July 20, 2010

Alone at Last

Our last visitor left yesterday. That was a long two week vacation. Ten visitors past through, some staying a couple of days and many staying over a week. We were pretty worn out yesterday, but after they left, we got a blast of energy and were able to put the house back in order, put Joshua to bed in his own room (thank goodness!!) and relax. We're back to work today though, having meetings and planning youth events. We didn't do a great job getting pictures, but here are a few that prove Joshua had a good time:

July 12, 2010

Surprise!! Visitors...

Our house has reached a hallmark event. We had 10 people and one dog sleeping here one night. It's a record for our 3 bedroom, one bathroom home. One family was a fellow lay missionary, her husband and two children. Her oldest daughter is three and Joshua had a great time playing with her. Matilda made her debut on this blog here. As soon as she walked in the door, Joshua's face lit up, and they then proceeded to squeal, hug, bang on pots, jump on the bed, kick a ball around, chase the dog and play just about every other fun game a 3 year old can think of. The second night of their visit, a friend from Santiago called sheepishly saying, "I'm on a bus about to arrive to Iquique and I need a place to stay." Since all of the beds were occupied, we offered her the couch. She accepted with a sigh of relief. The trip took longer than we thought and David went to pick her up from the bus stop at 2am! Surprisingly, he found not one, but three people to bring back! She had come with her husband and nephew as well. The three of them shared a couch and love seat. We're still not sure how, but they managed to sleep well without rolling onto the floor. Again, Joshua was thrilled to wake up and find three more friends to add to his antics. We'll probably have a couple more visitors before the end of the week, since this is winter vacation (and la Tirana) time. We're having a great time, along with Joshua, sharing with such good Chilean friends.

July 3, 2010

A Free Moment (by Anna)

I had a free moment here and I thought I would share a little of the day-to-day stuff that usually gets lost. It's Saturday night, a little before 9pm. That means that David is boiling 2 large pots full of the sweetest tea you've ever tasted. A southerner knows sweet tea, and this tea goes beyond any down-home barbecue version ever created. It's like liquid rock candy. He's also made about thirty baloney with margarine sandwiches. It's a pretty gross creation, but Chilean kids love it. Every Friday and Saturday night, he goes out into the plazas with his tea and sandwiches, sits on a bench and waits. Kids arrive first, asking if they can have some tea. They approvingly smile at the first taste and exclaim, "bien dulce!" (really sweet!). They then invite their older brothers, mothers and friends to come have a sandwich with them. As they share their meal, they sit with David and talk about their lives, ask how to say their names in English. They laugh when he says Juan is John and Maria is Mary.

As the night goes on, more adults stop by and ask for a cup of tea. They're more silent, but eventually share that this is the first thing they've had to eat all day. They're the drug addicts that roam the streets all night, scraping together what they can in order to buy cheap hits of "pasta base" - the junk left over after making cocaine. They're bone thin and have a vacant look in their eyes. They tell David about what it's like to live as an addict, how they've lost their families and that they can't hold down a job. They go days without eating and pass terrible cold while roaming the streets at night. David does what he does best; he listens. If they show interest in getting help, David knows where to direct them. He has connections to rehabilitation programs and has taken special courses to work in prevention and accompaniment of people with addiction problems. Two people have gotten into rehab thanks to these night-time outings.

Of course, most don't end up getting help. But, we hope that through talking to another person who shows them respect and love, they're able to regain a little of their humanity and to remember that they aren't alone. We hope that the words of encouragement remind them that there is hope for their own lives, that things can change. With God's help, we've seen hope restored, lives turn around and families reunited.

It took me twenty minutes to write this post. David has left with his tea and sandwiches. Joshua's in his crib, pretending to burp and saying "excuse me" in Spanish, laughing each and every time. I'm sitting at the computer, catching up on email and sharing a little of our lives with you. It's a good life.