Saturday, August 22, 2009

The End

Thank you to everyone who supported me this summer, whether financially, in prayer or simply by being my friend. This summer will always go down in Michaela History has the summer unlike any other. The experiences I had were truly priceless.

My flights home went smoothly. I was surprised at the airport in Kansas City by my boyfriend Kurt. After debriefing at Avant Ministries, Kurt & I drove up to Downers Grove, Illinois, his home town. I got to spend two weeks with his family in Illinois & in Wisconsin at their lake house. Kurt & I then made the drive down to Tallahassee.

All in all, this summer I visited/traveled through: North Carolina, Virginia, California, Minnesota, Missouri, Georgia, Chile, Argentina, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama & Florida!

I am currently adjusting to being back home. I have moved into my new house, gotten things in line for school starting Monday & caught up with friends.

Again thank you for your support & for following this blog.
~Michaela Rae

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It was the night before departure...

My bags are packed, clothes laid out & alarm clock set! I don't think it'll hit me that I'm actually leaving until I step out of the car at the airport tomorrow morning. But I am really excited! I told one of my friends here that I'm going to kiss the ground when I got off the plane in Atlanta, haha.

I really enjoyed my last week here though. Yesterday some young people from church throw me a goodbye party =D! It's sad to think that just as I was beginning to finally make friends I'm leaving. But apparently I'll get to see several of them again tomorrow morning. A couple are coming to the house around 8am to say goodbye, others are meeting us at the airport! =)

In my last blog I was going to do a recap of sorts but because it hasn't hit me yet that I'm leaving I don't think I can do it justice. Hopefully after debriefing in Kansas City, I can.

I'm so thankful to have had these 9 weeks in Argentina. I can't wait to see every one & tell more stories in person. Thank you so much to everyone who helped me in any way in this adventure =D.

11:35am depart from Mendoza to Santiago, Chile
7 hour layover in Santiago
8pm depart for Atlanta, Georgia
6am arrive
7:25am depart for Kansas City, MO (hope i don't miss this flight)
8:30am arrive in KS

Homeward Bound,
Michaela Rae

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Michaela, Michaela, wake up!!"

"...It's snowing in Mendoza!"

As rare as it is in Mendoza, it was indeed snowing! Beth & I ran outside before the sun had risen & took photos. After sleeping another hour or so I woke up & took some more. About the 4th time I've seen snow & certainly the 1st time I've seen it in July!

Now if only I can experience a tremor before I leave! =)
Michaela Rae

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

End in sight

The end of my stay here is in sight. 7 more full days! I have mixed feelings. I miss home, I miss my family & my close friends. However, the challenges I face here make me view myself, the future, the people around me & the world in general, in a new light. I like the new perspective I am gaining. As much as I have often despised the amount of down time I have here, it has allowed me to sort through several things in my life. Many of which were long over due. I don't want to allow myself again to become so emerged in the grind of school & work that I neglect seeking, questioning, writing, etc.
God gives us life, not just to live in order to get from one day to the next, but to live in FULL. Alive! Aware, learning, stretching, being transformed by the renewing of our minds. I don't want to fall back into patterns I have had at home.

Over the past few days, Beth & I have had so many incredible conversations. We are discovering how extremely alike we are & having fun bouncing stories about ourselves back & forth & comparing how we have handled certain situations. She has offered me a lot of useful advice, some I couldn't have gotten from any of my peers. It is certain, these 2 months have taught me the importance of having friendships with older people. People who are willing to be honest & willing to shed light on areas of life you have not yet discovered or fully understood. I hope to invest more in these types of friendships when I return home.

I visited the barrio I mentioned in my previous post, Barrio Esejo. It was, as I expected, an eye opening experience. Sure, you can read stories & view pictures about the poverty in the world, but nothing equals the experience & knowledge you gain from seeing those places with your own eyes, hugging & kissing the people or smelling the odor they live in every day. It was humbling. Claudia has an amazing compassion for reaching these people, especially the young people. After inroducting me to the boys & girls there she would explain to me their stories, tell me which drug they smelt like, why they had resorted to them & how she hoped to help them. It was heart renching to meet the 12 & 14 year old drug dealers. & heart renching to meet their younger siblings, who unless helped, will most likely fall into the same traps in life. Please pray for Claudia & her ministry to the drug addicts.

