Monday, December 26, 2005

Look! I caught a polar bear! Posted by Picasa
Some crazy gringo on Osorno. Posted by Picasa
Sophia and her doll at Volcan Osorno. Posted by Picasa

Rock and Ice and Everything Nice

Dear Friends,

Hope this finds you all contentedly filled with christmas cookies and donning your latest snowflake sweater from Aunt Mabel...

Well, we´ve started a new Christmas tradition! We were determined to find some snow on Christmas and so drove to the nearest volcano...of course. Volcan Osorno is quite dormant and topped with a generous helping of blinding white snow. It was admittedly odd to hike in scorching sun, through thirsty crisp volcanic gravel, being dive-bombed incessantly by biting flies of some sort, in order to reach it, but it was worth it. Some of us sled down the slopes on trash can lids, some just did a free-fall belly flop. I free-styled, using the edge of my boots as a "snowboard", I jumped and sliced my way down.

The best was running down the volcano. Due to the spongy-sinking nature of the loose gravel, you could run straight down the mountain in "full-bore-linear-panic", flying and plunging your foot falls, only to fly and plunge with greater velocity. Come to think of it, we must have looked hilarious, a bunch of gringos galloping down the mountain, arms swinging like helicopters to compensate for our legs´wide sprints, throwing up clouds of ash in our wake. Funnier still as we hit hard pack and couldn´t stop ourselves, no longer aided by the cushiony nature of the loose gravel. It went from "Oh..hee hee hee...I´m flying!" to "Oh...yeah I´m not going to stop any time soon." We all got down nicely, batting at the flies and sunburnt, sweaty and happy.

The kids enjoyed their presents; Sophia got a little wool doll, a set of wooden kitchen tools just her size, and a batch of homemade playdough. Edison got a lambskin rug to lay on. We had no where to lay him down before where he wouldn´t smack his chubby face on the wood floor. Now he is a happy man.

In the evening we made chocolate-chip cookies, read the account of Christ´s birth, and prayed together, thanking the Lord for His precious gift to us. My hope is that you all were likewise blessed as you remembered and celebrated Christ´s birth. Blessings!


Thursday, December 22, 2005

He´s the strong, silent type. Posted by Picasa
two cheesy grins in Bariloche, Argentina Posted by Picasa
Wuv....twoo wuv... Posted by Picasa

The Ridiculous Joy

A hearty "hello!" from southern Chile! Christmas is fast upon us, it´s basically caught me unawares. It´s hard to think Christmasy-snowy-cozy thoughts when roses are blooming and we can stop splitting firewood for heat. Sophia and I did manage to make scads of sand tarts and dough ornaments though. We hung the ornaments on our branch. Yes, branch. Anyway, I must be in the truer Christmas spirit, my mind is on the Christ child.

Emmanuel, God with us. Vulnerable, small, like Edison. Wow. Also Big, Vast, Creator! Like the Grand Canyon squeezed into a shoe box. In every way a contradiction, an irony, something we wouldn´t expect. Not the way we would have written it.

Joy pounds away at my consciousness, the music of my lover! He loves me, delights in me, rejoices over me with singing!! But for the skin of this world, face to face with Him! To think He actually came among men, ate, drank, slept. Such bigness in voluntary union with such smallness. Definitely not what we would expect.

Forgive my rambling, I am caught up!


Monday, December 19, 2005

Bariloche, Argentina Posted by Picasa
At the cathedral in Bariloche, Argentina Posted by Picasa
Bariloche, Argentina Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Here´s us at Viña del Mar. Our cabin is up on the right. Posted by Picasa

Row Row Row Your Boat...

