Missionaries Dan and Liz Thompson sent their May update from the field. In it, they write:
LLonquen is not a town like you or I think, but rather a rural area defined by rivers and valleys. It is nestled in the lower Andes Mountains with an abundance of trees and green fields. Most people live off of the land, growing basic crops such as potatoes, beans, oats or wheat. Chickens, ducks, sheep, pigs, and cows provide the remaining food needs. Food in some seasons is abundant, but most live in humble conditions. The LLonquen Valley enjoys the generally wet/cool weather of southern Chile, but winters can be very cold with snow. Most houses consist of simple wooden structures, some with actual windows, others with plastic put up to keep some of the drafts out. The majority do not have indoor plumbing. Life at home revolves around the wood stove, which is used for cooking and is the only source of heat.
The people are mostly indigenous Mapuche who hold onto not only their culture, but also to their animistic religion.
Last December, as we enjoyed a church picnic and service at the house of a dear elderly sister in Christ, Hermana Dominga, we could hear the sound of drums, horns, and shouting coming from across the valley. A 16 year old girl was being initiated as the new area’s Machi or witch doctor. What we heard was the closing ceremonies of a three day ritual. Some of Hermana Dominga’s children and grandchildren were at the ceremony. What a contrast those two celebrations were: Light and Darkness. There is much darkness and fear in this area, with the old traditions seeking to counter the influence of the huincas or white man.
There are so many needs in these rural areas. Llonquen is only one of hundreds of such places here in southern Chile. As a family, we visit the Llonquen Church once a month. Liz teaches a children’s Sunday school class and Danny the adults. We spend time before or after the service visiting with the people around Mate (tea) and sopaipillas (fried bread) encouraging them to live godly lives in the midst of spiritual darkness.
Please pray that more people would be light bearers in these dark areas.
To view the Llonquen area on google maps, click here.
To view a short video of our LLonquen group with speaking and singing in Mapudungun, click here.