Wednesday, June 28, 2006

under the weather

So since I came back from La Serena, I have had a cough, which has turned into a head cold. Now those of you who have lived with me you know that when I get sick, I turn into the biggest baby... so here I am. I keep trying to motivate myself to do something, anything, but all I do is stay in bed with my books. It remids me of my first week here in Chile, when I got really sick and called my mom. There was not a thing in the world she could have done for me, but I just needed her to know that I was sick. Such a baby! A little head cold and suddenly I am 4 years old!

Monday, June 26, 2006

La Serena... home sweet home, almost

So this weekend is a long weekend here in CHile. I haven't the slightest clue as to what holiday today was, but I appreciated it. We (Ashlee, Sebastian, Allison, Birgit, and I) went to La Serena for the weekend. Although I only saw my host family for a few minutes each morning, it was nice to be "home". We went out to Elqui Valley and walked along the beach at night. We sang Kareoke and danced our hearts out.
On a side note... at youth group on friday someone shared that a challenge they face in their daily Christian lives is praying for people. Not just trying to fix their problems but realizing that prayer is the first and greatest thing we can do for anyone. This is not to say that we should forget helping people materially, but that we should realize how important prayer is. I am also reading Knox's Doctrine of God and he talks a lot about how we are created in the image of God which means that we are created in the image of the Trinity and that means that we should be relationial as the Trinity is. And that means that we should be other centered. And I have just realzied how self centered i am. I make decisions based on how I can benefit, how I can gain, how I can win. So these two concepts have been on my heart this weekend. And they were my challenge. It is my prayer that God would continue to show my heart where I fall short, and that He would give me the desire and strength to live a life worthy of my calling.

HOME COUNTDOWN: I leave in 31 days!!!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Library

So as some of you know, I have been thinking about CHile on a more long term basis, like at least for a few more years (God can always change these plans). Part of the reasoning for this is my desire to be apart of what God is doing down here. Some missionoloists are saying that the center of the Church is slowly shifting to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Whether or not that is completely true, there is something huge happening in Latin America. And CHile,I truly believe is going to play a huge part of this transformation. To quote James Palmer (a future buddy of mine), "if the Church is to mature, it needs ministers who know scripture and love the Lord." And Chile, with the storng ecomony and infrastructure is being used as a training ground for pastors from all over South America. One of the places preparing and trainign pastors down here is called CEP (Centro de Educacion Pastorales- I think). And I happen to know a few of the people involved. Tim Swan, the Aussie I babysit for, is one of them. SO... (here comes the amazing news) Tim asked me if I would be interested in organizing the library of the seminary!!! I was basically handed the Crusade Library at Cal Poly, so I have some experience in this area, AND I LOVE IT!! I cannot believe how blessed I am. That God brings me to this foriegn land, and blesses me immensely. Tim asked me as he drove me to the Metro and as I waited for the train, I just paced up and down the platform, whispering under my breath, all the praises I could to our amazing God. Earlier that day I had been praying about having something to do. I either wanted more work, or I wanted... I actually asked God is I could hang out at the seminary somehow. I am telling you, this God, He created us, He gave us desires, and He takes so much pleasure in fulfilling those deesires. Amazing.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

waiting in expectation

I have been complaining recently about not having extra time outside of work. Well, this week I do. and this morning I woke up early (7 am) and began my almost free day. But by noon, I was almost bored. I decided that after running my errands for the day, I would sit outside and read my Bible. Not that I really wanted to, but that I should aprovechar (take advantage of) the opportunity. But while I was running the errands, I was praying and I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart about living a life in expectant waiting for Christ's return. And I realized that there is nothing more satisfying that sitting in the presence of the Lord. What started off as an "i should" has turned into "i can't wait". So here I go...


