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First Southern Baptist Missionaries to Chile (1917-1926): Ten Americans and One Scot Turning in Their Graves!

Modern Chilean Baptists have fallen a long way from their missionary predecessors, at least in terms of the quality of their service, Calvinistic soteriology and biblical church practices. The initial missionaries that came to Chile from 1917 to 1926 were conservative theologically, very libertarian in their quest to separate church and state, and far more educated than typical American Baptist missionaries in Chile today or modern Chilean Baptist pastors. Moreover, many (if not all) of these missionary men read Greek and Hebrew fluently, and probably read (and some spoke) German, too.

The Early Missionaries

Since the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where all but two of the early missionary men to Chile studied, has never taught Dispensationalism or Pentecostalism, there is no reason to believe that any of the missionaries adopted either thing. As Ernie Reisinger once said about dispensationalists in the Southern Baptist Convention, “There are other good men in the Southern Baptist Convention who have Dispensational views, but they did not get these views in our schools or seminaries.” They were not hyper-Calvinists either.

Southern seminary was then, and is even now, world-renown for its serious biblical and Greek language scholarship, among other things, such as being serious about studying, preaching and obeying the Word of God. There is no evidence that these men were taught or later promoted unbiblical practices like ordaining women elders, preachers or establishing any other leadership role for women in Baptist services (a common sinful malady in Chile today—see 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15). They knew nothing of the prosperity gospel, seeker-sensitive preaching, or running skits, theater, or dancing in church services that often characterize modern Chilean Baptist services.

In 1939, a Baptist seminary was opened in Santiago, under the direction of missionary James McGavock, that initially upheld the doctrinal views of the early Baptists—likely akin to what he learned at Southern seminary. The seminary leadership was promptly handed-off to a brilliant Chilean Bible scholar and biblical languages expert, Honorio Espinoza, who had also studied at Southern from 1937 to 1940, and who was personally trained beforehand by missionary W. E. Davidson. (Espinoza and others in his generation of Chilean Baptists, like Isaías Valdivia, are the subject of another article.) Tragically, that Chilean institution has since seen the majority of its faculty fall into modernism and liberalism. At any rate, returning our focus to the early Baptists that got the ball rolling, in a previous article I wondered:

Who exactly were these ardent missionaries?
—1917 William Earl and Mary Davidson to Santiago (see page 27 of the missionary list).
—1919 Frank and Effie Marrs, missionaries to Mexico who went to help Earl Davidson in Santiago (see page 66 of the missionary list).
—1919 Robert Cecil and Mary Moore, first to help in Santiago for a year and then on to Concepción (see page 73 of the missionary list).
—1920 Agnes Nora Graham (see page 41 of the missionary list), head of the Baptist school in Temuco starting in 1922, construction and operations financed by the Southern Baptist Convention to combat the illiteracy rate of 50% and provide basic instruction.
—1921 Joe Lancaster (and wife Tennessee) Hart to Temuco to start a Bible institute, then to Concepción briefly and finally to Antofagasta (see page 46 of the missionary list).
—1922 James W. and Catherine McGavock to Talca (see page 70 of the missionary list)[but first to Temuco in 1923 to be with most of the other missionaries (page 214), much later heading the Baptist seminary in Santiago starting in 1939].
—1926 Wynne Quilon and Berta Lou (Tooms) Maer to Temuco for youth ministry commencing in 1929 (see page 66 of the missionary list).
They settled in Temuco, Concepción, Talca, Santiago and Antofagasta. MacDonald also became a recognized Southern Baptist missionary, and proceeded to establish churches in Freire, and the southeastern Ninth Region: Laureles, Villarrica, Pucón, Liucura, and Picahres (near Caburgua lake in the Andes foothills). Thus, the first organized Chilean Baptist churches, apart from the previous union with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, under the efforts of MacDonald and the Southern Baptist missionaries (later becoming the Baptist union or association UBACH) were, according to Aguilar (page 8): Temuco (1914), Valdivia (1917), Santiago 1st (1919, reorganized 1920), Concepción (1919), Santiago 2nd (1921, with the Davidsons), Talca (1926), Valparaíso (1936), and Antofagasta (1937).

I now have some further details. The following biographical excerpts were taken from: John S. Ramond (1936), Among Southern Baptists, Volume I, (compiler-publisher from Shreveport, Louisiana), Kansas City, Missouri: Western Baptist Publishing Company.

DAVIDSON, WILLIAM EARL [arrived in 1917]
Bible Department, Hannibal-La Grange College, Hannibal, Mo.; born, Freeman, Cass County, Mo., Sept. 6, 1891; son of Mary Elizabeth Holman of Albany, Ore., and Rev. Franklin Pierce Davidson of Freeman, Mo.; education, A.B., William Jewell College, Th.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; ordained, Savannah, Mo., August, 1917; married Mary Skidmore of Chillicothe, Mo., 1917, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Thayer Skidmore; children, Dorothy and Virginia; missionary, Timber Lake, S. D., 1913-1914; missionary, Valparaiso, Chile, 1917-1926; pastor, Gilliam, Mo., 1927; Bible Department, Hannibal-LaGrange College (1927 to date); author: “Catecismo de Doctrina Cristiana.” Address: Hannibal, Mo. Page 129 [Note: Davidson said he was a much better teacher than a preacher, and that his main contribution was to intensively train Chilean men with what they needed to be solid preachers theologically. “We had gone to Chile both times with the hope of being life-time missionaries there.” Nevertheless, he reported that he had to return to the United States instead of serving in Chile long term due to contracting acute miliary tuberculosis (“galloping consumption”) twice and the severe anemia, hypertension and angina of his wife, but that he always kept in touch with the mission, reading La Voz Bautista, a Chilean Baptist magazine run by the missionaries, writing “wacky ads” to the missionaries. Source: Reminiscences of Our Mission to Chile (pages 38-39, 62-63, 76-77)]

MARRS, FRANK [arrived 1919]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at San Antonio, Texas (Mexico); born, Florence, Tex., April 18, 1869; education, Southwestern University, Eastman National Business College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y., 1889; work in Baylor University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; appointed May 22, 1900; evangelistic work. Page 327 [Davidson wrote in his Reminiscences of Our Mission to Chile (page 14), that Marrs “was not long for Chile” even though he had a strong desire to serve there after having worked so long among Mexicans in Texas. The climate constantly made him sick and he and his wife suffered from pathetic poverty. Thus, they soon returned to the Northern Hemisphere.]

MOYE, JOHN LUTHER
Pastor, Hunter Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala.; born, Patsburg, Ala., Nov. 23, 1892; son of Elizabeth Mills and George Washington Moye of Patsburg, Ala.; education, graduate State Normal College, Alabama; A.B., Howard College; Th.B., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; ordained, Arkadelphia, Ark., Dec. 20, 1917; married Esther Billingsley of Healing Springs, Ala., Aug. 23, 1921; daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clay Billingsley; children, Sarah Elizabeth, John Luther, Jr.; pastor, Killen, Ala., 1916-1917; pastor. [Note: Davidson remarked in his Reminiscences of Our Mission to Chile (pages 35, 47), that Moye was in Santiago helping with the church planting when Davidson and McGavock were there but Moye does not appear on the list as an official or permanent missionary, and thus is not counted in the “eleven” in the article’s title. Photograph taken from La Voz Bautista (1923), 15:10 (October), cover]

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MOORE, ROBERT CECIL [arrived 1919]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Temuco, Chile; born, Fort Green, Fla., Jan. 28, 1894; education, Columbia College, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; appointed June 11, 1919; evangelistic work. Page 361

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MacDONALD, AVM. D. T. [arrived 1888, ordained under the Southern Baptists in 1919]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, retired on pension, formerly stationed at Temuco, Chile; born, Edinburgh, Scotland, i Aug. 8, 1851; educated, schools of Scotland; sailed for Chile 1888, an independent missionary to October, 1919, when appointed by F. M. B. Evangelistic Work. Address: Casilla 191, Temuco, Chile. Page 318 Photo credit

