The two ministries for this semester have both started, along with the long-term relationships that continue to grow.
English Outreach with Oasis: is in it’s second month of the second semester of the year. Betsabé, Pedro, and I have been attending and apart from the English outreach itself, the others and I get to spend time together on the hour or so trip to and from the event. Pedro, his mother and I had dinner the other night as well and always have good and challenging conversation about The Bible.
Iglesia de Cristo (on Capitan Thompson Street) Youth Gatherings: Two Saturdays ago we met for the first time in the side-room of the church one block or so away from where I live. Most attendees of the church live within a three block radius. The first week Daniela and I’s attendance expectations were surpassed by 33.3% as four young people showed up in stead of three. That is not said to make light of the situation. We are very thankful that God helped us minister to more people. This is only for communicating our realistic goals and the typical attendance situation as has been occurring at for the youth gatherings. Last Saturday two showed up, Betsabé (the pastors daughter) and Silvana (a special needs adult). But even though only two came, we still had a great study on what The Bible says about substance abuse, a theme the young people elected the preceding Saturday. Betsabé and I had spiritually impactful conversation and it was rewarding to include Silvana in the discussion as well. 🙂 She is very sweet.
Praying in Community (a cultural topic?): At the end of the first youth gathering I suggested that we always close with a time of prayer for one another. The youth were confused when I asked who wanted to pray, asking why we couldn’t all just pray at once for each other. After politely expressing my view that it is pointless for us to pray in community if we are not going to listen to each other, we began to pray for one an other one by one. One of the young persons seemed to be apprehensive of praying aloud for others to hear and agree with him in mind before God. Although this youth is one of the most active in the church, he quickly evacuated the gathering in the middle of the prayer before it was his turn to pray.
After speaking with Dani and others it appears that engaging people’s minds in prayer and study of Scripture is not a priority in Chilean Christian culture. One Chilean said, “People just go to church and say, ‘amen!’ without having to think about what the pastor, or minister, is saying”. So it makes sense that the thought of praying in community and sharing your thoughts, and way, of speaking to God with others might be daunting.
Logical Next Step: These first few weeks have been essential in discerning those young people of whom their relative say to be members of the church from those who actually want to come and participate on their own accord. At this point we have a better idea of the situation. The plan is to engage more young people in the community with the teachings of Scripture beginning by seeking out those who have a link to the church, but do not necessarily attend.
The Biblical example seems to put high priority on taking time to form relationships with people one day, and step, at a time, and praying for their spiritual growth. Therefore the best thing to do seems to be to pray for God’s help, and to seek out the youth who do not attend even though their families may like them to, and to spend time with them playing fútbol (soccer) or whatever they like to do. The blessing is that Betsabé is interested in learning, so as people do begin to come, we will have a healthy model for a Bible study already taking place.
Overcoming Obstacles: Unfortunately, there has been something wrong with my back for a few weeks that makes it hard to walk around. At times it’s nearly impossible to walk. I saw the doctor yesterday and we are hoping for improvement over the next week. We’re hoping that there is no chronic issue as a result of a long medical history. So as a result, I plan to use social media to reach out to youth in the community during the week until I can get mobile again.
- Please pray for God to bless the youth ministry on Capitan Thompson Street.
- Dani was involved in a cell-phone-robbery (extremely common in Chile) in a pharmacy. They were not violent with her, but were with some of the others and guards. She is still a little shooken up. Please pray for comfort and peace.
- Please pray for God to bless my recovery.
- Pray that God would provide good outcomes for reaching out to youth through social media this week, and reaching out to them in whatever way God provides during the rest of the month.
- Thank God that Irma didn’t end up hitting Florida as hard as we thought it would.