Tuesday, May 7, 2013

From summer over there to sweaters and smores over here, life is so very different. Happy Summer break you guys! Enjoy the long days and warm weather for me, as I whip out the wall hearter, my  electric quilt, coats and wool leggings. Yea, its bondfire's and snow covered mountains over here in May! It still seems a little strange, but then again the thought of being at a beach seems even more strange. I will admit I am a little confused in these climate/season changes!

Speaking of differences, this semester has been such a whirlwind or differences, from changing my curiculum in the classroom around a little bit, to trying to give equal amounts of attention to now 10 little people instead of 9- I got a new student 2 weeks ago. The 8 hours from the first bell to the last are always filled with non stop, " Oh that's such a pretty picture" " Yes sweetie you can go to the bathroom" " No hunny aliens are not real and you need to wash your hands" to the  "Im so sorry...tell me whats wrong's" " You need to share" "I will be right there" "Miss Candace Miss Candace Miss Candace Miss Candace Look!" As well as trying to have answers to the endless amount of questions their little minds come up with. Giving equal amounts of love and attention is a balancing act for sure, and this semester I feel has been the most challenging because simply put, these children all have such energetic, affectionate, strong-willed personalities. Of the 10 students I would say only 2 would be considered quiet personalities, but even they need me to notice their improving handwriting or handmade Jewlrey made from construction paper. I realize the brevity of my responsibility in nurturing these little minds to use their, imaginations, creativity, to feel special and capable, and to most importantly, show these children Christ.

Though its been challenging with such strongwilled/leader personalities, it has been a blessing and such a special class. There are always moments in my day that make me whisper prayers of thankfulness to the Lord for His hand of guidance in bringing me here. One of those moments comes daily now due to my boy's discovering the little white weed/flowers outside make their teacher smile. Daily now I anticipate a fresh batch from all 5 of my boys after recess time and right before nap. And these are the same boys who wouldn't barely come near me, gave mom a hard time on the way to school in the mornings because they didn't want to come and who visited the time-out chair...often. Yes, It touches my heart when their 5 happy smiles come through the door and right up to me, stretch out their little hands ( and wait for me to act like I have no idea whats inside), and then give me crumpled up, smashed and a tad bit pitiful looking flowers...that still end up in a vase, everytime! Its little moments like that...

Over the past 6 weeks we have learned about Planets, the Animal Kingdom, plants, climates and a fun one we just did was, Jobs. And we made it more specific to "What do our parents do". At the end of that week we invited the parents to come in and talk about what they do or have some sort of presentation for the children. One mom came in who is a hair stylest and fixed all the little munchkins hair. Well all with the exception of my Aaron- he would not allow her to touch his hair..no way, no how!! However the next morning upon walking into class with a gaping hole where hair used to be we realized he was taking it allllllll in, and had even felt a little inspired.. Oops...
We had another parent come in who is a Asian chef and she made sushi for all of the students, and let me tell you, whatever my students didn't want ( I am pretty sure it was some of my students first time to even lay eyes on sushi, and for some it will be their last)...their teacher ate! Oh, and I learned how to make it! :) Learning to make sushi by an Asian chef...in Chile. Who knew?!

My assistant and I both also got our hair cut too!

The week we learned about the animal kingdom we got to go on a field trip to an awesome zoo right outside the city and that was a real treat. The favorite animals were the hippo's and the lions. A classic " Write that one down" comment came from one of my little boys as we were walking into the section of the zoo titled "Africa". As you may assume, each section was a different continent, and... well to a literal minded 5 year old...these different signs could be confusing. Are we really in Australia now or is this still Chile?!?  As we were walking over the bridge from Asia to Africa I hear a voice filled with excitement say, " Oh WOW Miss Candace!!! I've wanted to go for my whole life to Africa! I am so excited we are here!" I almost wanted to let him believe we really were there, like I wanted to let them think the giant stuffed elephant was real ( because the real ones at this zoo were hiding somewhere and weren't to be found?!?!) Well anyways, that was one of those moments of mental conflict of, do I let him think something is real that is not, or do I burst his bubble and tell him the truth. I do not enjoy those moments!!
At the Zoo we ran into some trouble...long story short, their cuteness got them out of their arrest.

I am constantly amazed at how much our adult conversation make it into a 5 year olds mind, and comes out...interpreted sometimes vastly different, and sometimes pretty on point. One of those "interpretations" came out in discussion round the coloring table. The topic of conversation was forgiveness. One of my boys piped up and said very matter-of-factly," Well Miss Candace my brother makes my brain come out of my mind."
Have any idea what saying he was going for?! " You are making me lose my mind." I almost died it was just too adorable.

