Sunday, January 29, 2006

Tim Keller

I know my reformed (in the theological sense) are sometimes silly, but really I am jut so encouraged by some of the things I read coming from that circle. I recently started reading some articles from Tim Keller who is a pastor in Philly. Okay, Kallie before you use this as amunition to get me to move to Philly with you... I am not ready for that. But I really like what this man has to say. One of his articles is about the centrality of the Gospel and its basic message is that every part of our lives need to be centered around the Gospel. And it made me think, how is my life changed by the Gospel. All the different parts of my life (talk about modernistic thinking, compartimentalizing my life) should be not jusdt touched, but moved and changed by the Gospel. And what is the Gospel? I have used my own version of Tim Keller's definition of the gospel for years. But here is his: "I am more sinful and flawed than I ever dared believe" (vs. antinomianism)
"I am more accepted and loved than I ever dared hope" (vs. legalism). Such beauty in the Gospel. I trully hope and pray that as I am walking along this road of life, the Lord is refining me to realize more and more just how much I am a forgiven sinner.

You can find articles by Tim Keller at:
http://www.redeemer2.com/resources/index.cfm?fuseaction=tkeller

Saturday, January 28, 2006

my dream come true

A few months ago when I first arrived in Chile, i started thinking about how cool it would be to open up a preschool for really poor kids, where I could tell them about Christ and get to help their families. Well, I have already mentioned this ministry with street kids here in Santiago that I have been hoping to be a part of. I went to a meeting of the leaders yesterday and got to see what is really going on. And I am so stinking excited. There is a group of chileanos and a missionary couple from switzerland who are starting up this project. At the meeting we started to work out the details. Basically, we are going to start this year with only the 5 year olds and hopefully in teh future we can work with more ages. A program that basically looks like a kindergarten will offer free schooling to kids from Reñca, the worst part of Santiago. At this time we already have 35 kids signed up and we will be opening the school the second week of March. The problem is that even the public schools here require that every student wears a uniform and some of the families just cannot pay for that, so the kids don't go to school. Some of our kids won't have running water at home, some live in one room with all 6 members of their family, and some of them are coming from abusive homes. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain that these kids have gone through. But I cannot wait to love them with that love that Jesus has shown me over the years. And His love heals.
We are now trying to staff the school to stay open from 9 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. The majority of the staff right now being women, and the neighborhood being fairly dangerous, we cannot stay there after it gets dark, so we have to close at 5pm. I agree with this decision, but I think it is sad that we know that the neighborhood is so dangerous that we must leave it before dark, but these little kids live there every day.
In any case, these kids will be given an education, a safe place to stay for the day, a healthy lunch, and most importantly, they will be told of the hope in Jesus. I cannot believe that God is letting me be a part of this. Not only is this exactly the type of ministry I want to do, but I am experiencing it in the begining stages, so someday, if I am called to start a similar project, i will have this to learn from. I am telling you now, God gives us dreams so He can answer them. His is good. He is good indeed.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

This is such a rollercoaster

When i wrote earlier today, I was pretty upset and not that I would leave this country because I had a bad experience with one person, but I was definitly reminiscing about the US and what I miss. I had to run some errands downtown and as I was waiting at a crosswalk for the light to change, a woman randomly started talking to me. It was just about the heat (it was VERY hot here today) but all the same, she just made conversation with me. A few minutes later, a different person randomly struck up a conversation with me. THis is normal, although still nice behavior for a small town. But I live in Santiago, the 6 million person capital of the country! If would be like someone in San Francisco randomñly striking up a conversation with you on the street as you wait to cross. It just doesn't happen. And here, it is just normal. People here maybe be blind to the beauty of other cultures, but they sure are nice.

