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Chile Teaching Project 2000

Project Dates: July 9-August 3, 2000

Youth Corps volunteers teach English and Computer Skills in Chile

Youth Corps Volunteers Miss Chile

by Heather Kerr

Fom July 9 to August 3, Jason Brunick and I taught computers and English, respectively, as part of the United Youth Corps sum mer project in Chile.

So me of the goals of the Youth Corps are to strengthen Church unity and to encourage cultural and skills exchange. So, besides teaching our classes and practicing Spanish (this means smiling a lot and saying si at the beginning), both Jason and I did our best to partake of the hospitality of the brethren and the tourist attractions of the area. In fact, we had so many invitations we could not have fulfilled them all even if we had never slept.

Participating in this program was a wonderful opportunity, to say the least. It is hard to say whether Jason and I or the brethren benefited the most. The sharing that occurred points to what will happen in God’s Kingdom when hearts are teachable and people are working toward the sa me goals. We surely enjoyed our ti me and it was good to be reminded of what we lack in the United States. Though we may have more materially in so me cases, the emphasis on people and relationships often is lost in the rush and whirl of technology and convenience. The most cherished mo ments are the warm smiles and greetings, conversations with the brethren, having dinner or tea in their ho mes and other occasions for fellowship and sharing be they shopping, attempting to learn the cueca (national dance of Chile) and, of course, the last classes with parties and goodbyes. One of the English class activities was composing encourage ment cards in both English and Spanish to be sent to various Church members. Also, at ti mes the weather was warm and sunny enough that we could have the 2 p.m. English class afuera (outside) and learn vocabulary from the change of context. Other days we lit the stove and I taught class with my gloves on. We were forewarned to be flexible!

For so me of Jason’s students this was the first ti me they had ever turned on a computer and others wanted to learn the more complex functions of Excel. There was diversity in the amount of English our students knew so meeting the variety of needs was part of the challenge. Jason taught using the Spanish versions of Windows, Word and Excel so next ti me your computer crashes, be glad you are not having to troubleshoot in a second language!

In English I and English II there were 40+ students and in Basic Computers there were 26+ students. We each had five classes that met twice a week for 2.5 hours, so it was good that we were able to live at the Seiglie’s house, near the house the Church rents for activities, since our schedule was full.

So meday soon I look forward to going back and visiting with everyone, but if the Kingdom co mes before I get this chance all the better.

Epilogue

Jason, 22, attends the Watertown, South Dakota, congregation. Upon returning from Chile, he resu med helping and working in his dad’s business as a mechanic until September. Currently he is a college freshman majoring in electrical engineering. God willing, he is planning to attend ABC in the near future. (A big thank you to the brethren in Watertown for the Spanish/English dictionaries they donated to the program.)

Heather, 26, currently teaches English at Universidad del Noroeste in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, and travels to Tucson, Arizona, for church as often as possible.

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