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 18


It has happened again. It happens every time we come to El Vergel, and this time is no exception. El Vergel has absorbed our team like a sponge absorbing water. If you’ve been looking at the pictures (thanks Jan Harris!) we’ve been sending back for the Facebook page you’ve noticed it. There is much to do here, and we’ve been doing a little of all of it. We are in the process of trimming shrubs, scraping and painting window frames, and rebuilding the roof over a large bay window.

El Vergel is administered a lot like United Methodist outreach ministries such as Urban Ministry or the McCoy Adult Day Care Center at home. The ministries are United Methodist, but each ministry is responsible for raising its own funding. El Vergel is a ministry of the Methodist Church of Chile but, like at home, they must raise their own funding.  They have a number of ways to raise funds, each of which supports the work of the High School which educates students that will work primarily in the agricultural industry.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????Like our outreach ministries at home, there is often little money for basic upkeep and repair of existing facilities. Like at home, volunteers are very important when it comes to getting some of the basic upkeep and repair work  done. Much of what we do here is to help with the upkeep and repair of the facilities of El Vergel, which takes  some of the pressure off of their budget and frees up more resources for the school.

Methodists have always been educators. From the very beginning, we have given ourselves to educate children and youth because we understand the importance of an education to success in life. Our educational efforts are both spiritual (El Vergel has a chaplain who teaches Christian education classes) and practical (equipping students for life and careers). Our work here is not so much about upkeep and repair, although that is the work we do. Our work here is about helping our young Chilean brothers and sisters receive an education in both faith and life. It is work we Methodists have always done, and hopefully always will do.

~Rev. Tom Duley