Language update: A gringo just moved in to my apartment (that makes it 3 guys and me). I was telling my mom this when she commented to me about how nice that must be for me to have someone to speak English with. And it hit me, I have once again changed. I used to long to speak Englsih with people. I could speak Spanish, but I wanted to speak English. But not anymore. It is not important any more if I speak English or Spanish. I don{t mind going a whole day speaking in Spanish and I am not more satisfied from speaking in Englsih than I am in Spanish. Sweet transition!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I found my thorn

So the Bible is pretty clear that we are to love everyone, especially our enemies. I always seem to skip that part, since I don{t really know who my enemies are. But today I realized that my enemy is not necessarily a particular person, but a person who has a particular mindset. I have never been very outspoken or gone to human rights rallies, or protested testing on animals, but living here in Chile has shown me just how passionate i am about a few things. One of them is anti-racism. I met a man on the bus today. He was reading a book and so was I, so we started talking. He was probably in his sixties and I soon found out that his parents came here from England just before he was born. I am not sure how or why the topic came up, but we were suddenly talking about "negros" which is how they say black people here.
Even now, a good half an hour after the conversation, I am blushing in anger. This man was SO racist! I mean I have never met someone so absolutly rasicst. He basically told me that black people, meaning in the states, or in Africa, have no culture and that white people are superior. He used those words! He said that all black people are lazy and the poor white people are having to support them. I asked him how many black people he knew, and he said a few. Yeah, I can bet you bascially anything that 90% of what he knows about black culture comes from the films he watched. The conversation lasted for the whole 30 minutes of the bus ride, and I won't let myself go off into details of the ridiculous things he said. But basically as I walked away from the conversation i was almost laughing in shock of how racist he was. And I felt the Lord asking me if I could love this person that I was so tempted to despise. I know I am not called to love the racism, but the person himself is just another sinner like me. He obvioulsy hasn't tasted of the grace and love of the Lord, and I am called to love him. Difficult? yes, but necessary. If I am truly living in the grace of God, I will love those in my life, even the ones I want to hate.

Monday, January 23, 2006

my new place

I just love it. I do. Yesterday was spent going to church, both the ingles and espanol ones, and then picking up some groceries since I have literally nothing in the house, reading my bible on a bench outside of the apartment building, and then for a good few hours hanging out with my new roomies. I was eating my tofu and broccoli stirfry when the boys came home and they cooked up dinner and soon we were all watching a horribly corny movie on tv. We talked and laughed and had a great time. We finished off the night with some red wine (my new chose for alcohol) and got to bed fairly early (chilean time) at 1am. In any case, I really like the guys. Both are very laid back and easy to talk to. I am even understanding more and more of what the Argentinian says. The only down side to the apartment is the absolute loudness of the night. Since I live on the main street of Santiago and in almost the center of town, it is active all night, and I am telling you I am woken up so many times during the night from noise. I think this is something I will get used to as time goes on, so I am going to buy earplugs yet. But outside of that one bad element, I love the place.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

