October 2021

¡Hola amigos!

If you have a printer, why not print out this letter and read it as you enjoy a nice cup of lemon squash/tea/mulled cider? If you’re reading on your phone, I don’t recommend beverages of any kind.

Back to life. Back to reality.

Life has returned to something like pre-pandemic – with facemasks. Everyone here has dropped the fist pumps, while the kisses (sometimes double cheek!) are back! The awkward elbow bumping thing never really took off at all! We also heard that Argentina is off the UK red list now and so we’ve begun tentatively thinking about a possible visit back to the UK to see all your lovely (half) faces. It depends on the UK recognising Sputnik as a real vaccine, as that was Andrew’s first dose. We’ll keep you posted.

In the last few months we’ve celebrated all our birthdays (except Noah’s), Andrew’s wrist was accidently cut with a chainsaw (six stitches later he is fine!), I backed the car into a sign resulting in a two-week trip to the garage (for the car, not me), Noah learned to kamikaze out of his cot and is now sleeping in a big bed whilst refusing to sleep under covers. Maia made her musical debut at church, Lucy has invented a new language (mostly toilet words, sadly) and Emilio can ride his bike with no hands for four seconds. A very accomplished family I feel. 

Church chatter

Has anyone else felt like fewer people are meeting together at church post(ish) pandemic? We’ve definitely been somewhat discouraged by relatively low numbers since we’ve begun meeting together again. However, we’ve been hugely encouraged by the growth in the people who have been coming.

Andrew and the ministry team enjoying a meeting in the sun.

We are continually thankful for Jacquie and Tore, the apprentices, who have been so key in meeting one-on-one with different people to read the Bible and who have been amazing at helping set up the tech to stream the service each week. We’ve loved walking alongside José, a church member who never went to secondary school, as he prepared and preached his first two sermons. And we were thrilled to hear about how the gospel has been changing the reactions of a lady with her difficult daughter in law, to improve their relationship instead of ruining it. These and many other snippets have been a great joy amidst the sadness of seemingly cold and unresponsive hearts.

Centro de Estudios Pastorales / Centre for Pastoral Studies (CEP)

Andrew has been enjoying teaching Psalms online to the CEP students in Chile. The challenge of preparing and presenting the material has stretched him but the experience has been really positive. This month he has to mark the student essays followed by their exam papers in November, impacting his weekly workload quite considerably. Despite that, we increasingly value the role of such faithful theological teaching in Latin America and are convinced that this investment is not just worthwhile but essential for gospel growth in this continent.

We’re praying that Tore might head to CEP next year, after finishing his apprenticeship with us, with a view to serving full-time in church ministry. Do pray for him in his decisions for the future. Pray also for more people like him to consider theological education.

Prayer and praise

  • Thank God with us for real signs of growth in maturity in our tiny church! We pray on for numerical growth, which would be lovely, trusting that God works in his own time. Please pray that we will be compassionate towards those who don’t seem to be showing many signs of growth. We know that it’s God’s job to change hearts and our prayer is that he would shape ours as he teaches us patience!
  • Please especially pray as Andrew and the other preachers work through the last sections of Ephesians, with the confrontation and challenge that will bring. In a culture which sees biblical standards as oppressive and old fashioned (even in the church!), pray that we will be willing to sit under God’s word and wrestle with the implications together as a church family.    
  • We are incredibly thankful for CEP. Please pray that as CEP prepares workers for the harvest field, the Lord will also raise up faithful and skilled teachers from within Chile and beyond.
  • Do pray on for Jony and Jenny Bertín, heading to CEP in January from Argentina, to teach Greek and New Testament. We praise God that they are an answer to prayer for CEP and we pray that they will learn and grow in their new roles.
  • Please pray with us for our CEP student Jacquie and her Kenyan husband Kidum as they work out what to do once Jacquie’s course ends. Sadly no permanent job has been forthcoming for Kidum in Mendoza yet and they may need to return to Buenos Aires, though we’d love them to stay. Please pray for wisdom and trust in God’s provision for them. 

Finally

Last week we were able to have a three-day break in the neighbouring province of San Luis. We feel incredibly blessed to have a car and the freedom to explore the wonderful country we live in. We came back feeling refreshed but decided that next year we’ll take a whole week!

Andrew, Bethanie, Maia, Emilio, Lucy and Noah xxxxx

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