Challenges in the First Year


Let me start by introducing myself since this is my first post here. My name is Anna Sparks. My family and I are missionaries to the country of Chile. We started deputation in August 2014 and arrived in Chile March 2017. We have been on the field for almost 3 months.

Prayer & Preparation

Although we were very excited, it was a big change in our lives. In preparation for an emotional departure, I prayed that my children would love the new country they would be living in. I prayed that the language would come smoothly and we would make friends and enjoy telling Chileans about Jesus. I prayed for it wouldn’t be to hard for our family not being able to see our kids whenever they wanted. I prayed that our container would get to Chile without anything being broken and that we could find reliable cars and a place to call home. Our God is mighty, and I didn’t think any of these requests were too big.

Departure & Arrival

The plane ride went great with 3 kids. They slept the whole night and were so excited once we landed. We passed right through immigration and customs so smoothly. We were greeted by many friendly faces of the missionaries here. We loaded our luggage up and headed to see the house Jason and Lori Holt had rented on our behalf. We had seen it in videos and pictures, but when we got to the house, I was shocked. My first thought was, “This is smaller than it looked in the videos.” The construction of the house wasn’t what we were use to in the States. I felt like saying “No, take it back. I’ve changed my mind!” I prayed and asked the Lord to change my heart. I realized the condition and size of the house didn’t particularly matter. It is a place my family can call home, where we can learn Spanish and enjoy the beautiful scenery that God created. This is where God had us.

Setting Up and Settling In (+some setbacks!)

After arriving, Daniel was running around from sun up to sun down. He had to get paperwork in order for our container. It took day after day going to and from the customs office and lots of e-mails back and forth. We had to itemize everything in the container, so we had translate into Spanish the best we could. Each day it sat at the port, the expense increased. We were told it would cost several more thousand dollars. Discouraged, I spent time in prayer every day on this matter. Finally, the container arrived early, we didn’t have to pay the extra money, and it passed right through customs,. We even got money back, and nothing was broken. A blessing in every way.

Our search for cars was the easiest. Daniel did this type of work before surrendering to missions, and he knew what to look for. Next, I searched for appliances. I found the fridge, washer, and dryer pretty fast and ordered them with no problem. We scheduled them to be delivered the same day we would unload the container and move into our home. The washer and fridge showed up on time, but we waited all day for the dryer which never came. After a second no-show scheduled delivery, we were told that the dryer was out of stock in the whole country. We ordered a different one. Again we waited, and it didn’t come. After 3 weeks and another reschedule, it finally came. Each time, I was asked if i was upset, but to be honest, it didn’t really bother me. I wasn’t going to let Satan steal my joy over not being able to wash and dry clothes, and believe me they piled up!

Shaken Up

The first big earthquake happened while the girls were asleep in bed. They never knew it even happened. The next time, the house shook enough for us to have to go into the yard. There have been days where we had 3-4 earthquake/tremors. We try to remain calm and continue on with our day. We don’t want our children to be afraid of what the normal is here. We don’t want them to fear each time they feel a tremor. Now I am in no way downplaying the severity of earthquakes and the damage they can have. I just won’t give myself or my children over to fear what God is in control over.

My Strength & Security

More things have happened that I did not list here. They are not important. What’s important is my faith and trust in the Lord. He’s done more for me than I will ever be worthy of. He bled and died for my sins and rose from the dead. He’s given me the chance to tell others about His saving grace. I love that we are here serving in Chile. I love serving our Lord who provides everyday. I can’t choose what happens to me, but I can choose how I react. No matter what comes my way, big or small, I can trust in the Lord. Nothing that happens can make me lose my faith in God.

Scriptures that Encourage Me

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Exodus 15:2 The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.


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  • One thought on “Challenges in the First Year

    1. Absolutely amazing! Thank you for your honest but positive thoughts on arriving to the field! Can’t wait for more posts from you.

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