During this year we had to change many things in our ministry, but always expecting great and new things from God.
Always a new opportunity!
I remember when I was a boy that I watch one of the Jean-Cloude Van Damme called "No Retreat, No Surrender," and that is a very good title to express what we think in our missionary ministry during this special time. Covid-19 was an unexpected challenge for all of us, while our Lord Jesus warned us about plagues coming, it was not in our mind and planning that we could face an epidemic in our time, but God is sovereign, and we only know for now that He is in control and He has a plan with a lot of this.
Chile - Colombia
Here in Chile, we are facing the consequences of this pandemic, too. The government of Chile since the month of March started to limit some freedoms that people have, right now, in the capital of Chile, Santiago and other cities, and we are under some strict quarantine with the intention of taking down the number of contagions and death in the country. Quarantine is becoming a very hard time for many families that are losing their incomes, salaries are being reduced, and opportunities to find a new job are few. With our ministry and "Vida Real" congregations, we are trying to help families and people in the neighborhood close to our churches with food and supplies where people are doing "ollas comunes" (soup kitchens).
Since March, we had to stop our “in place” Sunday Services with our congregations in Santiago, discipleship groups in Melipilla and with the Kids programs in Puerto Varas (southern Chile), and until today, we cannot go back to have our regular meetings.
All this moves us as missionaries and ministry to look for God’s guidance to continue ministry in the best way we could, so we had to improvise an Online Ministry that involved Sunday Services, daily Facebook programs with the intention to help the members of the church and people during the time of adjustment with quarantine and all that came with it. I have some knowledge of technology and multimedia, so I take charge of all our new Online Ministry, and thank God Adriana helps me a lot and a member from our church in Santiago that has more knowledge with computers.
But there are always opportunities in challenges. Lately, with our Online Sunday Services we are having more than 200 people watching all our program that consider a time for kids and adults. Years ago, in some of our short-term mission trips, friends from Michigan brought and gave us a number of puppets that we are using every week to have Bible Leasons for Kid in our Online Sunday programs. My sister Miriam with her husband Michel and their kids Daniel, Emilia and David are working here to have something special for kids.
Also, we could improve our team spirit and discipleship with Online Discipleship Groups with our churches in Santiago and in the city of Melipilla. We have a discipleship group from Monday to Friday which I am leading, and I am very happy because it was so hard to get more people involved in discipleship groups. Thank God we are having great discussions and comradeship; also we are having new people participating and looking to know more about God and the Bible!
After having problems with different computers, thank God and thanks to the partnership and support of Friends in the US, we were able to buy a better computer and improve our Internet which helps us to not have problems with our different Online programs.
Two weeks ago, we had the first Online Vigil, with members of our church in Santiago and Melipilla, and thank God we had around sixty people connected in a virtual room on Facebook, and we had a great meeting to pray together, worship together and not seeing us since March, people were so happy and thankful seeing other friends from church. Also, last Friday, we had the first united Online Vigil, with members of our church in Chile and the church in Barranquilla, Colombia! Was a great time together and we praise the Lord for that special event.
With Adriana my wife and our daughters Abigail and Antonia, thank God we are doing well. As many of you know, Adriana last year was diagnosed with cancer, but our Lord had mercy and she experienced a miraculous healing, doctors told us that she must take care of herself. Our daughters had pneumonia in December and January, and I was diagnosed with chronic asthma in February, doctors gave us the same advice as Adriana, we are trying to be cautious. We trust in our Lord with all our hearts, but we do not want to test God’s blessing, and we want to be wise. I am going out a couple of days every week to buy food and supplies for our family with a special permission that the government gave us to stay just a couple of hours outside.
For now, borders of Chile are closed for non Chileans, as the borders of Colombia, we were planning to go and visit the church there, but for now it will be impossible.
Thank God the church in Barranquilla, Colombia is strong and keeping together. They are improving an Online ministry too, and I am working with the leaders there and Chile every month with online meetings of ministry training.
Thank you so much for being partners, supporters and being prayful for our family and ministry here in Chile and Colombia. It is hard to have too much time inside of the house for many weeks, but we are trying to take this time as a blessing and a great challenge to go forward with the calling of our God to preach the Gospel and make more disciples of Christ.
God bless you and keep you safe!
Words from our LAWM board president: https://www.lawm.today/post/message-from-our-lawm-president