Browsing articles in "Claire’s Blog"

Rays of Santiago Sunshine

Jul 29, 2017   //   by admin   //   Claire's Blog, News  //  No Comments

The adventures of Claire and Laura continue, catch up with them here

Claire and Laura back in Argentina!

Jul 16, 2017   //   by admin   //   Claire's Blog, News  //  No Comments

Follow the adventures of Claire and Laura as they head back to Argentina


Smiling Faces!

Aug 26, 2015   //   by admin   //   Claire's Blog  //  No Comments

Here’s a video of the difference being made at Brea Poza as seen in the faces of the children!

Update on Brea Pozo

Jul 12, 2015   //   by admin   //   Claire's Blog  //  No Comments

On leaving Santiago capital in any direction, it isn´t long before the houses begin to thin out, dotted here and there with a few farm animals outside, and then gradually disappear from view altogether. The road stretches out in one long, dusty line into the horizon, with nothing visible except flat, dry, shrub-filled land on either side of it. It´s at this point that you realise that you are quite literally driving on the road to nowhere.

Yet, just 1hr30 minutes into the middle of nowhere, is a little piece of Heaven. There´s no pearly gates or streets paved with gold; just a rusty metal gate and a dusty, bumpy road. There aren´t glittering palaces or thousands of cherubim and seraphim either; but 7 small classrooms, 2 sparsely equiped dormitories, and 170 precious children.


Where to begin to describe our time at the Centro Communitario Rural Evangelico in the village of Brea Pozo? We could give you some facts:

  • Of the 170 children, over 40 board at the school during the week, either because they live too far into the campo (countryside) to travel every day, or because they receive greater care and safety in the school than they would otherwise do at home.
  • Every member of the staff is a Christian who has volunteered to become a form of missionary in order to care and provide for these children. Many of them have travelled from their homelands in other parts of Argentina to work there.
  • A lot of the kids come to schools with their siblings, and there can be anywhere between 4 to 12 children in a family. Many of their parents don´t work, and therefore the children lack a positive role model to motivate them to achieve anything. This also means they have no money for added luxuries including the bus to Santiago capital (around £2.50), and so many of them have never left Brea Pozo, never mind been to a museum or the cinema.

However, these facts fall far short of defining the children, and the atmosphere in CCRE. Every day the staff strive to live as positive role models for the children in their care, and ensure that their faith in Christ is not only evident, but the focal part of their lives. The school day starts with the children learning their memory verse of the week, the teachers take time to pray with them in class, and the boarders also have a time of worship and Bible teaching on a Thursday evening. For us, it was so refreshing to be a part of a school family where Jesus was such an integral part of school life.


As for the children? Words cannot express how wonderful and special they are – we only hope that the photos show just a little of it! From the moment we arrived we were on the receiving end of a million-and-one kisses, hugs, questions and smiles, which we were more than happy to receive and give in return. These children are just crying out to be loved – from those who are constantly chatting and seeking attention, to the ones who silently come up to koala hug your waist or hang on to every word you say, to those who put on a cool facade, yet occasionally let you glimpse their sweetness inside. The amount of delight in their faces when Claire remembered their name from last year, or Clara gave them a hug is indescribable.


We had the best 2 weeks with these kids – cracking jokes, taking photos, playing games, and making life long friends (we now have a large collection of little Argentine brothers and sisters!) It would take a very long time to describe everything that went on, so for now we´ll give you a brief list and you can ask us for more detail in person (we will be more than happy to tell lots of personal stories, although be warned – they´re likely to be tear-sodden and you may have a hard time shutting us up!):

  • Parachute games: thank you to the 12th Newtownabbey BB for gifting this to the school – the kids had a BALL and it was their new favourite toy – it will be treasured forever!
  • Messy games: this was hilarious – they loved the fact that we were allowing them to lick and stick sweets on other people´s faces, and stick their feet in jelly!
  • Bag dramas: We gave the kids a bag filled with random objects and a Bible story for them to act out, and had a fun evening watching the ´performances´!
  • Treasure hunt: they love a good bit of competition!
  • Craft afternoon: who knew wooden spoons and pipe cleaners could be so entertaining?!
  • Whole school rounders: Total bedlam to try and explain the rules, but they got it so quickly and wanted to play all morning!
  • Learning new games: We spent lots of time with the kids learning some of their favourite games – looking forward to teaching them at home!
  • Football: And there was Claire thinking there´d be none as there´s no World Cup this year – turns out you can´t go to Argentina without pretending to be Messi at some point, or watching a match (in this case the semi-final of the Copa Americana!)


