Holding hands in a circle and singing out the Hebrew words “Shalom chaverim”, to the starlight sky in Resistencia, Argentina, I look around at our group, bundled up in the winter air with hats and scarves, our eyelids heavy with sleep after a busy four days of games, crafts, workshops and singing. Flags from many nations decorate the patio and cultural costume items are strewn on the surrounding tables, flat brimmed hats from dancing the Chilean cueca and the Paraguayan polka, guitars and song books from singing Puerto Rican melodies and a pretend fireplace used in a skit of telling Argentine one-liners.Read more
(by M.C.E.P as shared with Elena Huegel)
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
My healing process began in 2010. I was finishing my last year of college and travelled to the Shalom Center for the first trauma healing and resilience development workshop.Read more
The theme at the Shalom Center this last summer (January to March in the southern hemisphere) was traveling along the Pan American highway that stretches from Canada 30,000 miles south to Argentina with a small gap in Central America. We have been reflecting on the signposts, markers and city names as symbols of the guidance of God in the voyage of our lives. The small group Bible study areas have been names with villages and towns in Chile that are along the highway: Nueva Esperanza (“New Hope”), Tolerancia (“Tolerance”), Peor es nada (“Better Than Nothing”) have become our meeting places. In the middle of the camp season, I had to take a trip along a road feeding into the Pan American highway and I made a wrong turn in the village of La Huerta (“The Orchard”). As soon as I made the turn, I knew I was heading in a direction different from the one I wanted to get back on the Pan American highway, so I began looking for a place to turn around. In the process, I spotted a young man by the side of the road in front of me. He must have been about 13 or 14 years old, sitting all alone in a patch of morning sunlight that made his blue wheelchair glisten. He looked at me intently, with a warning or surprised look on his face, as I drove slowly past and straight into a steep dead end where I could barely turn around. After some maneuvering to avoid the barbed wire, the steep gulley, a light post and someone's carefully tended bed of flowers, I got the car turned around and stopped, facing the young man again. From this new perspective, I could see he was sitting directly under a red "Pare" or stop sign! Since the signpost was facing the dead end, and unseen from the main highway, I had driven right past it. And I stopped. I turned off the car and I looked and listened. All summer we had been talking about watching out for the signs. The young man under the stop sign looked back at me bemused - I am sure I was his morning entertainment! If only I had looked backwards, or at least glanced in my rearview mirror, maybe I would have stopped to heed the young man's warning look. Before turning on the motor again and heading back to the Pan American highway, I remembered the song my four year old nephew, Joel, used to sing to me...Read more
This Chilean dish is from the Island of Chiloé in southern Chile. It is usually made with fresh or frozen salmon, but other fish may also be used. The important thing is to include the sausage, cheese, tomatoes, oregano and lime.Read more
This is an introduction to Christmas during a South American summer while poking a little fun at the globalization of Santa.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Exodus 1:8–2:10
Prayers for Chile:
As we remember the midwives who saved the Hebrew babies from the Egyptians, we remember the young women of the Pentecostal Church of Chile who are working hard to finish their university studies and dedicate their professions to healing and change in their families, communities, churches and country. We pray for the teachers, nurses, accountants, engineers, lawyers, family counselors, agronomists and other women professionals who have grown up in the church and who, through their participation in the Shalom Center (a peace education, environmental education and spiritual development project of the Pentecostal Church of Chile), have committed themselves to building up God’s kingdom of shalom. May the Lord give these young women professionals of Chile the courage, wisdom and shrewd intelligence of the Hebrew midwives to face the systems of oppression and bring about the transformation of this land.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Chile:
I close my eyes and I see a living sculpture created by young women from Chile, Argentina, Paraguay and Mexico which represents “breaking free” from the generational oppression inherited from the dictatorships in each of their countries. During the Roots in the Ruins: hope in trauma course, these young women have discussed Elijah’s experiences through the lens of trauma, have identified posttraumatic responses in themselves, their families, communities, churches and countries, and have determined that it is time to “break free” from aggressive and depressive cycles. This week, as I sat around the table with another group of young women, this time Chileans and Mexicans, they remembered a song that they learned from a delegation of women pastors from the Disciples and UCC churches who visited the Shalom Center. They laughed and flexed their muscles as they broke into: “I am strong, I am invincible, I am WOMAN!” by Helen Reddy! As I continue to travel through South America, I am grateful to each of you who make it possible for young women to take these courses, develop resilience, and become God’s instrument of change.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Elena Huegel)
Mission Partners in Chile:
- Communidad Teologica Evangelica de Chile (CTE)
- Fundación Educación Popular en Salud (EPES)
- Iglesia Pentecostal de Chile (IPC)
More information on Chile:
Global Ministries Missionary in Chile:
Elena Huegel, a member of Iglesia Cristiana Ebenezer, Los Fresnos, Texas, serves the Pentecostal Church of Chile (IPC). She is an environmental and Christian education specialist.
This work is supported by Our Church’s Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts.