Don't eat food at the bus depot

by CameronM Fri, March 31 2006 22:12

A very long day travelling on a number of buses to make it to Haulpin just after 7pm. We had lunch at a bus depot and I think the food didn't agree with me, as I had to get Yerko to stop the bus while I did a runner into the bushes for a call of nature. Consequently I wasn't feeling the best when I was called on to give my testimony in the evening youth meeting, but I managed to share a little on finding happiness.

We are staying in the house of a couple, who work for OM as missionaries, supporting the local churches and taking young people on short term trips to other South American countries. Again, I was in my little tent, this time next to Rachel and Luke, who also 'camped' upstairs.

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Chile

Refreshing at Saltos del Laja

by CameronM Thu, March 30 2006 22:09

A nice day of rest today. I walked to the falls early after reading some of my LDS notes from the night before.

Yerko and Luke did "conquer the falls" after lunch, I think they are mad, we were all watching, wearing jumpers and really rugged up, while they headed off in swimwear!

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Chile

Saltos del Laja

by CameronM Wed, March 29 2006 22:06

Todey we left San Pedro (via Concepción) and headed to Saltos del Laja, which is a waterfall located near the town of San Rosendo. The place was deserted, as it is getting a little cool for camping and also because schools have just gone back. We had the whole campground to ourselves and were able to make as much noise as we liked.

The waterfall is very impressive, even though it is not the best time of year to view it. Yerko and Luke got soaked when they tried to get as close as possible to the falls. They have vowed to conquer the falls and swim to the very base on Thursday.

At night was sat around the camp fire and started the Life Direction Seminar, which was actually very good. We had done a few hours prior to leaving Santiago, mainly about personality types, but the two sessions at Saltos de Lajo cover things like setting out a Mission Statement for your life and determining what is important. I thought it was great to take some time out and think about what I want to do with my life and how I have been 'wired'.

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Chile

San Pedro Outreach Service (2)

by CameronM Tue, March 28 2006 22:04

Another short prayer walk to the bridge leading from Concepción to San Pedro, then more preparation for the night meeting.

I was teamed up with Yerko for the afternoon door-to-door, which was scary as I knew he would ask me to say something - and he didn't let me down!

Thankfully I was able to ask the questions in English (with Yerko trasnlating of course) and I shared a short testimony with a few people. All in all it was quite good and the afternoon went quickly.

We had a bigger turnout for the night service, thankfully mainly due to visiting members from two sister churches. I got off easy and did not have to do anything tonight, which was nice.

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Chile

San Pedro Outreach Service

by CameronM Mon, March 27 2006 21:59

After a morning prayer walk, we had time to practice our dramas and catch up on our devotions, before heading out in the afternoon to go door-to-door inviting people to the evening meeting.

I teamed up with Claudio, a young man from a sister church, who spoke less English than I spoke Spanish. We managed to communicate enough with shrugs and gestures to get our designated streets finished. Sadly, only 10 people wanted to speak to us and many people did not answer or were not home.

The occupants often have high fences with locked gates and will speak from the front door or via an intercom. The idea was to have the people answer a short questionaire before asking them to come, however most said they had no time to complete a 'religious' questionaire, so we never even got past the front gate.

In the evening we ran a service, but attendence was not surprisingly small. I played in two dramas, which was fun, as at least that way I don't have to share my testimony or anything:)

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Chile

San Pedro (Concepción)

by CameronM Sun, March 26 2006 21:56

An early morning departure from one of three bus terminals in Santiago, but first of all we had to wedge all our gear onto a micro. Thankfully being a Sunday meant that there were only a few people around early in the morning.

It was a six hour bus ride to Concepción, where we met a pastor who drove us to San Pedro in a school mini-van. San Pedro is only about 20 mintutes outside of Concepción, so the trip wastn't too bad.

We were 'camped' out in the loft above the church building. The three single girls in a big tent and myself in a small two-man tent.

Luckily, the married couples were able to bunk down in two brand new offices the pastor had constructed just for the occasion.

Although we were all wasted from the trip, our first service was at 7pm and we had to take the whole church service. The church is very small, only about 20 people, so at least we didn't feel too intimidated.

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Chile

Preparing to head south

by CameronM Sat, March 25 2006 21:54

After a day organising the last minute things for our trip south, we headed to Yerko and Corine's house, which is located about 30 minutes away by micro. They live in a very nice apartment complex, with a security guard and green common areas. Their 2 bedroom, plus study apartment is modern and has a great view to the nearby mountains.

In the evening we headed to the church where Yerko and Corine go and attended a youth meeting. We have all been practicing dramas and sharing testimonies, so as a group we are all able to do something when asked.

Lise and I did a short "Cultural Greetings" drama, in which we shake hands and greet according to the custom of a number of countries, such as Russia and China. All this has to be done in time with the music, but we have rehersed half a dozen times and know it very well now.