Greetings All!
Well, southern Chile is making a valiant effort to muster up some warmer days as we approach summer. I´m still trying to orient myself around the seasonal shift- it´s just weird to make Christmas ornaments in the spring.
Our Thanksgiving was fun and had all the fixings, save cranberry sauce. We even had "pumpkin" pie made from a local type of squash. But it was after dinner, when the sleepy-belly-full-of-turkey-syndrome was just kicking in in earnest, that the excitement began.
Two of the Hostetter´s (our coworkers) children were thirteen hours drive away up north at the national rowing finals. The father, Mike, had just talked to the coach on the phone and learned that Jordan and Deborah had qualified. The idea started to circulate how neat it would be to see the kids race. With one hours notice, Dustin and I with the Edison and Sophia, Mike, and three of the YES team members were packed in the van and heading up north.
We arrived the next morning, to the surprise and delight of the kids, and got to see them compete. Jordan got second in his race, and Deborah did well too. Mike got us hooked up with a sweet cabin right along the coast in Viña del Mar to spend the night. It was breathtaking, the waves were huge and crashed on the rocks beneath our place. We enjoyed a picnic on the beach and watched the sun go down. Sophia ran around, running from the surf and squealing. Edison dipped his fist in the sand and got a nice mouthful.
As we drove home the next day, we saw the beautiful grape orchards and winerys that butted up against and in some places climbed the Andes´steep slopes. I was struck by how beautiful and quaint the houses were. Even the poorest home had a veranda with a roof of grapevines over it. And the heat was a far cry from the wet, windy, chilly weather of Puerto Montt. All in all, it was a wonderful trip, a time of refreshment.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Puerto Vares Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What is this? Some famous artist�s profound work? No, Sophia did it! I call it "Potty Training Angst in Green".


Saturday, November 19, 2005


We just got back from a walk along the was an interesting time. We ate our packed lunch of bread, oranges, and granola bars on the sea wall. Then we meandered through the downtown area, buying some bananas and some cotton yarn for crocheting, and of course, some maní confitado (candied nuts) from a street vendor. I was approached by a gypsy woman with the offer of my fortune read. She looked as though her life had been very hard. The few teeth she had were brown and broken, and her clothing was ragged and dirty. I told her that I had God in my heart, and didn´t need my fortune read. She replied, "Oh, of course, everybody has God in their hearts.." and went on to say how things in this life and people in this life cause bad things to happen (evidently as proof that we need some extra help from magic). I then emphasized, "No...I have Jesus in my life." Her eyes sparked and she smiled, "Ah! Tú eres evangelista!" (Oh, you´re an evangelist!). I nodded. She then asked that I would pray for the healing of her daughter. I said I would and we shared a tight hug.
It just occured to me as I wrote this last paragraph that God may be trying to tell me something. Last night we had one of a series of meetings with Antonio Ulboa, an EMM worker down here for a week, with the church here in our home. Eduardo and Juanita and their two children arrived early as a meeting they were going to go to first was postponed. They showed up wet and eagerly accepted the invitation to have some food and hot drinks. While they ate I dried their jackets and the little girl´s clothes in the dryer. Much later, when our meeting was done and they were getting ready to head out in the rain to catch the ferry back to their island, Eduardo shook my hand, hugged me, and told me that "I had the heart of an evangelist". What? For serving some food and drying some clothes?
When I think of an evangelist, I can´t help but picture Benny Hinn, and that is an image I cringe at. I´d like your feedback, what is an evangelist? Is it someone so consumed with the conversions of others that it drives them to door knocking and street preaching? Or is it the by-product of living a life of transparency and service? What do you think?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


A photo from Dustin´s trip in the Andes.

Over the River

Hey Friends,
More adventures...Dustin had a great trip hiking in the Andes. He and Michael (our fellow missionary) and Eduardo (our fellow Chilean missionary) took a four day boat and backpack trip up in to the mountains to visit and encourage the isolated believers in those areas. For many of the people this is their only fellowship with other believers, and for some, this is their only exposure to the good news of Christ. The guys were always asked to come in to the homes, drink maté (an herbal drink passed around in a common gourd), and eat bread fried in pig fat. Then they mostly listened to and prayed for the people.

So where was I? Turning green with envy at home with the kids! But, big smile here, I´ll be going along next time, because the weather will be warmer for the kiddos so we´ll be able to camp outside of the homes (the homes are too small for such a large group). I´m very excited to go! The next outreach is to the islands sometime next week.

¡Estoy felíz porque mí español es un poco mejor cada día! In other words, my spanish is getting better. Dustin is improving too, the man can´t not talk. It´s against his nature.

