We're back from the OCC trip to Chile!
There's so much to say, I doubt one blog will suffice. Let me first say that Chile is a beautiful country. As most people know, it is long and thin - it's got the Andes mountains on one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other side. Throughout the week, it struck most of us that Chile is sort of like Canada. Chile is a wealthy country by Latin American standards, although there is much poverty still, a lot of hidden poverty. But the amazing part was the hospitality of the people throughout the country.
We were hosted by Operation Christmas Child's National Leadership Team in Chile. There is an NLT for each country in which shoeboxes are distributed. This team was composed of four fabulous people whose smiles and hugs I miss already. Their passion for the work of Operation Christmas Child is so strong... they work tirelessly to make sure that local churches are trained for the distributions, and they arrange for all the boxes to arrive and be transported within Chile. These are pastors who aren't even paid for the work they do, in many circumstances. Yet they gave of their hearts and of their time to serve us. They hosted us, gave us a place to stay, people to cook for us... they smiled all day long, prayed for us, and put up with our (really weak) Spanish. We couldn't have asked for a better "family" to meet.
I want to share a story with you all. Three or four weeks ago, the three-year-old daughter of one of the pastors on the NLT was in a car accident. Actually, she was run over by a car while her parents were preparing to start the church service that day... it was her third birthday. Her family found her on the road with some rather awful injuries to her head. Her forehead was completely torn, her nose was crushed... but by the grace of God, miraculously she survived and recovered incredibly well. She had surgeries to repair the damage and she has some (barely noticeable) scars ... but for the most part she is a happy, cute little girl who you wouldn't know was in an accident at all. She has some mood issues and suffers from some nightmares where she remembers the accident - but wow - I can't believe how God has healed her. It's truly amazing.
I'll share more soon... when I get my thoughts together! Hasta luego...