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Chile

Hogar de niños

by CameronM Thu, March 23 2006 21:52

This morning we prepared some craft activities, games and a drama for our afternoon visit to a nearby Hogar de niños (Home for Boys). The boys, aged between 4 and 18 all come from high risk families and live the whole week at the home and return to their parents on the weekend. The parents can be alcoholics, prostitutes or just unable to provide a caring and safe environment for the boys.

The home is a little rundown and the boys are dirty and smelly, so you can imagine what their real home must be like if this is deemed better.

We had bought food for a 'party' including cakes, the boys could decorate with cream and smarties, as well as a number of packets of cookies and several bottles of soft drink. As yuo can imagine with this sugar rush, we were not worrying too much about nutrition or health.

After the party food, Rachel and Luke performed a short skit entitled 'The Hello Skit', where they act like clowns fooling around saying hello to each other.

We then started on a craft activity where the boys had to decorate some blank people with crape paper and coloured pencils. From what I could gather from the Spanish woman from OM who did a brief talk to the boys, the idea was that all people, whatever the colour of their skin or where they come from are equal. This would no doubt have two important messages, firstly that they are not inferior and secondly that we are not to be looked upon as something special.

Yerko had mentioned that many Chileans, even in the church, see themselves as second rate and rely on support from foreign missionaries. Yerko and Corine, along with OM Chile, are trying to impress upon them that it doesn't matter where you come from, you are not exempt from serving.

The boys really loved the craft and although we had been warned of their short attention span, many of them were tirelessly working on their masterpieces for ages. I sat next to a couple of boys and used my Spanish colours and clothing names as best I could to help them. One little boy wanted his person to wear the same clothes as mine, which was so cute.

When we had finally dragged the last of them away from their work, we had a game of football (soccer) to burn off some of the sugar we had given them to eat. It was a very close game and I think Yerko's team was cheating, but in the end, my team showed it's true colours and put through several unanswered goals. Sadly, the last goal was scored against me, while I was in goal, but luckily this is not Brasil or Colombia, because an 'own goal' there can get you killed.

We were all worn out by the time we left and I think the boys and the staff really appreciated that we had come along. It was a great day.

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Chile

Hitting the streets of Valpo and Viño

by CameronM Wed, March 22 2006 23:23

Today was the 'work' day of the trip to Viño and after breakfast we headed to the beach in pairs, armed with tracts and information booklets (all in Spanish of course). I had read through a few of the story booklets and tried to understand the contents of them, with titles like 'Pepe is Bad' and 'The Contract', I wanted to make sure I wasn't handing out complete rubbish.

Down on the beach, I teamed up with Spanish speaking Yerko and was relieved when he asked me to simply speak in English when we approached the people, so that it would get there attention and he could then speak to them about their beliefs.

We had quite a long talk to an elderly lady and then handed out a few more tracts before heading to the meeting place. From there, we were able to see one man reading the information Yerko gave him and after a time, Yerko went to speak to him. He turned out to be a Christian struggling with some issues, so it was great Yerko could talk to him and encourage him.

For lunch we headed into Valparaiso for a typical Chilean meal, which consisted of a layer a fries, a layer of onion and topped with a layer of diced beef. You could feel your arteries clogging just looking at it. It was everything you shouldn't eat, but actually tasted pretty nice, although I would have liked some ketchup to give it more flavour.

Back on the street and wanting to burn off some of the meal, we hit the hills of Valpo. We were lucky to see two massive cruise ships in the harbour, one of them the massive Queen Mary 2. From the hills, you were almost at eye level with the top of the ship, which I guessed was taller than the 8-10 storey buildings around the port.

Late in the afternoon we boarded our bus back to Santiago and a well deserved rest. We were all tired and a little sunburnt, but I think we all had a great time.

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Chile

Surfing Viño del Mar

by CameronM Tue, March 21 2006 23:20

Up with the sparrows today, as we headed off to Viño del Mar. The hour and a half bus ride, on a very nice tourist bus, flew by and we were soon in Viño, checking into our hotel before boarding a local bus to the nearby beach of Reñaca. We were booked in for surfing lessons at 11am and our leaders were concerned as the we were running about 15 minutes late. They should not have worried though, as the instructor was tyically latin, and was just starting to get things organised.

We were bundled into two cars for the 'interesting' drive to the beach. I say interesting because, not only did our driver spend most of the journey looking up numbers on a mobile phone and dialing them on another, but at the sign of any woman, both the driver and assistant would hang out the window or honk the horn. This, however is not a new thing, as the girls from the language school complained all the time about being yelled at from cars, having people try and grab their butts and a variety of other things.

Once in the water, the journey was forgotten, partly because even in a full wetsuit, the water was freezing and partly because we were having a ball. The guys had given us really big, stable boards so that I was even able to stand on the very first wave. I think everyone in the group was able to stand, at least briefly, by the end of the two hour class.

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Chile