Needless to say, a large quantity of tears were shed on the thought of leaving, never mind actually getting on the bus and going home. Since then those kids have been on our hearts and minds 24/7 – everything we do reminds us of them, and how each of them would react to different situations. It is our biggest hope and prayer that it won´t be too long until we see them again.

Notes from Santiago

Jul 8, 2015   //   by admin   //   Claire's Blog  //  2 Comments

Well here we are 10 days into our visit to Santiago, and in some ways it feels like we’ve only just arrived, and in others like we’ve been here at least a month! Here’s an update on what we’ve been doing:

We arrived safe and sound in Santiago around 9am on Saturday the 13th after our plane from Bariloche to Buenos Aires, a very quick visit to the most INCREDIBLE bookshop ever, and a 12hr overnight coach! David and Becky were there to meet us, and take the most horrendous photos to prove that we made it!

We spent the day with the Bennetts in La Banda, (the town where they live) relaxing after our trip. We’ve kindly been given the loan of an apartment in the centre of Santiago which belongs to Mariel’s parents, and so got ourselves moved in. We also got to play Santa, delivering the various requests and surprises that had fillled our suitcases on the way here – lots of space to bring things home now! In the evening we went to church to show Clara the youth programme (which started at 8.30!), and to go to our own young adults programme (this started at 11pm!). Claire was happy to see lots of familiar faces again.

We spent the week to-ing and fro-ing between Santiago and La Banda: attending Daniel and Beckys music concert, working in Mariel’s family’s pasta business (in the shop with David selling bread and pasta, and learning to make empanadas), showing Clara the area (including the children’s school named for Claire’s great great grandfather Alfred Furniss), and meeting friends for coffee. We also ended up speaking a LOT of English as everywhere we went people wanted to meet with us and practice!

Thursday was a busy day as we attended the Alfredo Furniss Kindergarten’s ‘Acto’ or celebration assembly (of which the country has many, as often as once a month!) of Flag Day. This was in a huge basketball arena, and featured a talk, performance, marching of the flags, and, of course, Claire’s favourite – the singing of the 4min+ long National Anthem! After, David took us to visit Claire’s great great grandparents grave -they were pioneer missionaries in Argentina, and the first in SdE.

On Saturday we visited friends of Claire’s Great Uncle and Grandpa, ‘Chango’ (a nickname which literally translates as mate or pal!) and Elsa Mulki, and their son Edgardo. They invited us for lunch in their Arab restaurant, and it was lovely to hear Chango talk of all the happy times he had spent with Claire’s Grandpa and Rodney as a teenager. We then went with Edgardo to visit the Hora Feliz (happy hour – but a children’s Bible class rather than the grown-up version!) in two areas outside the capital that The Esperanza Trust has links with – Zanjon and Canal San Martin. In each, the children sang, heard a Bible story and had something to eat. It was a really fun experience.

Sunday involved a lot of church! We went to both the 9am communion service and 11am family service in Calle Salta (the first evangelical church in SdE, started in 1907 by Alfred Furniss), where we made lots of new friends, and met lots of people who were expecting us. The afternoon was spent with Mariel’s family celebrating Fathers Day with a traditional Argentine asado (LOTS of meat), and then going to church in La Banda. We finished off our very long week celebrating Mariel’s Mum’s birthday, eating cake at midnight!

Claire and Clara off to Santiago del Estero

May 31, 2015   //   by admin   //   Claire's Blog  //  1 Comment

Hi all!

As many of you know, Claire spent 3 months last summer in the province of Santiago del Estero, Argentina, improving her Spanish and serving God through working under ‘The Esperanza Trust (Argentina)’, her family’s charity. She loved it so much that, naturally, she HAD to go back, and this time Clara (we’re friends from uni) is coming too!

We’re really excited to be spending 6 weeks living and working with the people of Santiago del Estero, and thought we would give you a little bit of information about where we are going and what we are doing. We are very blessed to be supported by a network of people praying for us, and so have included some prayer requests as well.

Much love,

Claire and Clara


Prayer Points:

  • Safe travel and transfers, for both ourselves and our luggage!
  • Rapid language adjustment, and brain cell capacity to cope with thinking in, and speaking another language
  • For good health, and safety throughout our trip
  • That we would build (and continue) positive relationships with the people of Santiago, and be bold in sharing the love of God
  • Give thanks for the work of The Esperanza Trust
  • Give thanks for the welcoming and loving hearts of the people of Santiago


(Current, and rough!) Itinerary:

6th June – Flight from Dublin-Heathrow, and overnight flight from Heathrow-Buenos Aires

7th June – Day and night spent in B.A.

8th June – Flight from B.A to Bariloche.