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GRAHAM, MISS NORA AGNES [arrived in 1920]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Temuco, Chile; born, Yoakum, Tex., Feb. 22, 1888; educated, University of Texas, 1918; W. M. U. Training School, 1920; appointed June 10, 1920; Girls’ School. Page 197Photo credit

HART, JOSEPH L. [arrived in 1921]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Concepcion, Chile; born, Essex County, Virginia, Nov. 26, 1879; education, McGuire’s School, Richmond, Va.; Richmond College, 1900; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, three years; appointed December, 1903; Evangelistic and Educational Work. Page 222 Photo credit

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HART, MRS. TENNESSEE H. [arrived 1921]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Concepcion, Chile; born, Meade County, Kentucky, Sept. 21, 1881; education, Brandenburg Normal Institute, 1897; Shelbyville College, 1901; appointed Mar. 15, 1904; married J. L. Hart, March, 1904; Educational and Evangelistic Work. Page 222

McGAVOCK, JAMES WILLIAM [arrived in 1922]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Santiago, Chile; born, Newberg, Ark., Oct. 30, 1888; education, Union University, A.B., 1918; S.B. Theological Seminary, Th.M., 1922; appointed May 17, 1922; Evangelistic Work. Page 342 Photo credit

McGAVOCK, MRS. CATHERINE, 3. [arrived in 1922]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Santiago, Chile; born, Obion, Tenn., Aug. 5, 1890; education, Hall Moody Normal; W. M. TJ. Training School, 1921; married J. W. McGavock, June, 1917; appointed, 1922- ; Evangelistic Work. Page 342

MAER, MRS. BERTHA TOOMS [arrived 1925]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Temuco, Chile; born, Medina, Tenn., June 4, 1898; education, Union University, A.B., 1920; W. M. U. Training School; B. M. T., 1923; married W. Q. Maer, January, 1921; appointed June, 1925; Educational Work. Page 320

MAER, WYNNE QUILON [arrived in 1926]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Temuco, Chile; born, Europa, Miss., June 14, 1897; education, Mississippi College; Union University, A.B., 1921; A.B. Theological Seminary, Th.M., 1924; appointed June 10, 1925; Educational Work. Page 320

The Missionaries’ Theological and Ministerial Training

Having come from all over the South (except for the missionary from Scotland), most of them were trained at Southern Seminary in Louisville, and eventually sent out from under the Virginia chapter of the Southern Baptist Convention (Foreign Missions Board). One of the key seminary teachers at Southern for most of these men was Archibald Thomas Robertson, who was one of the greatest New Testament and koine Greek scholars of all time. His most famous, massive work was A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research, which is still highly regarded today. Source: William Baird (2003), New Testament Research in the Era of Global Conflict, vol. 2, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, pp. 412-414. Another book that grants similar accolades is, Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study by James Leo Garrett, Jr., (2009), Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, pp. 347-350.

A.T. Robertson (pictured below) was a Calvinist in terms of his soteriology, just as was the rest of the faculty. Accordingly to Gregory A. Wills (2010), Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1859-2009 (New York: Oxford University Press), “A. T. Robertson held that the fundamental Baptist doctrine was the necessity of the new birth, which included the doctrine of justification by faith and ‘acceptance of the system of doctrine known as Calvinism'” (page 240). Congruently, Frank S. Mead, in his 1954 book The Baptists, reminded us that “we were Protestants before the Reformation, before the birth of Martin Luther” (page 7), although after the Reformation the particular Baptists of England and North America were particular and therefore Calvinistic (pages 19, 23).

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In terms of eschatology among Southern Baptists, historic premillennialism and postmillennialism were the dominant viewpoints during the Nineteenth Century with amillennialism displacing postmillennialism from 1930 to 1980, which is around the same timeframe that dispensational premillennialism became dominant in American Baptist churches. From this framework, one might conjecture that the early American Baptist missionaries probably held to either a historic premillennial or postmillennial eschatology. However, judging from what missionary Davidson wrote, they might well have been amillennial. One 1922 article dealing with eschatology that was published by missionary Hart, editor of La Voz Bautista, was Juan C. Varetto’s “Come out of her my people” [Revelation 18:4]. He was clearly not dispensational by virtue of his allegorical interpretation of the book of Revelation, although it is unclear exactly what his millennial position was. He stated: “The Apocalypse is a symbolic book, so here it is not about the famous city of Babylon built on both sides of the Euphrates, but of Rome, and not of pagan Rome, but Papal Rome.” Source: La Voz Bautista(1922), 14:10 (October), page 7.

W. Earl Davidson

The most prominent theologian of the group of missionaries was, clearly, Davidson (pictured below with his wife), followed by Moore. In addition to writing his 1928 dissertation entitled, The Early History of the Idea of Penance, from which Davidson doubtless exemplified some of his practical expertise in Roman Catholic doctrine after living in Chile for a decade, along with his erudite knowledge of church history and New Testament Greek. He recounts a story of a prayer-warrior woman in Chile, who showed preference for a missionary stricken with typhus by asking God to afflict one of her own instead. Her husband died from the same disease shortly thereafter, while the missionary recovered. Her daughter never forgave her (p. 65). All of this to show just how much Davidson was endeared to Chile and had fond memories of his experiences there.

He also published a Catechism of Bible Doctrine, translated from Catecismo de Doctrina Cristiana that was used to train Chilean pastors and disciple new believers. He was keenly interested in teaching others at all levels, showing that fact by writing an article for La Voz Bautista (The Baptist Voice) in January 1923, while on furlough in the United States, on how to set up a purposeful and successful Sunday School program in the local church. At the seminary level, his lecture notes taken under A. T. Robertson, New Testament Interpretation: Notes on Lectures of Dr. A. T. Robertson, 1914-1915 (1916), were also published, as well as some theological journal articles:

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In one short journal article, “On the Atonement,” Review & Expositor 24.3 (July 1927): 318-320, Davidson builds on the doctrine particular redemption—just as one might have expected coming from a scholar who graduated from a famously Calvinistic Baptist seminary. He wrote it while still in Santiago, Chile—prior to finishing his doctorate in Louisville. Davidson keys in on King David’s claim, “Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight,” (Psalm 51:4) in drawing parallels to Christ’s redemption. “Time would bring to light what was to make it possible for God to be both the justifier of the criminal and just to his victims” (p. 319).

In his earthly ministry, Jesus Christ transformed Himself “from Judge of men to man’s chief victim” (p. 320), and by making all of our crimes against other men against His person, the door was opened for Him to forgive us personally by grace and mercy rather than strictly act as our Judge, and thus mete out what we deserve. Our greatest victim thus became out greatest forgiver. Therefore, King David was right. Davidson stated that he did not regard his thinking as embarking on a new theory of the atonement, but rather served to supplement the doctrine of the substitutionary sacrifice. In his concluding remarks, Particular Baptist Davidson’s Calvinism seems to shine through: substitutionary theory “becomes even more meaningful if the substitute who should satisfy for us is the Judge himself, and if the victim for our sins is also the victim of our sins” (p. 320).

Apparently, Davidson taught the sovereignty of God in salvation as a missionary in Santiago. Whatever happened, then, to the disciples and pastors he trained and their spiritual progeny to have eventually generated such widespread Arminianism among Chilean Baptists in 2018?

