With the Age of Technology upon us, children growing up in today’s American society can sometimes take certain aspects of life for granted. Senior Deborah Hostetter, 23, grew up without the luxuries afforded to kids who grew up in the United States.
Hostetter grew up as a missionary kid in Chile, South America, specifically in the southern town of Puerto Montt, located near the Andes Mountains.
“My life has been far from perfect,” Hostetter said, “but overall I have been so blessed and I consider my bi-cultural upbringing to be one of the biggest blessings of them all. It has fostered a strong sense of community. My parents taught me that reaching out to others is one of the most important things you can do with your life. Thanks to them I have community in both Chile and the States, and I know people all over the world.”
From around the ages of roughly two to 18, Hostetter lived as a missionary kid or “MK” while her parents served in Chile. As young adults they were connected with YWAM (Youth with a Mission) and served with that group for over 10 years.
Then on a mission’s trip to Chile, they felt called to serve there and began working with EMM (Eastern Mennonite Missions).
Hostetter said the town they lived in was a stereotypical “underdeveloped” area.
The roads were dreadful and the streets were somewhat trashy. Because of the large amounts of rain the area received throughout the year, the town had a lot of greenery and vegetation, but people’s yards were often muddy and very messy.
However, the town was on the outskirts of the city and therefore had somewhat of a metropolitan feel to it. They were located along a canal so there were many fishing boats.
While on location, the Hostetter’s planted regular and house churches, visited schools and orphanages, and even traveled to the mountains and islands to share their news with the rural communities located there.
Hostetter said some of these people in remote locations only left their homes once a year, if that, to go to the village to collect supplies and never had visitors besides family members. Hostetter was homeschooled her entire time there and grew up learning Spanish as well as English.
“I learned it as a child from listening and talking to other native speakers,” she said of becoming fluent in Spanish. “It’s the best way to learn a language ever.”
Hostetter recognized many benefits to growing up in another country versus the US. She loves that she’s been able to foster the ability for meeting people.