, and tastes delightful with apples, crackers and bread.  And, I have really become quite fond of a nice cup of tea.  Mildred Tea is one of the best teabags I have ever tasted.  Just a little added sugar, and I am good to good.  These are just a few of the foods that I am really going to miss when we return. 

Also, on Monday, we took the kids who are becoming like my own siblings (our coordinator’s kids) to see “Gato en Botas”.  It was my first Spanish theatre movie!  Pretty exciting :]  And, it was interesting.  It’s amazing how much you can understand something just by watching, not even understanding the words being spoken.  The language barrier is not something that is going to stop me from seeing movies, I can tell you that much :]  Sherlock Holmes 2 is the next one on my list! 

My mind is also starting to espanolitize.  I find myself constantly thinking, ok now how do I say this in Spanish, even when I am just with our team.  And as I am talking in English, the occasional Spanish word flies out before I can stop it.  Now, I am not saying that I am anywhere near fluent.  Not at all.  But, we are all definitely learning a lot and speaking more each day.  It’s exciting :]

Another meaningless fact about my life now is that I have worn a seatbelt ONCE since living here.  ONCE!  It was a very odd thought that struck me as I performed the process of buckling up.  We take the bus pretty much everywhere.  I mean, it is a steal of a deal.  $.80 one way.  That is hard to beat.  And if we do take a vehicle, we end up all squishing in, which means people on laps or sitting on random things like a cinder block or a bag of cooking items.  There has been one time that I rode in a car with only 4 people.  And that was very short lived.  By the time we arrived home, there was 6 of us.  Just something very different from my old life. 

More random information.  Our little house is becoming a home to us.  We now have a mirror, a dish rack, a complete kitchen cabinet thingy, gas for our stove, and wall decorations.  Jeano and I rearranged our room, and I taped up a bunch of pictures by my bed.  So many good memories.  Helps and hurts the homesickness….but mostly helps.  It’s my wall of friends.  I hope to add more pictures with friends that I am making here.  We are now at that point of our stay that people are opening up to us more.  People recognize us and friendships are being made.  I am getting very stoked about this part.  This is what it is all about: forming good relationships with the people here and loving Jesus through all of it.  And even though a part of my heart will ALWAYS be in Ohio, a piece of me is now at home in our little blue house.  AND, the past couple of days have been very rainy and chilly, but our little woodstove, Ben, has been cooperating so much better these days.  He eats a lot and warms the place right up.  It just feels so great to finally be settled in.

I’m excited to see how much farther we go from this point.  Please continue to pray for strengthened relationships here.  God is working.  I have seen tremendous growth in this area in two major ways.  The first way is the joy of basketball.  A couple of weeks ago I bought a basketball from Lider, a store that is actually owned by Walmart.  Crazy huh?  Well anyway, it was actually quite hard to locate a basketball.  There is basically one sport here…futbol.  If people do have basketballs, they are usually used as soccer balls.  But I found a bright orange, extremely bouncy basketball and went to shoot at the hoop right down the street.  That is another funny thing about Chile.  There are tons of basketball courts and hoops around this neighborhood and hardly any soccer fields, but everyone plays soccer and no one plays basketball.  I don’t really get it.  But ANYWHO, I started to shoot and had only been there for about 3 minutes when a group of about 6 kids just came and stared at me.  It was quite awkward, so I asked if they wanted to play.  At first they were kinda shy about it, but after awhile there was a mob of kids around me, taking turns shooting.  It was AWESOME!  I think that God is going to use that cheapo, overly rubbery ball to build relationships, and I am very psyched for this.  Already the kids are grabbing a hold of my heart, and I don’t want them to let go. 

Another way I have seen our relationships grow is in our visits with the people.  We visit a lot of the same people each week.  Basically, we walk to their house and sit and listen to them.  Up until this point, we really haven’t been able to do much communicating with them.  The people here talk fast and when you don’t really understand the language, it is pretty hard to keep up.  But, now we are getting to the point of being able to understand the context of the conversation and actually do some of the talking ourselves.  It’s so cool to be able to see how much just sharing a few words is helping our closeness with the people.  There are some very special people in our community.  I know already that it is going to be SO HARD to leave them.  So many different backgrounds and situations that these people are in, and so much need for love and compassion.  I cant wait to see how God is going to continue to work in their lives. 

Ok, so I am nearing the end of this post, but I do want to quickly recount this past Sunday for me.  It was one of the best days I have had since coming here.  First off, we started off the day a little later.  That was nice to begin with.  And then, as we were eating our cereal that morning, Jean said, “You know what guys?  It’s a great day today.  And it’s gonna be a great day.”  Just out of nowhere.  We are like….Ok…cool.  haha.   Then that morning, we just had a really good team moment.  I don’t know.  It’s really hard to explain without going into a lot of details….just know that it was REALLY good.  And then, while I was waiting for church to start, I was just flipping through the Bible, reading random passages when I came across one that just spoke directly to me.  Romans 15:5-6 says, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Just spoke directly to our team and what we have been striving for.   Then, we go to church and the place is packed out!  I mean, it hasn’t been that full since we have been here.   It was awesome to see almost all the people we visit together in one place.  And God’s presence was there.  I have no doubt.  The service was different than normal.  We had communion and feet washing.  I don’t know.  It was just so incredible to see almost all of our friends there, worshipping God together.  Ahhhhh.  What a great time.  Then afterwards everyone came over to have completes….aka hot dogs supreme and on steroids.  Mmmmm.  And then my team and I played cards and just had a really good bonding time together.  I am learning how to play Rook!  Yes.  Very cool I know.  But yeah.  Just a great God day.  Big things are happening. 

I have one more parting story to leave you all with.  So after we got done playing cards on Sunday night, the boys left for the other house, and we started getting ready for bed.  But there was one problem….our water was turned off!  Immediately, we thought that because we never received our water bill, and thus never paid for it this month, our water had been stopped.  This was a slight nuisance, especially since I was in the middle of brushing my teeth when this was made known.  But we made it through the night with grubby faces and an unflushed toilet.  The next morning, we awoke to a heavy rain, and Beth, being her creative, improvising self, filled pan after pan with rain water to flush our toilet.  Nifty huh?  Soon after, the boys arrived for breakfast.  But with their arrival came the sound of the toilet automatically filling with water.  How could this be you may ask?  Well I will just tell you.  When the boys left the night before, they thought that it would just be HILARIOUS to turn off our water, because the nozzle is by the gate.  But let me tell you, we did not find it nearly as hilarious as they did.  When I found out that that is what had happened by the yelling voices of Jean and Beth, I quickly joined in on the yelling as well.  All three of us were literally yelling at both of the boys standing in the kitchen at 930 in the morning.  And all the boys could do was stand there cracking up.  It was a pretty comical site I must say.  And the neighbors were probably pretty confused as to what the heck was happening over there in the “gringo” house.  I gotta say.  It was a pretty sneaky little prank. 

Like I said before.  I am sorry about the confusion of this post.  I feel like my thoughts were all jumbled when I spilled them this time…more so than other times.  I will try to do better next time.  But thank you all so much for your feedback and support!  I love it.  I am able to communicate through the internet a lot less now, but I  love the emails.  And I go through and reply as often as I can.  So thanks for everything!  Love you guys!  Stay tuned for next week’s post about the ways God is working through a little old lady with pokemon slippers.  :]  God bless!  

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