The preface to Davidson’s aforementioned Catechism (English) states that, “It was prepared for the instruction of young ministers and Christian workers in the Chilean Mission, and has since 1930 been used as a manual for the training of young Christians in Bible fundamentals and in study classes in Chilean churches.” Again, what happened to this teaching over the past 85 years? In reading Davidson’s Catechism, I find little difference between it and the Southern Baptist Convention’s coeval 1925 edition of the Baptist Faith and Message. As a Particular Baptist creed, it is hardly surprising to find articles such as the following:

Article III: “He [man] was created in a state of holiness under the law of his Maker, but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and in bondage to sin, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.” (emphasis added)

Article IV: “The salvation of sinners is wholly of grace, through the mediatorial office of the Son of God, who by the Holy Spirit was born of the Virgin Mary and took upon him our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by his personal obedience and made atonement for our sins by his death. Being risen from the dead, he is now enthroned in Heaven, and, uniting in his person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is in every way qualified to be a compassionate and all-sufficient Saviour.” (emphasis added)

Article V: “Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of righteousness of all sinners who believe in Christ. This blessing is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but through the redemption that is in and through Jesus Christ. It brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other needed blessing.” (emphasis added)

Article VIII: “We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Saviour.” (emphasis added)

Article IX: “Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which he regenerates, sanctifies and saves sinners. It is perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility. It encourages the use of means in the highest degree.” (emphasis added)

Article XI: “All real believers endure to the end. Their continuance in well-doing is the mark which distinguishes them from mere professors. A special Providence cares for them, and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” (emphasis added)

Consider, then, some pertinent excerpts from Davidson’s A Catechism of Bible Doctrine that by-and-large prove his Calvinism, and show that he did not deviate from the recently-published Baptist Faith and Message:

Section 1, Question 6 states, “…we are so tainted with sin that we cannot please God.” Questions 8-11 of Section 2 imply particular redemption, that Jesus laid down His life for us, although somewhat less explicitly than earlier Baptist confessions (i.e., London, Philadelphia and New Hampshire). However, Section 2, Question 13 states that, “God loves men in their sins and yearns to save them from their sins,” which is somewhat ambiguous, as is Section 5, Question 8: “God is loving and good toward all his creatures,” and Section 7, Question 9 that Jesus bore “in body and soul the wrath of God against the whole human race,” and Section 7, Question 10, “Christ died for every man to redeem us from everlasting damnation.” Yet, Question 1 of Section 3 is a bit clearer: “Are all men saved by the death of Christ? No; those who continue in sin remain under the wrath of God.”

Section 6, Question 5 states emphatically that nothing happens by accident or chance but rather “from the fatherly hand of God.” Section 9, Question 11 unambiguously says that, “God gives his renewing Spirit to those whom he has always purposed to save” but in the very next Question 12 there is ambiguity to the point of contradiction, “Is any man excluded from salvation by the will of God? No; God loves all mankind and for their salvation has given his only begotten Son; he would have all men to be saved…he offers salvation freely to every man” yet is so worded as to not outright deny a Calvinistic soteriology. He clearly holds to the perseverance of the saints in Section 11, questions 7 and 8.

Perhaps the oddest part of it is Section 1, Question 10 (related to Section 3, Question 10) which says (akin to C. H. Spurgeon’s belief about infants) that unbelieving children will not go to hell if they die prior to knowing the difference between good and evil, but instead will be saved by grace without believing. In addition, in his Reminiscences of Our Mission to Chile (pages 18, 22, 27), Davidson insinuated that he might have been a teetotaller, and also that he considered that Baptists were “Protestants”—neither view being a general, or historically Baptist perspective.

Also note that Davidson’s orthodox, simple, general eschatological pronouncement about Christ’s return—perfectly aligned with amillenialism—is seen in Section 7, Question 17. He gives no hint whatever of adopting a dispensational hermeneutic or eschatology with a millennium, great tribulation, or rapture (which is often taught in modern Chilean Baptist churches).

In another article, “Paradise Regained and Recent Criticism,” Review & Expositor30.4 (Oct. 1933): 381-402, Davidson showed his (obviously) keen interest in British literature, tackling critiques of John Milton’s Paradise Regained (1671). He basically argued that Milton was not unsound for focusing his attention on Luke’s account of the temptation of Christ, especially his disproportionately long treatment of the second temptation in Luke 4:6-7, “And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority [of the kingdoms of this world] I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.’” Davidson, by then Professor of Bible at Hannibal-LaGrange College in Missouri, concluded that Milton was orthodox in his interpretation and actually drew clever parallels with the trials and temptations of Job who, like Christ, ended up overcoming the devil. It was, indeed, a logical sequel to Milton’s other great literary work, Paradise Lost (1667). While one might see some weak and tacit links to political activism in his defense of Milton, no inkling of Davidson’s soteriology given. It does show that Davidson was a scholar in fields beyond Bible, church history, and theology alone.

R. Cecil Moore

The second regular Southern Baptist missionary to come to Chile in 1919, Robert Cecil Moore, stayed in the field far longer than Davidson. He wrote his 1944 Ph.D. dissertation, The Economic Influence of Roman Catholicism in Chile, at Southern Baptist Theological seminary, around 25 years after his arrival. As such, it was fully related to his field experience. He cites Chile’s low wages and overall backwardness as being direct results of the false doctrine or manipulative polices supported by the Roman Church, e.g., high taxes, brutal treatment of Indians, grants of unequal land privileges, and greed and exploitation in the name of religion.

There is an interesting quotation in his introduction (p. 2) that sums up the link between property, capitalism and a Christian Worldview: “A man’s religion, and a man’s goods are two of the most dynamic forces in his existence, and they are closely related at many points. What a man believes will affect his acquisitive desires, as it will modify also the distributive use of the goods he will make of his goods once acquired.” He then goes on to talk about the importance of observing the Ten Commandments, especially resting on the Lord’s Day and partaking in charitable activities (also see Davidson’s dissertation, p. 69). Too, he applies Max Weber’s theory in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of CapitalismPhoto credit

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Moore concluded that, “…the Roman Catholic Church releases the lowest brutal passions of avarice and cruelty by its sanctions and even its participation. The potential wealth represented by the Indian population is squandered, beaten down by inhumane cruelty, and wasteful, selfish exploitation” (p. 46). Colonial curates (priests) in Valparaíso would also levy hefty taxes on visiting ship captains under threat of excommunication (p. 57). Moreover, under the Jesuits, Moore concluded, “Roman Catholicism, as a religious way of thinking, does not conduce to the best economic welfare of a country or a people” (p. 71). Indeed, “Chile is infinitely behind other countries that have inferior resources, not because of inferior race, but because of a religion that gives inferior economic results. Is it too much to say that Chile is poor because it is Catholic?” (p. 84). “Judged by the history of colonial Chile, Roman Catholicism is not conducive to intellectual liberty and exploration nor to inventiveness in any line. Catholicism is contrary to social change, and social change is essential to permanent economic well-being” (p. 119). In sum, Chile would have been a vastly different place had it not be dominated by Catholicism for so long (p. 124).

Moore wrote for the Chilean Baptist magazine La Voz Bautista (The Baptist Voice) frequently as he spent decades trying to impact the Chilean people. As an activist, seemingly with similiar inclinations as Pastor John Leland decades before him, he kept an eye on world happenings for the brethren and, in the January 1923 issue, even noted gleefully that Russian communism had “failed.” Moreover, the dedication at the beginning of his thesis indicates that his wife was equally devoted to serving the Lord among the Chilean people. Furthermore, he wrote (in Spanish), Men and Acts: Baptists of Chile in 1965, a history of Baptist missionaries and work in Chile, along with other books and tracts.

