Friday, June 25, 2010

Kit Delivery #2

Travis Kisamore, Christian Cruz Gil, the Mayor of Pelluhue, and Dustin
meeting at the mayor's office to discuss further aid.

Having received $5000 in funds to equip the shelters of displaced victims of the February earthquake and tsunami, we were able to assemble 20 kits including: two-plate cooking stove, propane tank, regulator hose, kitchen cabinet, fold-away kitchen table, four stacking stools, two shelves, 6 place settings of plates, silverware, glasses, teacups, a teapot, 3-piece cooking utensil set, and a set of pots and pans (each kit costing $200 USD).

The families were so excited at the unexpected blessing. Some just remarked over and over "I can't believe this". Toys were also distributed to the little ones. Thanks to all who made this possible; you've truly blessed these families!

Installing a fold-away table in a media agua (shelter).

American "Son" with his Chilean "Papi" : ). These two work
so well together, making all the cabinets, shelves, and tables.

Distributing kits in Pellhue.

No more cooking over coals in a pot in the rain! The residents
were thrilled!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Visitor

It was a few weeks ago when we heard him speak. He was sharing at the church started by our Chilean friends Eduardo and Juanita in Alerce, a low-income housing project. With passion and courage he encouraged, exhorted, and spoke to our hearts about a big God who loved us dearly and was able and willing to help us change. As we sat freezing in the community hall where the congregation meets, I was struck by the conviction that this man needed to come speak to our rowing youth Bible study.

He did so a few hours ago, and I know very well why the Lord put that on my heart. He shared his testimony which I will sum up in brief.

Marcelo and his brothers (4 in total) lost their father to a car wreck at a young age. Their mother never recovered from the shock and abandoned the children with a grandmother. They were abused by family members and called the "cursed orphans". Filled with anger and in desperate need of love, they joined street gangs, Marcelo eventually leading "Los Golpes" (the punches), a bandito of 40 men. They robbed, assaulted, and kept a steady flow of drugs and alcohol flowing.

In and out of prison (where he was interrogated and tortured!) but never changing his ways, he finally ended up again behind bars. He thought of his poor grandmother, then 80 years old, and how heartbroken this would make her. The thought came to him, "But why don't I ever think of her when I'm out and doing all this bad stuff?" He said a prayer, "Lord, if you exist, if you get me out of here, I'll serve you".

He received a phone call. He was being released!

He was so happy to be free that he totally forgot his promise, until an uncle who had come to the Lord asked him to come to church with him. That uncle died soon after and a voice said to Marcelo "I have the power to save life and to take it". He knew the Lord was speaking to him, and he started to go to church.

Guys at the church invited him to come play the bongos in their band. He'd never touched a drum in his life, but enjoyed learning some basic beats. They asked if he'd come with them where they went to perform. He agreed, happy. He asked where they go.


"How could I go there in a suit and tie and play in a worship band in front of my friends and relatives in the prison?!", he worried. "But, I went and you know, they came up to me afterwards saying 'You've made a good decision, brother', they were happy for me, and I knew I could not be ashamed anymore".

He shared about how different people took him under their wings, how he learned more about the Bible, learned how to talk with God and live right. He challenged all of us to walk in His will, to trust Him, to wait for God's choice when it comes to marriage, buying a home, friendships, etc. The youth were completely engaged.

He closed with, "How can you doubt that God loves you when He takes people from other nations...takes them away from their families, their friends, their culture, and brings them here to tell you about Jesus? How can you doubt that He's thinking of you! Worried for you! Think of it!"

He spoke to our hearts; God really blessed our time together.

I am so grateful for our visitor this evening!

Your Most Devoted, Sarah