Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Oh The Places You´ll Go

Before I left for Chile a good friend of mine, Kip, told me to go to Borders and read Dr. Seuss´s "Oh The Places You´ll Go" That was a great read standing there in the isle. As I walked up the hills and valleys in the southern Andes of Chile last week I was often struck with the thought, "Who would have ever guessed I´d end up here.."
The Mapuche are the indegenous people of southern South America. Mapu means land and che means man. And they are a people who´s identity is deeply connected to the land and the araucaria tree. We were told to expect resistance and social problems. They certainly are skeptical, but they should be after hundreds of years fighting for their land and their rights. Meeting the community leader, called the lonco, and hearing his stories and reflections on their lives, goodness, politics and spirituality was an amazing experience. We got permission to show the Jesus film in each of the four communites and showed it in the Mapudugun language.
One day we faced significant spiritual battle and it looked as if we might not be able to show the film or get to the remote houses to meet the families. In the midst of it God continued to give us a love for these poeple that would not quit. It was an emotional experience to see a pickup full of people arrive to the film that evening.
On this first trip we established trust and learned a lot about the people. I hope to return in May before the hard winter sets in with several students. We will follow up with several families that received us well and expressed an openess to the gospel. Pray for Luis and Cresencio's families.