Family and friends,
Greetings from Chile! Andreas, Heather, and I have definitely been keeping ourselves busy. The classes are going extremely well, as the students are beginning to gain confidence and comfort with their speaking skills. Class room topics have ranged from basic conversation starters such as asking about a person and their family to describing certain objects in the room.
Recently, we had the opportunity to visit Barbara Bolstav, a local retired missionary who has served with the C&MA in Chile for more than fifty years. Barbara had recently come down with a sickness of some kind due to an infected cat scratch and was bedridden when we saw her. We spent some time hearing about her past and then exchanged stories and struggles about teaching English to Chileans. Later that day,
This past Saturday, we were able to visit Pucon; a small city located about sixty miles south east from Temuco. Pucon is located on the edge of Lake Villarica, and is surrounded by steep mountains and a few active volcanoes. We took a two hour boat tour in the lake and saw the mountainous countryside as we rowed in water that was clear for about fifteen feet deep. I was amazed at another breath taking display of God’s beautiful creation here in Chile.
That evening we went with Freddy, a student in Andreas’ class, sixty miles south to his family’s home in the country. Freddy’s father, Pablo, had been working as a Dairy farmer for all of Freddy’s life. Early the next morning, the family was hard at work with the various chores around the house. After a quick breakfast, we piled into the family van (a Kia that seemed to be about thirty five years old) and headed down to the ten o’clock service at the local country church. The building was extremely small but warm and inviting. The congregation consisted of about fifteen Chileans, most of whom were well into their sixties. After we sang Amazing Grace, Andreas described our mission and the recent events concerning the House of Hope. After a fiery sermon on Mark 16:15-18, I was once again remarkably humbled by a small body of believers and their faith as the service came to a close. As we were turning to leave, the pastor slipped to Andreas that day’s offering: 5,600 pesos (about $12). After hearing about Vision for Chile’s work with the House of Hope, the church had decided to offer their money to us. I was amazed! At first we felt like objecting to their offering, but such a gesture could have been tremendously rude. These people could have used the money for so many different things, but instead they insisted on giving all they had to us. I was amazed at their willingness to give when they had so little and I was immediately reminded of the church from Philippians that so generously gave to Paul. Paul said in verse fourteen that “it was good of you to share in my troubles.” I believe that these people are now sharing with Tom’s struggles as he works to bring glory to God by building this House of Hope for the troubled girls of Santiago.
After lunch, Freddy showed us the family property and many of their animals. Just when I thought I had seen enough beauty to last a lifetime. I was again amazed at the geographical diversity contained in such a small country. The rolling hills, small creeks, dense forests, and muddypaths stretched for miles until somewhere in the distance they gradually rose into mist-shrouded mountains. Cattle, pigs, turkeys, ducks, cats, dogs, and chicken filled every plot of property, and had it not been for the constant mountains in the surrounding view, I would have immediately confused this remote part of Chile for Tolkien’s Shire.
I was amazed at how all of Creation testified to their Creator that weekend. From the women’s abbreviated testimonies to the beauty of the Chilean landscape to the amazing love of the congregation, I was deeply blessed.
Thank you for your continued prayer and support. God bless,