wow, this could be a long one, but I will keep it short

So I have safely arrived in Santiago. Here is the low down on my last 24 hours or so. Yesterday after noon I packed and cleaned and packed some more. Then around 11:30 pm I left with my host parents and sister to go out one last time before I took off for Santiago. We went to this restruant/club, that had an amazing blend of entertainment and participation. There was an 80{s band there for the first 30 mins and then the party really began. The MC for the night announced that there was going to be a contest. The winners would get a bottle of champagne. The rules were sketchy to me since they were in Spanish, but I didn{t ask any questions. The floor was open for dancing and Claudia my sis and I went for it. Even though the building was big, there were over 200 people in there dancing so it got hot really fast and soon everyone was sweating. But that didn{t stop the dancing. The music stopped and we all returned to our seats to watch a couple from Argentina perform a Tengo for us. Whoa, beautiful! Then more of us doing the dancing. Then a singing contest. There is this song that my host dad likes to sing called America. He was able to get into the contest as one of the five contestants and he dedicated the song to me. THe contest was judged by the crowd and everyone loved my host dad, so he won. We got the bottle of champagne! Suddenly the MC was holding another bottle of champagne and announcing that a reggaton dance contest would be taking place. Reggaton is a mixture of hip hop and salsa. It is the type of music that girls get really... booty with. I actually use a reggaton cd to work out to, so I have danced alot to it, but barely in public. Okay, enough said. Before I realized what was going on I was pushed onto the dance floor by my sister and was announced as one of the five contestants. Whoa, back it up. I am white! I am not latina! I was not going to compete in a dancing competition with latinas, skinny latinas with mini skirts on! But at that point it would have been akward for me to sit down. So I danced. The MC made his way down the line asking each girl her name and then giving her about 2 mins to dance for the crowd. Okay, nervous is an understatement when describing how I felt about dancing reggaton BY MY SELF in front of more than 200 people! But when the MC asked for my name, he also asked where I was from. I told him California and suddenly everyone was watching. There is a stereotype here that gringos cant dance. Well, they wanted to see a gringa try to dance to reggaton. So I danced. And they loved me. The crowd choose me and another girl (the one wearing the mini skirt) for a dance off. I was so nervous that I almost puked right there on stage. But I danced and I was sure that the other girl would win. She was SO sexual in her dancing, she basically looked like a stripper. Well, I guess even though the guys like strippers, women here in Chile would rather see a more innocent version of reggaton. So when the audience was asked for applause, I won. Yep, another bottle of champagne for our table. From that point on, all these people were coming up to me wanting to hug adn kiss the gringa that won the dance. I was the queen of reggaton! Crazy, I know. But believe it or not true.
Okay, I will try to keep the rest short since the title promises that... We got home from teh bar at about 6 in teh morning and a taxi picked me up at 7. SO I didnt shower, I just made some food to eat and gathered my stuff together. I didnt even change clothes! I was planning on using the 6 hour bus ride to Santiago to sleep, but I had insomnia and I spent the six hours staring at the curtain on the window. I arrived in Santiago where it is about 98 F, and finally made it to my apartment after a huge adventure. And there I realzied what a big mistake it was not to take a shower before getting on teh bus. There is no running water in our apartment today due to maintence. So I smell like alcohol and sweat, and there is nothing I can do about it.
On a very bright note, I met my roommates and I love them. One guy is chilean and lives here all teh time, so he will be my roomate for the whole 6 months. The other guy is from argentina and although I cannot understand a word he says becasue of his accent, he seems very very nice. I am, despite the gross film of dirt and sweat covering my body, extremely content. This will be a great year!
Sorry I didnt keep my promise about keeping this blog short!

Friday, January 20, 2006

more on the medical system

So I had an appointment today at noon to see my doctor to talk about the results from tests I got done. Really, appointments don´t exist in this country, her receptionist just wrote my ane down in a book to make me feel better. This was evident by the hour and a half wait in teh hot waiting room after I arrived at noon. THEN after my wait I get into the doctors office, expecting her to tell me the results from the tests, and she asks ME for them. Umm. in the states, there is no way the labs just give you your results even if you wanted to get them before the doctor. But no. Here in Chile, everyone gets the tests done, and then returns to pick up the results. And then, if they want to, they can bring those results to get examined by a doctor. AND, I have not found any medicine here that the pharmacies won´t give you if you don´t have a prescription. You can get anything over the counter! When i found out that I had to make the 10 minute trip in the sun to the hosptital where I got the tests done, I almost cried. I walked out of the doctors office and took a couple of deep breaths trying to kill the knot that had formed in the back of my throat. I was not going to cry over this. So I did what I had to do and finally got my test results. Things aren´t too bad I just can never touch a piece of bread or chocolate (two of the loves of my life) ever again. But I am looking on teh bright side, soon I will be in Santiago (tomorrow) and I can get my hands on the other love of my life, TOFU! I am also planning on experimenting with more food that I don´t know how to cook yet, but I love, like Indian food. We shall see...

On another note: It has been a sad event to watch God revel my pride to me, and even sadder to see my heart not react to it. In fact, when i realize that I am prideful, the first thought it, ¨Gosh, I didn´t think i was that bad.¨ which is a statement only further proving how deep my pride runs. So yesterday I prayed a scary prayer. I prayed that God would humble me and break me. I always think about Mrs. Gates from Beacon High when i pray prayers like that. She told our Bible class one day to be very careful when we pray for patience because usually that prayer is answered through a patience testing experience. And now I am praying for humilty? scary, but I thought about for a while and realized I would rather be broken at the feet of God, than running feel in my ridiculous pride. Once again, we shall see...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

