The J1 team from Clogher write from South America - part two

Well we´ve made it to the end of our first week! As expected it has been busy and tiring, but everyone has enjoyed the programme and we are all in good spirits.

During the week we visited three schools: St Paul´s, St Margaret´s and Eben Ezer. For the most part we have been working with secondary school children, and we have been given wonderful opportunities to talk with them, learn from them and share the Gospel with them. In all we have been in contact with over one thousand young people this week! We were encouraged that some of the students from the schools also came along to a youth event hosted in the local Anglican church on Friday evening. We have discovered that some of the Christian songs we are familiar with at home are also well known here in Chile. For example ´My Jesus, my Saviour´is known as ´Mi Cristo, mi Rey´, and it´s an amazing experience when we come together praising the Lord in one voice but in different languages. How good and pleasant it is when God´s people live together in unity! (Psalm 133.1)

On two evenings this week we helped lead some evangelistic meetings in the hotel where we have been staying. The members of the church had been encouraged to bring along friends and neighbours who were not Christians. The team presented some very powerful dramas and songs and Gonzalo, the minister, taught from the Bible. We were so encouraged afterwards to learn that at least one person put her faith in Jesus after one of the meetings, and we felt very privileged that God had used our efforts in such an amazing way.

On Friday we had a brief opportunity to visit the site for a proposed new church building and centre in the area. At present San Andres church does not have a building, and the people meet in the local university. God has literally worked a series of miracles to make the land available to the church. It is ideally situated between a wealthy housing estate and a much poorer area, which means there would be opportunity to reach out to both communities. It was very moving for us to pray together at the site, that God would continue to work out his purposes for the building project.

On Saturday we left our chalet accommodation and have moved in with various church families. Most of us are in groups of two or three, though some are by ourselves. Thankfully in most homes there is at least one person who speaks English! On Saturday afternoon one of the church families hosted a barbecue for the young people of San Andres church, and the highlight was teaching the Chileans how to Strip the Willow and various other Scottish dances. In the end the Chileans seemed to be better at it than we were!

We´re looking forward to playing a part in two church services tomorrow. On Monday we´re back in school, and on Tuesday we have a rest day when we plan to go on a sightseeing tour of Valparaiso.

Give thanks that:
Everyone is in good health and enjoying the trip
We have seen new spiritual life!
The schools and churches have been so welcoming and receptive of our presentations
We have arrived with our host families

Pray for:
A renewal of our energies, and a fast settling in with our host families
Our work in the churches on Sunday and the school on Monday
Pastor Gonzalo Alvarez and his wife Esther, Pastor Terry Barrett and his wife Pancha
The witness of San Andres church in the local community

We miss Clogher, and send our love to you! You are also in our prayers.

Hasta luego!

The Clogher to Chile Team

The J1 team from Clogher write from South America - part one

What a journey! More than 48 hours after leaving Enniskillen Cathedral Hall car park on Saturday lunchtime, our team finally made it to our destination in Reñaca, two hours´journey north of Santiago (the capital city of Chile). Getting here took a full day longer than expected because of a delay to our flight from Dublin which meant we missed our connecting flight in Madrid. There are a lot of tired faces in the team, but everyone is well and in good spirits.

We were met at Santiago airport by Pastor Gonzalo Alvarez , who is the minister of San Andreas Anglican church in Reñaca, which will be our home for the next two weeks. He has planned a particularly busy schedule for the team in our first week, which will primarily be focussed around work in local schools. We have an opportunity to tell the students about life in Clogher, and more importantly to share the Gospel with them through Bible teaching , drama, mime, music and sharing stories of what God has done in our own lives. We were relieved when Gonzalo told us that the school authorities wanted us to do this in English rather than Spanish , so that the students would develop their own English skills.

We have also been challenged to go out on the streets of Reñaca and hand out leaflets inviting people to some evangelistic meetings that we shall be taking in the evenings. This will be hard work!

Each day we will be spending some time together as a team when we will pray and study a portion of Scripture. We plan to work through the letter to the Ephesians, and each team member will take it in turn to lead the meeting.

The more practical aspects of the project will come next week when we´ll be involved in painting and decorating a recently refurbished church building - but we´ll tell you more about that later!

Thank you for your prayers for us. We give particular thanks for a safe journey here and the arrival of our luggage, for the warm welcome and hospitality we have experienced and for the preparations already made by the local church for our project. Please pray for continued health and safety, that we will be able to present the Gospel to the young people in a way that is accessible and relevant to them, and for courage for team members who are being taken out of their comfort zones! Pray that we would have a strong assurance of God´s presence with us, and that Jesus would truly be glorified in all we do and say this week.

Keep checking for our next update!

En Cristo,
Joyce, Mamie, Ian, Sharon, Jason, Karen, Emma, Alan, Sarah, Thelma, Claire, Samantha, Gordon & Beryl
(The J1 Clogher to Chile Team 06)

5th July 2006