Devon Levengood, Perkiomenville
I am going to be in Chile for a total of two and a half months. This is my forth time in Vina del Mar. I came for the first time in October of 2005 with a group from my church, erkiomenville Mennonite. Perkiomenville has been working with Tabernacle of Christ Church here for a few years now. Twice I have been here on work teams helping with the construction of a new churchbuilding. I keep coming back because I feel a strong connection with the people and I can see that God is at work here in Chile.
Tabernacle sent a team to Pennsylvania a few years ago to help my church with Summer Bible School. They had never experienced anything like it before and our childrenâ€™s Sunday School classes began collecting money for Spanish Bible School materials for Chile. Soon they were ready to start planning for their very first Summer Bible School. I had been praying about going to Chile for a longer period of time and this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to go and help.
I did not make this journey alone. My pastor, Charlie Ness, met Danielle Gehman, a camp counselor, this past summer at Spruce Lake Wilderness Camp. Danielle is a Spanish major at Kutztown University and had been thinking about taking some time off of school to spend in a Spanish speaking country. She was immediately interested in coming to Chile.
Before coming to Chile I met Danielle only two times, and one of those times was the night before leaving to come to Chile. I am so glad that Danielle is with me. We make a great team. I am thankful for her gift of translation as I am getting to know the people more personally, because Danielle is here and translates for me.
We have already had Bible school at Tabernacle.Our first few weeks here were spent preparing for the Bible School, pulling together materials for the craft projects, and walking around thechurchâ€™s neighborhood handing out invitations and registering kids. Over 50 children showed up everyday for the Bible School. A young woman named Karina and I led games during the week. We all had a lot of fun learning the songs and playing games.
Since the end of Bible School there are three kids who have been attending services at Tabernacle and several children say â€œHiâ€ to us as we walk through the neighborhood. We will also be helping with another Summer Bible School at Vision of God, another congregation connected with Tabernacle.
Our second major project is teaching English classes. We have a beginner class and an advanced class at Tabernacle on Monday and Thursday nights and we are teaching a beginner class at Vision of God on Wednesday and Saturday nights. I never had a desire to be a teacher and feel like my classes donâ€™t always go well so this is a challenge for me. But I am trying my best and hope that the people are learning something. Our third project was a mission trip to Peru. It is a little weird and yet very exciting to be on a mission trip while planning another one. As a team we are doing a lot to prepare for this trip. We hold prayer meetings every Friday and once a week everyone in the group fasts to focus on praying and preparing ourselves. It is so great to see God work everything out for each of our team members. Some of them didnâ€™t have all the money that they needed and no idea where they were going to get it. We prayed and trusted. One Sunday, Pastor Alfredo felt the Lord calling him to check the prices of the plane tickets online. The prices were drastically cheaper than any other time that he had checked. He immediately purchased the tickets for the group and we were ready to go.
God has been growing and stretching me in the last four weeks. Adapting to a new church, a different culture, and a foreign language has been challenging, but it has been a great learning experience. I have been out of my comfort zone a number of times already.