I was asked to sing at a Bible Study coming up this Friday and will be singing Shout to the Lord...in Spanish! Yikes, though I am speaking much more these days, it is still a bit unnerving for me. However, I know that it is a priviledge to have the opportunity to minister through music, to a group of people in their own language, and it always gives me a new perspective on what the worship in Heaven with all the different peoples from all the different lands lifting up their voices in praise to our Lord, is really going to sound like.

The Lord continues to show Himself faithful to me here in Chile, and I appreciate so much your support and prayers for me over this last 6 weeks.  He is faithful, and His love for us never fails and nor is based on anything we do.

I also want to shout out to my beautiful, caring, thoughtful, compassionate, wise mother as mothers day approaches! I am so thankful the Lord gave her to me. She is a gem!

Ok, until next time!  :)
This was taken at my very first Chilean Wedding! There were some "differences" that after I went and penned down. :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Through their Eyes: God's protection was the theme in art. One of my little girls Matilda colored a picture of a man sitting at a desk with little stick figure people with wings drawn over the man's head. She said " The Lord protects me by protecting my dad with angels while he is at work." Wow. She is 4.

Gods Provision: Was what was on one of my little boys minds as he colored a boy inside a house, and told me" Lord will help me and my family find a house. " Knowing already their need for a house for many months now I already knew it was on the minds and prayers of his parents and us teachers, as of today I know, its on his little heart as well. But he, he is trusting that the Lord will protect his family until they find one and provide them with one!

What is Creativity: It is seen when observing a 5 year old's artwork, the stories they create while playing in toy center, the way they all can have the same template but have 9 different interpretations,outcomes and designs ( 9 different  ladybug puppets all using the same 3 colors and amount of spots was pretty impressive). Their creativity was on display again in what they chose to bring for their one toy on Show-n-Share Fridays! The theme for this past week was Insects and Mammals and one of my youngest ( just turned four the end of Jan) brought in a horse with paper wings and a black and yellow striped paper taped around his belly. Under the horses stomach was taped a piece of paper that was colored yellow. As she approached the front of the class to show her show-n-share, I was thinking she was completely condused and I had completely failed, until she proudly proclaimed that she had brought in a "Insect Mammal" ...that came complete with a honey sack ( the little yellow paper hanging from the horses belly, duh Ms. Candace!) She then went on to say it was "Make-believe" and her older sister had helped her design the original, Horse/Bee. I felt a little better about my teaching abilities :) haha Then there was Gabriel who came to class with a list of about 8 memorised facts about Spiders to share along with hand made spiders for each student.
Another little girl brought in pictures of herself as a baby and began by saying " This me, and I am a mammal."
It was also cute to hear them going around the school saying things like, "A dog is a mammal because its babies aren't born in eggs." " Insects live in flowers and trees." " We live inside other mammals live outside."  :)

I've decided that teaching about Insects, Mammals, and this week Birds and Reptiles, is so far, the most enjoyable theme's I have taught thus far! God's creation is encredible as is, but to see it appreciated in the eyes of young ones, just re-reminds me how amazing it truly is that, a flamingo turns pink by eating shrimp, An ostrach is a bird that can't fly, the daddy Penguin gaurds the baby for ....months, the mamma Girraff kicks her baby once its born to make sure it can stand in case it needs to run away and protect itself, the female cardinals are brown and birds only have 1 (cough cough) husband and wife for life, butterflies truly do begin as an awkward chubby little catapiller, all animals have something to proect themselves with, ant villages have leaders, and on and on. The way their eyes light up with these facts makes me think. I "know" and have known these facts, but when I see a picture of a pink flamingo, or a butterfly, do I appreciate it like my 4/5 year olds do? Do I think the creator of these creatures is as awesome as I heard my students proclaim? I am understanding more and more why scripture refers to how we need to be as little children, and mentions it more than once.
Whether its trusting the Lord to provide something material as Gabriel was or praying as Matilda was for protection over my own daddy while he is in his waging spiritual battle at work. Oh, just to have a fraction of some of the awe and trust that my students have shown me this past 2 weeks as we have dove into the Animal Kingdom!
I am so excited to top it all off in a couple of weeks with taking them to a HUGE zoo!

Just some inspiring moments through their eyes that I thank to Insects being so complex, and their little interpretations of God's creation being so correct.

My little ladybugs, Gaeun, Gabriel, Ming-Zhi, Susan, Adelaide, Aaron, Matilda, Berkant, Amaro
Holding their LadyBug puppets!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Did I really do all of that in 2 weeks?! That is the sentence that forms in my head and comes out of my mouth when reflecting over what to write to sum up not one...but two weeks I have already had here in Chile. Crazy how quickly time flies.
To be honest, sitting down and writing this is the first time I have had to sit down ALONE to really reflect...since I returned. Now, anyone who knows me knows that is definitely not a bad thing (always being surrounded by people) but nonetheless, it makes finding time alone quite a task!

