2015 Chile Mission Update – March 23

Church at El Vergel

We live in a world where communication has become not only a necessity but a pastime, diversion and distraction. We know this is true in the USA. Anybody who has the courage to glance into the car next to them at a stop light will almost always see their neighbor looking at a phone or worse, texting. The same thing is true here in Chile. Everyone has a phone and they are constantly checking their phone. It’s amazing really. I’ve been able to text and send emails from here with very little trouble. What a world! But even as small as the world has become, thanks to all our communication devices, it is still a very big place when we want to meet face to face.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????This weekend I’ve been reminded of the sacrifices our missionaries make to do the work that God calls them to. This weekend John Elmore’s first cousin Tom Ebel came to visit with John. John has been in Chile for eighteen years. This is the first time since John has been here that he has had a visit from a family member. Smart phones are great but there is no substitute for a face-to-face visit from our loved ones. John’s joy at having his cousin here was very obvious.

This morning I accompanied John as he took Tom to the airport to leave. We went to the airport in Temuco. It’s the third largest city in Chile with a population of 350,000. It’s about a two hour drive from El Vergel. All the way to the airport John and Tom were telling stories and reminiscing. As I listened I thought about how important relationships with family members are. I thought about how easy it is for me to see my loved ones face to face to tell stories and remember all the things that families do with and for one another. Most of us can experience that pretty easily. It took John eighteen years to experience the simple joy of a visit from a member of his family.

John Elmore showing us grapes grown in the farm.I’m glad I got to go with John and Tom today because it is sometimes easy to forget the sacrifices that our missionaries make. They (John included) will tell you that it is worth it in order to do the Lord’s work. And I certainly believe him when he says it. But it is a sacrifice none the less. Let us be thankful for missionaries like John Elmore who have heard God’s call to serve and said yes. Let us be thankful that they do so even when it means sacrificing many of the things that we take for granted. May God richly bless John and all missionaries who have answered the call to make God’s kingdom visible in their places of service.

2015 Chile Mission Update – March 16


The adventure began in the parking lot of the church at 2:30pm on Friday afternoon, March 13th. The team was gathered, the luggage loaded, the excitement building. Mike prayed that God’s grace would carry us through. Then, with Fred McDonald at the wheel, the van rolled out of the parking lot filled with the members of the 2015 Chile VIM team. The fact that it was Friday the 13th got mentioned but wasn’t a huge concern for team members.

Cathedral in Santiago, ChileEveryone was delighted when Delta airlines was on time in both Birmingham and Atlanta. At 10 PM Eastern time we lifted into the sky for a 9.5 hour flight to Santiago, Chile’s capital city and home to 30% of the country’s population. We arrived in Santiago at 8:30 AM local time (6:30 AM Central time). The flight at 36,000 feet was smooth and for the most part we arrived none the worse for wear. After negotiating the local bus system, we arrived at the Hotel IBIS, where we were to spend the day before catching the midnight bus to Angol, our final destination.

We spent the day resting and visiting some sights in the city before catching the overnight bus to Angol. As usual, the TurBus Supercama Superior was right on time. This bus is a Double-Decker with sleeping facilities so we had a restful trip arriving right on time at 7 AM. John Elmore, our covenant missionary partner, was there to meet us.

After settling in and having breakfast, we went to church at the Emmaus Methodist Church where we were welcomed by the congregation. Those of us who have been before renewed friendships. Those who are here for the first time made new friendships. It is hard to overstate the graciousness of the welcome that we receive each time we come. The worship service was lively and a boost to our travel weary spirits. We were all glad to have a relaxing afternoon for naps, walks and reading as we prepared to start our work on Monday morning.

Once again we have come to Chile to serve with our missionary partner John Elmore. Our task is the same as it always is no matter where we are… to serve God by doing what we can to make the Kingdom of God known in this place. It is a privilege to be a part of doing that in this place with those we have come to know as friends.

~Rev. Tom Duley