Dearest friends and family,
“I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:11-12
The winter is almost done here in Chile. From our window, the Pacific waves undulate in a tranquil rhythm. Thankfully, there are no earthquakes or tsunamis to report and although the alarm for testing goes off at very random times, sometimes even at 11pm at night, it has been peaceful in this area. We had some very, very cold days and even snow – 30 cm deep – in Santiago, which is very unusual, but it is getting warmer and the little stoves to heat up the houses have been okay.
There is lots to tell, lots to be thankful for and various prayer requests. As always, we are amazed at God’s grace and generosity at enabling us to work for him and for giving us such great support from you all. Here is some of our news:
Iglesia Pablo Apóstol (IPA)
We are happy that IPA continues to grow, albeit slowly, with the new arrival of some foreigners, especially Haitians. This is very encouraging and is symbolic of a new wave of immigration arriving in Chile from other Latin American countries. We now have our own PCC and are content that the people in it are genuinely interested in the governance of the church, mission and looking after the pastoral family.
However, as the community has grown, there is a feeling in some that we are not as close to each other as before. Time is one factor, and we cannot be together all the time. Our leadership has also been diminished a bit as two couples are studying at the seminar in Santiago and although we now have a curate, there have been some teething problems at learning how to better work with different styles of leadership.
Daniel has returned encouraged from the first Acts 29 Global Gathering, especially the opening of the Middle East region. In the midst of difficult news from the region, it is great to hear of church planting efforts there and hearing of the many ways that God is working in that region. It was also good catching up with friends and making new ones. We are now looking at having some A29 leaders from Guatemala come down to Chile next year for a small church planters’ conference and also running a retreat for a recovery programme we want to start with our church leaders next year.
Before this conference, we had our annual pastoral retreat involving seven people. This year we compiled an Anglican reader and read chapters by folk such as Bazley, Milmine, Packer, Stott, Wright and even Kirk (Sr.)! It was good to reflect on our Anglican heritage through such diverse subjects as church history, mission, theology and pastoral work amongst others. It was a time to relax in the countryside, to chat, read, walk and eat together. Overall, it was very encouraging!
Recently we had some training on missional communities by folk from SOMA/Saturate and our leadership group (about 25 folk) participated. We have used the missional community model (goo. gl/Pt2kAb) since we started IPA and have managed to keep them evangelistically focused but we haven’t managed to serve our communities as we would like. Please pray that this training will encourage us in this area.
Our social organisation Esperanza para Valpo is up and running but we are still working out exactly what we want to focus on. In the meantime, we are encouraging church members to serve in a new ministry working with immigrants in Valparaíso and a community project with marginalised children in one of the poorer hills of Valpo. This month we are also organising a workshop on emergency fostering (0-6 years) with the idea that we might work more in this area in the future. Please pray for guidance for the board as we seek to find the best way to share God’s love with our neighbours in the port.
We continue to pray that we might plant a couple of new churches over the next three years in Concón and Playa Ancha in Valparaíso. We are encouraged by the return of Gabriel and Rebeca from Santiago although they will still spend 60 per cent of their time finishing off their studies.
I (Ellelein) have been struggling a bit with tiredness and nostalgia, partly because it is difficult to have a free day when doing home schooling. Being an introvert, this means that I have very few opportunities to really carve out some time for myself. It might also be because I need to learn to rest in God and his word and not try to make sense of who I am through cultural constructs such as having a role recognised by worldly standards. I already have one, as a child of God.
I have been writing a bit more and if you wish to practice your Spanish check out this website where I have got a blog space – www. iglesiavalpo.cl – or accesodirecto.org where a couple of my articles have been published. There is an opportunity to write for the Gospel Coalition too, which I must say feels a bit scary. I will let you know if and when it does happen.
The discipleship groups are still going and have been a real blessing. Whether they are one-to-one or as a group, they provide real times of delving into the word of God, help people be accountable and be grateful.
I am participating in a couple of seminars and a workshop at the end of the year but apart from that my speaking engagements have been reduced to some Christian assemblies at St Paul’s school.
Perseverance in the faith: I (Ellelein) am not sure if I have asked you for this before, but it is certainly something that I am in need of. I am overwhelmed at the amount of things that need to be done and also saddened at the necessity of having to explain to others the need to serve Jesus because of his worth, not as a “favour” to the church. But this is also something that I need to pray about and be able to challenge others only in love, while persevering in the truth because I know that he has a plan for us all. I need to remember this and that Jesus is truly powerful and in charge.
• Josh is thriving at school and also enjoying sports very much. He does have a problem with anger, but this only happens when at home. Please pray that we do not exasperate him but instead help him to understand that anger is often a good thing, something that makes him aware of an issue, but that it needs to be channelled differently. Please also pray for us to be patient. As anger is so external, it brings quick judgement and leaves out mercy. Please pray that we may be loving in teaching and showing God to him instead of displaying rejection. May God also helps us be parents that points him towards Christ and that these opportunities help us grow in grace.
• Pray for David, and that he continues to follow Christ with all his heart. He continues to play violin and practices karate and basketball, which he enjoys very much. He has done very well in his home schooling and it is debatable on who has learnt more, his parents or him. He has been attending a youth group at a church nearby – please pray that he can make some good friendships there.
• Pray for our marriage. Pastoral work is hard and we don’t have many opportunities to chat and spend time together just as a couple. Please pray that we can have at least a date a month where we can relax and be replenished.
Ellelein gave a little talk on Christian identity to 12 year olds recently and will be leading a family retreat in Santiago at the beginning of October. Together, we are also leading a couple of the workshops at the national youth Anglican congress, also in October. There will be a total of eight sessions in total on mission (lead by Dan) and on the role of women (lead by Ellelein). Please pray that we will be able to prepare well and that God may use them for his glory.
With our love in Christ
Daniel and Ellelein