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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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