 My two weeks back began on a late night flight out Monday evening that had me arriving the following Tuesday morning. On paper it said 10 hours total...22 hours later...what a sweet site it was to see some of my closest Chilean friends waving at me from the Custom's window in the airport, ready to hug me hello after my ordeal complete with rough airplane meals, a couple hours of sleep (sleep is said very loosely) and the initial "culture shock" that still hit (and always will whenever you leave the States),  my dazed and dishevelled  self was sure happy to see those familur faces.
After arriving back to the Hagerty's house a nap was possible but not practical.  I immediately began packing up my room that I had lived in for the past 10 months, and it hit me again as I was packing everything up, my "Home" will be wherever it is the Lord makes it clear I am supposed to be. Granted, it may not be easy or convenient to move 3 times in 1 year, but I’m learning to be content and just go with the flow. Emphasis on the “STILL LEARNING" part. :) A lot of memories were in that little room in the upstairs floor of my Principal's house, many family meals around the table and talks on the ride home. Things will be different. Life is always changing. I am learning to just take the good memories, and move on.

The same friends that picked me up at the airport with welcoming smiles and hugs, threw  a little poolside cookout my first evening back, and after what felt like a somewhat draining and tiring day of packing, I ended up playing Gestures ( in English) with 4 Chileans until 2:30 am!! The Lord knew I needed friendship and laughter to close the chapter that had been my life for almost all of last year, and so I knew that game night was from Him. Where I sleep may change, but the people in my life will remain the same. Thankful for that.

 Two days after landing in Santiago, I boarded a plane with 3 other missionary friends (Sharon, Sonya and Jean) down to Punta Arenas and Patagonia Chile. This had been a trip I had wanted to do ever since a couple years ago I saw it as one of the destinations teams from The Amazing Race went to. I remember thinking it would be awesome to go to the southernmost point before Antarctica and of course..See the Penguins. Who knew, I would end up there...and who knew that the town would have one main resteraunt that liked to close before 6pm?!?! We never caught on to the "eating a big lunch and bread for dinner" thing! I don't know how they do it!!
 Some highlights I’m sure to remember
1. The way the mountains looked from outside the tour bus as we entered Punta Arenas. They seemed to reach into the heavens and were a deep purple with the brightest white snow covering them I had ever seen.
2. Getting to not only see but stand very close to a Glacier
3. Touching the Strait of Magellan
4. Almost touching a wild Ostrich, and Lama but chickening out ;)
5. Eating chips and salsa for dinner on our hostel floor indian style because we wanted to save money...and felt like it!
 6. Eating fish caught from artic waters
7. Having someone bang on the door as Im enjoying a shower and being told to get out because my shower was washing the downstairs living room walls as well as me! Ooops. Hey, we weren't expecting much with paying 14$ a night!
8. Meeting Carolina on the airplane, striking up a conversation that quickly got pretty deep and being able to present the gospel to her, getting her number and hearing her say she really wanted to get together. Please be praying.
9. Spending some more quality time with my sweet friend Sharon, who recently informed me she will be moving far up north in April. My first friend I ever made here in Chile moving away is a thought that saddens me, but makes me not only excited for her and the new ministries she will have, but thankful for yet another sweet time we were able to share together.
10. Standing 6 feet away from the ledge of a HUGE waterfall! Yea, in Chile they don't have guiderails, you could jump right in if you wanted. :) Don't worry mom, that idea didn't strike my fancy and Im alive :)
11. Walking...walking some more...and walking.
Once we returned from the south of Chile School meetings immediately began! I learned I will have 9 students this semester! My class has grown 4 students, and that I know of, only 1 of the new students speaks English ;) My classroom is all set up, dusted and cleaned, the billboards are all decorated with the alphabet and bright colors, desk name tags are in place, and the beloved prize box is filled to the brim! I am so very excited! Oh and two field trips are already planned. One to the Zoo and one to this really cool "Hands On" children’s museum downtown ( That I will admit I planned for myself just as much as for the kids :))!

