Dear friends, family, and supporters,
It is—and has been—my (Tabi’s) turn to write the newsletter for a while now. Given that I have gone four months without sending one out, I probably have some explaining to do before I dive into everything we’ve been up to.
Several months ago, I had this idea for how to turn our newsletter into a video update. It would include news updates, a “person of the month” section, and a “Chile tidbits” section. I named the project Kimelü, the Mapuche word for “to make known.” I scripted it, filmed the first rough episode (if you could call it that), and began editing the video content. At this point, my computer problems began.
First, the monitor gave out. That wasn’t too hard a problem to get around, since we have other devices that could connect to it and function as a monitor. I kept editing for about a week. Then the computer started crashing. Sometimes, it wouldn’t turn on. Sometimes, it would turn on, but not allow the other device to connect. The problems got worse and worse until one day, it just wouldn’t work for me anymore. I took it in for repairs.
The technician, having checked my computer, told me that the hard drive had been ruined. It needed to be replaced. Any files, programs, or settings I had on the old one would be lost. This was a devastating blow to me. I checked an external hard drive of mine to see if I had a back-up of the information. I did, but I couldn’t get to the information. The technician suggested that perhaps the hard drive had corrupted my backup. I had backed up my pictures and music separately, so I hadn’t lost that . . . but I had lost everything else.
We bought a new hard drive for the computer, the same size and with the same capabilities as the old one. A couple of weeks after we got the computer back, Mike found a way to access my backup, and I recovered all of the files I had believed lost forever. I felt like the woman who lost a coin of value to her (Lk. 15) and, having searched her house thoroughly, found it and threw a party.
Now here I am, writing a newsletter on a working (if considerably emptier) computer. I am, bit by bit, recovering the files and programs I used to have on it. Until I get things back to normal, I have decided that going back to the letter format for the newsletter is probably the best option for now. I offer my deepest apologies for the long time without hearing from us. I made the mistake of thinking that something fancy would make up for a long silence.
So what have we been doing all this time? Here’s a letter I wrote in May (but never sent because I tried to turn it into a video).
Hello, friends and family! Tabi here, writing the newsletter this time around.
I keep wondering: Where does the time go so fast? And why is it in a hurry to get there, anyway?
We are comfortably into May, the weather has cooled down from sizzling temperatures back to something much more comfortable. It even rained one day. Complete with thunder and lightning. Now, having grown up in a tropical area of Mexico, where thunderstorms are fairly frequent in the rainy season, I deeply enjoy hearing storms outside my window. The lightning illuminates the sky, the thunder booms and rolls by, and then everything goes back to the rain whispering, “Shhhhh . . .” Santiago does not get these kinds of storms very often at all. Having a vibrant thunderstorm the other night was a delightful treat.
In April, my mother came to visit Chile. She stayed for two wonderful weeks, time in which we visited several tourist spots in the city, as well as traveling a few hours south. She seems to have had a good time. I know I did.
Earlier this month, Mike fell pretty violently ill. He told me that his back hurt and itched, and when I checked, I saw he had an angry red welt. We wondered if maybe a spider had bitten him. As soon as he felt steady enough the next day, we hurried to a nearby clinic. “Did you see the spider?” the doctor asked. “No,” we replied, “we just assumed . . .” He asked a few more questions, then wrote out a prescription, as well as an order for several lab tests. “I think it’s shingles,” he told us, “but get the tests to make sure.” To make a long story short, it was shingles. Mike had been taking an allergy medicine that lowered his immune system, which made him catch a stomach virus, which totally depleted his immune system, and caused the shingles to break out. He’s recovering quickly, and that’s a praise.
I’ve taken to doing translation work, since it seems that the radio station is out of commission, at least for a few more months. I’ve also had time to dedicate to working on updating our Facebook page, as well as a new project I’ve got going called “Operation Encouragement.” I’ve made a group that dedicates itself to doing anything they can to encourage someone else. Whether that be leaving a hand-written note for them, giving a compliment, doing random acts of kindness, joining the “free hugs” movement . . . it doesn’t matter, so long as they find a way to encourage someone else. We keep in touch on Facebook. It’s only in its opening stages, but already people are sharing encouraging things they’ve seen . . . which, of course, is encouraging to me, as well.
If you have Facebook, remember to visit our page. We post pictures and updates there regularly. We love to hear from you via comments or simply by “liking” our stuff.
That letter takes you up through May. Here’s the rest to catch you up through June and July.
In June we celebrated our sixth anniversary by going to a cabin in the Andes for a couple of days. We hiked every day, grilled all of our food, and had a lovely time. June was the month where everything went awry with the computer. With no computer to use, I turned to deep-cleaning the house, selling old furniture, buying new, and getting things in a little more order. June also marked a new experience for Mike—he got his first interns. Jay Lanunziata and Brittany Meinsen came early in June to stay in Chile for two months. They wanted to work at the Swanson’s children’s home (Residencia Familia Cristiana), but the Swansons wouldn’t be around to receive them, so Mike received them instead. They arranged to have the two interns work at Residencia Familia Cristiana (RFC) and live there, under the watchful eye of the supervisor and resident psychologist, Fabiola Ojeda. Mike has been in regular contact with the children’s home and with the interns, trying to make sure their experience here is positive. I have continued to cook there once a week, searching for recipes from all over the world in order to give them new culinary experiences.
July was fun. We had a 4th of July party with the kids at RFC, and invited a few American friend over to join us. We played board games with the kids and had a blast. Later on in the month, we took the interns far south in Chile, to a town called Puerto Varas. It’s extraordinarily beautiful, and we got to see sights, as well as meet our Christian brothers and sisters down that way. I also got most of the kinks out of my computer in July, which to me is another cause for celebration.
So there have my extremely long update for you all. Do remember to check out our Facebook page, if you have Facebook. You’ll find us as Cornerstone Chilean Mission. Or you could drop by our website: Cornerstone Chilean Mission. We love to hear from you (probably as much as you love to hear from us). Once in a while, we receive a hand-written letter, and it blesses us greatly.
May the Lord bless you all richly.
Mike and Tabi Boyce