Saturday, July 28, 2012

Overlooking Santiago!

Winter Vacation

Yes, You read correctly! While you are enjoying 100 degree weather and summer break, we are bundled up in as many layers as we can fit on as we enjoyed our winter break.

Has 6 months already flown by?! Oh it saddens my heart at the thought of how quickly time is going...and often ask it to slow down, but so far time has chosen to ignore me!
What a 6 months it has been!!

I want to share with you what I have been doing this past 2 weeks of winter vacation as well as share ways I have felt tremidously your prayers answered.

What a beautiful city Buenes Aires turned out to be, and an even more beautiful time because of the two missionary friends I went with. The Lord's hand of guidance, protection and provision, over our time there was seen and felt by all three of us. One of the most special gifts God has given me thus far in my time here in Chile, is my friendship with these two Godly women. We saw all the sites of the city, ate some amazing Argentinian steak and chocolate ( I learned they are known for them both) rode a fun ferry on the Tiger River through islands I didn't know existed, saw an Argentinian Tengo, and took way too many pictures. :) It was a time of refreshment and certainly an experience that I will never forget. Whether we were walking....and walking....and walking....or eating....eating....oh and eating some more, we had wonderful conversations, and many many laughs. One observation we all made about the people however was, the Chilean people are much more friendly to us "gringos" than they were in the beautiful, very European-feeling city of Buenes Aires. SO We all left, thankful we had all been called to serve in Chile... :)

A Chilean Drink that is made with Peaches, water, sugar and Barely.
I hiked with some friends up a hill to overlook the city at sunset. It was beautiful
My Chilean Family: When I was not in Argentina, I was spending time with my Pastor's family and my church body. One thing I love about this culture is the " Come to my house, and if it gets rush, just stay the night, we have plenty of blankets" attitude they have. I can't tell you how many times I have been with a friend and they have said that very thing to me, as I was getting ready to leave in order to catch the metro before it closed. Its like understood that, if it is getting late, instead of rushing home, to stay, make the evening last, and leave only if you must. They are not controlled by Time. Instead they control their time. They love to just sit for hours and talk, take their time at the dinner table, show up late, but stay even later, and just enjoy their time with loved ones. How much I have just enjoyed little moments with my new friends and their culture, and I again have been reminded of Gods undeserved grace in bringing me there 4 months ago. Had I not had to go through the difficult time that led me to the Hagerty's house, I would never of been instroduced to the people at their church who quickly became, a huge part of my life here.

 A New Missionary+A New Friend+A New Housemate: Sonya and I met at training in PA a month ago, and we both new early on that we would be close friends, and she has arrived in Chile!! We already set out on an adventure to the Feria ( their HUGE fleemarket) and we've made about 2928383 other plans! She will be teaching my students from last semester, and I am thankful she is ok with me popping my head in every ( day) other day to see them. I am excited to also practice spanish with her, as she also desires to learn it while she is here!! Its amazing to see how the Lord brought me through a time of loniless when I first arrived, to a time of new friendships and sweet relationships.

Ministry over Break: I have begun practicing with the ministry team 2 songs in Spanish that we will be performing at a church here in the area, in August, as well as in September. WHat a challenge it is!! But man, to be sitting in the tiny living room, crowded to the max with chairs brought in from every room, guitars and violins in many hands, friendly smiles, and steve green playing in the background at every break, need I say anymore about how special that first practice was? It lasted from 2:30-9:30 pm. Next time I will bring my video recorder, because I just have to catch the atmosphere on camera, because I find it is hard to describe in words. Imagin a room where every single person is equally as happy to be right where they are, in spending an entire day in worship to the Lord together, andstriving to be good stewards of the gift of music God has given us. No one was rushed, but rather, the feel as everyone left was that we could of stayed in that tiny living room for hours and hours more. ( And it is kinda amazing to me that the same group I began listening to when  a friend gave me their professionally recorded cd, my first few months here, is the group I am now a part of) Such a blessing from God.
Youth Group/Young peoples Bible Study has been having around 50 people on saturday nights!! Praise the LORD! That is big for anywhere...but especially Chile! The Lord is really at work there!!

Preparing my Classroom: I- am-so-excited-to-have-curriculum!!!!!! Wow, it will totally change this next year in the classroom, and it has just pushed me to strive for an even more structured classroom, where my children will thrive, excel and enjoy learning. I was blessed with help from some of my friends in moving out many different things such as, two tables ( I went from 13 to 7 students) a bunch of boxes, and furniture all over the room. I can now say the room went from a huge playroom, to a classroom with 5 different centers! Reading, Play, Art, Computar/Math/Puzzles.
It is amazing what a deep clean will do for ones quality of life, in and out of the classroom! :)

A trip to Starbucks I will not soon forget: Well, I guess it is a blessing that I made it 6 months before getting robbed, and hate to admit that I was not suprised in the least when I was, but it was still scary and just no fun at all. Unfortunately the thief had planned out exactly where He would go spend someone elses cash when he got it, because by the time i canceled my card, he had spent $500. I spent 2 hours on the phone with my bank filing a claim ( while the Hagerty's sat close by encouraging me on), and after two hours I was told to wait. So right now thats what I am doing, the Lord continuing to work on my patience as I am waiting to hear if the claim goes through and I get the money back. I do continue to randomly feel very sad at the whole situation, and ultimately for the person who stole my purse, because I just know they need the Lord.
How common it is for so many people who have lived overseas, and something that could also happen anywhere, because what is everywhere?! Sin.

 I appreciate your prayers, because I can say I was not harmed at all, and it was not a violent robbery, but rather, it happened right under my nose, without me even realizing it. Hats off to His/Her skill I must say.

The 3 brothers, and Lucas is farthest on the Left!
A Praise: My neighbors youngest brother has ALSO started attending our Youth Group on Saturday evenings!!! WE are praying for his salvation as 1 of his other brothers came to know the Lord through attending the bible study!! His name is Lucas!!

 I look back on this last 2 weeks and continue to see the Lord. All the little conversations in spanish I am able to have, all the moments of unexplained peace, all the smiling- till -my -face- hurts moments with new friends, the site of the snow capped mountains that at sunset turn a bright orange and deep purple, In all these things, I see the Lord.

  The verse that has been encouraging me recently is
"But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24


 "Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me." Isaiah 49:16

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