An Account of God's Calling to South America

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cascadas en Chile

The other day when Bill and I trekked out to look at land, we came across several beautiful falls on our way, and on the land that we were visiting. Check out these beautiful "cascadas," waterfalls.

The Long Lost Land

For ten years now, Bill has been eye-balling a piece of property via Google Earth way out in the mountains outside the city of Coyhaique, the XI regions of Chile....Patagonia. Here it is so beautiful with glaciers, clean potable water from a nearby creek or river and rich with gaucho history.  We finally got the opportunity to seek out the long sought out no avail. We got so close, but yet "no cigar." There is not trail that we know of to the land and the forest is thick with bamboo. We tried for several hours, hacking away with an ax, to make a trail, but it seemed it took 30 minutes to simply move a few feet. Oh well; however, the land that was adjacent to the long lost land provided a "road" (I use the term vehicle except a bulldozer of track ho is going on this camino) for us to trek. This land provided enough beautiful views to last me....a river, two lakes, a waterfall, and pasture. And what is nice is this land is for sale we have a lot to pray and think over these next few months. Here are a few pics of our treasure find.


Wood Stove Culture

It was so strange about 20 years ago when Bill and I decided we wanted to have a wood stove to use for cooking in Louisiana. Lots of people had fireplaces, but we didn't know anyone who used a wood stove for their cooking. We decided it was a great way to heat the house in the winter, as well as provide a free way to heat water, cook, etc..Not to mention it really does a great job cooking breads. So we used the stove on a part time basis, letting the ole Home Comfort rest during the summer months.

Now, staying in Chile, it amazes me that I am surrounded by people living in Coyhaique who all use wood stoves for cooking. And they provide a heating system for people's homes and water, as well. Amazing. What is even more surprising is walking through the town and looking at all the different stores that provide wood stoves....all colors and styles, differing in width and height. You name it, they have it...and they are relatively inexpensive compared to the wood stoves sold in nonelectric catalogs in the U.S. such as Lehmans and Cumberlands, which mainly appeal to the Amish or missionaries abroad. I thought it would be great to show you a few stoves, just in case you love them as I do. I can't wait to get my own stove for my home again one day.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Farm Friends

Now that Bill and I are staying temporarily on a farm outside of Coyhaique, Chile, we have many friends around that farm that prove to be quite interesting....the farm animals. Now I can't say that I have obtained a relationship with all of the farm because that would be impossible, considering the number of cows, sheep, and chickens. But there are a few fellows that Bill and I have drawn quite fond of.

When we first arrived at the farm as volunteer workers, we were a bit shocked to find that our cabin was adjacent to the pig pen and yard....literally. But now, six weeks later, I find that not only do I enjoy the pigs, especially the piglets, but I even get some sort of comfort from their presence....I know, I think the mountain altitude, although not that high, may be getting to me. When "Big Boy," the boar rubs up against the wall at night, he is so close to my bedroom in the cabin that it sounds like he is in the room....that would've annoyed me, to say the least, a year ago, and now it is something that I find amusing. Bill babies the piglets, and was so upset when he went out to the yard one day to find them rolling around and stumbling, only to find out they were simply drunk from too much cherry mash that Ingmar, the farm owner, had given them. They were absolutely fine after they slept it off, but I must say that was the first time I ever saw a drunk pig!

When it comes to Chilean farms that are always equipped with sheep, one cannot have sheep without a sheep dog....which brings us to Lota, the famous Chilean not-so-great-of-a-shepherd sheep dog. He is so sweet, but he is more into terrorizing the sheep that herding them. But he is cute.

Last of the animals that I am particularly fond of is Walter the goat. He loves me and acts somewhat like a dog, allowing me to pet him and love all over him. However, he is bad about butting heads with the "kids," the farm owner's children.

Bill and I hope to one day have a farm of our own, and certainly hope to have animals as enjoyable as these have proven to be.

Now I Know...Down and Out

Years ago, I professed my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and proclaimed to all that I gave my life....and I meant it. But until now, Bill and I never truly knew what it means to really give up your life for whatever God needs. We have been away from family and friends now for two months, and even though that is a miniscule amount of time, it has seemed like years and we have just floated around, wondering where our next day will take us, holding on to faith in the Lord that he has everything taken care of. But when you really have nothing or no one to lean on, quite frankly, it is so very lonely. This is probably the most down and out time Bill and I have personally ever experienced.....or at least it feels like it. And every day we go from doubt to faith, happy to sad....a roller coaster of emotions.

It would be so easy to give up right now....just throw in the towel and politely tell Jesus that he had the wrong two people in mind when he sent us to, that just seems ridiculous to read what I just wrote. But it is how I scary when you don't feel in control.....and these words cannot possibly express how down Bill and I are right now.....but what does control have to do with faith?

Today, now more than ever before, I have to prove my love to my Lord, who has taken such excellent care of my family, friends, and me that I could never explain, much less pay back, all that He has done....and now Bill and I have been brought to a place where we have to walk the talk and show Him that we believe even though we do not yet see His my life....whew, this is hard!