a lack of culture

These are just some random thoughts that have been on my mind recently...
I want my children to spend par tof their lives in the States, especially California. Why? well, I have been realizing how much I respect other cultures and many people here just have not been around other cultures enough. Like the fact that people say ¨heil hitler¨ when refering to a visitor from Germany. It KILLS me, and I don´t want my children saying things like that. How rude to the German person who had nothing to do with Hitler, and how rude to me who is Jewish. Or for example, one of my buddies made the comment the other day that he doesn´t like people from middle eastern countries. I was horrified that he had such a comment and trying to constrain my absolute distaste for his comment, I began to talk to him about it. It turns out that he knows next to nothing about the people, just that he knew a man from Iran one time who smelled bad and rarely showered. You just cannot decide that a whole group of people are to your distaste just becuase they don´t smell up to your standards! Anyways, this may seem isolated, but it is not.
My whole life I have been surrounded by people from other sub-cultures. And I have learned, especially through the example of my mom, that other cultures are beautiful. That there is beauty in differences. I shocked a guy the other day when i told him that I am attracted to black guys. he has probably never met a black guy. I want to give my children the chance to know many cultures and to truly appreciate the beauty of people who look, smell, sound, and act differnt than them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

the medical system here

So I have been a little sick recently. Not a big deal but I went to see this doctor from New Zealand (she is this hysterical Jewish woman). So I can´t go into details, but there are a few things going on with my body and she recommended a few blood tests and I agreed. So I went to the hospital clinical lab and prayed that the blood tests, all twelve of them, would not cost me an arm and a leg. Two of the tests I had done today, I have had many times in California and I KNOW that they cost like $300 in the states. So add another 10 tests and I was getting nervous. But I got to the counter after waiting for an hour, gave the secretary my list of tests, and joyfully found out that the total came to about $150, for everything! So once again, I found a reason to love this country. Even without insurance, my costs were lower than the states. Amazing.
In any case, I am waiting for the test results and praying that I can get things figured out before I go back to Santiago on Saturday.

Monday, January 16, 2006

La Presidenta

Yesterday were the elections here in Chile for our new president. And guess what?? the WOMAN WON! That is right folks, history in the making. The second woman president in all of South America (correction made from earlier blog publication)! Her name is Michelle Bachelet and she is the with the chilean version of the the democrat party here. Don´t ask me how an agnostic, divorced, single mother, and not to mention just the fact that she is a woman, won the election here in the conservative catholic country of Chile. But despite all her shortcomings (it´s a joke mom) I think she will make an excellent president. I have been watching the debates here and I think she will do a great job leading this country.
Now, I don´t really remember what I did after the last election in the States. I remember watching the news and seeing the Bush got re-elected and then I probably went to bed. But last night. as soon as the results were announced the streets were filled with cars honking, people waving flags and everyone celebrating. Within a few hours, the plaza downtown was filled with people for a concert celebrating the win, and for four hours the people danced and sang and waved flags. Fathers and daughters, moms and sons, lovers, all dancing in the street. It was a huge country wide party! The whole country went out into the streets and danced. Bachelet got 53 percent of the vote, so half the people partying didn´t even vote for her! But it was so fun, what a way to celebrate an election. Once again, a distinct difference in culture. Here any excuse is a good one for a party. And tonight the party is going to continue. Crazy huh?

Note: Interesting that this country which has such machistica ways of life would elect a woman and the US which prides itself on promoting equality, won´t.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Postmodermism and worship

