More than three years ago, Lucy Ulferts of Echo went on a short-term missions trip to Chile where she worked with a team from Echo Alliance Church for a ministry known as Vision for Children and the House of Hope.

Ulferts enjoyed that experience so much she decided if it was ever possible she would go back.

In October 2017 Ulferts was given that opportunity.

After raising the funds she would need for her return trip as part of an internship program at House of Hope, Ulferts made that return trip and spent the next 10 months serving at the House of Hope and for the Vision for Children ministry in Chile.

“I made a promise when I left three years ago that if I could save up enough money I would go again,” said Ulferts, who returned from that 10-month experience in August.

As an intern, Ulferts was involved in a variety of capacities at House of Hope, which she said is a faith-based program that offers a place for young adult girls in Chile a place they can call home.

Many of them have been abused and have no hope for a future when they arrive at House of Hope, which is located near Santiago.

For Ulferts the opportunity to serve in Chile meant being there for the girls and volunteering to serve them however she could.

“I was seen as a sister for many of them,” she said.

Ulferts said when she made that trip she had very little Spanish speaking ability, adding as the time went along she was able to communicate much better and her Spanish speaking skills improved quite a bit. However, she added the connections she was able to make had nothing to do with language, it was about being a friend and that has no language barrier. 

Ulferts, who had never been away from her family for that long of a time, admitted it was not always easy, but she said the time away from her home in Echo really provided an opportunity for her to grow in her own relationship with God and to learn to trust him more.

“I learned a lot about what it means to be patient,” said Ulferts, adding there were plenty of frustrating moments along the way, but those were definitely outweighed by the blessings she received continuously during the experience.

“I think I learned a lot about how to work with other people and to be more flexible,” said Ulferts, adding she learned in that culture routines are not as rigidly set as they are in the United States. ”Things happened when they happened.”

Ulferts said the internship experience really helped her to grow as a person, adding she is very glad to have been given the chance to go to Chile again.

Now that she has returned, Ulferts, who is an ECHO Charter School graduate, is still considering her future, adding right now much of her future is still up in the air.

Ulferts said she would like to do more traveling to see other parts of the world, and said she would love to have the chance to serve in short-term missions experiences again in the future.

Yes, she said, she would love to be able to go back to Chile again some time.

Ulferts expressed her appreciation to everyone who helped make her experience at House of Hope possible.

“I want to thank my family, my church and the community for their support,” she said, adding she would recommend the internship program through Vision for Children in Chile.

To learn more, visit www.visionforchildren.net.