The Rest: Some Circumstantial Evidence about Their Theology

From the writings of Moore and Davidson, it is clear in the case of Davidson and likely in the case of the others, that the early American Baptist missionaries were theologically savvy, multi-lingual, Calvinistic and non-dispensational, non-charismatic men, who were also intellectuals that enjoyed political activism and studies in church history, economic history and classic English literature. They were hardly men of low preparation, but rather—as thinking men—dedicated themselves to the evangelization and lifting up of people living in an impoverished country. Would it be too much of a stretch to think that the other initial missionaries—MacDonald, Marrs, Moye, Hart, McGavock, Maer—were also of similar character and preparation, or at least just as true and dedicated in their diligent service for Christ in Chile? MacDonald had evidently learned his doctrine directly from C. H. Spurgeon in London (Biography, page 19), and was surely an active Calvinistic preacher. In summarizing “The Baptist Message to Chile” in La Voz Bautista (February 1922), MacDonald stated that apart from decreeing and controlling all things that come to pass, “predestination is the eternal election that God makes for some people to eternal life, by virtue of which they are called, justified, and glorified,” affirming emphatically the perseverence of the saints, too. I hope that further study into the lives and work of these men will better reveal both their precise theological views and their passion for “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

Nonetheless, at least by considering the circumstantial evidence of their training, the missionaries’ belief in the sovereignty of God in salvation should come as no surprise. According to William A. Mueller, in his 1959 book A History of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Nashville: Broadman Press), the faculty working at the seminary when Davidson, Moore, McGavock, and Hart studied there were (page 242): John Richard Sampy (1863-1946), faculty member 1887-1942; Archibald Thomas Robertson (1863-1934), 1890-1934; William Joseph McGlothlin (1867-1933), 1896-1919; William Owen Carver (1868-1954), 1898-1943 who, according to Wills (2010), manifested some liberal sympathies, like entertaining the idea that hell does not exist (pages 260-267, 322); Edgar Young Mullins (1860-1928), 1899-1928, who, according to Wills (2010), was clearly a Calvinist (page 240); George Boardman Eager (1847-1929), 1900-1920; Charles Spurgeon Gardner (1859-1948), 1907-1929 who, according to Wills (2010), was open to a few liberal sympathies, but less than his mentor Carver (pages 237-241); Harry Clifford Wayman (1881-1959), 1915-1923; and Landrum Pinson Leavell (1874-1929), 1915-1920. According to Wills (2010), Sampy, Wayman, Robertson and Dargon, along with Byron Hoover Dement (1863-1933), 1906-1914 (President of Baptist Bible Institute and future seminary in New Orleans starting in 1917); “represented the more conservative wing of the faculty” in 1907, with Whitsitt, Harris, and Kerfoot being gone by then (page 268).

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A few other professors possibly influenced later graduates like McGavock (pictured above, who graduated five years after Davidson): Frank Marion Powell (1886-1973), 1918-1941; Gaines Stanley Dobbins (1886-1978), 1920-1956; William Hersey Davis (1887-1950), 1920-1950; James McKee Adams (1886-1945), 1921-1945; and conservative preacher (Wills, 2010:325) Kyle Monroe Yates (1895-1975), 1922-1942. Note that McGavock was a mason, like unto so many Baptists during the Twentieth Century (e.g., Honorio Espinoza) and Presbyterian Pastor Trumbull in Valparaíso during the Nineteenth Century (see photograph of the seminary’s masons below).

Earlier graduates Hart (who was editor of The Baptist Voice for a time) and Marrs were likely also influenced by William H. Whitsitt (1841-1911), 1872-1899; Henry Herbert Harris (1837-1897), 1896-1897; Franklin Howard Kerfoot (1847-1901), 1887-1899; and Edwin Charles Dargan (1852-1930), 1892-1907—all of whom ended their seminary careers prior to Davidson entering the seminary—but did not have courses with Byron Hoover Dement, Harry Clifford Wayman, Landrum Pinson Leavell, Charles Spurgeon Gardner, Frank Marion Powell; Gaines Stanley Dobbins, William Hersey Davis, James McKee Adams, or Kyle Monroe Yates, who taught after Hart and Marrs had finished their studies. These professors were undoubtedly Calvinists. According to Wills (2010), “Whitsitt frequently emphasized the Calvinistic character of baptist doctrine in his church history classes and praised the soundly Calvinistic Philadelphia Confession of Faith” and Dargan’s 1905 book Doctrines of Our Faith clearly indicated that he was a Calvinist, too (p. 240). Presumably, Hart broadly agreed with the Calvinism, local churches practices and issues of morality espoused by the other missionaries, along with translated articles written by theologians outside of Chile that were reprinted in the journal he edited. He likely held, for example, that the role of deacons was merely to serve rather than to rule the local church, which is a doctrine that is quite different than what is practiced today, where deacons are the leaders of the local church.

The deacons are not elders or directors, but rather servants of the church, who must care for the temporal interests of the same. We have no commandment to determine how many deacons there should be in a church, nor how long they should remain in office. The officers of the church are there more to serve than to exercise power. The official positions of the church are not titles, nor ranks, nor means to achieve exaltation, but instead exist for service. Officers and members form part of a unity and their actions are both joint and mutual. [Dr. JLM Curri, “An Important Difference: A Baptist Church Is Radically Different from Paido-Baptist Churches,” reprinted in La Voz Bautista, 15:2 (February 1923), Temuco, Chile, page 11, translated from Spanish.]

Chile’s early Baptist missionaries were trained in Calvinist soteriology and taught the doctrines of grace from the pulpit, in its seminary and in discipleship classes. There is no evidence that they were taught in seminary either a dispensational hermeneutic or eschatology, and certainly not a charismatic perspective on the continuation of the revelatory and other spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12-14, Acts 2 and 8, and Romans 12, or that they promoted such teachings to their churches in Chile. In fact, Davidson commented several times in his Reminiscences of Our Mission to Chile (pages 7-9, 17) that missionaries Davidson and Moore (and presumably others) rebuffed incursions by pentecostals, e.g., a self-professed, boisterous, Greek-reading “prophet” Mr. Shulpig, and faith healer named Mr. Bunster from Concepción who had led the Baptist church there astray, calling the former “heretical.” Yet, one would never know those facts when visiting one of the Chilean Baptist churches in 2018 that was directly or indirectly spawned by their efforts almost a century earlier. Indeed, they would turn in their graves upon witnessing the modern Baptist debacle.

The World Situation When the Early Missionaries Arrived in Chile

Remember, too, that the 1910s and “roaring” 1920s were tumultuous decades in the world, affecting both the United States and Chile, each of which had been receiving (and continued to receive) many new European immigrants. On the world stage, World War 1 (1914-1918), the Russian communist revolution (1917), the sinking of the Titanic (1912) and the Lusitania (1915), and the opening of the Panama Canal (1914), had been changing the course of history. Christian seminaries worldwide experienced the onslaught of theological liberalism during these decades, spurred on by the growing teaching of Darwinian evolution (affecting Carver, Gardner and Toy at the Southern Baptist Seminary), with conservatives splitting off from them to form new ones, such as Dallas Theological Seminary (1924) and (in the case of the conservative Presbyterians) Westminster Theological Seminary (1929). The uprising against theological liberalism and the defeat of postmillennialism that had dominated Baptists and many Protestants for centuries due to the devastation of two world wars, permitted the rise and spread of conservative dispensationalist teachings that profoundly impacted both Baptists and Presbyterians in the mid-Twentieth Century.

Chilean history had been forever altered by the aftermath of the great Valparaíso earthquake and fire (1906), the synthesizing of saltpeter (nitrates) by the Germans (1915) that destroyed their greatest export business, the sinking of British ships by the German ship Dresden (1914) and subsequent blockade of Chilean ports by the British during World War 1, internal strife between German and British, French or other European immigrants who sent their sons from Chile to fight in Europe, the dwindling of its economic power and the golden age of Valparaíso, along with the rise of Santiago’s preeminence, and the 1925 Constitution which separated church and state and allowed common men to vote—and Baptist men to preach publicly in Spanish.

The United States started its central bank (1913), passed a permanent national income tax for the first time (1913), fought in World War 1 (1917-1918), granted women’s suffrage (1920), started producing automobiles via the assembly line (1913), enacted and then rescinded alcoholic beverage prohibition (1919-1933), and saw the first commercial airlines begin service (1914).

One cannot fully understand the situation of the missionaries without first appreciating the world in which they lived and studied, and that of the land where they arrived. In addition, one must have a better understanding of what they believed and sought to establish in Chile to really comprehend the effort. To that end, I hope this article has been enlightening, given that no one would have ever guessed what the early missionaries represented considering the degenerate state of modern Chilean Baptist churches and the Baptist seminary in Santiago today.

