A belated Happy Easter to you all! CHRIST IS RISEN 🙌 We hope that you were able to remember what Jesus did for us and celebrate with others.
While you guys in the UK are getting (slightly) warmer weather, after a very hot summer here in Chile, it’s starting to get a little cooler… needing a jumper or even a scarf in the evenings😲! It’s a nice change for us, although we will probably regret saying that once we are back in Belfast 😆.
Our time since being back in Santiago, Chile has gone very quickly with lots happening and God continuing to teach us, guide us and protect us. With only 2 months left (más o menos) it’s really started to feel like a time of transition and reflection. Reflecting on how much we have learnt, how much we have changed and how much God is guiding us in our next steps.
I’ll start by filling you in on what we have been up to the last couple of months!
We have continued with the conversation club (english classes), and even after a year, we are having new people come along and people being curious about the church and why we are doing it. We also have people who have been coming since the very start. Some neighbours are coming along and feeling open to share what they are struggling with. Others are inviting us for lunch and family gatherings. Neil was even asked to lead a short service for a funeral of a relative of one of our neighbours. It has been a pleasure to get to know people and share in their lives.
One of the most special things we have learnt is that the most important part of mission and ministry is spending time with people. Just being, listening and being open with them.
The street café is variable as to how many people pass every Tuesday evening. But it doesn’t matter the quantity. Some evenings we have few people but much deeper conversations, and people asking questions about the church and what we believe. This is what it is all about. People just love to see the table there every Tuesday evening.
Our hopes and prayers for our last two months is that members of our church would start to take on the street cafe for themselves.That we can take a step back, and that people in the community can have real relationships with people from the church. We also pray that the conversation club can continue when we’re gone. It is a lot of work to run and I suppose pretty specific to our skills set but even running something with the same idea would be wonderful for this community! We would appreciate your prayers for this too.
As we have explained before, a majority of the church members are students or young people under the age of 30. It has been so wonderful to focus more on discipling and spending time with them. I hope to start a one-on-one bible study with a girl I have become very close with. And Neil continues to meet up and encourage some of the young men in the church. We see so much potential in the young people and believe that there are future leaders there. We want to encourage them and hope that many will get involved in mission, particularly with Latin Link 😉!! Please pray that God will raise up leaders and missionaries in the church, that He will call them and that they will follow.
For the Easter weekend we spent some special moments with the church. On Good Friday we had a day out with the church, sharing in a service, including worship and a yummy barbecue. Neil was asked to lead one section of this (as well as being asked to preach once a month now in the regular church services on a Sunday). On Easter Sunday we celebrated as a church family with a 7am service and Neil was asked to lead the service. It was also very special because one of our neighbours committed to coming for the first time to a service at the church.
Two weeks ago we went on a trip to Temuco, another city 8 hours south of Santiago on the bus. We had a wonderful long weekend, spending time with Ruth and Benja, our short-term coordinators who live there as well as spending time with and seeing the current Latin Link Step team in action. Here’s a video we made of what the step team is up to and what the impact of mission is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_oLmp6n8NM&feature=youtu.be a look!
We also got to visit our fellow Strider Karyn who is here for at least 8 months as well as the sister of our mentor, her husband and little boy. Overall, the trip was a nice but busy break for us, as well as eye-opening and encouraging to see what else our fellow LatinLinkers are up to.
So what’s this exciting news?!
After a lot of prayer and confirmation from God, I have been offered and accepted the job of Latin Link Ireland Coordinator🎉🎉!!
With all that we have learnt here and how much my passion has grown for mission and Latin America, I am so excited to take on this important role of sharing God’s work through Latin Link more in Ireland and helping others go out on mission!
I wanted to express that part of the role requires some personal support, the same way we have needed support here in Chile. It has been such an encouragement and so special for us to have so many of you supporting us financially these past two years. God has used your money to help us survive here in Chile and make us available for the people here.
It would be extremely appreciated if you also felt that you would like to continue with me in the next step God is taking us, both financially and through prayer. Ireland coordinator is a key role in preparing people to go on mission and I know God would use your money in special ways. I wanted to mention this as something to think and pray about in these next couple of months.
Plans for last two months
In these last couple of months we are very conscious of having to leave so many special relationships behind.
One of our ideas for helping transfer some of our relationships with the community to people in the church is encouraging the church to run a ‘Christianity explored’ course. We feel that many people are open to hearing more about God and would really appreciate an informal group with church members to share questions and doubts and pray together. Your prayer for plans and relationships for this course would be really great.
We also want to have some special events with the community and the church such as a Venezuelan night (there are many Venezuelan migrants in our area who we want to make feel welcome and part of a community) as well as a celebration evening at the end of conversation club. We pray that God helps build close relationships between the church and the community, that God is at the centre of all these events.
Of course we also just want to spend as much time with people as possible before we go!
We love being here in Chile and we are finding it very strange to think about leaving. We are aware that we are in a transition process and want to leave well as well as prepare ourselves for coming back to the Belfast, for my new role and for what God has in sort for us there.
Again, we thank you for all your love and prayers and for reading this blog. We also hope to release another blog soon about the projects we visited in Central America and how you can support them.
Please keep in touch with us and tell us how you are too!! 😃
Hablamos pronto and sending lots of love from Chile!