So, anyways, I wanted to post our info. Our mailing address is: Dustin and Sarah Gingrich c/o Mike Hostetter, Casilla 760, Puerto Montt, Chile. And make the 7 with a slash through the middle or else they´ll think it´s a one! Our phone number is: 56-65-27-4476. Miss you all!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bread and Coffee

Dear Friends,
Why bread and coffee? Because I´ve never had quite so much in my young life. Our days here in Puerto Montt are lleno de cafecitos (full of coffee breaks). Bread and coffee for breakfast, bread and coffee at ten and two and four and eight and any other time you please. And of course, with lunch (the main meal) and dinner (which is a glorified cafecito). Well, I suppose there´s more to share than our cafecito schedule...
Wow, this first week was so hard! Here are my rants, the raves will follow. It´s very cold. Very very cold and the only heat is from the woodstove in the living room. My kiddos were shivering as I dressed them. We live with a Chilean family in the apartment because their house isn´t finished which means that the already complex dynamics of cross-cultural communication are magnified by the intricacies of living together. We have one room to ourselves, and even this is not sacred domain to children meandering through. We struggle to communicate properly. Upon hearing our broken Spanish, one member of the house church asked bluntly, ´¨Why did they come?¨"
Now...the raves. The son of Eduardo and Juanita (the couple that live with us) calls me "tia" which means auntie. It blesses me tremendously. Juanita is an islander with a heart of gold and is very patient with me as I try to communicate. It´s beautiful here. The Andes are breath-taking and it´s so green. I´ve learned to love and crave the simple bread and coffee breaks. We´ve also learned to like "mate" which is a drink made of herbs. It´s passed person to person in a little wooden cup on a stand. When you´ve sipped the liquid through the metal straw you refill it with hot water and sugar and pass it on (the herbs stay in the cup to be reused). So fun. My biggest rave: God has been so near. Praise be to God!!!!!!
What are we doing? We are helping and learning. Dustin is helping Eduardo finish his house and fixing random plumbing issues. I am cooking and baking and spending time with Juanita, using my Spanish. I also am going to be helping a university student in my women´s Bible study with her English. Mostly I´m herding my children, I mean, taking care of my kids.
Blessings to all of you,
May Christ be near,
Love, Sarah

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Our Family of Four

Here We Go

Dear Friends,
Well, we are living amidst a herd of boxes at present, cowering beneath their intimidating presence. We are quickly filling Great Aunt Mary's basement with our worldly possessions (why do we always call them "worldly", what would be the alternative, "otherworldly"?). I like her high-pitched exclamations of "how in the world could all of this have come from that little house?". You don't think you have much until it looms in stacks and stacks.
These last few weeks have been, well, rottenly busy and stressful. It gets to all of us, all the packing, good-byeing, sorting, in short, all the transition. Sophia is probably wondering where Mommy's horns and pointy tail came from (and how to rid me of them). I came apart a few days ago- I layed despondent and weeping on our bathroom floor (I like to be dramatic when I'm sad), and Dustin came in (he's used to my drama) and simply laid his hands on me and prayed. Such a simple thing, he prayed for peace in our home and in our hearts in this time. Whaddayaknow, it worked. How we forget that God loves to be invited into the "ordinary" in our lives, I don't know. His "divine interference" is what we often can look back on with such gratitude and yet fail to project onto current and future worries and cares.
I've been asked of late whether I feel "ready" for Chile. I have no answer for that. My readiness for anything is rather more immediate in nature. "I'm ready for dessert", "I'm ready to pack the linens", "I'm ready to throw packing peanuts at my husband" and the like. I'll let you know later if I was "ready".
So, we leave Friday, the 30th for Puerto Montt, Chile. Your prayers are coveted and appreciated!
Love In Christ,
Sarah Lenora Gingrich

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Puerto Montt, Chile
Dear Friends,

Well, it seems that I have succumbed to the whiles of the digital age. Here's my blog. It will mostly contain poetry and brief updates on what we're up to. Pictures will be forthcoming, they challenge my technology-impaired self as of now. But, I give myself credit-I didn't even know what a blog was until a month ago, HA! Blessings!

"Bid Me Come" a poem

Bid Me Come
by: Sarah Gingrich
Away from prying eyes
I wish to walk
Wish to walk.
Away from prying eyes for to see
The beauty in the Quiet.
Yes, the beauty in the Quiet
Where water, tree, and
shadow bid me come.