To end this entry on the past two weeks, I want to let all my prayer warriors know that the Lord truly worked, and answered a prayer of mine in regards to a different ministry opportunity for my remaining time. This morning I received a phone call from one of the head missionaries here and the conversation basically went like this, “My wife and I really would like to take you under our wing and we would love if you would pray about coming and ministering through music and with the young people at our church. I don't want to pressure you but the Lord has had you on both of our hearts and we really feel your personality and gifts would be used and a blessing to our church." Wow. I didn't say a word for what felt like minutes....and this is why.
This exact church was a church that over the 3 months I was home was often on my heart. I have never visited this church ever. When I had returned to Chile, one of the first things I told my roommate was I felt called to visit this SAME church!! To get that phone call this morning from one of the missionary pastor's, it not only gave me Goosebumps but left me completely speechless. In fact, my response to him was (at first) sheer laughter! I just couldn't believe it.  He also said he and his wife would pick me up every Sunday morning and bring me back. Not having a car....that is a huge blessing. It’s like the Lord just put it all in my lap and said, “Here you go Candace, this is what I have for you to do for this time." He doesn't always answer so quickly and obviously, but I'm thankful with this daughter of His, He chooses to every so often. :) He knows His children so well...

 This church is actually in a very upper class part of town, where being American, I will Lord willing have doors open (with the class segregation the upper class are not always welcoming to other classes) and I will be able to invite friends of mine to this church, who would otherwise not of visited church's in a different part of town. This will actually give me a whole different outlet to meet people, make connections and learn even more different traditions that is brand new, as I have not spent much time in the “Upper Class” world. I am so at peace and just excited. Leading worship in Spanish....yikes!! Please be praying!! My friends finally coming to this church with me!!!! Please be praying!!
For all of you who have been praying with me leading up to returning, and praying since I have been here. I feel it! I've adjusted to my new little apartment with Sonya, we put up pictures on the walls, got a couple matching rugs, and made what had been a man’s apartment for years, a very cute feminine nest for us ( a couple tossed box's worth of things later). I enjoy living back here at the school because it’s close to the local outdoor market which is very cheap and a great way to connect with the Chilean people, the metro, and work. We both have mentioned how thankful we were to of already known each other, lived with each other at the Hagerty's and been friends. Another answer to prayer!

Thats all for now folks, thankful for you all and remember, if the Lord continually places something on your heart...it most likely is for a reason. :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Has it really been a whole month since i've been back in the states?! This is honestly baffling to me. The whole concept of time and the reality of how quickly minutes of ones day slip by so suddenly, leading to weeks coming to an end far to quickly..has really got me to thinking. What are my minutes, my days, my life this past year and this new one to come...truly accomplishing...for Christ? No, not accomplishing in the worlds point of view, not in the standards of my fellow peers and even loved ones, nor accomplishments based on my desires for my life. But what am I accomplishing that I will be proud of when I stand before the One who died so I may have life at all. On that scale and measurement of accomplishent...what am I proud of in this last year? How many times do I see I let the Prides of Life stand before or at the tale end of something that all glory and praise belongs to the Lord.
I was reading in my devotions and came across something that made me not only shutter at the reality of such roots of pride, that have sprouted and sometimes affected my potential impact for Christ, all while ministering and living a life that, in the last 4 weeks alone has been called, "Brave" "Difficult" "Admirable" ect.
 If I could only be as Jacob was in Exodus, wrestling with God Himself and coming out on the other side, still faithful in the site of God. That life, one of wrestling constantly against my prideful and weak flesh, and choosing Christ's...always, is one thats minutes, hours, and days, will be an "accomplishment" a life of eternal value and joy.

I want to share Spurgeon's words that stirred in my heart the awakening of a spirit that was and is still quick to pat myself on my shoulder and accept the words of admiration and praise that war against the knowledge I know to be true which is, But for Christ, I would be nothing. No Purpose, No Accomplishments, No life at all.

"It will be humbling and profitable for us to pause awhile and see this sad sight. The iniquities of our public worship, its hypocrisy, formality, luke-warmness, irreverence, wandering of heart and forgetfulness of God, what a full measure we have there! Our work for the Lord, its emulation, selfishness, neglect, sleepiness, and vanity, what a mountain of dead earth is there! If we looked more carefully we should find its iniquity to be far greater than appears at first sight. Dr Payson, writing to his brothers says, "My parish, as well as my heart, very much resembles the garden of the sluggard and, what is worse, I find that very man of my desires proceed either from pride or vanity or indolence. I look at the weeds which overspread my garden, and breathe out an earnest wish that they were eradicated. But why? What prompts the wish? It may be that i may walk out and say to myself, "In what fine order is my garden kept!" This is pride. Or, it may be that my neighbors may look over the wall and say, " How finely your garden flourishes!" This is vanity. Or I may wish for the destruction of the weeds just because I am tired of pulling them up. This is indolence ( laziness)." It is so, then, that our desire for holiness could be tainted by evil motives. Under the greenest sods worms hide themselves; it doesn't take long to discover them. How comforting the thought is that, when the High priest bore the iniquity of the holy things, he wore upon his brow the words, "Holy presents before his fathers face... not our unholiness, but His own holiness. O for grace to view our great High Priest by the eye of faith!"

