We send you loving greetings from Santiago here in Chile.
We have now been in Santiago for six months pasturing a relatively small congregation with an average attendance of 30 adults and 15 children each Sunday. Our church is located in a working-class sector in the borough of San Joaquín. Most members of the congregation are working folk.
Since we arrived they have received us with great affection, particularly as they had been two years without a pastor of their own, and were led by the church council. Now we have got to know nearly all the members pretty well through different activities in the church and by visiting them in their homes.
Recently, that is, on April 10th we had a day-long spiritual retreat for the whole church, which proved to be a time of rich communion of our brothers and sisters. We enjoyed lunch together too. Nearly every member attended and there was a lovely spirit among the believers. We are so grateful to God for this.
We have several challenges:
- Goal for 2016. We hope that by 2016 (date of our possible retirement) the church will have grown responsibly in numbers and in quality so as to have its own full-time pastor paid from its own resources.
- To study God’s Word using various courses. We do lack cash to buy the materials at the moment. But we are selling items of food prepared in the church to get the money together.
- To evangelise this sector, starting with house to house visitation.
- To prepare more layfolk in leading and preaching the Word.
- To improve the front of the church building – repairs and painting. It also lacks some of the finishing touches from the building process.
- To look after a group of children suffering from economic need and serious family problems, and lacking loving care to help with their schoolwork, including food. Lady volunteers look after them for two or three hours each day helping them with their studies, forming Christian habits and teaching spiritual values with the hope that they will become part of the church family. This will continue so long as the church is able to maintain it.
The truth is that we are very encouraged as we face these challenges. We ask you to pray that God will be glorified.
For our part, we are in good health, praise God. Just a little nostalgia from time to time as we remember our families, brothers and friends in the South. I give thanks to the Lord that my sons stayed in Temuco as they remain very much connected to the activities of their church and all three are working with good prospects for the future. Elías has just been elected treasurer of the church in the IX Region; Jonatan is on the PCC of his church, Holy Trinity in Temuco, and Timi continues to play in the music group.
Along with my wife, Paty, we want to express our affection for you all. We remember you constantly and we are grateful for your prayers for our activities.
In the love of the Lord,
Abelino and Paty.