A Place to Gather Oneself
Someone at the airport must have a sense of humor and even
better, empathy. Who else would put up those signs for the
"Recombobulation Area," greeting harried travelers?
In these months of re-establishing ourselves in Chile after
an eight-month home assignment, we have often set up our own
recombobulation areas, where we can say God met and received us.
We believe God is opening doors for us to walk through,
making our horizon clearer.
We are happy to report that, thanks to many of you, we
surpassed our support percentage goal of 90%, making our return to
Chile possible. Plus, we got to meet lots of new friends and visit many
longtime supporters along the way.
This is how grace comes, in faces, conversations, and in
those moments when, after telling our story of the mission of God in Chile,
you say you feel like partners with us, in prayers and financial support.
So, towards "recombobulating" ourselves, let us
update you now
on our sons, Jack and William,
our current activities and plans,
and in a subsequent newsletter we will tell you about the
group that visited us in April.
Jack learned to drive in Texas, and got to go
hunting and shoot his first deer.
On multiple occasions, our friends, the Huffs, shared themselves
and their ranch in West Texas. What a treat that was for our family, to be out
under the big Texas sky.
While home in Austin, Jack kept up with his class in Chile, as we did
home-schooling. Now that we are back in Chile, he is a sophomore in high
school, loves and excels in physics and math, and is just as crazy about
mountain-biking. He is active in his church youth group, also.
William is in fifth grade. Some of the things he loved in the
U.S. were swim classes, bike rides and playing in the endless variety of parks
in Austin and wherever we traveled. He is the artist in the family, always
drawing something, when not climbing the nearest tree.
Jack and William loved the freedom of travel, from South
Carolina to Colorado and Wyoming and Green Lake. They loved being with
grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. Nevertheless, they could not wait
to be back with their compañeros, and eat Chilean bread, and
they are very happy to be back in Chile.
Pray for us as we begin preparing them for the next several years,
especially as Jack begins to discern where he will go to university.
"A sure horizon will come around you." (from a poem by Wendell
Berry, "Do Not Be Ashamed")
Current Current Activities and Plans
In April, Barb
traveled to Nicaragua, to meet with missionary colleagues Joyce Reed, Mylinda
Baits, Laura Parajon, and Adalia Gutierrez, our Area Director. They shared
experiences in their ministries with girls and women and talked about ideas for
future collaboration. Mylinda helped present a workshop on using art to
minister to trauma survivors, which is particularly apt for Barb's work with
girls in vulnerable family situations.
Barb continues to
serve as a consultant to the three women's cooperatives she started. Two of
them are virtually independent and the third is well on its way. They are
producing high quality yarn from Merino wool, and products that sell well in
When we were in
Wyoming last year a sheep rancher from FBC-Douglas decided to partner with us
by providing Merino wool, as her glad stewardship of God's bounty. There are
still a lot of hoops to jump through to import it, but meanwhile she is tithing
her own wool production toward the purchase of Chilean Merino wool for this
year. Thank God for Tomi Strock!
Barb's main focus now
is the Girls' Clubs project. By the end of the year she plans to have completed
a manuscript for the book presenting the curriculum and lesson plans. Praise
God for four friends here, a professor, a psychologist, a doctor, and a
teacher, who are helping Barb with the editing and translating. Besides several
regional churches, Barb also directs the program at a local Christian school
located in Temuco's most vulnerable sector.
Dwight's number one
priority for the remainder of the year is to finish the installation of
rainwater harvesting systems. When we returned, Chile was suffering a terrible
drought, especially affecting Mapuche small landholders. Now, though, no one
questions that storing rainwater before the dry season begins can help
The drought also hurt
local bee populations and honey production. Normal losses are 10%, but last
year many lost 50% and more of their bees. So this will be a year of recovery.
Dwight also believes
it is time to turn away from the modern, industrialized model of beekeeping, to
a way of beekeeping that deals with pests and disease naturally. We will
transition to and do trials with a kind of hive that doesn't require constant
inputs of capital. So this will be a year of discovery, too.
Transformation - Dwight was
invited by the regional, inter-denominational pastors' council to participate
in a commission that is holding a series of listening/dialogue sessions with
some of the major Mapuche activist/political groups, to hear their concerns,
with a view to facilitating new proposals and conversations between the
government, Mapuche groups, and landowners, and to end the violence. He cannot
say more about it now, but asks for your prayers.
Dwight also taught a
series of Bible studies based on Dan Buttry's book on Conflict Transformation
for our local church. We will promote these studies in other churches
throughout the year.
The work continues with the Volunteer
Relief Network. Dwight serves as the interim Director, mainly to help bring a
formal structure to this spontaneous movement that will make it a sustainable
ministry of the convention.
Finally, Dwight is
studying for a Permaculture Design Certificate, which we believe has much to
offer Mapuche subsistence farms, and beyond.
"A great door for effective
work has opened..." (I Cor. 16:9)
Please pray for these endeavors, that through them a door
might be opened to proclaim the mystery of Christ and the Kingdom of God,
that we might serve to help people become "oaks of righteousness"
who change the world in the power of the gospel. (Isaiah 61:1-4)
This sermon that Joel Gregory preached at the recent Baptist
World Congress speaks to our condition. It has gripped our hearts and
ministered strength and grace.
We pray for you, also, that a great door might be opened to
you, wherever you are, to make known the mystery of Christ.
Dwight and Barbara Bolick