In Ecclesiastes 3 we read about all the ways God has appointed everything under the sun, and but for Him, there everything would be futile, worthless, lifeless. But those things that are done for Christ, they are what will withstand minutes, days and years.
" He has made everything appropriate in it time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor-it is the gift of God." Ecclesiastes 3:11-12.

God has called me to go and serve Him, has it been scary, difficult, an act of faith, yes, but I am no more brave, courageous, or godly than any other saved by grace follower of Christ, who is trying to accomplish something more...for our Lord. I just obeyed.

Don't get me wrong, the words of affirmation and encouragement have been a source of water, in the area of my heart that had become a little dry and parched over the course of 10 months away. They have always served to remind me that Christ has called me to go, and so I will continue to go. But you, you in your work place, your neighborhood, with your children, with your friends, with the cashier at the grocery store or the waiter who your kind words may be their first in weeks, you can be just as "Brave" "Courageous" and "Faithful". The states is becoming the #1 country that believers from OTHER countries are sending missionaries to. I think there is something to be said for that.

I may be going to Chile, Thailand, Kenya or a faraway land, but you my friends..you can be reaching the unbelievers in our land, America.

Monday, November 19, 2012

What is my Fruit?

I know there are tons of verses that talk about being a light, being different, I sing every morning This little light of mine with my students, but have I truly been aware of the fact that, those verses are true. The Lord knows what He was talking about, like maybe...the world  really does watch, and by watch, they observe everything.
What Is  the fruit I am bearing, is it of the world, or fruit of my Father. What attributes would the world observe in me on a daily basis?
I was faced head on with that question  sitting at a dinner table, around 9 o clock pm, with my three neighbors and some of their friends ( and a couple parents). The sun was completely gone, replaced by a comfortable breeze and  only the sound of the rushing pool water beside us could be heard. I distinctly remember it being such a peaceful, quiet night, almost as if the Lord had quieted everything around us, so no distractions would be had from the words that were being said.
The conversation had been light, table banter as we enjoyed eating Once ( their dinner meal) and birthday cake for Coti. Im not sure what led the conversation in the direction of religion and ultimately to me, but at one point, all heads were turned in my direction and the asking began. The first one came from one of the mothers, and was one I get asked often when I am around Chilean company, "Why did you leave everything you had in the states to come teach here? And you dont even get paid!?" I put my cake fork down, said a silent pray for insight into words to use, sat up and began to answer.

As I was answering their initial question,, I made a point to look in each of their eyes. What I saw was the reminder that these sweet people need the Lord, but think they already know the Lord ( Catholicism). Well, after my friend had translated my response and I had taken a breath, more questions immediately followed. Questions like, "What is different about Christianity from Catholicism, we both believe in Jesus, and the cross?", "Why are you single?" And the last questions came from the girl who I had only met on one other occasion, and she simply asked, "Why am I so happy?!"  
Overwhelmed a little, yes, I was. I was extremely humbled at their observations...more so because I see the rotten fruit that is hidden behind carefully placed leaves, but also because I have felt nervous communicating and speaking about Gods word in the context of differences of Religions with a Catholic,  and could think of about 10 other people who would of done a more adequate job of it, but the Lord chose me to. Easily tongue tied, me. With yucky hidden fruit and all.

45 minutes later, was when I remembered sitting back, praying for the Holy Spirit to step in as my words were finished, and that was when, I will never forget one of the parents saying " Well I still believe we are all the same, I may not go to church, or change my life for God, but we are the same." It was one of my neighbors response that is embedded into my memory forever, " No, there is something different about the Christians we have met, the people at her church, we have been watching, and we are trying to figure out what makes them so different, because we haven't met people like them before. We are trying to figure out why the Hagertys and Candace just appeared in our lives one day, it just seems like it was destiny or for a reason." 

Some background history on who these friends are. 
For my blog followers, these are the 3 brothers who live with their mother, who have attended my bible study at church, It was the youngest brother who got hit by a car months back, and it was around that time they started asking a lot of questions, and visiting our church.

However, recently, they have stopped attending church and wanting to meet for question and bible reading time with Mr. Hagerty. And well...we were getting discouraged. We were spending just as much time together, watching movies, playing games, eating meals daily with the 3 brothers, but they had stopped asking questions. But they had not stopped watching.

That was all playing through my head when I heard them say that they "Have been watching us". Its like, they literally are taking in everything we do, every action, every word, and every attitude, and if there is anything on our parts ( apart from the Holy spirits probing) that will draw them to the Lord, it will be ...our Fruit.

