Saturday, January 12, 2008

Christmas vacation over, now on to summer vacation!

Hello, everyone from my first post of 2008! Who knows what God will bring us this year? I'm looking forward to finding out!
My month at home was so wonderful--exactly what I was hoping for. I spent hours with my family and friends, talking and laughing, catching up and reminiscing. I was able to fit in almost everything I wanted to do and see almost everyone I wanted to see. It's amazing how fast time can fly, and eventually I had to face my departure. I went through many interesting emotions the few days before I left. I can honestly say that it was actually harder to leave this time than the first time. Sound backwards? Let me explain. The first time I left it was an adventure--I had no idea what to expect but was ready to jump right in. This time I knew exactly where I was going and what it would be like. Still an exciting adventure, but one that I was familiar with. And having been back with my family and friends, I realized how much I had missed them when I was gone. Part of me wishes I could combine both worlds....but I suppose I can't have my cake and eat it to, as the saying goes. :o) In other words, this time when I prepared for my journey, it felt more like leaving somewhere than going somewhere. Does that make sense? Needless to say, it was more difficult than I anticipated. But I had a sneaking suspicion that once I landed in Chile and got back into the swing of things, I'd be completely over those emotions and would realize how much I had missed people here while I was gone. I'm pleased to announce that I do know myself at least a little. :o) Once I got back to Chile, it felt like coming home again as well, and I was excited to get back into life in the Southern Hemisphere.
I didn't really have much of an idea what my summer would be like when I landed in Chile. School doesn't start until February 20something, so I knew I had plenty of time. I knew about the trip I'll be taking next week with Campus Crusade to work with the Mapuche Indians. I had no details about the trip, but I knew that I was going. So I decided to ask about what I would actually be doing! There are several parts to the ministry, but I'll mainly be working with the Vacation Bible School they'll be putting on for the Mapuche kids. This should be interesting, since there will be something of a language barrier (as with many aspects of my life down here). But there's a secondary language barrier. Many of the Mapuche speak their own language, and not Spanish. So there will be a translator, but most likely the translator won't know English. So if I can't figure out how to say something in Spanish, it will have to go through one of the other Americans to be translated into Spanish so it can then be translated into the Mapuche language! Yikes! Luckily I know of at least 4 other English speakers going, although for the most part they'll be Chileans. As far as the living conditions go, I knew we'd be roughing it, but I've found out more details. Let me just say, as a not very experienced camper, it should be interesting. We'll be sleeping in tents or on the floors of mud huts. The days are warm but the nights can get down near the freezing point. The bathrooms, unless we're surprised by something more luxurious, will be outhouses, and our showers/baths will be the river. Yes, the river. Now, many summers in camp when it was too hot to take hot showers we would just bathe in the creek...but that was many years ago. So, I'm highly expecting to have many "miserable" moments on this trip...uncomfortable sleeping situations will make me ache and tired, and the plumbing situation is inconvenient at best. HOWEVER, I'm SO excited to see what God will do with the week. It will be unlike anything I've ever done before and I'm sure God will teach me through it. Hopefully I will be able to minister to the Mapuche people regardless of language differences.
After that, if all goes according to plan (and I really hope it doesn't fall through), I will be traveling with some of my Chilean friends throughout southern Chile for three weeks! I'm so excited about it! They don't speak English, for the most part, so it will be a solid 3 weeks of Spanish, plus the week with the Chilean Campus Crusade students. So hopefully after a month of that much Spanish my comprehension and vocabulary will grow immensely. That's one of my goals! I'll keep you posted on the plans for everything and how it all comes together.
Well, that's about it for now. I just wanted to catch everyone up on what's going on with me. Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement, and for being so interested in what's going on in Chile. I love talking about it and I appreciate when you ask. :o)
I hope you all enjoy your winter...It's been in the high 80s all week here! :o)
Until the next time....

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