Leer la versión en español

John Cobin, Ph.D. Twitter

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Early Chilean Baptists Supported by Libertarian Ones from America

The early Baptists that arrived in Chile likely brought with them some strong libertarian tendencies. Virginian Baptists were the first Americans to support Chilean Baptists works in 1917. Accordingly, there was probably a tacit link with to the influential activism of Pastor John Leland, who preached thousands of sermons in Virginia and took an activist role in both the association of Baptists—that would later send missionaries Earl and Mary Davidson to Chile (see page 27 of the missionary list)—and the promotion of libertarian ideals for the newly-formed United States. Indeed, it is unlikely that American Baptists sent socialists or communists to Chile, and surely not any pacifists.

According to Ricardo Becerra Inostroza in Invitando a Conocer la Historia de una Comunidad Cristiana (2006:18-22), (which translates to “An invitation to know the history of a Christian community”), the first Baptists arrived in Chile in 1884 from Hamburg and Berlin, Germany. More followed in 1892, establishing a church in the southern 8th Region in the town Contulmo, and then spread to the western 9th Region, with the second church in “El Salto” (north of Temuco) opening in 1894, with others soon being established in Quillén, Púa, and Victoria. They preached in German and struggled to preach in Spanish, which had to be improved over time. Their main goal ended up being to evangelize German-speaking Roman Catholic immigrants that had settled in southern Chile. Similarly, English-speaking Baptists William (Guillermo) MacDonald and his wife Julia arrived from Scotland in 1888, having been invited by Chilean President Balmaceda to serve as a professor in the English colony in Púa (between Victoria and Temuco). He was paid by the Bible Society in Valparaíso started by Presbyterian (and Mason, Pereira, page 12) Dr. David Trumbull and received a parcel of land in Freire from the Chilean governemnt for his efforts. MacDonald ended up establishing Baptist churches from Victoria to Valdivia, and then jumped further south to Chiloé island.

Of course, before 1925, Chile was an officially Roman Catholic country and, as such, it was illegal to preach the Gospel in Spanish—even though legislation in 1865 y 1883-1885 had permitted private worship by Evangelicals in homes. As usual, the early Chilean Baptists found themselves outside the law for preaching the Gospel illegally, starting perhaps around 1895 when they began to hold Spanish-language services. They also faced other threats. The region was still a wilderness full of hostile Mapuche Indians, and it is likely that the Baptists were armed and ready to defend themselves if necessary—just like all the other European settlers around them from France, Belgium, Italy, Britain, Switzerland, Germany and elsewhere.

My wife Pamela’s maternal great grandfather, Pastor Wenceslao Valdivia (1886-1935), “the first Chilean Baptist,” was converted from Roman Catholicism upon hearing the simple Gospel message from Spanish immigrant (perhaps of French origin) Jorge Canete in Pailahueque (Ercilla province), just north of Victoria (central 9th Region), according to the biography Wenceslao Valdivia: Primer Bautista Chileno (1947). This book was written by his son, Pamela’s maternal great uncle, Pastor Isaías Valdivia Sanhueza in Valparaíso. Wenceslao was baptized in 1896 in the Quillén Baptist church and later went on to pastor thirty-four Baptist congregations in Contulmo, the 9th Region (Temuco) and 14th (Valdivia) Region during his life.

Isaías, who was the founding pastor of the first Baptist church in Valparaíso (1936), eventually went to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for further training and never returned to Chile. He and his father were probably close to the core doctrine imported by the Davidsons (and probably the other missionaries from Virginia in Chile at the time: Joe Hart, Robert Moore, Frank Marrs), presumably trained by calvinistic Baptists and libertarians in Virginia, and whom presumably would not have been opposed to employing self-defense against menacing Indians in either the United States or Chile. In a recent blog entry about Pastor John Leland, who ministered in both Virginia and Massachusetts, I concluded:

…early American Baptists like pastors Leland and Backus would not have been opposed to carrying concealed weapons, much to the chagrin of some of their modern progeny in Europe, North America and South American countries like Chile. Were the historical Baptists right regarding taking up arms in self-defense? How different would modern countries in North America, Europe and South America be if Baptists would only adhere to the doctrine of Christ and corresponding Worldview championed by their activist Baptist predecessors?

While the ends do not justify the means, it is quite clear that Baptist prosperity since 1790, including Bible-based seminaries and the enormous missionary surge over the last two centuries—along with similar blessings that spilled over to many other groups—was built on the defensive actions of activist Baptists. The courageous American Baptists of the late 1700s may have originally aligned themselves with Presbyterians (mainly) and others like the “black robe regiment” Lutherans during the battle for freedom in Colonial America, but they later stood alone when insisting on protecting the rights of men generally via the Bill of Rights. Accordingly, libertarians in North America, Chile, Europe and elsewhere around the world owe a debt of gratitude to Baptists, the most libertarian and neoliberal of all the branches of Christianity.

I do not know for certain what the Davidsons or Canete believed, but given what I do know about the history of Virginian baptists (in the tradition of Leland), and other southern baptists of that 1880-1920 era in North America and Europe, it is likely that the missionaries from Virginia brought a relatively libertarian and calvinistic perspective to the Valdivias and other Chileans. Nevertheless, modern Chilean Baptists generally know little of the Valdivias, close to nothing of Leland, or even much about the support from the Virginian Baptists initially given a century ago—bolstering Chilean Baptist churches. Looking at how weak Chilean Baptist churches are today, replete with their theatrical acts, charismatic tendencies, arminianism, pacifism, and women in leadership or coordinating the services, one can imagine the Valdivias turning in their graves.

Are Chilean Baptists anything like John Leland and their libertarian-minded, calvinistic Virginian forefathers? Or are they courageous like the Valdivias, Canetes or Davidsons? When considering a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, we see that the hen sacrifices a lot (her egg), but the pig is committed to the ultimate sacrifice to get the job done. The American Founders were committed like “pigs” are, especially the Baptist ones. Are Chileans more like “hens” or “pigs” in this sad scenario today, wanting to fight for liberty and historic Baptist doctrine? The question is rhetorical. The obvious implication is that Chilean Baptists would do well to learn their libertarian and calvinistic roots, reconsider the biblical doctrine that makes them distinct and their message powerful, thereby moving forward once again to transform their culture.

Ver la versión en español acá.

John Cobin, Ph.D. Twitter

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Early Twentieth Century Baptists in Chile

Baptists have “plagued” Chile for many decades—in the same sense that the Apostle Paul was said to have done so in Acts 24:5. Unfortunately, few Chilean Baptists know much about this history of what I would call both a calvinistic and largely libertarian heritage. I have previously written something about the Baptists that arrived in Chile from Germany, Scotland and the United States from 1884 to 1917. They were the first real movement of Baptists to Chile, although President (General Director) Bernardo O’Higgins had invited Scottish Baptist Pastor James Thompson in 1821 to work to improve Chilean primary education using the Lancaster method. He stayed a year but managed to bring the first “Bible that came legally” into the country and began to spread the simple Gospel as well as he could.

There were also a few Baptists included in the more general immigrations of Germans during the 1850s and 1860s to Valdivia, La Unión and Osorno, along with the later settlements around Lago Llanquihue. (Note: a few Mennonites—pacifist, Arminian Baptists—also arrived, but they are not the focus of this article.) Some of the earliest German Baptists settled from Contulmo to Los Ángeles, down to Victoria, and also El Salto, Quillén Viejo and Temuco, including the Lichtenberg, Reinicke, Rolof, Meir, and Berg families, evangelizing German-speaking Roman Catholics.

