International Ministries

White Earthquake!

August 18, 2011 Journal
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Signs of Missional Life

White Earthquake!  ¡Terremoto Blanco!  That’s what they call a blizzard and huge snowfall in Chile.   The mountain town of Lonquimay, two hours from Temuco, has endured white earthquake conditions all winter.  They received about three feet of snow in late July.  Chile doesn’t have rapid snow-removal systems comparable to, for example, Indiana, Denver, or Philadelphia.  So several thousand rural families, and the small town of Lonquimay, were isolated for several weeks.  More snow fell in a few days than normally falls in a year.  Livestock were unable to feed, water lines froze, roofs collapsed, and travel was impossible to and from rural schools and homes.

Chile Baptist Emergency Relief Network is born.  Since the earthquake and tsunamis in February 2010, our relief efforts provided food kits and simple improvements such as insulation, windows, and basic furniture to the emergency houses (mediaguas).  Many times the hands and feet of Christ bringing these gifts to people in distress and misery were a core group of men from our churches who left their homes on weekends to install insulation or build room additions in the mediaguas. 

This network of volunteers also responded to the call for help in the repairs of some of the churches damaged by the earthquake.  They enjoyed the satisfaction and good fellowship of these endeavors so much that the vision arose for an auxiliary unit of the convention, in the best Baptist volunteer spirit, able to respond rapidly to future natural disasters or needs for humanitarian aid.  Friendship cultivated between our churches through volunteer service is one of the best ways we have for cultivating this missional spirit in the convention.

The Network’s first test was to bring two hundred food kits for the three rural Mapuche churches near Lonquimay.  Convention churches responded to an invitation to contribute to a special offering.   The volunteers braved snow and icy conditions on the roads to bring needed relief and express solidarity with the Lonquimay communities.  Now the priority must be to raise funds and establish procedures for future relief needs.

Coronel Church on Mission in Tubul  We have already shared with you how the Coronel church, led by lay pastor Miguel Sandoval, is running with this vision of being the hands and feet of Christ in places of distress and suffering.  They are still ministering in a mediagua village in Coronel through a Girls’ Club and visitation.  Now they are serving breakfast and offering Sunday School-type activities in the Tubul mediagua village every week.  Miguel visits in homes and offers worship services.  Around fifteen people have accepted Christ, and Tubul is likely to become a mission site of the Coronel church.

Ordinations of Co-Pastors Isaac and Nidia in Chillan  About ten years ago the Heneises and the Bonillas began teaching Isaac Venegas and Nidia Alegria in the Institute.  They helped them discern their call, taught them and accompanied them on a long journey of pastoral formation.  On August 13 they were ordained to the pastorate of the Chillan church.   Pray, rejoicing, for this couple and their four daughters.

Grace, peace, and abrazos,

Dwight & Barb