To be honest…
It’s been great here but also, rough. I feel like I have shared the happy moments here in Chile but not so much about what I have been going through emotionally.
I have officially spent an entire month here in Santiago, Chile and on the positive side, I couldn’t be more proud of myself for learning how to naviagate this city. For those that know, I have never traveled internationally. I mean, I went to Saltillo, Mexico for a mission trip but that’s like literally across the border and I didn’t need a passport… I don’t really count it. So for my first international trip, it’s been rough and amazing at the same time. Coming here Julian told me to be flexible because I won’t have a set schedule, there will be some days where I won’t know my schedule until maybe that day… Seriously. That kind of stuff typically drives me crazy. I’m used to knowing what my day will consist of and to be without a plan is weird for me. Luckily though, I have given up my expectations which has allowed me to be flexible and relaxed, PTL (praise the Lord).
In the beginning of June, I was excited to explore the city and learn all of its’ nooks and crannies but it proved to be a little difficult. I was here alone without a missionary partner and felt isolated. I am such a social butterfly that whenever I was FaceTiming my friends, I felt like I was such a chatter box because I could actually have a conversation with someone in English (sorry to those friends). So it was rough, then I started to get the hang of the metro, or subway, and was able to figure out by myself how to navigate the city. Once it was getting better, then I dealt with some difficulties. I switched host families which came with some obstacles, such as, getting locked out of the house for over two hours, I have keys now, thankfully, and later injuring my lower back on the stairs. I was so done. Done with Chile, done with being away from my friends and family and done with the Lord trying to teach me a lesson. For the first time last week, I wanted to go home. I wanted MY bed in MY city and be surrounded by MY native language. I was over it. There were so many emotions going through my head. I was emotional about past experiences, what my future plans were going to contain, how much pain I was in from my injury and just missing a familiar surrounding. But praise the Lord for friends who can empathize but tell it to you straight. Andy Ramirez, Maddie Rarick and Zasmyne Robinson are gems as friends, just to name a few of the wonderful people I have in my life. They allowed me to cry over FaceTime, vent and then prayed for me and gave me sound advice. They reminded me that first of all, it’s okay to be home sick and to be worried about my future plans. It’s okay to want to give up but to remember why I am here in Chile. I am here for the Lord’s Kingdom to share with people about the love of Christ. So with that I picked myself up and was determined to make the best of my time here.
Immediately after my little cry fest, the Lord placed sweet friends from the States in my life. Oh, is He good. I needed, I mean NEEDED, friends, badly. I celebrated Fourth of July with American missionaries and there saw my sweet friend, Kathryn Smith, from UMHB, and her missionary partner, Abby, from Georgia.
They are doing mission work in Vina del Mar, about an hour and a half away and it was so nice to have friends from the States and the same age as me. We had a chance to go sight seeing around Santiago, since they were visiting for the weekend, which was so wonderful. I had been dying to go see the city and finally had a chance! We explored and watched the championiship of Copa America between Chile and Argentina. Ultimately, Chile won and the city celebrated until morning! Seriously. On my way to the metro that morning, I saw two guys walking home with a tattered Chile flag that looked like it had been in a battle. Chileans know how to celebrate here! Then Sunday was filled with church downtown and more sight seeing.
Kathryn and Abby asked me if I wanted to come visit Viña tomorrow since it was their day off and I immediately said yes! So the next day, I traveled by charter bus to Vina and got to see the Pacific Ocean, eat Peruvian food for the first time (OMG it’s delicious) and do some shopping (YES!). Monday was so delightful and needed. I am so thankful that after some rough weeks, the Lord placed Kathryn and Abby in my life here in Chile. The Lord knew I needed that fellowship and after my time with them, I felt refreshed and ready to conquer this next month.
The rest of the week, I taught at the school, which I am now gaining more confidence in teaching music and it’s actually inspired me to want to get ESL certified and possibly teach English in a Spanish speaking country, but we shall see 🙂 I taught and then was on winter break for two weeks, YAY! Also, what is wonderful is my friend, April. April just arrived here a few days ago and she is also from Champion Forest Baptist back home. I finally have a friend who I can explore with and I am so happy! We’ve already done some exploring and practicing our Spanish with each other. These next two weeks are going to be so great. There are plans to do different things around the city with April and the Pizarros, and we might even get to go skiing in the Andes and visit Argentina! Insert squealing here. Also, we have some plans to go into the town of Los Andes to assist a church on the weekends and work with a group of girls who have been domestically abused. I’m nervous since I don’t have any experience with girls who have been abused but I know that the Lord will give me the words to communicate with them about how loved they are by their Father.
The amount of excitement I have for this month is above and beyond and I’m so thankful that I went through some rough patches in June. April was talking to me about how in the book of James, he went through some trials and tribulations but persevered. As she was talking to me about that, I realized that the book of James in Spanish is Santiago. Oh God, I see what You did there! Things like that are what make this trip what it is. It was rough and I was over it, but then the Lord sends me old and new friends which just fills my heart with joy. This month is going to fly by so quickly and I cannot wait to see what the Lord will teach me in these next couple of weeks. Until then, chao, mis amigos!