So what will they find when they see me? What fruit will they find? Nothing like having people unashamedly admit that they are....watching you to see if your Faith in Christ is worth it. Lets just say, the verses have really been put into perspective for me in a new, more close to home, way. And I am thankful for that.

"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognised by its fruit. Matthew 12:33

John 15:8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Singing in La serana: I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to sing at another missions conference up north with a local church here in Santiago!

Picture the desert on one side of the bus window, and rippling ocean tide on the other. That was almost my entire 6 hour bus ride view. Absolutely breathtaking.

When we got there it appeared to be a rather cloudy and chilly climate, to which I initially thought, would be a real bummer and different way than someone used to Carolina and Va beaches in the summer, to experience the sand and water. However, at about midday, every day, the sun would fight its way through the grey clouds and close the afternoon and evening in a warm glow that made it the perfect temperature. Whether we were sitting in the nice sized church sanctuary, or strolling through little shops in the city square, it was a very surreal place, and again I was struck with how vastly different and diverse depending on where you are, the country of Chile is.
The Church body of San Ramon
 La Serana actually stands for Serene, and it truly was that. I made the comment that, even though all the little houses have barred windows, doors, and yards, because that is a normality here in Santiago as well, it felt a lot more safe. You almost could look at the bars and find yourself thinking, " Huh, ya know the white kinda brings out the color of the house walls in a nice way!" haha ( As I did say driving through the town). I never thought I would get to the place where houses with cars and gates covering every inch, would become normal looking, and even appealing to me! When in all honesty, that has always been something on houses and in different areas, that has been rather ominous to me, and a sign that it was the last place on earth I would want to live.
Just a random thought after my time there was how sensitized we become to different norms depending on where we live, and how quickly, if we allow the Lord to, our hearts and minds can slowly be desensitised in a good way, to things that really are not all that important in the long run any way. Like....A big yard with green grass, owning a car, big (different) meals every time you sit down to eat dinner. It was a weekend that again opened my eyes to how much we in America have, that those in other countries....do not--but are just as content without. I will call them...Luxaries.
Luxury #1. Central Heat and Air conditioning. The host home we stayed in was owned by a kind, extremely hospitable, woman in her late 30s-ish. Upon arriving to her house at around 10 pm the first evening, I was asked by a fellow missionary couple who are short term teachers at the school, if the lady had any heat ( for it was in the low 40s). Well having been here for 9 months, I knew immediately that she didnt, solely because if she had,  it would of been turned ( for us gringos).I told the couple I didnt feel comfortable asking because I knew she did not, and asking would of only made her feel terrible, so I just said " Looks like your going to learn how to sleep in your winter coat and shoes." :)
 Luxarie # 2. Vehicles. Our first morning after exiting the house. It didnt take long for us to figure out how we would be making our way to the church, when our first morning there we were told (upon exit tinghe house) to start waving our arms as we proceeded to walk down the street. It hit me all over again that this lady who had a good job, made better money then most, still did not have the money to buy a car or chose to not have one and invest her money elsewhere. Her means of transportation to work, church and anywhere else, every single day, was by taxi and walking ( and this city is not compact, it is very spread out).They have something here in Chile called Radio Taxis that you can call, and they will come pick you up at your house, and I had driven in a few before from church, so it was not a surprise that was how she rode.
 ( I do however recognize there are many people in the States who do not have vehicles, but I absolutely can say that more people do than in any other country in the world.)
Luxury #3. Big meals. People here work hard, and make very little money. I have a friend who is studying in the Santiago to get her Masters, and told me that even WITH a Master degree, working in a very good profession, she would not have enough money to afford her apartment rent, which was $800.
I was reminded of that Luxury when I realized that our breakfast at the church where the conference was held, was bread, thin slices of meat, and 1 small bag of cheese ( and that was after asking people if they could pitch in to help out). We had the same meal that night for dinner at our sweet hosts house, and the next morning for breakfast. That is just reality here. The missionaries who stayed with me had never stayed at a Chileans house, or even eaten in a Chilean home, so naturally their faces initially spoke the surprise the 3rd meal straight that was the same thing. It turned out to be a good opportunity for them to witness  Chilean Culture in the rawest most real atmosphere and form. At the end of the 3rd meal of bread and cheese, the elderly man spoke up and said " You know what, I just didnt know people ate like this, I reckon I should be thankful for it and stop complaining." I mean for us, Bread is something we indulge in at restraunts or in our homes...before the main meal. Here, it often is the main meal. On a side note, our host also had a very good job and made more money than the average person does.
Waiting at the bus stop with some of the young people I got to know! Im going to try to squeeze in going to their church on Sunday nights to maintain the new relationships that were made over the weekend!
 By the last morning, she made us eggs, and we even persuaded her to try ketchup on hers! :) And of course she loved it. Very neat experience of two vastly different cultures...colliding.

