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Blog’s End

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Five years ago on September 21, 2008 I started this blog, having recently arrived in Costa Rica for language school. My primary purpose was to give our family in the States a glimpse of our lives and help them feel a part of what we were experiencing.  Of course, along the way, a number of our supporters and friends began to follow our blog as well.

If you’ve been following us since the beginning, you’ll know we did, by the grace of God, graduate from language school. Six months later we landed in Chile, just two weeks before the big earthquake and three weeks before Ben began 7th grade in a Chilean school. Ben has now finished his second year of high school (a few months early) and we are about to head back to the States for a year or so of HMA (Home Missionary Assignment).

Dave and I were recounting tonight all that has transpired during the past 3 1/2 years in Chile. You can go back through our blog to read the stories, but the most important thing has been the relationships we have made. So many people have touched our lives! We count it a privilege to have been welcomed into their homes and hearts and considered friends.

It’s been fun keeping a sort of diary by post, but I’ve decided this would be a good time to take a furlough from my blog. (As a private person, it’s been a risky business putting our stories out there in “space” for just anyone to read!) Thanks to all those who have faithfully followed us on this adventure. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing many of you to share our stories in person over this next year.

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Loving well

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How often we have been reminded of something we learned at MTI (Missionary Training International) five years ago when we were first preparing to go to Costa Rica. Part of our training was how to say good good-byes. We were taught that if the good-byes are hard, it means we have loved well.

Our interns know that they have loved well and have been loved well by their Chilean host families. The good-byes today were tearful as they left to go back to the States and return to “normal” life. They were welcomed into their host families and treated as daughters. Their lives will never be the same because of the experience they had here these past seven weeks. And we know that they also have deeply touched the lives of the Chileans they befriended.

We will miss them, too. They brought lots of laughter to our team and each of their personalities added a different dimension to our interactions. We look forward to seeing how God may use them in the future in missions and wish them well as they return to finish their final years of college.

English Camp

The idea of having an English camp during winter vacation began to take form before Christmas. Taking the advice of our WHM co-workers in Spain, we decided for our first year to start small, targeting 15- 20  students (we ended up with 9). Our interns got in on planning, preparing and executing the week long camp. We had some fun crafts and learning activities, but I think the campers’ favorite part of the day (not counting snack time when they played UNO) was learning the song “Ain’t No Rock”.  The campers went home happy with new vocabulary, new phrases and lots of prizes. Meredith Jones and I went home with a new respect for camp administrators!

Singing "Ain't No Rock"

Singing “Ain’t No Rock”

Our campers

Our campers

In class

In class

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables

Craft time

Craft time

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Even the interns enjoyed making friendship bracelets

Even the interns enjoyed making friendship bracelets

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What happened to Laurissa's team?!

What happened to Laurissa’s team?!

Snack Time!

Snack Time!

Enjoying an asado

Enjoying an asado

Cheering for Team Chile

Cheering for Team Chile

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Teaching a Sunday School

Teaching a Sunday School

Getting to know their students

Getting to know their students

Teaching English at Renacer

Teaching English at Renacer

Our interns came with a heart to serve anywhere they were needed. Although they knew they would be teaching some English classes and helping with an English camp, they did not expect to be teaching a Sunday School class in Spanish! But it was an opportunity they decided not to pass up. They’ve also enjoyed getting to know their Chilean host families and making many other friends.

Gospel Identity

For the first two weeks with our interns, we chose to work through one of our mission’s resources, Gospel Identity. Having been removed from the culture, family, friends, and activities that might typically define them, this study seemed like an appropriate beginning for their internship. As we gathered in our living room, we took a hard look at our sin patterns and how quickly we justify ourselves apart from Christ. If we had stopped there, we would have all been depressed. But then we discussed what it means to have our identity in Christ and how that transforms us and motivates us to love and serve others.

Our teammate uses an illustration of a jelly donut to demonstrate that what comes out when we are “squeezed” by our circumstances, is what was already on the inside.  Our interns will have plenty of opportunities to see what comes out as they are squeezed by living life in a different culture. They will have just as many opportunities to repent and rest in their identity as children of God!IMG_9302

What better way to start our interns’ orientation to Chile than a trip into the Andes Mountains? It was an awe-inspiring introduction!

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Last year when we were approached by the sending center about our willingness to have interns, Dave (our fearless leader!) said “yes”. Of course, we had talked about it and prayed about it as a team, but some of us had (have) less faith than others. We didn’t actually think anyone would apply! But, not only did 3 college students apply, they completed the process, raised support, left their families and potential summer jobs, spent this past weekend at an orientation in Philadelphia, made the overnight flight to Santiago and arrived in Quillota this morning. Of course, we and the Jones’ introduced them to Chile with the cook-out we traditionally have at our house when teams first arrive. Even though it was too chilly to eat outside, Dave was able to grill the chicken outdoors leaving coals that were perfect for roasting marshmallows.

We are excited to have Meredith, Laurissa and Erin join our team from now until the beginning of August. They will be staying with some of our Chilean friends and helping with various aspects of our work here. We expect this to be a life changing experience for all of us!

Welcome, Erin, Meredith and Laurissa!

Welcome, Erin, Meredith and Laurissa!

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