Youth Meetings of Capitán Thompson: Three out of four young people associated—but not attending—Iglesia de Cristo Capitán Thompson (local church) have been attending the youth Bible studies. When numbers are small God has blessed us with the opportunity to engage more guarded parts—of the youth’s life—with the gospel. Though only two siblings came, last night was a success. It was a balanced time of looking at socio-historic factors behind the text—to provide them with the tools and knowledge they need to logically refute claims attacking belief in the Bible’s infallibility, and discussion time that allowed everyone to participate in “iron-sharpens-iron” conversations where we share our own understanding of the theological significance of the passage and then compare it with commentators. The latter has been the most fun to do, because after giving the youth contextual (whether it be cultural, geographic, or whatever relevant) information, we get to watch them use that information and work out the theological significance of the texts on their own.
Pastors & Churches: I’ve been privileged to attend monthly pastors meetings—for pastors from the metropolitan region—and to get to know them and learn about their struggles, frustrations, and blessings in ministry. Last week we had a great talk about what exactly a pastor is, and the different titles are that Paul gives to this group of people (pastor, elder, and bishop) in Acts 20:17-28. Unfortunately tangents are frequent and last week—though not typically—we digressed into experiential recountings of supernatural occurrences that were counter productive to the goal of the community exhorting itself in orthodox theology through studying scripture—which is more beneficial to the church we serve. The good news is key persons who will keep the group focused on the more beneficial study of scripture should be able to rejoin our group next meeting. The better news is that—irregardless—everytime we meet, we get closer and form stronger unity. Daniela and I are also visiting the churches that the pastors attending the meetings—and others—serve, which provides a more firm foundation for future opportunities to share the gospel with their congregations and whatever other things God has planned.
Johnson University: Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the NT background course. I feel that it is my responsibility to inform you of this as I would like to use some of the money contributed to CCM to retake this course in the fall. I gave it my all, but couldn’t get it done. The good news is that the syllibus probably won’t change much and I am already over half-way finished with the course work. I did, however, earn an (A-) in the NT Research Methods course. And have already translated the final research paper into Spanish. The next step is to get some help editing it to affirm I have a good grip on relevant vocabulary before beginning to teach it in two churches or so. Right now I’m reading a book of essays from renown scholars who provide direction in bridging the gap from imperial historical analyses and methods of forming theological significance based on these analyses, then a book on the world of the new testament, and one on a Pauline theology. Hopefully I’ll have written a technical paper about how scholars arrive at various dates in Pauls life (for the NT background course) and translated it—and transformed it—into a study on the chronology of Paul’s life to present at one of the monthly pastors meetings by mid (Chilean) Winter and be moving on to the next school project and thinking of the most beneficial way to share the info with Chile.
Strength in Numbers: May the fourth through the seventh Edio Carcamo (experienced and respected Chilean pastor) and I plan to meet and talk about church history, daily pastoral situations of average Chilean pastors, Iglesias de Cristo in the southern region, and what kinds of missionary partnership activities he thinks would be most helpful to the Iglesia de Cristo in Chile. Daniela, Steve Trinkle (associate pastor of Cornerstone Christian Church in Florida), Mike Boyce (good friend, fellow missionary, and on-the-field mentor), and another missionary partner and I are also—separately—in consistent conversation over things like a ministers duty to serve the congregation more than 40 hours a week (that’s what the rest of the church works too), the spectrum of mysticism and intellectualism, how to manage delicate situations, next steps for ministry and other practical advice and clarification of situations and occurrences on the field.. The elders of Cornerstone Christian Church and I also just had a meeting where we could talk about some of these things in more detail.
This post is called “Steam” because CCM has picked up steam. Everyday seems to get shorter and we are challenged to grow in our faith that God is sovereign (to know that tasks and goals cannot be completed on our own strength, but only by trusting in the Master’s strength and love for us to act for our good and his glory). Lastly, Daniela and Tabi Boyce (Mike Boyce’s wife) have been developing a ministry plan for six years or so, and are considering how to take final steps in putting that plan into action. More on that to come as things develop. But for now please be praying for the contribution that they are desiring and preparing to make for the True Kingdom in helping to bring the message of the gospel into Chilean lives.