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 most likely is for a reason. :)

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