Good afternoon everyone, I’ll try to be as to the point as possible as there is a log to cover this month.
First off, the herniated disc in my back is feeling much better as we’re in the second week of therapy and medical treatment. The physical therapist has been showing me ways to help avoid a reoccurrence of the problem.
Iglesia de Cristo Capitán Thompson: Youth meetings continue to take place every Saturday evening with a peak in attendance two Saturdays ago. The attendance thus far has been something like 3, 2, 3, 8, 3. Members of the church are determined to get attendance up in an effort to reach out to the immediate community. One person promised to send their children and vowed that they had convinced to new youth to “promise” to come as well. That family ended up being in another part of Santiago, but what is interesting and even bothersome is that some members seem to be forcing their seventeen and eighteen-year-old children to attend. We suspect that there is at the least significant social pressure guiding the youth’s decision to attend… and to attend the Sunday worship services as well. Another participant has decided not to return as she feels too old for the group. While it is good that parents are trying to take responsibility for their children, forcing or manipulating anyone into seeking Christ is not the right way to go.
However, every week I get better at working with Daniela and Mike on developing important topics well for the youth meetings. And even though numbers are small, trust is growing with us that do attend. Miguel (the pastor) joined us for the second half of last week’s meeting and people seemed more trusting as they saw they’re pastor approve of the material being discussed. I will ask him to “pop in” spontaneously in the future to help with the trust building. The youth and I set up a time to play basketball, as I am trying to add dynamic to our relationships, but only one showed up. I’ll continue to reach out to the known youth of the community (those that have affiliation to the church through family) in this same way in the future until I am successful in reaching out to other youth in the community. A creative way to evangelize to the immediate community, especially youth, is also being brainstormed and developed.
Every Thursday evening members of the congregation gather together to pray for the youth of the community. It strikes me as odd that the members gather together to pray to God for the youth while not actually praying in unity or even listening to each other. Everyone prays at the same time, out-loud, and the person with the loudest voice is heard most. It doesn’t make sense to come together to share a time of prayer before God if we aren’t going to share the actual prayer we’re praying before God. With that in mind, I have asked for, and received permission from, Miguel to share a short update on what has and will be going on with the youth meetings in hopes of unifying us in prayer before God. The end goal is that we would all share a prayer, together, before God (taking turns speaking and listening to one another’s prayers), but those kinds of changes have to do with deeper doctrine and it will probably take time and trust before someone to be open to something that contradicts a religious belief they have held their entire lives. The good news is that with every week that passes, every youth meeting or worship service we attend, every extra activity we reach out with, we build trust. We ARE realistic, but we are NOT discouraged!
Inner-church Evangelistic Project: We moved forward with our first pre-scheduled meeting for studying evangelism, which consist of a series of classes, concerning or related to evangelism, taught by Luis Vejar (the Chilean pastor heading the group) or by Mike Boyce (president of the newly-formed Bible institute in Santiago). Over the next few months we may be part of this Chilean-developed and Chilean-focused evangelism project that reaches out to young people in Santiago and the broader country. The plan is to be merely supportive in this ministry. It is not part of my life goal and that has been communicated to those involved. The plan is to stay focused on doing a few things with excellence instead of doing a lot of things halfway.
People in need: Yesterday I had the opportunity to swing by my Haitian friend’s house, the one you’ve been reading about for the past half a year or so… He was under the weather, so I got so share some left-over meds with him and some healthy veggies I picked up for him and his family at the street market on my walk over. We always have such a good time talking and he and his family are even invited to Daniela and I’s wedding in January. Hopefully I’ll be able to get him a job interview at a factory where a friend is veteran employee in accounting. It’s usually best not to just hand out great opportunities like this to the first person you meet going through a hard time, but since our relationship has been developing for some time now and it is easy to see that my friend takes advantage of what he has, I hope this possible job opportunity will help him, his family and their relationship with our family as well. The friend who works at this company is also a minister and would be a great friend to my Haitian friend and his family. I don’t mean to single him out as Haitian, it’s just the best way to identify him without giving his name. LOL. J
Studying: I did have the opportunity to do some studying last week, although there is still much ground to cover to get caught back up. The stand-up desk I jimmy-rigged has been disassembled and now we’re hoping that I’ll be able to sit and study for decent periods of time by using the stretches and exercises taught by the physical therapist.
That’s a bit of a black and white informational update. Click the link below of the “Prayer Partnership” tab for more on how you can pray better for Cornerstone Chile Mission.