This semester went by and we did not even notice when that happened. Margarita Campos was ordained on March 1 and the academic year for the Baptist Theological Institute in Santiago began March 8. In April we continued classes in Santiago (twice a month), had three simultaneous visits from Valley Forge, and Margarita became ill with viral meningitis during those visits and remained in the hospital for more than a month. May was rain month in our neck of the woods. We shared a workshop at the Chilean Mission’s Pastors’ Institute. Rain interrupted our commuting to Santiago once because several train and road bridges were broken with the flooding after heavy rains. In June we ended the semester, visited Coronel, and Margarita returned to her home and family.
As we write we reflect in awe of our God of life and freedom. He conquered the valley and shadow of death over Margarita and gave Ingrid Betancourt and others freedom from years of captivity. Those are amongst His specialties, giving life and freedom, especially to those who accept Him and follow Him as Lord and Savior. That is the Good News we -- you and I -- continue to share…
Women pastors from Central America, Chilean Mission’s leadership, and missionary colleagues came to Margarita’s, ordination which marked a historic event in our Convention and the Baptist Church New The Redeemer in San Bernardo, where she pastors. Three of the guests were missionary colleagues Sheila Heneise, Mylinda Baits, and Magda Aguirre. Our local colleagues Dwight and Barbara Bolick were also present. Margarita rejoiced with all the love and prayers she felt from those physically present and those who sent her notes of encouragement and congratulations. You will read more on the 2008 Global Servants Guide. When Margarita was hospitalized, the doctors were not hopeful for her recovery but God always surprises us and she is a walking miracle that the Risen Lord, a God of life and freedom, made possible. He also made possible that Elizabeth, Marco, Eva, Ulises, Marta, Felipe, Jenny, Adriana, and Rodrigo finished one more semester and will make possible that Elizabeth, Ulises, Jenny, and Rodrigo finish their Diploma of Theology in December.
Colombia has had many years of tears, pain, and sorrow that each time comes closer to laughter, comfort, and hope as each captive is set free. This time the turn was for Ingrid and others, including three US citizens. Many others still seek their freedom, not only from the jungle but from the captivity of their souls and you and I are entrusted with the Good News that there is laughter, comfort, and hope for them with eternal life offered by our Lord and Savior.
Mark your calendars to pray on July 18-20 for the Weekend World Mission Conference in Medford, OR and for the Youth Retreat in Chile with our very own Bob Santilli, his wife Barbara, and short-term volunteer missionary Kim Kushner. Further ahead, as we think of the 2008 World Mission Offering blitz, we would like to offer you a visit: a “skype-a-mission” in lieu of being physically with you this year. Remember that you make it possible for each missionary family to serve around the world. Your continued prayers, love, emails, cards, and targeted gifts, are ways we can see God surprising us through His people.
Pressing on toward the goal,
Mayra for the Bonilla-Giovanetti family