Here is a picture of me with Luis, the pastor in Melipeuco. He taxied me and Jim to and from our host home every day, and I had fun joking with him and learning more about life there. He has a joyful heart, is a great preacher, and I hope to keep in contact with him. In the background is his Toyota Hilux: a common truck there that runs on diesel and keeps running after you turn it off to let the engine cool down gradually. (It was always strange to have it still running as we walked away.) It is a dependable car that costs less in gas, so not sure why we don’t have them in the US.
We toured Santiago on Saturday, and hiked up Santa Lucia Hill where there is a great view of the city and surrounding mountains. Here is a picture of me and Kyle with the hazy Andes Mountains in the background. Kyle was our main contact for the trip, and it was great to get to know him better after all these years of reading about his family in their newsletters. We had a fierce game of ping pong, but didn’t have a chance to get out on the soccer pitch–maybe next time. (Probably God’s protection to keep me from hurting me knee again.)
Here is a photo of me with the Kallestad’s the night we left. We enjoyed playing a game of “No Thanks” that I brought, and I learned they are good competitors. On the left is Shelly and Doug with their son Kyle. On the right is their daughter Christy and her husband Sebastian: at 6’8″ he is the tallest Chileano they have ever met. He just had knee surgery so we commiserated about that, and I enjoyed getting to know Christy better.
We arrived home safely on Sunday night after almost 24 hours of travel, and now I am reflecting on the overall experience and what may be next. I brought a video from my dad on the “God of Wonders” that is dubbed in Spanish, and I watched it with Doug on Friday night. He is interested in topics on Creation, and is open to having my dad or others come to teach on it at their leadership institute. Maybe I could prepare with my dad and act as a translator? I can see how Anita could give a seminar on Conflict Coaching or mediate for a church in conflict. They need construction workers, social workers, and pastors but I am not any of those things. However, I can see me connecting people in Chile with resources. The path ahead is foggy, but I think of Psalm 37:4-7: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to Him, and He will do it.” I am thinking about what Erin Jones said at the Seattle Missions Fest the weekend before I left: it’s great to go oversees to serve and learn about other cultures, but there are neighborhoods down the road who also need you. I hope to connect with latin communities in the Seattle area, learn what they are good at and what they need, compare it to what my church is good at and what we need, and see if we can partner together. Thank you for your financial and prayer support to make this encounter in Chile possible. I hope to choose contentment and joy in more circumstances like I saw in the Chileanos. It is nice to be home with my amazing wife and lovely daughters, and I look forward to seeing how God will lead us forward.