Michaela Rae

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cacheuta & 2 decades of life

The past 4 days were incredible. Along with the other leaders of Corazones Abiertos, Beth & I went up to a place in the Andes called Cacheuta. The cabañas we stayed in were surrounded by beathtaking mountains & crystal clear rivers. A truly refreshing change of pace & scenery.

The first couple days the ladies held meetings. A few of which I participated in, others during which I went exploring. The meetings I participated in were really great. I finally got to see some of the inner workings of Corazones Abiertos. It is truly a powerful ministry. I find it unfortunate that there are so few ministries similar to it. I was encouraged in learning many stories of God's healing power in the lives of the ladies there. I was also challenged to examine myself & I realized new areas inwhich I need healing & transformation.

During one of the meetings Monday, I decided to climb a mountain. My Florida eyes did not do my surroundings justice. It was not until I started the climb (literally on all 4s at times) that I began to realize the scale & magnificance of what was before & around me. When I reached my destination - the top - I sat for a long time, thinking on things like: how much water it must have taken for the world to be completely flooded, what the earth must look like from the perspective of a bird & how it is that I am able to pray to the Creater of the heavens & the earth.

Tuesday, was my birthday & I was convinced 10 minutes after waking up to walk with Pablito, the 14 year old son of one of the women there, to see how much it cost to go horse back riding. Reluctantly I's so cold in the morning, I hadn't eaten & it's especially tough for me to communicate in another language in the morning! Pablito was full of questions. He kept asking me things I either didn't understand or didn't know how to answer. I found it odd that he kept wanting to show me random things & take the long route of walking for everything. But when I arrived back to the cabaña, I discovered a wonderful surprise brunch from all the ladies! It was so sweet of them. It nearly brought me to tears. They even had a little bag full of gifts for me. One of which was a 850g bar of white chocolate!!

I had a wonderful birthday! I missed sharing it with family & friends, but for it being a birthday in another country, with a bunch of people I hardly know, I couldn't have asked for anything better. =) I believe out of all the time I have spent here thus far, I have been the most content & at peace these past few days. Thank you for your prayers =).

I have a special prayer request for this comming weekend. One of the CA leaders, Claudia, has an incredible story. She & her husband were a drug dealers for many years. Now a Christian, Claudia chose to leave her husband who, although dying of AIDS, continually abused her physically. She now has a ministry to drug addicts. She regularly visits very poor barrios (neighborhoods) to minister. I asked her if I could go & she said I can this Saturday. It is dangerous to visit these barrios unless you are familiar to the people there or you go with someone who is. Claudia understands the lifestyle of the people & is respected by many. She has instructed me to wear the trashiest clothes I have, to not wear jewerly or anything that would draw attention & to hide my camera until she gives the "ok" to take photos.
I desire to see how these people live, to gain a better understanding of reality. I know by going, my perspective in life will be challenged.

Love you all!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Yes, la epidemia de gripe is sweeping throughout Argentina, but never fear...

the masks the government is telling you to wear are indeed stylish!

Michaela Rae =)

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Gripe (in Spanish), aka the Swine Flu, aka H1N1 (oh so politically correct), has been all the rage here in Argentina for the past couple of weeks. Last Friday, the death toll in Argentina was 44. As the regular flu season continues, & it indeed seems to be a bad one, the media is doing a wonderful job of reminding everyone about the swine flu epademic. At the first sign of sniffles, people are rushing to the hospital to make sure it's not the deadly N1H1.

All schools have been let out & the government has issued safety recommendations such as staying a meter away from each other at all times, not having public gatherings, washing your hands (origional!) & wearing masks. Talk is that the government may decide all stores must close & public meetings be suspended for as long as 3 weeks. Interesting that the government didn't begin making a scene until directly after the elections 2 weeks ago.

Last night Beth & the other CA leaders decided to suspend the Intensive seminar we have been preparing for. But because a deposit has already been put down for the retreat location, Beth & I along with the other leaders are still going up Sunday-Tuesday. It's a beautiful place in the mountains. I'm looking forward to a change of pace & scenery =).

Although I am skeptical of all the Gripe hype, I certainly hope it doesn't affect my trip home in 3 weeks. So please pray things begin to calm & return to normal.

I'm beginning to work on my final report for the internship. In doing so I'm reminded that I still have a life back in Tallahassee. This summer has been a chain of events so unlike any I've ever experience. Part of me finds it unbelievable that I'll be going back to anything remotely similar to what I'm used to.

~Michaela Rae