January 6, 2009
Some people have asked us what exactly we do here, besides travel and eat. We do work (we promise), but haven't been blogging much of that here due to the end of the year and the new addition. In Santiago, we helped manage the youth groups of a very large parish that served 300 teens. We were pretty under-qualified, but did manage to learn a lot in the process and create some very meaningful and lasting relationships - both with the youth and with our neighbors. Here in Alto Hospicio, we are also working with the youth, but in a much smaller parish. There are four neighborhoods with their own chapels and we work on a team with two others in order to build up the youth groups. We also do some things on the side, which are a lot of fun and have helped us build ties with the community. David does English and Sports workshops that help him connect and Anna does art workshops for children in the chapels and also for women in a local community center. Recently, we've also fallen into two other pastoral commitments that have proven very worthwhile - a family ministry where we organize activities in the community that promote whole-family involvement in church and also a ministry that focuses on the drug problems very prevalent in our community. We've learned that it doesn't really matter what you do, but rather how you relate to people. Our "job" as missionaries is to bring people closer to God, to help them discover His presence in their lives and to help awaken that desire deep within that we all have - that yearning to live in communion with God. As we look back on our own lives and our own conversions, we realize that our communion was nurtured by loving friends and family - by late night conversations with understanding friends and by good examples of how to respect each other in daily life. So, we try to do the same here in Chile, with our neighbors, church community and especially with the young people who very easily can fall into the lie of materialism and consumerism that surrounds us all. In March, there will be more blogging about each of our pastoral commitments, but for now we'll be enjoying the summer vacation and family time.