|a yummy lunch around the Flinck family table in Antofagasta|
I've written before about Kristi, a lifetime friend of mine, and her family (husband David and children Jordan, Ben, Kaylee and Lucas.) Kristi and I grew up together in Santiago where our parents served under different mission boards and we attended the same school for missionary children from 3rd grade through graduation.
All these years later, God has allowed both of our families to return to Chile as missionaries and specifically to work in northern Chile. As Kristi wrote to me today:
"I'm still amazed at the grace of God in allowing both of us to serve Him in the same country, so close together (distance is relative when you live so far away from everyone else, right?), with our dear husbands and families, in such similar ministries!! Who would have ever thought?... Not even in our wildest dreams."
Don't you just love how God truly does surpass our wildest dreams?? It really is so special and shortly before we left for furlough, we enjoyed a visit from the Flinck family to Iquique in September 2011. Now we have returned from furlough, but it's their turn to depart! (By the way, this is so reminiscent of growing up as a missionary kid. It seemed achingly unfair to leave for a year, only to return and find your friend's family was leaving for their year. But we survived, and thankfully so did our friendship!)
Trying to find a time to connect prior to their leaving was challenging, but thankfully an inexpensive flight opened up which allowed me to travel with Eva and Isabel to Antofagasta this past Thursday through Saturday. (In case you are wondering, it's all of a 35-minute flight!) Truthfully we didn't "do" much during those days with Kristi's family, but the girls enjoyed playing games and watching movies with their kids while Kristi and I (and often David, too) just talked and talked and talked!
It was refreshing to mutually share joys and challenges and dreams for the life and ministry with someone else who really "gets" it. And it was such a blessing to see how God has directed and provided for their ministry in a city even more expensive than Iquique, allowing their mission to purchase a beautiful home in which they live and hold church services and graciously offer hospitality to anyone in need.
What a privilege to have friends such as these, and what a gracious gift from God to have spent this short time together. We look forward to many more Iquique-Antofagasta and Antofagasta-Iquique visits to come!