I have been doing a little research on a ¨non-movement¨ movement called the Emergent Church and I after talking to my friend and fellow questioner, Kallie, here is the begining of my exposition on the topic of worship within the postmodern culture.
First, the point of worship is not to connect with God. The point of worship is adoration, worship. This being said, I do believe that a common effect of worship is a feeling of connection with the God of the universe. But this is a secondary matter. The motivation and goal of worship is to bring praise to a worthy being. Romans 12:1, Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, {which is} your spiritual service of worship. (NASB) I am a firm believer it is only with a right view of the Gospel that we can offer worship to God. It is in view of those mercies that God has extended to us through His son, that we have the ability and the privilege of bringing our lives to Him in worship.
I was thinking about the churches I know. Trinity, with hymns and light guitar to spice things up. Conerstone, with upbeat, conteporary, make-you-wanna-clap-your-hands music. The Calvary SLO, with heart gripping songs and surfer atmosphere. And then there is Crusade at Poly, which offers almost like a concert of great music, dimmed lights, and powerful songs. Here is my question: which one is right? My answer: which one is focused on giving adoration to God? Whether a church sings hymns or rock songs, does not matter. What matters is the intent. This sounds like old news, but now let us apply this to the postmodern mindset that seems to appeal to my generation so much.
IF candles are lit and the lights dimmed and the music is slowed down to a mediatation pace, cool. But if the purpose of this, as I believe much of the postmoderns would admit, is to connect to God, ummmm... nope. That is not worship. That is man centered worship. That is taking an action that is supposed to focus on the Glory of God, and making it a self centered experience. Do you feel the presence of God when you worship? If yes, cool. If no, that is okay. Worship is not about you you finding an outlet to experience God. That outlet is already provided through the Holy Spirit. Now, I will admit that in those times when I am allowing the Holy Spirit to move in my heart, I desire to worship. the more we know about God, the more we have to worship.
There is a danger in the postmodern mindset. While the postmodern mind would say that we cannot know anything completly (correct me if I am wrong), the Bible says that we know enough about God to have a relationship with Him. That relationship leads to adoration (as any beautiful things deserves some adoration, how much more the God of the creation). And as stated earlier, adoration is worship.
There is an emotional element to relationships, but there should also be some element of rationality. You can be infactuated with a celebrity (like me and Colin Firth) BUT you cannot have a relationship without knowing the person. We cannot view God as this completely emotional experience. He is more than that. Yes, there is a flood of emotions that come when you realize the Gospel is for your life, but you must know the Gospel first.
So how does the postmodern culture fit into the church? The same way the modern church fit into the church. It may be a perspective of the Truth, a way of experiencing the Truth, but it is nt the Truth itself. Just because we think from a postmodern perspective, does not mean that the Gospel is any different than the Bible says it is. The Bible is the Word of God, telling the world about His relationship with His people. THAT doesn´t change. If an artist paints an abstract mural in adoration of God, amen. If a punk song brings God glory, amen. If candles are lit at a service as a action to reflect the beauty of God, amen. But if we are ¨setting the mood¨ so we can reach some connection with God, we are missing the message of the Gospel. He is here, and He is worthy to be praised. Amen

Friday, January 13, 2006

Some pics of the week

here are some pictures of the past week or two. It has been a pretty good time...




New Years Concert at the beach




Claudia (mi hermana) y Aylen (mi sobrina)




Micheal singing in the antidrug concert



a href="http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/2514/1140/1600/100_9715.jpg">

Marilyn and I on our way to the concert




Michael singing some corny romantic song (I am the one in the back blushing)




Michael and I at the Kareoke Bar

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My casa

Anyone who wants to see pictures of the apartment I am going to live in... here is the site:
http://www.contactchile.cl/en/rooms-santiago-02.php

Look for Flat share Sebastian. Knowing me I probably choose it just because they had a book shelf.

My address is:
Rebecca Lipkowitz
Providencia Nº 1765.Departamento 1113
Santiago, CHILE (there is no zip code in Chile)

Mom, you would like this one

I mean to say that you would like this guy. His name is Michael (not a very Chilean name, but he is indeed Chilean). Although he lacks the PhD in Political Science that I know would please my family oh so much, he does work for the government singing in concerts that promote an anti drug campaign. Anyways, we kinda went on a date the other night (a surprise blind date that my family set up) and then again last night (not so blind or surprise). It was fun but he is missing that very important element in a man, nerdiness for God. In any case, he´s realizing that we are friends, and not more. I just couldn´t be with someone who wasn´t totally a nerd for Jesus (maybe I should start up a non profit modeled after Jews for Jesus, but we would witness to nerds primarily!) Today, I am off to Ovalle, a farming town about two hours away, for one of his concerts. I will be the one laughing in the corner at all the teeny boppers who are throwing flowers at him and screaming his name. Sounds like fun, eh?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

theological conversations in my head

So I have determined that I was born a nerd. Given the academic professions of many of my family members, this fact does not shock me. I made it through 3 months without studying much theology. I still read my Bible and a few other lightweight books that I ordered online (like Edersheims The Life and Times of the Messiah- highly recommended!). But I have recently began to study again. I am currently looking at dispensationalism, covenant theology, and the Emergent Church. Very interesting topics, indeed.
So with this in mind, I am not sure what I am going to do here. Many, if not most Chileans, just don´t really care about these things. Which is fine, but I love to study them. So... I am not sure. I might end up walking the halls of Westminster for a few years.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Some pics of Valparaiso

These were taken by my buddy James over New Years weekend. Valparaiso is a port about two hours from Santiago. Probably the most beautiful town in Chile.



My friend Carleigh, who was stuck living in our house of Jesus freaks last year, sent me this cartoon. I´m not sure how Kosher it is, but I like the fact that Jesus is drinking a Mountain Dew.
Check it out: http://www.innernutentertainment.com/jesus_idol.htm

Thursday, January 05, 2006

How much would you give?

How much do you give the homeless people you come across on the street? Do you give nothing, or everything, or something in between the two? Do you walk by and not look them in the eyes, or do you look at them and smile as you pass them. There is a man who sits on the ramp that leads to the supermarket that I go to everyday. He holds a little boy, not more than 3 years old in his lap and holds out a box with his free hand. I am not sure if the boy is sick, but everytime I pass him, the boy is asleep.
My first reaction is disgust that he would use this child to get money. But then I think, if the boy is really sick then he should get more money from us becuase he needs it to help the child. Growing up in towns like San Francisco and Santa Cruz, i ahve always seen homeless people on the streets, and somewhere down the line, I decided that I didn´t like giving money to them, except for the elderly and really young, but I was okay with giving them other things like food or blankets. So yesterday I passed the man and decided that I would add something to my shopping cart for the child. I bought some powdered milk that was especially made for children under the age of 5. But as I handed the man the milk, I wondered why I didn´t just give him all the money in my wallet.
Okay, before I get concerned phonecalls frm my parents, let me explain. For the last four years, I have noticed a change in me. I haven´t really felt comfortable with money. i can trace it back to the time when I thought I should go be homeless for a year in the parks of San Francisco. I laugh about it now, since I was only 18 at teh time, but I was serious back then. somehow my plan didn´t work out. But slowly I have notived that I am not comfortable with money the way I used to be. Don´t get me wrong, I love having nice clothes, and good food, and a comfy bed, and I loved my laptop. But every once in a while I remember that there are so many people who have so little, and I suddenly feel very uncomfortable.
How much should I give? How much should I keep? How much is enough? If I truly love those people, won´t I give them more than I give myself? Is it compassion that I am feeling, or guilt?

I was thinking about the whole money issue last night as we watched the presidential debates for the run-off election here in Chile. (Side note: the run off is between a man named Piñera and a woman named Bachelett. As oppossed to US politics where I don´t really like either and I have to choose which is the less evil, I actually like BOTH candidates and think that both would make excellent presidents.) Anyways, the candiates could spend up to 8 million dollars on campaign. Here is my question: How can we change that so the 8 million goes ONLY towards the poor of the country. Why are our leaders spending all this money on tv ads, and banners, and posters, when there are children starving?

IF YOU HAVE MADE IT THUS FAR IN THIS BLOG... I´m sorry it was so long, but I think this is something that will forever be in the back of my head. I really am interested in what you have to say about it though. So for those of you who read and never write (Danielle, David, Chubs (although while you´re in Thailand I don´t expect much), Sarah, and the rest of ya´all, tell me what you think.)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Breakfast with my girlfriend

One of my students and I have become fairly good friends over the course of the month that I taught her. Her name is Veronica and she is in her mid twenties and just a genuine sweet person. She is married to a guy from Wisconsin and they lived there for 3 years before coming back here to Chile. Her suegro (father in law) is in Chile visiting them and they came up to La Serena for a few days. So this morning Veronica and I went out to breakfast, just us girls, and I realized how extremely blessed I am to have a friend like her. We talk so easily about so much, in both Spanish and English since we are at about the same level in each of our second languages. When we go out though we speak in English becuase we can talk about personal issues and not worry about others understanding, nice huh?
An interesting note: in one of my guide books it warned me that making friends in Chile would be difficult because everyone has grown up together in small friend circles and are not likely to make new friends quickly. I have not experienced that at all. I have had no problem making friends here. Veronica on the other hand had a much harder time in the States making friends. She couldn´t fit in with the Mexicans, nor with the ¨whites¨. And although she didn´t say it, I heard it in her stories loud and clear, the people were not inviting towards her. She said she would give a girl her phone number and they would ¨plan to do coffee¨, but that the person never called. And this happened over and over for three years. I know we get used to having our friends, and we use the ¨plan to have coffee¨ deal more as a way to say that it was fun talking to them, but not really with the plan to call. But friends, please remember that people from other cultures don´t know that. And it is hard for them to make friends. So please, if you meet someone, especially from a Latin culture, invite them over to your house, and truly seek out their friendship. They for sure would do the same for you if you were in their country.

