"Your life is always such an adventure."
These words are spoken to me on a regular basis by my mother when I video chat with her between my home in Iquique and hers in Pennsylvania. I can't tell if this is admiration or chiding or wistfulness (reflecting on her own none-too-boring years as a missionary and pastor's wife) but I appreciate the times when I've had a crazy enough day to merit the description! This past Friday was one such day.
It began, as all Fridays have since my second week back in Chile, with a shift at FLORECE. Isabel accompanied me as she typically does on Fridays to help as receptionist while two other volunteers and I share the counseling duties. This particular day was different since I was scheduled to join a pastor's wife for a brief meeting with a Chilean senator at 11:30 AM. The office was conveniently located only two blocks away so I was able to walk there and back; however, not surprisingly the meeting was delayed and it was well over an hour later when I returned.
As I re-entered FLORECE I found a bustling crowd for our small center, with five guests from a local church having dropped in for a tour and my daughter Eva and her friend Meme also visiting for a couple of hours. We are always happy for an opportunity to share the ministry so it was a blessing to tell our story and answer some questions. Meanwhile I also had a client waiting so it was a morning of running from one thing to the next before we closed the doors at 2 PM. There was still paperwork to complete and I had promised our volunteer Catalina to help track down pictures for the latest babies born so that she could add their "flowers" to our FLORECE tree. Isabel walked to a nearby restaurant to bring back their lunch special for us and between eating and finishing tasks it was after 5 PM when we finally headed towards home.
I say "towards" home because we had one stop along the way, to pick up Meme's mother and grandmother who were joining us for an odd mix of weekly Bible study and cachureando. To cachurear in Chilean Spanish means something akin to "garage saleing" in English, i.e, looking through another's man junk to find one's own treasure. To make a long (albeit interesting) story short, we have lately been the recipients of car loads of widely varying "stuff" as a family empties out their nearby home. What can be donated to FLORECE is set aside first and then we have attempted to bless others who might need what comes our way. When we discovered that Catalina and Isabel (Meme's grandmother) are masters at sifting through items (and even enjoy it!) I invited them to go through our latest acquisitions.
Very quickly, our front patio became a bustling and humorous scene. Because it grows dark early these days, we had the outdoor light on but also needed to weave an extension cord out the sliding glass window to add a standing floor lamp for illumination. There were boxes and bags everywhere, with half a dozen people exploring their contents. Silas was eagerly testing toys while the three teenaged girls rummaged through a box of magazines. Catalina and Isabel classified clothing while a phone call brought another three visitors to join the fray. People passing by outside our gate occasionally turned their heads to gawk at the chaos. Meanwhile Pedro slipped out to pick up a meter-long pizza and pair of meter-long churrascos to feed the crowd!
Eventually the cachureando died down and we dove into the impromptu once meal which was sweetened with some specially ordered Chilean dulces (miniature pie de limon, brazo de reina, maicenas and merengues with manjar) brought by our guests. More importantly, when the physical food was finished we broke out the spiritual food! We recently began a book entitled Quien Es Jesucristo? which is a six-week study on what God's Word teaches about Jesus Christ and the qualities that set Him apart as our only Savior. This week's lesson raised such great questions and led to thoughtful discussion among the ladies present. It was such a full yet beautifully encouraging day and night!
Not surprisingly, it was quite late when we finished and I set off with my daughter and a carful of giggling women laden with parcels to deliver each to her home. It was later still when I parked in front of our home at midnight, only to run into my neighbor who had also just arrived! In the chilly night air we chatted for nearly an hour. Around 1 AM, I finally clanged our heavy metal gate closed behind me and joined my husband who was patiently waiting up for my return. At that moment, I was reminded of my mother's words: "Your life is always such an adventure!" Today, at least, it certainly was.