After a fifteen-month mission in Valparaiso, Armando Gutierrez is back home in California, his heart overflowing with thanksgiving and love for Chile.
“I want to give all my gratitude to Chile. I want to give her thanks for the clothes that hung outside the houses that gave color to her barrio. I want to thank her for the kites that could reach the clouds and woke the children with laughter. I want to give her thanks for the sunrises and sunsets different from the next ones that made me feel so alive. I want to give thanks to the fresh bread and hot tea that filled me in the morning. I want to give her thanks for her flag where Our Mother represents the star that guides us to Her Son. I want to give her thanks especially for her people that made a ‘gringo’ like myself feel more than welcomed, felt really at home. Where I could say hello to a stranger knowing he would happily reply back. Never in my life did I think I would live a mission in Chile, and now I can’t believe it would be so difficult to leave.
But now I know why. It is here I found God. I found Him in the streets, I found Him in the ‘micros’. I conversed with Him in the corners and the stairways. He welcomed me for breakfast and I welcomed Him for dinner. I played with Him in our house and playgrounds. I went on visits with Him to transmit His love. He was found here with my brothers and sisters. He was found in their suffering and in their hopes. He was found in the compassion they have shown me and the acceptance of who I am. He is here in Chile, I take Him with me in my heart but He will always remain here. Thank you God, Thank you Mary, Thank you Chile, Thank you Heart’s Home, and thanks to my family, friends and sponsors for being with me all the way through our mission. I say this with all my conviction that I could have never done it without you. God has given me His presence through you. Gracias!”