Chile Team Reports on Mission Trip

Six Grace Baptist church members visited our missionaries to Chile, Dwight and Barbara Bolick, in January. The team was Linda Lin, Jeff Ledbetter and Marjorie Scharpf, Irene and Santosh Philips, and Kate Stremme. They flew from Newark, NJ on Saturday, January 19, arriving in Santiago on Sunday, January 20. After spending several days in Santiago, they traveled to Temuco on Tuesday, January 22.

In Temuco, the team went with the Bolicks to visit the home of one of the women that Barbara helps with her wool making business. The group picked up the “dirty” wool, transporting it to the industrial cleaner who cleans the wool for them. On Wednesday and Thursday, the group helped out in a Vacation Bible School for at-risk children, and scraped walls and painted a railing at the school in the afternoons. Grace Baptist contributed $800 to fund the materials for the VBS and to pay for the children’s lunches at VBS. On Friday, the group headed further south in Chile to the area where the Mapuche (Indigenous People from Chile and Argentina) live, staying with local families until Sunday. The group arrived back in the U.S. on Monday, January 27.

From Linda Lin: “Praise the Lord, our trip was wonderful. I believe God was with us. The Chilean people were so warm to us. The VBS students became attached to us. Our missionaries, Dwight and Barbara, are doing a great job to help the Chileans.”

From Irene Philips—What I learned from my very first mission trip to Chile

1. I went to serve and did not expect to be touched personally. The kids in VBS were just like our kids, yet they lived in a dangerous community, without good nutrition, most with a parent in jail. The Mapuche family we stayed with was so generous despite having so little. I pray that the two daughters fulfill their goals of becoming a teacher and nurse.

2. Even when you don’t speak the same language and your lives are so different, it is still possible to make a human connection and show love and respect to one another.

3. We live in such comfort, taking so much for granted. It was difficult but not so hard to adjust to a simpler way of life. I can give up a few things and help others more.

4. Missionary work is tough – it is hard to help people help themselves. They are tied down by politics, culture values, customs and beliefs, all very difficult to change. Keep praying for Barbara & Dwight.

5. Chile is the most beautiful place I have visited. I was wowed by the unexpected breathtaking pastures, snowcapped volcanoes, clear blue lakes and the star-studded night sky. This is what Eden might have looked like.

6. The culture is very laid back. Greetings and goodbyes take time. Meals are relaxed. Rituals like drinking mate (a communal hot drink) increase the bonds between family and friends. I need to be less task-focused and more people focused.

7. Our team was great. We each brought a unique contribution to the mission field – Kate her beautiful voice and Spanish, Linda her artistry and international traveling skills, Santosh his photography and entertainment value, and Jeff his financial skills, time management and knowledge of wine. Marjorie and I looked pretty and enjoyed the flowers. While our plans and execution were far from perfect, God blessed us with many unforgettable experiences. God is always in control. Praise God for this team from Grace Baptist and the experiences they had in Chile serving Him.

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