Quote for the day:
"Our lives shold be such that God's glory is seen and praised. We have been chosen to be blessed and to be a blessing, and that through our lives and our works we might bless others with the knowledge of Christ. The priviledge is great and the responsiblity real." -Knox, God Who is Rich in Mercy


PS- Mom and Aviva, it was sweet to talk to you guys today, even if it is only on chat! I hope you have an amazing time in Paris!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Cold Weather, Autumn, and Beauty

It is 8am right now and I am feeding my email addiction (that is what I get for keeping all these email pen pals around the world!) Anyways, it is so cold this morning. I know we are going into winter and cold weather is to be expected, but beautiful San Luis Obispo never really got cold. Maybe a little wet every now and then, but not really cold. I have been so spoiled over the last 4 years, or really all my life. To live in such a mild climate. Some people like the cold, they like the snow, and I am all cool with driving up to the snow, but knowing that I am going to be waiting for the bus in that weather, not my cup of tea.
On the bright side, autumn hasn't totally left us yet. Some trees still cling to leaves refusing to give into the cold damp weather. The sidedewalks are lines with leaves, all orange, yellow, and red. SO pretty. I have never experienced a real autumn so I often find myself just watching the trees. Yesterday on my way to the bus stop I passed by one of the cities parks that runs along the Mapocho River through the center of town. I was so taken in by the beauty of the afternoon and the sun shining down through the half barren trees, I had to stop and just breathe it in. And I was thinking about what some philosophers ( I think it might have even been Plato in Phædrus) said about beauty and it inspiring us to pursue that great truth (over generaliziation of the year, sorry) but I think it is true. We are so drawn to beauty. For centuries upon centuries artists have tried to capture the beauty of a sunset, a lily flower, or a woman. We try to hold that beauty in our hands and keep it. And really that beauty, is just creation. Not that it isn't worthy of admiration, but I truly believe that it is a reflection of the Creator. And one day, we will see Him in all His beauty. What a glorious promise!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

a tough week

This week has been full of the blessing of feeling the Holy Spirit pierce my heart. Sounds odd? Well, in youth group we are reading through the Gospel of John and this week we read John 12. I try to study the chapter before the meeting, so the translating issue is easier. But this week was tough. What do we do when verses confuse us? When they seem out of place? When they convict us? So this week, I walked, worked, and talked to friends, and yet inside I felt the Holy Spirit commanding me to look at my life and see it for what it really is. Am I truly so in love with God that all else seems like rubbish? Someday when I get married (God willing of course), I will be so in love with my husband that all else will seem worthless in comparison (more or less). So if that is how I think I will be with my husband, or at least what I want to be, why am I not like that with the One who loves me more than any man could ever? I look at Him, at His touch in my life, and His pure blessing in my life, and I wonder how I can be so cold toward Him... anyways, it is good. it is really good. I am having one of those heart to heart talks with my Creator and in the end, He always amazes me.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Some pics from the Retreat

Silvia and Fern
Pastor Lago and Deedee
This is what a chilean asada (bbq) looks like... pure carnage!

Jason eating the chicken he just grilled... Rach, don't look!


Sammy, up close and personal


One big family dinner...


oh yes, asada time!


Antonia, Francisco, and David washing dishes


Mely and Deedee


Javiera, AShlee and Silvia hanging out by the BBQ (I think we were waiting for the nonexistent smores!)


Allister and Julie


Here is Javiera and Mely, supposedly watching the football game

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Retiro

Yesterday was the retiro (retreat) for the church youth group. It was a little different from the retreats that I have gone on in the past since it was in Santiago and only during the day (I seem to equate retreats to late night talks while we lie in our sleeping bags on old bunk beds) But in any case, there were about 15 of us and it was the perfect size. The retreat consisted of three "talks" each given on an aspect of holiness, and breaks in between. We had a huge asado (BBQ) and later in the afternoon a tea time. It went very well and I think what is important is that more cohesion was made in the group. Ihappen to be one of the oldest members (Ashlee and I are older than all three of the leaders) but I am looking at it as just an opportunity to be be a big sister to some of the girls (many are only 17 or 18 years old). I guess mentally I sometimes act like a 16 year old anyways (thanks mom for pointing that out the other day!)

Congratulations Erin!


Erin, I am praying for you and Shaun as you guys prepare to walk down the aisle! You are so special to me and you will always have a place to stay with me (that said, i am thinking maybe the honeymoon should be in Chile?? ) I love you my dear little sister!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Precious promises

A sweet reminder from my beloved Charlie (Charles Spurgeon):


A gentleman stepping into a poor woman's house saw framed and glazed upon the wall a French note for a thousand francs. He said to the old folks, "How came you by this?" They informed him that a poor French soldier had been taken in by them and nursed until he died, and he had given them that little picture when he was dying as a memorial of him. They thought it such a pretty souvenir that they had framed it, and there it was adorning the cottage wall. They were greatly surprised when they were told that it was worth a sum which would be quite a little fortune for them if they would but turn it into money. Are we not equally unpractical with far more precious things? Have you not certain of the words of your great Lord framed and glazed in your hearts, and do you not say to yourselves, "They are so sweet and precious"? and yet you have never turned them into actual blessing—never used them in the hour of need.

Too often we follow the example of the poor couple, having the promises in our reach, but never fully enjoying them. How many times do we hear or say "Jesus loves me" and yet we think of the simple childs song instead of the overpowering immeasurable love that oceans cannot wash away. If we could only truly grasp that concept of Jesus' love, all the other fruits of the Spirit, peace, patience, joy, they would all just flow naturally from us.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Tear gas or something

"Police arrested more than 160 demonstrators in Santiago, as parts of the capital city’s main Alameda thoroughfare were transformed into battlegrounds between police and rock-throwing protestors. And, as occurred last week, there were outcries alleging excessive police force."

This is an exert from the English newspaper here in Santiago. And I being a silly gringa wasn't thinking about where the strikes were happening. I was trying to get to the metro station today and I walked straight into this whole police-student war. It rained today and the streets were slippery so I was walking carefully. Suddenly, a hundred teenagers were running past me pushing and pulling each other to get away from something ahead of me. i didn't know what was going on, but before I knew it, I inhaled air filled with some chemical that burned my throat and nose like no other. i don't think it was tear gas because it didn't hurt my eyes, but boy oh boy did it hurt my throat. Before I get phone calls from worried parents, and grandparents, please hear me out. i am not in danger here. not any more than the hippies protesting against Vietnam were. It was scary yes, but after finding my way out of the crowd and into the metro, i was fine. A little sore throat and maybe a burning nose, but basically fine. And really, i admore these students for standing up for their rights. Many of them are loosing their winter vacation that is coming up because they will need to make up their lost class time. But stillthey protest. And they are being heard. With the whole country protesting now, the congressis meeting tomorrow to discuss the demands of the students.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

the strike

So the kids here in CHile are on strike. I guess this happens almost traditionally every May. All year the students ask for help or rights from the government, and every year(or so I have been told) the government does not respond positively. So they go on strike. one of the cool things about this whole process is that the different schools support each other. Like the colegios(elementry, middle, and high schools) support the university students, and vice versa. So this year the university students asked for the government to pay for transportation. This means that with a school id, the student would be able to ride the city buses for free. They also want the entrence exams for university (like the SAT's) to be free.
But before you decided where you stand on the issue. let me explain a little background... The public schools in this country are few and horrible. If you want your child to get a halfway decent education, you have to pay the big bucks. The univeristies here all cost money. They actually cost about the same as the public schools in the states, and originally I had the attitude of, "stop whining about paying for school, we have to do it too in the states". But then I realized that an average paying job here pays about 3 dollars an hour. If parents are making only 3 dollars an hour and have to pay $10,000 a year for their children's education, that leaves no food on the table for the rest of the family. So after realizing this, I too joined the many voices calling for the government to help families with the cost. At least, transportation.
So what do the protests look like? Basically all the schools, unless VERY rich, are on strike. All the kids are out of classes, and many go to the school building to stand guard. A bunch of chairs and desks are pushed against the gate and there are kids guarding the gate 24 hours a day. The other night I was walking home fairly late, around 11:30, and I saw kids sitting on the roof of their school (most of the kids sit on the roof while they guard the gate). Their parents were down in front of the school gate throwing up blankets and food in plastic bags. The parents don't seem to be upset about the strike and in general, the public support the kids. While this is the picture of the schools, out on the street the school kids are walking with signs and singing, ,all for the right of a cheaper education.
Really it is impressive. I have really been touched by the thought that just a few decades ago this country was run by a dictator who arrested and tortured anyone who spoke against him. And this protest here in Chile screams "United States" to me. I expect to see this type of strike in the US, but honestly, how many of us protested when we were 12? (mom, you are probably the only person who reads this who could answer yes) Some people might say that there is more to protest here than there is in the US (I heard that argument from a Chilean I really respect), and maybe they are right. Or maybe not.