Pastor McDonald Chile 1908.jpg

In 1908, twenty years after his initial arrival in the country and extensive labors, missionary William MacDonald (photo above) and three hundred Baptist brethren founded the first evangelical Baptist convention in Chile. There were a number of Chilean pastors by then, too, and many of them ran along family lines with these surnames:

Sáez (José)
Valdivia (Wenceslao Valdivia and his son Isaías Valdivia, being the most renown)
Chávez (Abraham)
Mella (Gualberto)
Gatica (Juan Antonio)
Álvarez (Juan Domingo)

along with other key men in leadership, according to Victor Aguilar, History of Baptists in Chile (pages 5, 7):

Zapata (Nieves)
Bar (Pedro)
Rodriguez (Erasmo)
Espinosa (José Tenorio)
Mancilla (David)
Mora (Joaquín)
Ramirez (José)

Modern Chilean Baptists would do well to find out more about these men. The initial Spanish-speaking churches were established—apparently illegally (before 1925)—in towns spread across a wide radius around Temuco: Gorbea, Lastarria, Mune, Molco (on Villarrica lake), Cajon and Huilío. American southern Baptist missionary Dr. WIlliam Buck Bagby, who was originally sent to Brazil, came to Chile around the same time at the request of MacDonald. Along with the American Baptists, Brazilian, Argentine, Mexican and Cuban Baptist organizations sent financial support for the early Chilean churches. By 1923, the number of Baptist churches had grown from five to twenty-nine and the number of members to 1,154. Pereira, page 7

It is interesting to note that Chilean Baptists were renown for being penniless at that time and were thus poor givers; a characteristic that has transcended generations and over 110 years of history, down to the present day. It is a shame that Chileans are famous for not being generous givers. They neither support their own pastors adequately nor fully undertake the cost of building their own church structures, instead relying on foreigners (especially Americans) for such blessings. As Oscar Garcia Pereira noted in 2012:

But the pain of missiological poverty was cured by the largesse of missionary wealth of the Southern Baptists of the US. From this body missionaries began to arrive [1917-1926], very well trained in theology, and well equipped in family resources and dollars. They came to plant, harvest, and store, the rich fruits of evangelization. Pereira, pages 4, 6, 8; note that Virginian Baptists were still paying 79.7% of Chilean pastoral support fifty years later in 1972!

Who exactly were these ardent missionaries?

—1917 William Earl and Mary Davidson to Santiago (see page 27 of the missionary list).
—1919 Frank and Effie Marrs, missionaries to Mexico who went to help Earl Davidson in Santiago (see page 66 of the missionary list).
—1919 Robert Cecil and Mary Moore, first to help in Santiago for a year and then on to Concepción (see page 73 of the missionary list).
—1920 Agnes Nora Graham (see page 41 of the missionary list)head of the Baptist school in Temuco starting in 1922, construction and operations financed by the Southern Baptist Convention to combat the illiteracy rate of 50% and provide basic instruction.
—1921 Joe Lancaster (and wife Tennessee) Hart to Temuco to start a Bible institute, then to Concepción briefly and finally to Antofagasta (see page 46 of the missionary list).
—1922 James W. and Catherine McGavock to Talca (see page 70 of the missionary list).
—1926 Wynne Quilon and Berta Lou (Tooms) Maer to Temuco for youth ministry commencing in 1929 (see page 66 of the missionary list).

They settled in Temuco, Concepción, Talca, Santiago and Antofagasta. MacDonald also became a recognized Southern Baptist missionary, and proceeded to establish churches in Freire, and the southeastern Ninth Region: Laureles, Villarrica, Pucón, Liucura, and Picahres (near Caburgua lake in the Andes foothills). Thus, the first organized Chilean Baptist churches, apart from the previous union with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, under the efforts of MacDonald and the Southern Baptist missionaries (later becoming the Baptist union or association UBACH) were, according to Aguilar (page 8): Temuco (1914), Valdivia (1917), Santiago 1st (1919, reorganized 1920), Concepción (1919), Santiago 2nd (1921, with the Davidsons), Talca (1926), Valparaíso (1936), and Antofagasta (1937).

They were all active in evangelization and political activism, as Pereira noted (page 4): “The Chilean evangelicals and Baptists settled in a country with martial war. They had to fight against closed social institutions to obtain room for social tolerance and religious freedom…[and] had to face a constitutional giant—the union of Church and State.” Like Pastor John Leland before them, they boldly fought for religious liberty, and their progeny following suit through participation in the Radical Party starting in the 1930s (see Pereira, pages 11-12).

While one cannot say with certainty if or how the Chilean pastors and foreign missionaries of the 1908-1937 era fell in with Leland, it is manifestly clear that Twenty-First Century ones are reluctant, theologically ignorant and perhaps even lazy cowards by comparison—lacking both his calvinistic/transformational doctrine and his diligent Christian principles put into practice. As the historical record shows, the original Chilean Baptist church (UBACH) and its Santiago seminary’s degeneration to unbiblical modernism or light “Christianity” seems to have begun during the 1950s and metastasized ever since. Consequently, unless there is a revival among it, historically Baptist convictions must be sought in other independent, particular and Reformed Baptist churches that have risen up during the last four decades.

Ver la versión en español.

John Cobin, Ph.D. Twitter

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Overview of Nightlife and Activities for Younger People

There are many reasons to live in Santiago: jobs, business and networking, modernity, large First World areas, great medical care, extensive and modern shopping, amusement parks, bowling, golf, international access/airport hub and access to language schools or many people that speak English. Other than work and business, Viña del Mar can tick most of those boxes, albeit on a much smaller scale, and what lacks is just ninety minutes away in Santiago. What Viña has over Santiago is less traffic (except during the Summertime, when it can be a bit oppressive on the coast), cooler weather in Summer, ocean views and no air pollution. The rest of Chile pales by comparison to these two spots, and thus it is no wonder that well over ninety percent of the expats we have serviced settle in either Northeastern Santiago or Viña del Mar.

Nevertheless, one thing that often goes unnoticed is the needs of younger, usually single people, mainly in their 20s and 30s. Most expats that we see are 45 to 65 years old. A few come with children, but most do not. For that reason, these immigrants rarely ask me about what social life is like for younger people. Other than church groups, I really do not know–being a man in his 50s that likes the quiet pleasantries of Viña del Mar. So I asked my 27-year-old son what cities he prefers to meet people, go out and have fun: restaurants, dancing, pubs, shows, casinos, soccer matches, beaches, concerts, horse racing, movie theaters, whatever.

While one observation (my son’s views) is hardly scientific, I think it could be of interest to readers since he was partly raised here and has since lived in Chile for many years, attended graduate school here and is perfectly bilingual. He also gets out a fair amount.

I asked my wife to fill in bits of information she knows about Southcentral Chile. I have a few bits of information to add to the mix, too, based on locales I have seen and activities I have witnessed during my extensive travels in Chile.

In my son’s view, Northeastern Santiago is clearly the best choice. It is a “10”. However, other places are also good or fair, while most places are mediocre or outright terrible. Here are the rankings:

10 Valparaíso/Viña del Mar on New Year’s Eve and during Festival de Viña (around February 19-28)

8 Viña del Mar during the summertime (including Reñaca and south Concón)

7 Viña del Mar during the rest of the year

6,5 Concepción

6 Pucón or Villarrica (especially) and Puerto Varas during the summertime

5 La Serena and Iquique

4 Temuco and Valdivia

3.5 Puerto Montt and Rancagua

3 All other popular lakes and beaches during the summertime, Antofagasta

2 Arica, Talca, Curicó, Linares, Chillán, Los Ángeles, Punta Arenas, Coyhaique, Osorno, Calama, Copiapó, Los Andes, Quillota, Pucón and Villarrica and Puerto Varas during the rest of the year

1 Rural areas and small towns throughout Chile, other lakes and beaches during the rest of the year.

Take the ranking for what it is worth, but at least you now have an idea of what to expect in each area of the country. My son would not live anywhere but Northeastern Santiago or Viña del Mar, unless (of course) he was called to work in another city. Remember, too, that even if Viña del Mar is more suitable for his parent’s generation or retirees, there is still a fair amount for younger people to do and he can easily get to spots in Santiago by bus/metro in a couple hours for Friday and Saturday night–a virtue that no other provincial urban center provides (like Concepción–too far away).

