I can’t believe my six weeks in Chile are up. I began my trip with so many plans, expectations, hopes and wishes, but it turned out to be an even better experience than I could have ever imagined. Even though a ton of road blocks were thrown in my way (a broken foot for starters), God was still working and moving in everything we did. I have met so many people and built so many friendships and relationships that will last for a lifetime. I never knew six weeks could change me so much.
Staying with Aunt Cinthy and Uncle Cliff was one of my favorite parts of my trip. Even though I knew them from when I was an MK here, I never got to know them as much as I have these past six weeks. They are so sweet, blunt and real, sarcastically sympathetic, full of fun stories and treated me like their own daughter. From the first day I got here, I knew it was going to be fun living with them. When I got hurt, they waited on me hand and foot (pun intended), they affectionately called me Hop Along, brought my coffee and water to the table every morning for breakfast, and took me to all my doctor’s appointments. They selflessly let me stay in their house (and consequently eat all their food), helped me figure out how to use public transportation, answered all of my dumb questions about soccer and the mundial, laughed at my jokes (more because they reminded Aunt Cinthy of my dad than the fact that they were funny) and listened to me ramble about my boring life at the breakfast table. I am really going to miss my missionary “mom” and “dad”.
The Pizzaros are another family that I am blessed to know. On the first day I met them, little Julian and Jojo were waiting for Cliffster on the balcony, and I knew right away fun times were in store with them. From babysitting to soccer games and movie dates to Mexican hotdogs, this family has stolen a part of my heart. I don’t think I’ll be able to say the words “dude” or “nectar” without remembering this sweet sweet family. When I first met Jessica, I knew I would like her because of her warm hug, bright smile and cute clothes, and Julian had me laughing from the start. Sarah, Julian and Jonathan were always keeping me entertained, whether it be teaching me how to play Candy Crush, telling me about everything their parents supposedly do for them (like carry them to bed and take their dirty dishes to the kitchen) or trying to walk around on my crutches. I love my triplets and can’t wait to catch up with the family when they come back to Texas someday!
Elvira y Juan también me impactaron demasiado. El tiempo que pasé en Los Andes me ha cambiado, porque abrieron mis ojos a como debería ser la Iglesia, lo que significa vivir humilde y felizmente, y porque nunca pase un día sin ver el amor de Dios en ellos. Agradezco al Señor por los momentos de risa que tuvimos, por la amistad que compartímos, por la ternura de la Valentina y porque me trataron como su hija. Cada vez que veo a Frozen acordaré de ellos y a mi Olaf chileno (¿y si hacemos un muñecooooo?).
Elvira and Juan also made a great impact on me. The time I spent in Los Andes has changed me because my eyes were opened to see what the Church should look like, what it means to live humbly and happily, and because I never went a day without seeing the love of God in them. I thank the Lord for the laughter we shared, for their friendship, for the sweetness of Valentina and because they treated like their own daughter. I know I will think of them and my Chilean Olaf (¿y si hacemos un muñecooooo?) every time I watch Frozen.
I don’t know what I would have done without having Sarah here. Her friendship has been such a blessing, and I love that I met someone who has the same strange sense of humor, love for healthy eating, desire to serve God and inability to understand Chilean reasoning (like you get bronchitis from being in the cold and bread is healthier than grapes) as I do. I am going to miss our Tuesday lunches of ave palta, empanadas de queso and jugo de frutilla at Los Dominicos, our coffee and ice cream dates, working together at the university, sharing verses that God laid on our hearts that day, and the deep conversations we got into on the micros and metros. I have really enjoyed her sweet personality, sarcastic jokes, brutal honesty and loving heart. Her passion for sharing the Gospel encouraged and motivated me, and I know God is using her to do great work for His kingdom. I never knew how refreshing and wonderful it is to have a friend just as or even more in tune with the Lord until I met Sarah. Te quiero monja! Can’t wait for our food truck date in Dallas.
Griffin is another friend God blessed me with. Even though we only spent a few weekends in Los Andes together, his passion for the Lord, enthusiasm for sharing and desire to serve was contagious. I really enjoyed our long talks about what God is doing in our lives, sharing how much we missed our significant others, and laughing at the “chilenismo” we heard. He is definitely someone who will be used by God no matter where he is, be it in Chile, in the States or wherever else he ends up. The missionaries here are truly blessed to have him.
I am awful at goodbyes, and usually end up in tears, awkwardly telling people I’m going to miss them and hugging way too much. Leaving Chile is hard not only because it’s having to move on to a new chapter in life, but also because I am going to really miss this team I’ve been working with. They were a huge support group when I needed it, willing workers and wise in the Lord. I am so grateful to know that even though this goodbye is hard, I will still get to spend eternity with them, worshiping the God for whom all of this work was done.