June 2012: Compassionate Caring
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience…Colossians 3:12
Alejandra has a dream. Every day she seeks to make a difference in someone´s life even if it is in a small way. The dream began when Alejandra was a toddler and bumped into a kerosene stove while playing. Within a few seconds she had suffered burns on most of her abdomen, leg and arm. She spent many days throughout her early childhood in the hospital recovering from multiple operations. At a very young age, Alejandra decided she would find a way to help other people.
On the morning after the February 2010 earthquake and tsunami in Chile, Alejandra, now a nurse and first aid facilitator at the Shalom Center, went to Dichato, a fishing and tourist village where her father pastors a church. Climbing over mounds of debris, carefully avoiding pits of water left by the five immense waves that flowed one after the other over Dichato, she found the little mission church still standing among the piles of cars, washing machines, beds and refrigerators. None of the homes of the members of the church remained.
Later that day, Alejandra was finally able to find the sisters and brothers of the church. They were up in the hills preparing to camp, not only homeless but fearful of the constant earth tremors. Alejandra went right to work. First she organized the church to provide aid in the immediate needs of dry clothing, food, clean drinking water, first aid, and shelter. Then, Alejandra began to think about how to care for the emotional trauma of not only of those from Dichato but also in the other towns and villages in the area. Alejandra had been certified in trauma healing and resilience just a few weeks before the earthquake, but she wanted to find a way to connect her medical training as a nurse to the spiritual and emotional wounds of the people around her.
Thanks to a scholarship provided by the Shalom Center and the Brookfield Institute, Alejandra was able to travel to Massachusetts for two weeks of specialized training in massage and trauma healing. She returned to Tomé and Dichato and is ministering to many children, youth and adults that continue to suffer the long term effects of the disaster. Alejandra is fulfilling her dream. She is making a difference.
We pray that our dreams of making a difference can be made our life’s reality and that our example, like Alejandra’s will let others know of our faith in our God of love.
Elena Huegel, Global Ministries missionary, serves the Pentecostal Church of Chile (IPC) as an environmental and Christian education specialist at the Shalom Center and to other Latin American countries.