In many ways, Viña del Mar is the superior choice if a young person does not have to work in Santiago every day. He gets the benefits of nightlife in both of those cities without having to put up with the disagreeable aspects of daily life in Santiago (smog, traffic, summertime heat). Overall, it seems pretty clear that young people will tend to be most comfortable and content with social life in either Northeastern Santiago or Viña del Mar.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2016 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $149.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)

Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)

A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)

Size 13 Shoes in Chile

Not often, but every once in a while, a Chilean company gets a plug on my blog. I am not in the business of offering free advertising or promoting brands in general. However, when some benefit arises that truly affects the well-being of newcomers to Chile, I am happy to report it.

For nearly 20 years, I have searched in vain in Chile to find size 13 shoes (size 46 in Chile). Normally, one can find up to Chilean size 44, and in recent years size 45 shoes have been seen. But beyond that size there are slim píckings’. Chileans rarely have larger feet, except for the occasional guy of German, British or Croatian descent, and thus there has not been sufficient demand to keep larger sizes in stock. The usual answer I have heard to my inquiries at shoe stores was to get shoes in another country or have them tailor-made.

There are a couple of big and tall stores in Santiago that have carried larger sizes now and then, but the supply has been anything but constant, in my recollection at least, and I did not bother to check much because price to quality ratios were outrageous in those stores. It was simply easier to pick up a few pairs of shoes while traveling abroad to the USA or Europe. Shops in Argentina also carry larger shoe sizes, especially in custom-made dress shoes. Another choice in recent years has been to use Amazon or another service and just pay the expensive shipping and customs duties.

However, USA chain Merrell in Chile now has some size 13 shoes in stock. While checking out 5 or 6 stores in the Marina Arauco mall in Viña del Mar, I was surprised to find that Merrell had two pairs of size 13 shoes! None of the other stores did. I picked up one of the two pairs on hand.

Note that shopping for size 13 shoes is a different buying experience in Chile. One does not start by looking at the shoes on display and asking to see one in his size. Instead, one asks that all size 13 shoes available in stock be brought out. Actually one asks for both size 46 (which until now has not been available) and size 45, on the odd chance that one finds a large or incorrectly-tagged 45.

Merrell’s only presence in South America is in Chile, and it has nine stores in Santiago, and one store each in Concepción, Viña del Mar, Temuco, Los Angeles and Valdivia. Their website has details, also stating that they ship anywhere in Chile free of additional charge. Plus, returns and exchanges by mail are also free of delivery charges. So Merrell is bringing some American convenience to Chile. If you are not familiar with the brand, I can attest that it is very high quality. The shoes are not cheap, but the prices are not outrageous and they are a bit cheaper on the internet. Check for seasonal lineup changes so you can get 30% to 40% off on the outgoing stock.

By the way, I checked back with the Viña del Mar store a few days after my initial purchase and found that a new shipment had just arrived, including 5 more pairs of size 46! I rushed down to see the spectacle and asked the saleslady to bring out all the available stock. She did so. However, two of the five were actually size 45 and thus did not fit. The other three pairs of shoes were fine, and I left with two of them. A man with bigger feet in Chile learns to stock up when he can.

If you want the last pair or two in Viña del Mar, better hurry! The saleslady there called branches in Santiago for me and found that four of them had size 13 shoes as well, probably in more copious quantities. So, like most things in Chile, if you are living in Santiago you will have an easier time finding larger shoe sizes. And if you are living in Viña del Mar and the local Merrell store does not have any size 46 on hand, you can always make your way to Costanera Center in Santiago, Metro Tobalaba (red line 1).

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.infoVisit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they
would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom.
This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.
Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Forestal (Poor Section of Viña del Mar)

With the exception of Vitacura (Santiago), every nice comuna in Chile has a nasty or poor section. Even Las Condes has a not-so-nice part of town near Colón and Padre Hurtado. Lo Barnechea (Santiago), with its posh La Dehesa district, also has some of the poorest places of Santiago along the Río Mapocho.

However, Viña del Mar has probably the starkest contrast and largest percentage of lower-class living of all the major otherwise First World comunas. Perhaps the best example of one of these sections is the spiraling hillside/hilltop section called Forestal (200+ meters above sea level). This neighborhood is comprised of both legally-titled land and homes as well as tomas (which I wrote about five years ago regarding coastal settlements in the 3rd Region)–what are effectively squatters communities without utilities formed by people taking land that does not belong to them and setting up a household with inexpensive building materials. These sorts of structures were what went up in smoke in the great Valparaíso fire of April 2014.

The blighted Forestal toma can be seen as one comes into Viña del Mar off the Las Palmas freeway. Take a look at the images below.

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The trash-strewn roadside is blight enough, but really just the tip of the iceberg when one considers the shanty style construction that is commonplace. (Believe it or not there are actually homes in here with fairly decent interiors, often owned by carpenters or handymen, but do not count them as the norm.) To live in this porquería (pigpen) is anything but paradise.

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There is often a spectacular view from these home sites, both of the distant Pacific and the towering Andes–which seem closer even though many miles further away. Life is “boring” and even quaint, with nosy neighbors and pots boiling over open fires in people’s patios. The next images are from the part of Forestal with property rights, showing a wide range of vistas, including looking across the valley to the Miraflores section. Viña del Mar has such a wonderful, cool climate and frequently blue skies that yield precious sunsets.

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How much would you pay to rent one of these places? The going rate is around 40,000 to 60,000 pesos per month, with some “chalets” fetching up to 70,000 pesos (that range is about US$64 to US$112 per month). If a husband and wife can take in $1,000 per month together, it is no surprise that many families can afford a used car and a new plasma television in their home with the significant disposable income left over after paying rent.

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The toma section, as noted earlier, has great freeway access. The roads are paved in the part that is not a toma and along them are found little markets that have inexpensive prices for most goods. The roads of the toma are dirt, and often feature men demanding coins, which are accumulated to pay for road maintenance. Corner markets and bakeries are seen but forget about finding an ATM, bank or pharmacy. There are significant dog populations and lots of children around, and in the “legal” part of the barrio people are quite friendly. I was also surprised to hear one man talk about how left-wing President Bachelet had to go. Things are not going well for poorer people on account of socialists (no surprise).

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In the tomas, especially the crime-ridden and “dangerous” section called Puerto Aysén,” there are dirt roads, and people often have dirt floors, too. The shanties up there make the legal homes down below appear relatively splendid. And certainly the rental price of a toma home must be less than 40,000 pesos per month.

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Not to worry, however, the government has stepped up with an adjacent project designed to relocate all the toma shanty dwellers. Most of the occupants do not like being forced to move into these new, white homes since they will have less space. Apparently, many plan to fight and stay put. They don’t need interventionists messing up their lives!

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Some of the shacks are in pretty bad shape in the tomas, as the images below show. The stores are run-down and the playgrounds are sad, even though the children in them seem quite happy!

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At any rate, I often talk up the virtues of Chile and leave out some of the negative aspects, like local pockets of poverty in the midst of First World communities. I have seen many Forestals in Chile, and anyone that chooses to live in Chile will eventually see many of them, too. Class D people (official designation) need to live somewhere.

On the bright side, we can say that at least the poor have a fighting chance to make a better life, largely because there is little housing regulation in Chile to force them into projects or less affordable, unsavory housing circumstances. It also is interesting to know just how cheaply one can live in Chile if he has to do so, and that even poorer people can live in a wonderful climate and have a great view from their home!

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info.
Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom. This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

Chilean idols

     Every culture tends to have its idols. Americans, for instance, idolize youth, consumerism (including keeping-up-with-the-Jones'” syndrome), celebrities and imperialism. Chileans have different idols and they seem just as obnoxious to newcomers as the idols of the First world seem to Chileans. Chilean idols can be summed up by three Spanish words: imagen, vergüeñza and pesada, when considered in their public context. I would like to briefly consider each of these in turn (image source).

