We got no packing done today. Not a box. And that is enough to send my stomach into knots except that regardless, today was a good day. It was a full day. And it was a day spent with my loves.
Pedro headed out very bright and early to arrive a vehicle body shop by 8:00 A.M. The windshield on our minivan has a long crack 3/4 of the way across, and we cannot pass inspection without it being replaced. However, the metal frame around the windshield is rusting and we cannot replace the windshield without first repairing the frame. (What comes first, the chicken or the egg? I digress.) Last week, he was given a quote of 160,000 pesos (close to $250 USD) for the frame repair without counting the cost of the windshield.
Today's body shop was our last resort for a better price, and thankfully they offered to do the frame job for only 50,000 pesos (around $75 USD.) Ministry opportunities come at unique times, and this morning the family who runs the business asked Pedro to come into their office and pray for them. As a result, he also was able to ask some questions about their spiritual background and encourage them to renew their commitment. Always expect the unexpected!
By 9:00 A.M. he returned home only to depart again, this time taking me, Owen, Silas and Isabel. On Mondays and Fridays our friend Elisa comes to do homeschool with Ian and Alec, so we left them studying hard and Eva preparing to tackle algebra. The purpose of our trip was a 9:30 A.M. doctor's appointment for Isabel. It was a marvelous example of a TII (This Is Iquique) moment when Isabel and I hurried into the building, rode the elevator to the 10th floor, stepped out the sliding doors five minutes past our appointment time ... into a completely dark waiting room. We beat both the receptionist and the doctor into the office!
Eventually we did see the doctor and upon conclusion returned to the street corner where Pedro had dropped us off and where we regularly purchase homemade chicken salad sandwiches on fresh marraquetas for the equivalent of $1.50 USD. We discovered these during my all-too-frequent visits to the doctor's office and blood lab during my pregnancy with Silas, and have been faithful customers ever since! With belated breakfast in hand, Isabel and I walked several blocks to the park where via Whatsapp we managed to uncross wires of confusion regarding our pick up location, with Owen happily acting as Daddy's mouthpiece. (I chuckle when I write "managed to uncross wires" because that park is yet another TII poster child with an astonishing tangle of electric coils just dangling over the sidewalk waiting for an accident to happen!)
Crossing town for a second time this morning, Pedro dropped off the kids, picked up his computer, and the two of us again headed downtown. After multiple circles looking for parking, he dropped me off at FLORECE while he continued the search. Since it was not a workday at the center, the plan was for me to catch up on paperwork and Pedro to prepare his Sunday School lesson in the quiet office. Unfortunately, despite driving several times through the nearby intersection without a working streetlight it didn't dawn on me that the electricity might be cut at FLORECE as well. Another TII moment - thankfully, the computers were charged!
An hour or so later, the power did return and it was just in time for the first of two FaceTime calls I would receive from my sister Jennifer in Pennsylvania. Today, along with my mom and a realtor, she was scheduled to visit two houses for sale. The long story short is that Pedro and I are praying about purchasing a multi-family property near my parents, one which will allow us to rent out a part of it to cover mortgage and reserve another part for our family or either of my two sisters' families to use while on our furloughs. It is a big, scary, exciting decision and we appreciate our family stateside investing time and energy into this search on our behalf! The second house today was a great possibility but we need wisdom as we carefully consider all ramifications and financial considerations. The most urgent need for this house currently relates to my oldest sister Terri and her family who are on pre-field ministry and recently had to relinquish their rental home due to the owner's son returning. In August, they will need a place to stay and we are hoping that somehow we can have a property in place to receive them.
Just an interesting tidbit. In Chile, there is a saying that when you take a spill or a fall somewhere, you "bought the terrain" or "bought the house." My darling mother unfortunately did fall at the second and preferred property while climbing up the steep cellar steps. We all concluded that it would be oh-so-nice if this particular Chilean saying would really come true!
Our long-distance tour ended just in time to transfer Elisa from our house to her next job and Owen from our house to his weekly discipleship with his MK "cousin" Josh Spink. Then, having been gone all morning and with no lunch prepared, we piled the rest of the gang in the van and headed to the food court in the mall. Much to the surprise and delight of Ian and Alec, their parents actually caved to their pleas and purchased a few minutes of playing time on a Happyland card. Silas was happy to join in the entertainment, and Mommy and the girls were glad to escape on a shopping expedition meanwhile. The goal was to find the boys matching shirts for Saturday's upcoming prayer card pictures shoot, but sadly we were unsuccessful. (We did find a pair of sandals at 70% off for Silas to wear in the States in summertime, so all was not completely lost!)
And again we went home. Our kids then turned around and promptly left, walking to the neighborhood park and participating in an after-school exercise class with a PE teacher and a group of students they had happened to see walk by our front gate. Stretching out on the couch for a little rest turned into a full-fledged nap for me when they took their time returning (which could be why it is 2:00 A.M. and I am up writing this post!)
Quickly the evening progressed and kids returned, showers were taken, once was eaten, Silas was successfully entertained through bathtime by brother Ian and rocked to sleep by sister Eva, and family devotions were held. On Sunday a visiting preacher spoke about the testimony of Apollos in Acts chapter 18, and we returned to those verses to discuss how qualities of Apollos' life could also be applicable and important to our own. Knowing the Scriptures, having a bold witness, being teachable, seeking to bless and encourage others, and remaining humble were among the topics we discussed and I hope were a challenge to each of us. The kids were attentive listeners and we closed our time in prayer for the house decision and especially for Aunt Terri and Uncle Dave at this transition time.
Finally, we cuddled on the two couches and watched a favorite family show together. It is one that alternately has us on the edge of our seats and/or cackling with laughter, and tonight I just soaked in the giggles and gasps and enjoyment of sharing the drama with one another. Among six children it can sometimes be difficult to find common ground, so it is extra sweet when everyone is on the same page and drawn into the emotion together. When it was over, there were hugs and kisses for Mom and Dad and a happy half a dozen sleepyheads drifted off into dreamland. Nostalgia nudged me as the house grew quiet, and on Facebook I wrote:
"If late at night while your children sleep you find yourself teary and dipping into the very last handful of your very last bag of chocolate chips imported from the States, it might means that four weeks from today you are leaving on a jet plane. Just saying."
I am thankful for today with my loves. In the midst of the crazy, a day of constant movement but also close companionship was precious. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of today and the hope of tomorrow. Thank You, Lord, for family!