Hosting a team from Germany

Last month we received a team from Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Frankfort, Germany. They were here to serve through work projects and evangelism as part of a YWAM training course.

I really enjoy receiving teams and helping to facilitate their time in Chile, and this time was no exception. I just sort of made myself a part of the team and had a lot of fun serving with them. Though they came from Germany, there were also representatives from three other nations: the Philippines, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

One of the main ways I was able to help with the team was through translation. While they were here we had times of evangelism, sharing with people in their homes, and church services where they needed someone to translate. It’s always more of a challenge when I have to translate from English to Spanish, but it was good for me to continue improving my Spanish and ability to translate both ways. Thankfully there were several other people who also helped in this area.

Most of our mornings were spent painting the outside of a local church. The pastor (Carlos) told us that he’d been wanting to paint the church since he’d taken over seven years ago but hadn’t had the means to do it. The team’s arrival and their willingness to serve in any way they were needed presented the opportunity for us to be an answer to this pastor’s prayers. We participated in several other activities with this church and it’s opened the door for me to work along side Pastor Carlos in forming a missions department for the congregation. Please pray that God would put it on the heart of one of the church members to be trained and lead the department.

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It was really exciting for us when church members would join in on the painting. This is Maria, and we had so much fun getting to know this hard working sister in Christ.

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Pastor Carlos’ wife, Rosa, is in charge of Operation Christmas Child here in Temuco. A shipment of 8000 OCC boxes arrived from Canada, and part of the team helped unload them from the shipping container.

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Here’s the team pictured with some of our YWAM Temuco staff and Pastor Carlos standing in front of Pablo.

It just so happened that Pablo and I were walking through some difficult situations while the team was here, but their visit was truly a gift to us as it brightened our days to spend time with them and be a blessing to our city while serving with them in ministry.

Visas

A visa is an endorsement in one’s passport that indicates that the holder is allowed to stay for a specified period of time in the country that granted said endorsement. It also limits the types of activities one can carry out while in the country.

Pablo and I have come to realize that having to solicit visas will forever be a part of our reality. It was somewhat of a sobering realization. The visa process can be long, expensive and full of uncertainties; there will always exist the possibility that one of us may not be able to reside in the other’s home country.

I guess in some ways it serves as a continual test of our faith.

Thankfully, everything in regards to Pablo’s visa for our recent stay in the States turned out well, and I’ve never had any trouble with my Chilean visas until recently. Because I was outside of Chile for more than a year, I lost my Chilean residency and must start the visa process all over again. This was something we anticipated, but we did not think I would have to start back at zero.

Within the next couple of weeks, I have to first apply for a temporary visa that will allow me to be in Chile for a year. If I am granted the visa, next year around this same time, I should be able to renew it for another year. Just before the second year ends, I will finally be able to apply for residency again.

Because of our future plans to serve in long-term missions outside of Chile, or if we were to ever spend more than a year in the US again, we will need to constantly repeat this process–unless we’re able to get to a Chilean embassy where we can petition for an extension of the time I’m allotted to be outside of Chile. The situation for Pablo in the US would be similar. Unfortunately, neither country seems to have a visa option that really accommodates our chosen vocation, though we will need to continue investigating the matter.

I have a tendency to worry about things before their time, but rather than be discouraged by the situation, we’re trying to stay light-hearted and take it all one step at a time. Please join us in praying that this will be an area where we continue to experience God’s faithfulness. He really has been good to us thus far!

Airport Ponderings

I’m sitting at gate E23 in the Houston airport waiting for my flight to Quito, Ecuador. I’m already exhausted. I couldn’t sleep last night, and I had an early rush hour drive to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. When I finally reached my seat on the first flight, I fell asleep before we took off. I don’t even remember them teaching us how to put our seatbelt on and pointing out the emergency exits.

I love airports. I am surrounded by a unique variety of people ready to board my same flight: some heading home, others separated from their families for a business trip, a few excited tourists brushing up on their Spanish with the duo lingo app, and one or two who look like they could be college students mentally preparing themselves for their semester “abroad.” The majority of the conversations taking place around me are in Spanish, not the Chilean dialect I am used to, but it makes me happy to hear it just the same. Perhaps it provokes a bit of worry about the current state of my Spanish speaking abilities.

Everything feels incredibly surreal. Can this be real? I’ve packed up my things and said goodbye to friends and family. I’m moving to Chile. I get to see one of my very best friends in approximately eight hours when she picks me up from the airport and takes me to her house. It’s only been about nine months since we have seen each other, but it feels like longer. What will it be like? I’m not sure what I should be feeling at the moment. My emotions feel somewhat conflicting. I’m so excited, but nervous! Grateful, but marked by yet another goodbye. My anchor? God is good. God is so good.