Alf and Hilary Cooper Link Letter no.33 July 2021

Dear praying friends,

Last weekend Hilary and I went to the coast to celebrate and rest! Hilary was flooded with love and many kind notes for her 70th birthday on 14 April. Then I was 71 on 5 June and similarly we were overwhelmed with your kindness. We usually rejoice in wedding and romance anniversaries at this time of the year so we had plenty to celebrate. By the sea, we walked, jogged and having poor internet, were forced to re-main in extreme shutdown! Wonderful!

In celebration of Hilary’s 70th birthday.

We needed a rest and a break. Lately we have been very taken up with La Trinidad’s online innovations, with my associations as protocolar representative of the Evangelical churches, with the government, with my PhD transfer, and now with new possibilities on a radio programme.

Family first! We are blessed to enjoy all our grandchildren close, and with softening quarantine norms we see them regularly. Praise God, they are all in fine form and every meeting is filled with hilarity and fun as the photos will evidence!

Precious time with family.

La Trinidad church has now been online, like all yours, for over a year. We are so used to great online services on Sundays, screen meetings for Bible study (in pyjamas, often!), youth podcasts that attract that generation, funerals, weddings, and so many other functions in the easy switch-on mode of different platforms, that we often wonder how we will ever return to what we once knew as gathered church. Mainly, this is because we are reaching so many more new people and so many have found it easier to attend church than before. We realise God has given us this opportunity to learn to incorporate it into our church identity. We have been forced to be creative. One of the most useful developments in la Trinidad has been the after-service coffee chat. We call it Deepening. We start by talking to the preacher that Sunday and later relax and minister in the Spirit. After that the newcomers to church stay with the pastors and we help them, pray for them and help them into the Alphas or other meetings that could help them on their spiritual journey.

All together round the table.

Alpha Online is so useful a tool that we now publish the Alpha calendar with a main evangelistic Alpha and a Youth Alpha running concurrently all year in such a way as to be able to receive new people at any point. We have found that the value they discover lies more in the welcome and acceptance in a group of fellow seekers than the chronology of the themes studied. They can always do the course again. Indeed, we now tell the graduates of the Alpha Course that they can do the course again if they bring a friend and help them on their own quest for meaning in life. We also run two other Alpha courses, the couples’ and the parents’ courses and there are always new people and families who want to start one of those!

Alpha Online at La Trinidad.

Protocolar representative of the Evangelical and Protestant churches is a mouthful of a title, but it means that I liaise between the government and the churches. When the president suddenly gives maximum urgency to the issue of same-sex marriage in his yearly address, everyone looks to me. I have to make declarations, soothe ruffled feathers, talk to the authorities that be and promote reflection among Christians on the nature of biblical marriage and how we view the growing trends here. We have helped set up a platform of Evangelical service that is grouping for prayer and for united action every month. This is the way forward as more and more Evangelicals aim at becoming members of parliament (in November elections) and five have made it to the Constitutional Convention writing the future Constitution of Chile (starting at the end of June).

PhD and transfer. Thank the Lord, my seminar went very well and I am now on my way to transfer to the PhD stage that allows me to finish the doctorate in my own time (hopefully in a year or two maximum). My essay is now being revised by my supervisors and, after adjustments, I should be sitting on a transfer panel by the end of July. So now I am busier than ever and ALSO doing a PhD! At this time of year, I usually make a low-key appeal for any who may feel they wish to help with the costs of the studies. I don’t think these would be over 2000 pounds on this coming COVID year and they would be handed over completely to CMS who are administering the costs of the doctorate.

Radio possibilities. I was offered a major opportunity for a radio programme on one of the most important radio channels of Santiago, Radio Inicia, every day at peak hour, 6–7pm. I was tempted to say no as my time is pressured enough as it is but as I looked into it I found myself rejoicing more and more at the possibility of sharing Christ through great interviews with prominent figures in present-day Chile (like we used to do with my TV Hazte Cargo programme) with 60,000 listeners every day! Quite a congregation! So, pray with me that God gives me a good team (essential for this kind of venture) and the wherewithal to finance it!

Celebrating 37 years together.

Today we celebrated La Trinidad church’s 37-year anniversary. Beryl and Gordon Whitehead from foundation days as well as many of the original church members shared an online coffee together.

We thank you all so much for your praying. We sent small videos to our churches some time back. Please do tell us if these were helpful or not. Lately we are sending these to people who ask for prayer requests, with great results.

Our love in Jesus,

Alf and Hilary

Pray for:

  • Continued blessing on the family and grandchildren, that they all keep their jobs in these perilous times
  • La Trinidad online, especially Alpha courses
  • My PhD transfer and costs

Praise God for:

  • The huge radio opportunity!
  • 37 years of blessing!
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