Salvation is not free....whoever said that didn't pay for it, had no skin in the game. We were bought with a price...thank you, Jesus.

Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the substance of things HOPED for, and the EVIDENCE of things UNSEEN! God doesn't owe us a future glimpse of what is to come. But he loves us enough to lead us always in the right direction. This I know.

If anyone actually reads this blog, as simple as it is, please pray for us to not let God down any longer with our pity parties and sinful nature....just because we can't yet see the light.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Living in Small Spaces....the multifunction necessity

For years now, I have been fascinated with people who for various reasons decide to get rid of most belongings and settle for a life living in a small space. There are many sites now on Internet that share people's lives of living in tiny cabins or RV's, making it their life motto to make a tinier footprint on the world, while being more frugal and less of a consumer. While I admire all of that, I still haven't achieved that type of mindset completely, but I do desire to live in a smaller space now that my children are grown and have homes of their own. But now, I am living in a tiny 400 square foot cabin, and am having to learn to live with a somewhat  normal daily routine. So here is one thing I have realized: you have to use spaces and items for more than one purpose:

For example, in the cabin Bill and I are living in, there are three rooms, but one is a shed, so the other two are living space. The first room, we will call the living area, has a woodstove, sink, a few shelves, a table, and two lawn chairs (our new lazy The next room has a table, a small closet, and a bunk bed...with the bottom bunk bed being a double (the bedroom). That is our house.....the toilet is by the green house....the good ole outhouse. So here is what we do: first, the table is used for many things: eating, cooking, used as a desk, a work table, name it, if you need a table, that table is your only source. Next, is our huge aluminum pot we purchased before going to live in the mountains. It is our refrigerator to store food, tub for heating water for bathing, and wash pot for cleaning clothes. Cleaning is a must, keeping things tidy because you don't have the space to be messy. After eating, dishes have to be washed and put away so that the cabinet counter space can be used for something else. It sounds a bit annoying, but it really isn't. Of course, there are only two of us and previously the cabin was inhabited by a woman and her children...not sure the number of children, but still that is hard to imagine.

I will tell you the benefits of a small home lifestyle: you don't have a lot of clutter because there is not space to keep it, it forces you to have a clean space for living, and because there is very little clothes space, you don't have a lot of laundry to do, even though you are washing by hand...which is proving to be somewhat therapeutic, in a weird sort of way.

So although I am not an organic granola making an impact in a natural way, I still like the idea of living a full life with few possessions. We will see how long Bill and I can have this mindset. It gives a sort of freedom that I didn't expect.

WOOFERS.....Who Knew

WOOFERS...Worldwide Organization for Organic Farming. That is what the headlines read as I searched through the Internet for any bit of information on Chile, before Bill and I headed to South America. WOOFing is a chance for anyone to work on a farm or for any type of business that promotes organic living besides farms such wineries, restaurants with their own gardens or orchards, etc...and one can live on the premises of the farms or business and work as a volunteer, along with obtaining room and board. Your required amount of work each day is 5 hours and your required amount of time to stay is usually three weeks. So this information seemed to be the answer for Bill and me as an option of where to stay and learn about the culture of Chile, without spending a lot of money.

Bill and I are now living in a little cabin on the farm that is somewhat a cross between a hunting cabin and a shed, but it used to be the home for a Chilean woman and her children, many years ago, the previous owner of the farm. There is no electricity, but running water in a little kitchen sink it does have....abundant with water, I might add, that is straight from a glacier which is on the mountain above the cabin. Nice. The best tasting water I have ever had. No kidding. And another plus, there is, as is the custom of all Coyhaiquean homes, a precious little white wood stove that heats the cabin, as well as heats our water for all cooking and cleaning. We don't have a shower yet, so bathing in a bucket is our routine, but it does the job and it beats staying in a hostel and sharing a bathroom with strangers.

Now washing clothes is a bit more strenuous, but we purchased a huge aluminum pot that serves as our "washing machine" and we are using a laundry plunger that pushes the water and dirt through the clothes making them unbelievably clean, using plenty of hot water, detergent, and clean rinse water. Hey, it is great for exercise, too! Grandma and Grandpa Kettle, here we come!

Bill and I do a mixture of chores on the farm. He helps the owner, fixing tools, cutting fire wood, carousing animals, etc...typical farm work. I do anything from babysitting to helping a little with school to picking all kinds of cherries and berries in the orchard...or at least that is what I've done so far, while the berries and cherries are in season. Winter will prove itself to be something different, Im sure.

The whole reason Bill and I chose to WOOF was to see if we could actually have a farm of our own one day in this region of Chile. There is no doubt due to the mountains and sometimes harsh cold weather during winter months, it will be difficult, to say the least. You really can only grow most vegetables with a green house, which is different than what Bill and I are accustomed to. But all in all, for now, we believe the good of Patagonia is outweighing the bad.
Washing clothes by hand
Glacier filter needed
Bill sharpening a scythe, called "dinglehopping"
Patagonia, on a beautiful summer day