Having just had fresh insite into peoples lives and how vastly different it is for us in the States, coming home to the election bombarding my facebook newsfeed, left me a bit...well, saddened. Take it from someone living in a different country...It is STILL better in America than anywhere else, we are extremely blessed, and Americas WORST days have looked better than most other countries BEST days ever will. Im loosing my health insurance when I come home, I do not trust who we have elected, im not proud of the overall moral and mental state of my country...but my goodness...I will not
let my dislike for the current president cause me to disregard the blessings and priviledges I DO have as an American. I still love my country, I am still proud to be an American, and I still will get goosebumps everytime I hear the national anthem. Its not because of the President it never has been! Its because of the history, the pride and the priviledge.I wont let anyone steal that from me, no matter how hard they may or may not try. I suggest one thing, visit a different country for a couple months, and dont stay in a 5 star hotel while there, stay with a native of that country, and ask about their Government and laws. You might change your mind about how "bad" you have it in the States. Just an idea:) The Lord has blessed The united states greatly.

Haitian or Jamaican!?

Funny Story. I went to a concert that was being held down town by the Harlem Gosspel Choir, who were from....Harlem, NYC. I was so excited to hear GOSPEL music and ENGLISH music, it was a highlight of my week! Well once we got there I noticed 3 black men in nice suites standing with cameras all aiming at them, along with a line of people. "Hey they are part of the group!" Was that A wrong assumption to make?!?! haha So of course, we lined up and once our time came, I proudly announced " Hey we are from the states to". I only heard one respond and it was with a thick island accent, and he didnt seem to excited about meeting a fellow American. But I assumed...well hey, Jamaicans can live in Harlem and maybe hes simply not as enthused as someone would be whos been apart from americans for almost 10 months!?
The Island of Haiti was where the accent was from.
Halfway through the concert we both came to the realization that the 3 men in suites with the different accent were nowhere to be seen on that stage. We both just looked at each other and started laughing. I said " Do not put that picture on facebook!" Who were they!?
 The next day I was telling my assistant about the mysterious celebrities and she picked up her phone and started laughing as she said " Ive got to show you someone". Turns out, we got our picture with some reggae-ton artist who are from Haiti (  hence the lack of ENTHUSIASM I felt I recieved) and who are kinda a big deal here in Santiago. They did also have nothing to do with gospel, Harlem, or the States. hahaha.....thats my life folks..thats my life!!

Free pants?!
I have some of the sweetest parents this semester. They are super involved, and I have never felt so appreciate and respected by parents as I have with them. Its about once to twice a week that I receive a Indonesian tea from one of my asian mothers, (that are the hot commodity here). The tea will be in a bag hanging on my classroom door, sitting on my desk, or handed to me from the pick up gate. A different mother of my little chinese student, works at a clothing store, and just today she asked me if I wanted to go to her store after school next week to get a pair of free shorts. When I told her I didnt usually wear shorts but thank you so much anyway, she exclaimed " We have pants, You need to come and buy some pants, whatever you like.!" I was shocked. Such undeserved kindess, they are truly a sweet people. If only all parents could strive to trust their teachers, choose to not focus on the teachers flaws and imperfections ( that we By the way are fully aware of) and treat their teachers with kindness and respect, I think teachers in the States would love their job a whole lot more, as I know I sure do. :)

I will end by asking all my cooks and moms...How do I made a chocolate chip, pancake cake!!? Any ideas? Ive volunteered to make a cake for my friend and apparently pancake cakes are what you HAVE TO HAVE. Hmm....ill have an update on how THAT turns out...on my next blog :)

Everyone needs to listen to Soverign Grace-All I Have is Christ. Awesome lyrics.
I have started listening to Christmas Music...and Michael Buble is a favorite. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Jealousy. I am struggling with it.
As all my friends and family are posting pictures of pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hay rides, and fair food...I struggle. The ability to enjoy the changing of the leaves ( Gods creation at its finest) all the beautiful Fall colors, and the wonderful crisp air, the suttle scent of burning leaves and bond fires yea,
 I am missing that.
 The nights out at the fair eating things you had no idea could or ever would be fried-and actually liking it! Coffee dates at starbucks with friends on evenings that you now have to wear a coat to ward off the coolness of the NC evenings, the decorations on the dining room table that mom pulled out from the attic that just always make me smile. Its one of those special things in life that I've come to realize how blessed I have been to experience the joy of the different experiences that Southern Falls bring, until all of a sudden, that wasn't my world anymore.