12th June – Return to B.A to catch overnight bus to Santiago del Estero

13th June – Arrive in Santiago. Get to know/re-familiarise with the area, make some visits

22nd June – Work alongside the staff at Brea Pozo Primary School, planning lunchtime activities, teaching English, and running an after-school programme for the borders

Week of 6th July – Work with Wanda Freille, an English teacher in Frias

Week of 13th July – Work with the Church of Clodomira in their mission week

17th July – Overnight bus back to B.A

18th July – Spend day in B.A. Get overnight flight to Madrid

19th July – Clara flies to Heathrow and home to Glasgow, Claire flies to Dublin.


Back on UK soil!

Sep 6, 2014   //   by admin   //   Claire's Blog  //  No Comments

Well, hard to believe but I have come to the end of my travels and am back on UK soil again!

I just wanted to write one more letter to summarize the last few weeks, and to thank you all for the wonderful support you have given me over the past weeks and months – I really couldn’t have done it without you. It has meant a lot to hear from Mum and Dad how my ramblings about my time in SdE have touched some of you, and to hear how interested everyone has been in what I’ve been doing. I will be more than happy to talk and share photos anytime, anywhere about my experiences – although be warned, I’ve enjoyed myself so much it could turn into a very long conversation!

Much love, and thank you all once again,

Claire xo

Argentine Adventure 6

Getting close to the end

Aug 13, 2014   //   by admin   //   Claire's Blog  //  No Comments

Hola de nuevo! (hi again)

Here we are at update number five, and I’m already very close to the end of my time here in Santiago del Estero. I can’t believe it, the 21st August seemed so far off when I started, yet the time has just flown past! Things have been quieter the past couple of weeks, so I’ve just been enjoying being a part of the community here and living a fairly regular life, in comparison to past weeks. Mum arrives this week, which I am super excited about, so prayers for her trip especially would be appreciated!

Muchos besos (much love)

Claire x

Argentine Adventure 5

Here it is, number 4!

Jul 27, 2014   //   by admin   //   Claire's Blog  //  No Comments

Hi All!

Here we are already at prayer letter number 4. 7 weeks in and only 3 weeks left until Mum gets here – words can’t express how excited I am to share everything with her!
Things have been non-stop here, despite the fact that the last two weeks have been the school winter holidays – I’ll be landing back home in need of a holiday!

Much love!

Claire x

The adventures continue….. Argentine Adventure 4

Quick Update From Claire

Jul 24, 2014   //   by admin   //   Claire's Blog  //  No Comments

Hellloooooo! Grabbing some internet while I can! Got back from clodo laat night, after taking the americans to the bus station. Cant telll you how much I enjoyed my week – such a blessing and honour and privilege to be there and share with them in their work. Such a wonderful wonderful week. I met some great people – friends for life. Honestly cant explain how much it touched me. I felt the most at home there that ive felt this whole trip! And listen to this -I MET WOMEN WHO KNEW ALFREDO FURNISS! They are in their 80s, their mother went to the original church in santiago that he founded and was converted, when she married she moved to clodo and he came out on his bike to help them start a church. he visited them in their house and she remembers being 7 and everyone in their house praying…..the church was started out in a barrio area – it only moved to the town centre in 2011…..but the cool thing is it moved to that building where that woman lived. ….so I was where alfredo was! Im planning to take you to chat with the women, they’re wonderful – wanted to know if nana bennett was still alive and told me I resembled don bennett and showed me a pic of them and their mum and alfredo with the church, and told me they would blow it up bigger for when I next came. Sorry for the thought garble but theres so much I cant tell all at once, and I dont have much time! The work we did was great -the nurses were so compassionate. I helped translate here and there – the coolest thing was translating the gospel message for the kids when the pe teacher shared it with them! The americans were lovely and so encouraging – they told me they were inspired by my story and courage and faith to come out here on my own, and they gave us beautiful gifts for translating – a silver cross necklace, a journal, waterbottle, and they paid us 550 pesos…..I couldnt take it, I gifted it to the church. And the church gave me a beautiful woven bag and wee pen holder….far too much! So kind and generous – just the BEST TIME! GOD IS GOOD. I knew that would be the case if I went. Sorry I couldnt get in conact sooner. I believe you were in contact with lucia. Wouldnyou be able to send me the original furniss photos that you have, fabian the pastor would like them?

It was felippes birthday party today so that was nice, then tomorrow we’re hopefully going to a big craft touristy market thats on at the minute….then next week is the church camp……not stopping. Apparently alfredos death anniversary on Thursday, not sure ill be able to get to the grave though, depends on the camp. Much love to all, muchos besos! Keep an eye out for photos!


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