Step Team Final Week!

Hola from Chile for the last time on our step journey! The nine of us can hardly believe how quick our time has gone in this beautiful country and will all be very sad to say goodbye to our home for the past 2 months. Although we left Tragna-Boroa on Sunday afternoon we have spent the remainder of this week exploring some more of Chile and reflecting on everything we’ve learnt from both one another and the people in the church. However, most importantly, using this time to remind ourselves of how God has protected, provided and been faithful throughout our time here and will continue to be in Argentina.

Our final week of work began on Monday 30th April with a nine o’clock start on the building site as we joined German, Chelo and Robin to continue construction on the interior of the Church. We were also joined by Diego, a local electrician, who started working on the lights inside the church building. Although electrics may not seem that exciting for our team and German it was a big step forward as it was the first time we could see the church as a functional building that would be loved and well used in the future. After finishing work at 7, that evening we were joined Marcello, the son of a teacher at the neighbouring school, and helped him practise his English for his upcoming exam at university.

Tuesday 1st May was a national holiday called ‘the day of the worker’ which meant that we had the day off work. We spent this time watching films and playing wide games (Manhunt and capture the flag) in the school field which were very fun whilst also being very competitive.  We also had time in the morning for our own personal devotionals and time alone with God.

  

On Wednesday we were back at work at nine o’clock. Team morale was a little low on this day as our last working day, Friday, was getting ever closer and the prospect of having to leave was becoming more real. However, as a team we were able to make great progress putting up the outside red wooden planks of the church which Ellie, Grace and Libby cut using the electric hand saw and then drilled into place on the front of the church. As well as this, Nathanael helped German with putting up the internal insulation. Alice and Ben were also taught by Victor, the head teacher of the school, how to make spaghetti the Chilean way which we then all enjoyed as a team for lunch.

The next day was also filled with work on the inside of the Church! Ben and Hannah began to put in place the interior walls of the church whilst Nathanael and Eleanor were constructing the pulpit. Ellie, Grace and Alice spent the day cutting and putting in place the wooden boards for the interior walls of the porch. In the evening, having finished work later than usual that day, we were all very tired; however, God provided us with energy and enthusiasm for our final children’s service at the school. With Ben acting as the main man we told the parable of the treasure in the field for our last sketch. The rest of our time with the kids was spent singing songs and playing a game of scavenger hunt for our memory verse that week. As a team we found this a really amazing evening as we were able to see clearly how God was using us to speak during these short times with the children and also the way in which their enthusiasm for the songs, games and learning the memory verses had increased each week. 

  

Friday was our last day on the building site and as was expected the whole team including German were a little bit down knowing that we would not be returning to work the following day. Having said this progress was still really good: Nathanael, Mo and Libby finished constructing the structure of the pulpit, Alice and Ben completed the final layer of the inside walls and Ellie and Grace finished the exterior wall at the front of the church. Ellie and Grace were then asked to make a start on the interior plaster boards, however were humbly reminded that although we had been here for two months we were not professional builders yet! At lunch time we paused work to say goodbye to the school children who only had a half day. After lots of photos were taken we were then joined by Aldo and Gladys for lunch and were also given the opportunity to try on some traditional Chilean clothing and again take lots of photos! At the end of the day we all gathered in the church building with German to have a final prayer session during which emotions were running high as we started our long weekend of goodbyes. Although we were very tired by this point we had already agreed to attend the 9th birthday party of Julia, one of the school kids, that evening. Therefore, we spent the evening playing games and eating party food with her, her family and friends. During the course of the evening we also ended up adopting one of the kittens from the school!

Saturday was spent packing and cleaning our house. In the afternoon, German and his family came over and taught us how to make empanadas and sopapillas (traditional Chilean foods). By the time we had finished it was the evening and as a group we sat down to write letters both in Spanish and in English to all the people who we had met and had grown the closest to over the past two months.

Sunday was our very last day in Tragna-Boroa! We were welcomed into the church service for the last time with a rapturous applause from the entire congregation. During the service we sang loads of songs that we had taught them in English over the past 8 weeks followed by taking some time to thank them for all that they had given and done for us. German also read out a touching speech thanking us one final time and we were also given some traditional Mapuche gifts from some members of the church. After the service finished the whole church stayed for a barbeque which was incredible! Finally, after many photos were taken and hugs given the time came for us to say goodbye to our home and Chilean family.

During these two months here in Chile we have all been very grateful for all of your prayers. We could not have asked for a more amazing experience and none of us will ever forget our time here. God has been faithful from our first day in Tragna-Boroa and we trust that he will continue to be over the next half of our trip. Please could you continue to pray for us and thank God for all that he has done whilst we have been in South America.

In particular…

  • For German as he completes the final stages of the building work on his own which he hopes will only take until the end of this month.
  • The church family would continue to grow and be strengthened in their faith.
  • The children from the school and that the services there would continue to be fun and engaging and through this they might come to know God’s love for them.
  • That we would have a safe journey to Argentina and that all of our travelling would go to plan.
  • Ruth and Benja, our in country coordinators, that as their focus now shifts entirely to church planting in Temuco, God would strengthen them and they would be encouraged by the response from the local community.
  • A massive thank you for all the people that we have met and felt extremely blessed by during our time here.