Or could it be....:) Whelp, thats what I kept asking myself leading up to the month of October, and...I have decided to bring Fall to Chile :) I would not let these months pass me by, so I whipped out the pumpkins, corn, and leaf crafts...and started by having the children decorate their own BIG scarecrow.  Of course that took place only after I had read them a story and explained to them what a scarecrow actually was...and corn fields ( for they weren't aware of what those were either :)) Our scarecrows hanging outside the classroom, big and proud, may or may not stand out against the bright pink flowers hanging from the ceiling, and the other "springy" decorations.But I will not be deterred, in Pre-K...It will be Fall!!

Jack o Lantern Cookies: This past week we made Pumpkin sugar cookies with orange icing and green for the little stems. Of course the kids spent half the time eating the icing out of their individual icing cups, so some of the pumpkins that went home with them...ended up being a little sparse on the icing! :)
I am also paying close to $15 to buy a..yes ONE pumpkin ( so expensive) because it will be worth it! To watch  my little ones dive their hands into the gooey center, searching for every last seed so we can cook and paint them, while knowing it is most of their very first time experiencing the gooey mess!! I mean lets be honest, that is just an experience that every child ( and adult) should have!! Its so gross yet so fun!

"Thank you" Apple sauce and Cookies for being a great Principle
Judge after you try it: Was what I told my students as they all stared into the yellow mush in front of them. They clearly had never seen anything like it before and had no intention of giving it a try. I had decided that, if I couldn't go to an apple orchard in October, I would do something fun with apples.  If only you could of seen their faces when the finished product was placed in front of them! The home made apple sauce...I think its safe to say... was a split vote down the middle between loving it ( eyes wide, big grin, licking the bowl love it) or disliking it strongly (one bite and " No want more Ms. Candace) down to one who was on the fence. Nevertheless, it was a joy peeling the apples, tossing them into a pan, adding A LOT of sugar and Cinnamon...and having 5 cheerleaders by my side the whole time who all agreed on having a fun adventure ( hot as it may of been).

Just a few facts off:
 After learning about The Prodigal son this past week in class a mother of my student pulled me aside to tell me what little Aaron's interpretation of the story had been. " There was a father who had a son who wanted all of his money, when he got the money then he left. But he lost it all and so he went back home. But the father said he couldn't come home until He had all his money and so the son went looking for it....and found it with the pigs." How I love that he got most of the facts right, yet  missed the whole theme of the story, which was the dads forgiveness!! Oh how I love 4 year olds.

Just a few steps more: And Sonya and My afternoon of random exploration downtown, would of turned into a very uncomfortable, awkward scenario. Here is what happened. I have come to realize something about myself the more places I have been and the longer i've been alive. I love to explore old church's, and if there is one with a door open, I am drawn like a magnet to its doors with excitement. So, upon glimpsing a door of an old, beautiful catholic church open, we went for a look! We noticed right away that the candles were all lit but otherwise it was very dark, but that tends to be the look of all the Catholic church's i've explored, so we continued our entrance. As we walked into the sanctuary, right before we began walking down the isle to the front of the church....I noticed 9 or 10 people sitting in pews up at the front of the church. Yet...there again, was not an unusual site when in Catholic church's, at any given time or day. And so our perusing continued towards the front of the church. It wasn't until I noticed a little old lady, dressed in what looked to be her Sunday's Best, walk to the base of the stairs that led to the stage, that I then noticed what she was walking towards..... an open casket. We must of seen the open black shiny box at the same time because we both just froze, gasped, I turned to her and silently mouthed " Is that a casket!?!?", with our mouths open...we watched the little lady walk over and peer down into the casket with flowers, not knowing what to do next. It wasn't until we both got a surge of confidence to turn around and tip toe outside, that we exited the church safely, with no interruption to the funereal to take responsibility for!  Once we rounded a corner a good 15 feet from the church we just died laughing. No Pun intended. Lesson learned in my future exploration of old, beautiful church's, check the front of the sanctuary for any oblong objects, or excess amounts of flowers.

Just started reading the Ann of Green Gables Series and I now know why my mom tells me I always reminded her of Ann. I have literally highlighted and folded so many pages, and read different parts to my roommate that are situations, thoughts or words that I feel like are my own. It is kinda crazy. Really fun read though, I would recommend it to anyone who has a daughter that is an easily distracted, imaginary dreamer, or if you yourself are just that. :)

I wasn't going to get in the picture but he waved his gun at me to come and I honestly felt frightened to do any differently!

Fun find of the week. Carbonated Flavored water ...in cans. I thought they were cute.

The Lord will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose waters never run dry. - Isaiah 58:11