Flying into Santiago the city is completely surrounded by mountains, like it is in a meadow amidst snow-capped peaks. The ocean lies to the west and is accessible through a valley pass while the majestic Andes to the east.
It is already reminding me a lot of Vancouver and there is a common expression here in Santiago like we have at home saying that you can ski in the morning and sail in the afternoon.
An organized city of 6.25 million it seems quite manageable both in size and because of the subway system – the Metro.
James Matheson, a gifted younger leader, served as our host while here. He conscripted dad to meet us at the airport and take us to our hotel the night we arrived. The next morning James met me at the hotel and we walked to the subway to begin a day of interviews.
James is a communication major at university and works with YFC here in Santiago. He is a very networked guy and seems to know everyone. On the way to the subway we stopped and picked up Justine, daughter of a Baptist pastor from Dartmouth, NS who is in Santiago for the term and off we went, two Canadians and a Chilean. Bob stayed and rested today at the hotel.
Encuentro Con Christo
We travelled by underground to “Encuentro Con Christo” (Meeting with God). This church in a great location in Santiago with a large shopping mall under construction across the street and very close to the Metro.
The first person to greet me when I entered was Marlene – a close friend of my colleague Luz back at FBC and I was welcomed like family. They had set up a meeting room for me and I conducted interviews there in the morning.
Pastor Jorge Eduro is the teaching pastor at the church and has been here thirty years and what brings him greatest joy is building the team among the pastors.
Miner’s Home Place
Luis Castro is a leader of a home for miners children. He left a secure job and salary to work full-time helping vulnerable youth. They have on home with forty-five boys and girls and a waiting list of thirty.
World Vision Chile
Elza Fagundes is the national director of World Vision Chile where she and her team oversee over 35,000 sponsored children and then the many more family members who also benefit through their sponsorship program.
We met in their offices with other senior staff including a pastor responsible for church relations. I have visited staff of World Vision in over a dozen countries around the world and I am consistently impressed with the caliber of people working to save and protect children.
Next to Group Biblica de Universitad, the IFES group working in over thirty-five campuses of university and colleges. Their commitment to students is impressive and to hear that they are only able to touch half the campuses in this city is a little daunting.
The surprise addition to the day was a late invitation to come to the presidential palace. Alfred Cooper, Capellán Evangélico en La Moneda is the chaplain and spiritual advisor to the president and was a significant leader during the Chilean mine disaster. He called James and wanted us to meet.
More on this tomorrow.