First, Chileans have an exaggerated preoccupation for their public image or imagen. They will do whatever they can to appear to be more important or wealthier than they are in order to serve this idol. They will falsify their resumes or aggrandize their accomplishments. They strive to live in upper class neighborhoods in order to have a “good” address and to be able to boast about it. They wear their best clothes in public on their way to work, even if their jobs are menial or blue collar (e.g., the maid), and they change clothes once they arrive. They do nothing that might make them “stick out like a sore thumb.” They are proud of their last names if they are of Spanish or other European origin, especially with names that contain a double “rr” consonant in them, and do anything they can to hide any indigenous lineage. They do anything to attain more prestige at work or in society, even if it means undermining the position of someone else.
Second, Chileans hate to be put to public shame. It is uncanny that when arrested, criminals always try to hide their faces and in the criminal act itself, they are often hooded and/or masked. Many Chileans love to get away with lying, dishonesty, adultery or stealing, but never to be caught in the act. To say something shameful or to do something embarrassing or loud is humility that must be avoided at all cost. That is one reason why Chileans are so loathe to admit fault or to say that they are sorry. To get away with something is glorious but to be caught is high shame because of what others will think. Avoiding shame and humility, vergüenza, is an idol.
Third, Chileans glorify the idol of public nicety. It matters not how ignorant or mistaken a person is. So long as he is nice, friendly, uncritical and dignified, he can do anything or go anywhere–even be President. To be a person that is pesada (i.e., literally heavy, in terms of his character or conversation) is unacceptable and will be shunned by nearly everyone with whom he comes in contact. Critical or independent thinkers are not lauded, but rather those that follow the pack, since to be critical requires one to be pesada. Saying something considered mean or calling out someone’s sinful actions are, of course, off limits.
Surely, someone will now comment and complain that I am generalizing. All Chileans are not this way, at least not on every count. Of course, that is true. However, who can deny that these idols apply to the great majority of Chileans? Indeed, Chilean culture is in large part defined by these premises.

Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom. This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

Chileans Are Never to Blame

I have written on other occasions that most Chileans like to be liars, cheats and thieves, but none wants to  be known as such or to be caught red handed (pillado). Another aspect of Chilean culture is that no Chilean wants to take responsibility for errors or problems he causes. He will always blame someone else or the person that complains.

For instance, I have a swimming pool (image source) membership and the times for free swim are posted under the website tab called horarios (open hours). However, like in so many places in Chile, the management of the fitness club is poor. They arbitrarily change rules and opening hours. In the case of the pool, they decided to rent the lanes and close free swim for several blocks of time during the week. They did put a notice in an obscure part of the website (current events section) which contradicted what was listed under the horarios tab. In other words, someone neglected to update the main hours section of the website. The trouble is that members are more likely to look at the obvious place, the horarios tab, to see what the free swim times are. The result? Wasted time and conflict when one shows up to swim and cannot do so.

The administration, not wanting to admit fault, blames the customer and member for checking the website to see if there is contradictory information. They also point out that they laser printed a schedule that they keep behind the desk and if one would simply read that paper then they would have known. Very stupid. Old folks like me leave their eyeglasses in the car since they are not needed to swim. Not only that, many non-Chilean natives are not accustomed to snooping behind the desk for calendars or notices.

The biggest problem is not just this fitness club. The issue is that many businesses in Chile are similarly poorly run. People are neither careful nor thorough in collecting facts or presenting information. In fact commercial information is often irresponsible and based on childish research. (Think: here’s a business opportunity!) They will often not admit they are wrong and are loathe to take the blame for any problem. So just get used to it.

Check out this free book of Chilean slang phrases dealing with corruption and blame shifting: Diccionario del Corrupto de la Lengua – Súmate al Chile Sin Corrupción.

If you are going to live in Chile you are going to experience this sort of thing time and again. If you approach any situation knowing that you will possibly be disappointed and dissatisfied, then the likelihood of being enraged and having a really bad day is greatly diminished.

Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

American Chilena? This is about as close as it gets.

You’ve heard me mention the Cobin scale for Chilean Spanish in the past. If not, here’s an entry I posted on it – The Cobin Scale of Spanish Proficiency.

For most of us, level 10 will be forever elusive. Unless we started studying Spanish at a young age, the learning curve can be long and challenging. But even those who are proficient in Spanish can find Chilean Spanish difficult.

As an adult, it will likely take you months to get to a level where you can form simple sentences, and it will be frustrating for you to get your point across. With hard work, dedication and good training, you could get slightly conversant in less than a year, but that would be exceptional. On the average, it takes adults at least three years of effort to become conversant. I’ve defined conversant as:

passably bilingual and “fluent;” can communicate with some difficulty, understand about 80%+ in social or church settings where the context is known, can give an intelligible lecture; basic writing can be done; can fill out government, job application and insurance or other forms; one regularly utters sentences in English unintentionally laced with Spanish words; Spanglish becomes more the norma and intelligible; one encounters about 20 new vocabulary words per week; books and newspapers can be read by looking up fewer than 5 words per page; little problem ordering food in restaurants.

Some families think they want to wait a few years before moving abroad, so that their children can mature before taking them to another culture. If that’s your plan, then let me offer you a challenge. There’s no better time in life to learn a new culture and language than when we’re children. Before twelve years of age, the child’s mind can intuitively pick up nuances and accents far better than an adult’s. This is even more pronounced with children immersed at younger ages.

I ran across an example of this recently and wanted to share it with you. Here’s a young American lady who married a Chilean (Chileno). I don’t know how young she was when she started learning Chilean Spanish, but I’d guess under ten years old. Her accent is all but absent. And her use of slang is excellent. In fact, she’s incredibly close to a 10 on the Cobin Scale of Spanish Proficiency.

She talks about the 10 things she loves about Chile: cazuela, ferias, peruvian food, good character of Chileans–“buena onda,” 6 months of post natal time off, carabineros (police), teletón, french bread–marraqueta, asados, natural beauty, and Chile’s many holidays.

I don’t know if there’s such a thing as an American Chilena. If not, this is probably as close as one can get.

Thanksgiving Offer – 25% off

It’s no big surprise that when people expatriate from the country of their birth they bring along traditions and cultural nuances. When it comes to Chile, the result is quite a mix. With the various influences from Europe, North America, Oceania and Asia (not to leave out South America), you can find just about everything in Chile. Of course, you might not find exactly what you’re looking for in order to create the feast of your ancestors, but with a bit of creativity and imagination, you should be able to come pretty close.

One tradition that can be held onto from the US is Thanksgiving. And we see many American expats here celebrating in their new country. While the US is a far cry from the freedom the Puritans sought when arriving at Plymouth Rock, many of the ideals we’re pursuing are the same. They left confinement for freedom – oppression for opportunity.

As the US increasingly embraces fascism and the police state grows in power, it becomes ever more apparent that it is not the place for those who embrace libertarian ideals. Reflecting upon these things, I’m very thankful to be in Chile. To say that a load was lifted off my shoulders when I left the US for the last time would be an understatement.

There are some similarities to the reasons the Pilgrims left Europe for America. And it is these pursuits of freedom and a desire to offer a setting where people can concentrate on the important things in life rather than the onerous laws and regulations that hang over American heads 24/7, that have resulted in my residency and consultancy services, Red Hot Chile radio show and, more recently, Freedom Orchard.

I’m also grateful to you for being a part of my life in Chile. It’s been a blessing to share my insights with readers from around the world and help many embrace Chile as their new home. And your notes of encouragement reveal that what we’re doing here is certainly needed. As an added encouragement, the new newsletter format we offer has grown our mailing list by almost 50% since it started!

As an expression of my gratitude to faithful readers like you, I’m offering my books on Chile at a 25% discount through this coming weekend. My residency services are discounted 10% as well.

We’ve made it very easy for you to access these discounts. Simply visit our “Thanksgiving Special” page and input the password, “ThankYou.” The page will open up with all your discounted opportunities available. In case your browser removes the link, the page is – http://escapeamericanow.info/thanksgiving-special.

All you need to do is click on the payment link and make your payment through PayPal. Once you’ve made your payment, the page will reveal a contact form where the button was. Fill this out and your book will be sent to the email address you use in the form within minutes of when you press “Send.” The discounts are already applied.

I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. And please pass this on to those you think might be interested in Chile.