The heart of a woman

Have you ever met a person, or actually not really met the person but still somehow feel a lot for them. Like, someone who you don´t know well enough to really claim any friendship, but still you have heard enough about them from someone else that you feel like you know them? And then, take it a step further, have you ever felt like they were stuck in your heart? I heard about this guy a while back from a friend (and now the girls from Bible Study are laughing!), but I have never really met him and probably never will, and yet my heart feels for this person. I have prayed for them on and off for over 6 months, just praying that they are doing well and that they are desiring God more and more every day. I don´t understand why people like that are placed on our hearts and minds, but I like it. I like knowing that I am praying for someone across the world and they have no clue. Why do I like that? I don´t think I will ever understand these little pleasures of the heart. It reminds me of the verse after Jesus was born about Mary storing up all these things in her heart. In any case, it brings a smile to my face.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Years Chilean Style

So honestly, I was feeling very antisocial on New Years Eve, and I almost stayed home alone to just eat some dinner and watch the TV version of the celebration. But I knew that my family would be horribly upset, so I went with them down to the Avenida del Mar (the beach) where basically all of La Serena goes for New Years. The Avenida is fairly long, about 5 miles or so and there are 4 spots where you can watch fireworks at midnight. Two of those spots also have a live concert afterwards.
The family and I went to a fancy shancy place at first for dinner, but them walked just in time for the countdown to the Kareoke bar which is directly in front of the concert stage!
Okay time for a little honesty here and for those of you who don´t know me personally, here you go. I have never kissed a guy on the lips. This used to be a point of embarrassment for me, but I have learned to appreciate the fact that I won´t kiss unless I am in love and I am certanly not in love right now. But for probably about the last 5 years, I have hoped for a kiss a New years (stinking tradition). But this year, I knew that if I kissed someone it would not be because I love them, but becuase I just wanted a kiss. So I went into New Years very happy to know that I would not be kissing anyone this year. Of course when we are counting down and I am standing alone midst the thousands of couples, yeah, it felt just like all those years in the past of being the single one at the New years party, BUT the beautiful thing about Chile is that after the countdown, for about two seconds, the couples kissed, but right after that, EVERYONE KISSES AND HUGS EVERYONE! Suddenly I was embraced by everyone who was wishing me a happy New Year (Feliz Año) and kissing me on the cheek.
So anyways, after the countdown the concert starts. Basically where we were, there were about a thousand people at the beach. Everyone had already drank tons of pisco and were opening up the next round. One of the cool things about this culture is that the families are all together and as I looked around I saw very few groups of just young people or just older people. Everyone was basically picnicing on teh beach with their family. For my family, including extended family that made our party about 25 people. Once the concert started, everyone stood p and started dancing. There was mergengue, salsa, cumbia, and of course reggaton. The concert lasted until about 4 in the morning and I thought that the people would head home once it was over. COme on, yeah, 4 in the morning is pretty late. But no, after the concert ended, everyone settled themselves in groups of like 10 or so people and they just talked and sang, and drank more pisco. I left the part a little before 5 in the morning ( my family had gone into the kareoke bar for more drinking and talking). I would have stayed out longer but a girlfriend of mine asked me to take a taxi with her back so she didn´t go alone. My family got home at about 7 in the morning. Crazy chileans!
But honestly, what a celebration of the New Year! Everyone was so excited to celebrate! The only thing missing from this Chilean New Year (apart from my family and friends!) is the song wasn´t played. You know that song that is always played at the New Year (it is in the last scene of When Harry met Sally too). But I fixed that lack of song, but humming it to myself under my breath. I guess I am more gringa than I thought!