(Note: We are in the beginning stages of earnestly seeking a location for a proposed crisis pregnancy center and family counseling ministry in Iquique. Recently we visited the "perfect" location, only to find a story waiting to be told.)
Whatever I had expected, it certainly wasn't her.
A slender, pale woman with hair dyed but fading, she was coiffed and elegantly dressed in a demure dark suit and polished heels. She was somewhat soft-spoken and nervous; almost awkward, yet conversely knowledgeable and firm. She wasted no time on pleasantries but swept us immediately into and through the property we had come to inspect. Every detail of its history was personal to her: it was her family home, built by concrete blocks she, her brother and parents had themselves fabricated by hand. The house was inaugurated on Chile's fateful 11th of September 1973, she told us and along the way she added that it was but one of many properties their family had owned throughout the city of Iquique. None were purchased from banks and never did they miss a payment so as to jeopardize their ownership; it was not in their nature as Croatians, she said.
She was obviously proud of her heritage, mentioning several times that they were original immigrants, descendants of Croations, and very religious as their heritage dictated. No one had died in this house, she informed us, and after every new tenant the priest had been called to purify it from any lingering uncleanness. Christ on the cross hung in every room, and it was a house of prosperity. It we were to buy it, we would certainly prosper as her family had done. Not one word was coated with sugar or salesmanship; it was simply her sincere understanding of the world in which she lived.
Unfortunately, her world has no room for recent immigrants and she regretfully shared her views on a past president's opening the borders and allowing the newest wave of "delinquents" to enter the city of Iquique. "It's best to pretend they don't exist," she said earnestly, "and to simply pray, all the time." Little did she know that those very people are ones for whom Christ died to save and we seek to reach through this ministry!
We departed with mixed emotions. The property in almost every way was "perfect" for the future crisis pregnancy/family counseling ministry we envision. The cost was fair by Iquique standards. The owner created in us compassion and concern. So very different from many of the future clients we might entertain there, yet equally lost and alone. There is a tremendous work to be done. Only GOD knows how and when and where He will allow it to take place. Please pray for us!
|the location we are dreaming of for the center (priced at 140 million CLP or $238,000 USD)|