Monday, February 13, 2012

Islands and Mountains and Argentina, OH MY! ….part 1

Wow.  It has been a long time since I have told you all what we have been doing.  Sorry about that.  I feel bad that my video didn’t work to upload.  I feel like my blogging has gotten a little strained lately, and it makes me sad.  I like blogging a lot.  So I will try to do better.  Time is just a funny thing, you know?  Here is a little snippet of our past 2 weeks ish. 

About a week ago, our team, along with E and 4 youth group kids, went to Chiloe, a large island about 6 hours from where we are staying in Puerto Montt.  We were going to help out a little Baptist church there in any way they needed.  Basically, it was a mini missions trip. 

While we were there, our group was split up.  Jean, Clay, and Camila went to a different town to minister to the people there.  Then the rest of us were assigned different sleeping arrangements.  I had the opportunity to stay in the house of the pastor and his wife, Juan and Marta.  It was a very good experience.  I really enjoyed my time there with them, and I learned a lot.  I was very blessed to be able to stay there with them. 

Let me give you a little background on them.  Both of them have lived in Chiloe their entire lives.  They are in their early 60’s and have had lots of missionaries stay with them in the past.  Such a cute, funny couple.  I had many laughs while staying there.  Just your classic couple.  Marta was extremely nice and hospitable.  She took the reins a lot of the time.  The lady keeps herself busy.  But she was so sweet.  Juan was a lot more quiet, unless he was telling a story of course.  He was very patient and followed Marta’s cute commands.  Ahhhhh.  I wish I could have gotten a video of one of their typical interactions.  Just so funny and like your stereotypical cute, hospitable, elderly couple. 

Now for a little overview of Chiloe.  Like I said before, it is a large island just off the coast of Chile.  Unlike Tenglo, the other island we go to often, this one can not be walked from one side to the other in 25 minutes.  Its like a state kinda.  So yeah.  Most of the people who live there have lots of pigs, cows, and chickens that provide them with food.  Also, the water there is not fit to drink unless you chlorox it and boil it or something.  I am not really sure of the process, but you need to go through the process or you can get sick.  So that makes showering interesting.  It was quite chilly there as well.  I felt like it was just a lot more breezy there then here in Puerto Montt.  But the scenery is beautiful!  Everything is natural and green.  It really is a very pretty place.  But I think it would be a hard adjustment for me to move there.  Just a lot more rural then I am used to. 

So now for some things we did there and the things I learned.  A lot of our time there was spent visiting people.  But, these visits were different than the ones we do here in Alerce with our neighbors.  I didn’t enjoy these nearly as much as our normal ones.  The reason for this was the way they were done.  The approach we took here was a lot more confrontational than I think is right.  Basically, to reach people and bring them to a relationship with Jesus, I think there needs to be a sense of respect in the conversation.  You know?  I think that the goal of going to a house to talk to people should be to build relationships and get to know them.  Then, when they have opened up to you and have opened their hearts, you can open up the Bible and tell them about the AWESOMENESS of our Father.  But that is not how it went in this situation.  We were led to just go straight to the Bible and preach at the people without their consent really.  It was just….strange.  I just feel like the approach was off a little bit.  At least in the one group I was with one day.  It was not like this the whole time, but for a portion, I did not enjoy it really. 

But, there are some things I learned from this.  Obviously, I was shown a way of how not to go about witnessing to people.  And it really made me stop and think of how I need to do a lot more of friendship evangelism when I get back home.  You know?  Its important.  I cant be satisfied just chilling in my own little comfort bubble when I return to the states.  I want to continue to reach out to people around me and make new friendships and really love like Jesus did.  I want to be a friend to those who need a friend.  I need to not allow my heart to go back to being calloused.  I want my heart to break for what breaks the Father’s heart. 

Also, just keep in mind that not all of our visits went like this.  We had some really great moments in visits as well.  2 people actually came to know Jesus in one of them.  God is so good!  And a lot of really cool prayer things went on during these times as well.  Also, the visits showed me just how much I have and need to be thankful for.   Some of the people there had very little, but they were very content.  They found joy in life and the little things.  And I have so much, and so often I am hung up on the things that I don’t have.  Its ridiculous, really.  And my eyes were really opened to this while we were there. 

One thing that really showed me how much I have to be thankful for was the water situation.  Here, I find myself longing for a hot shower pretty often.  I mean, the water is FREEZING!  And when you wake up to a rainy, cold morning, sometimes the thought of showering in the cold is enough to make me want to sleep the day away.  But there, in Chiloe, not only do they not have hot water, but they don’t even have running water that they can just use!  I did not drink water one time while I was there….not once!  They always have coffee or tea or juice.  Part of that is just the culture there, but part of it is because you have to clean the water before you drink it.  The showering situation there is a process as well.  You have to take bucket showers… the tub.  They just don’t have running water to use.  And I realized how ungrateful I have been here with the water that we do have.  I have NO reason to complain at all.   We have been so blessed here.  We have a house, gas for the stove, running water, and a supply of wood to keep warm.  So blessed, and I have been focusing on the unnecessary things that I want and don’t have.  God really spoke to me there on the area of thankfulness. 

On Sunday while we were there, we saw 3 people get baptized as well!  It was really cool.  God is working and the light is growing.  Its so exciting!  Then we had a big meal at the church.  So much food was prepared!  It was quite the process, too.  Never before have I seen a piece of raw meat being hacked away by a saw and knife-with-hammer.  It was kinda crazy, but it worked :]

Also, while we were there, we made a few friends with the kids in the area.  And, I personally feel like I got to know the youth group kids that we went with a lot better.  I am gonna miss them so much when we leave here.  They are mis amigos.  We hang out, joke, and play basketball together.  It’s a lot of fun.  And I’m really excited and thankful for them.  I see God growing in each of their lives, and I feel like they are a big reason for why we are here.  Friendships are huge, and I am stoked to have them as friends. 

So all in all, it was a really good trip.  I have some really great memories from there.  I was encouraged to know that I could survive staying with a host family by myself.  I learned lots and have so much to be thankful for.  I have new friends.  I got my butt kicked in ping pong (the people here are pretty legit at ping pong…..for real.  It gets intense).  I got to ride a horse for the first time in my life I believe.  And I got to experience life on Chiloe for 6 days.  It was a good time.  And I am so thankful for it.  I realize that that overview was rather short and sporadic and kind of all over the place.  Sorry for that.  I just right what I think and that is what I got. 

After Chiloe, we picked up life here in Alerce again.  It was really good to be home again.  So this past week has been really good, just to sort of charge our batteries again.  I missed seeing the family everyday here and sleeping in my room and clean clothes.  We have been visiting families and helping get a house ready to move in on Tenglo.  Just living life here at “home”.  It really does feel like home now.  I mean, my home will always be in Ohio, and I have no doubt that I will be a Buckeye til the death of me, but right now, Alerce is home for me too.  So it has been nice to be back. 

But, the week is now over and tomorrow we will be leaving once again.  February is turning out to be the month for trips for us.  It’s crazy and exciting and I enjoy it a lot.  But tomorrow, our team and the entire family will be heading to the cordiera aka the mountains.  We will be traveling for about 7 hours again, so prayers would really be appreciated.  While there, we will be visiting some more people and just spending time there.  We have heard that it is BEAUTIFUL there, so I am excited to take some pictures and see some really cool sites.  Its going to be a good time to just chill with the family as well.  I love them so much.  We have been so blessed to have them to help us and get things going for us.  Such a God centered, fun, loving family.  I guess that while we are there (for 4 days), we will be staying in tents inside of a house.  The reason for the tents is to keep out the bugs and rats, or at least try to.  Yes.  Bugs and rats.  I am slightly paranoid about this fact, but I know it will be an adventure and I have a feeling that lots of funny stories will come from it, so I am getting pumped.  But like I said before, prayers are appreciated :]

So that was a very scattered, quick overview of some things that have been going on here.  As you all know, I love hearing about home and how you all are doing.  Thanks for all of your prayers and encouragement.   It has been such a blessing.  As our schedule here gets kind of crazy sometimes, it is sort of hard to find time to sit down and right about life here.  But, know that I love hearing from you all and will reply as quickly as I can.  You guys are so awesome.  I really could not ask for better support, so thank you all so much. 

As the title says, this is part one of the post.  I will be writing more about the mountains when we return from them.  Also, a couple days after we get back from the mountains, our team will be leaving for….ARGENTINA!  We have 6 vacation days that we have chosen to combine and use in Argentina, since we need to renew our visas there anyway.  It is looking like it is going to be a fantastic time there.  Cant wait to fill you all in on what goes on there.  We also have started praying already that while we are there, we focus on any ministry opportunities that pop up for us.  I am really excited to see how God works and what doors He opens for us there.  So yeah.  Lots more stories and thoughts to come from our experiences here.  Stay tuned.  Love you all so much. 

Prayer requests:
-         - That we as a team could continue to grow closer together and become one in unity
-        -  Safety as we travel a lot
-        -  That we could stand up against any attacks from Satan that he is trying to bring us down with
-         - Health and protection from sickness
-         - And for me, to continue to grow in love here and that I could stay focused on what God is doing here and finding ways to join Him in that

The song of the post is going to be All I Need by JJ Heller.  So beautiful and chill, one of my favorite genres.  Just so good.  She is one of my favorite artists actually.  All of her stuff is really good.  Here is the link       Thanks, enjoy, and God bless!  

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