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Plattsburgh couple experiences life changing mission trip to Chile

PLATTSBURGH A New Years resolution made this year by Angela and Scott Campany finally came to fruition. The resolution, to stop talking about going on a mission trip and actually go, was fulfilled last month as the young professional couple from Plattsburgh spent more than two weeks at Hogar La Granja, an orphanage for girls in Santiago, Chile, funded by the Christian and Missionary Alliance. They were part of a team of 35 other short-term missionaries taking part in the Vision for Chile Mission Oct. 6-21. On the morning of Nov. 11, the Campanys shared their experience with their congregation at the North Country Alliance Church in Plattsburgh. The couple showed a slide and video selection set to emotionally moving contemporary Christian music. First came the slides and video footage of the girls who live in the orphanage, as they were the focus of the whole trip. Next came pictures of the Hogar, or orphanage, then the different aspects of the work that was done, and finally, breathtaking shots of the Andes Mountains in nearby Argentina. Angela and I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the opportunity to go to Chile and minister to these girls and build relationships with 35 people weve never met before. It has been a life changing event, Mr. Campany said with emotion. Although spending time with the girls was the main focus, the team also spend much time on building projects. They expanded the food storage area and built an office for the food manager. They remodeled one of the dorms which included painting and re-tiling. They also remodeled and insulated the dining area. The insulation work will be especially appreciated next winter, as the orphanage does not have heating or hot water, and Chile has winters as cold as ours. Both Mr. and Mrs. Campany were involved in the construction work, though Mrs. Campany also spent time on the kitchen crew. Because the team was self-sufficient, they needed members to do all the shopping and cooking. She found it amusing to find foods like bacon and chips in the small ethnic food section of the grocery store. One of the many other differences was that fresh milk was not available at all. There were overwhelming cultural differences as well. People in Chile are much more affectionate than those in the United States. The proper way for one man to greet another is to shake hands, hug three times, and then shake hands again. This is even the expected greeting between strangers. When greeting children you are expected to kiss them on the cheek and make a loud kissing sound. The kissing sound is a very important part of the greeting, Mrs. Campany explained. It was weird to come home and not kiss everyone. One of the disturbing differences was the extreme poverty in which many people live. There seems to be no middle class. Either you are wealthy or you are so poor you are fighting for survival, Mr. Campany said. Because so many of the poor become desperate, everything is gated. About 90 percent of the people have no hot water or heat. They all wear six layers of clothes in the winter. Many of them live in shacks that do little more than keep them dry. A visit to the best hospital in the area is also shocking. One of the women on the team broke her hip during the trip, so she found out first-hand in Chile you are expected to bring your own bedding, your own towels, and rent your own nurse. The last two days of the trip were set aside for a little rest and relaxation. The team took a two-day tour of the Andes Mountains. Crossing the border twice was neither restful or relaxing though. It took four hours the first time, and two hours the second time. Many guards armed with machine guns and drug dogs constantly kept their eyes on those crossing between the two countries. Crossing back into Chile was the most stressful for the couple. One of the drug dogs took a special liking to Mrs. Campany. He returned to her three times, sniffing her all over. The final time he pawed at her, sat down in front of her, and looked back at one of the guards wielding a machine gun. It turned out the dogs are also trained to detect the smell of fruits and nuts which are not allowed to cross the borders. Mrs. Campany had been munching away on pistachios on the bus ride to the border! As the Campanys head into the Thanksgiving week, they are feeling very thankful. After all, they have hot running water and heat in their home. With blessings come great responsibility, Mr. Campany said. We have a huge responsibility with all we have to bless others. The Campanys are hopeful many more from their congregation will make a trip to help the girls at the Hogar La Granja. They encouraged their congregation to consider going next year themselves and to remember to pray for the girls. The trip was so life changing for them they arent just considering a return trip, they are prayerfully considering joining the Vision for Chile leadership as full-time missionaries.

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