July 2022

Hola todos!

Sorry that it has been a while since the last newsletter. Life has been fairly busy but it has been a productive time with lots of new beginnings and some things coming to an end.

Here in Chile, Covid is still very much a relevant topic. In April, they brought in the dramatic change that – if you are outside and not near anybody – you are permitted to remove your mask! But in all other public settings, mask-wearing is still obligatory. Thankfully it’s quite chilly here, so an extra layer on your face isn’t quite as torturous as it was during the summer. Vaccine passports are now invalid if you are not up-to-date with four vaccinations (three for children), without which you can’t enter cafes, go to museums/cinemas, travel on coaches, visit people in hospital etc.

A rise in illness caused the Government to, at the last minute, extend the winter vacations from two weeks to four to try and prevent the spread. We imagine the schools aren’t too happy, as they are still playing catch up after almost two years of scattered online teaching and part-time attendance.

The other focus here is on the new constitution. It’s unknown whether the first draft will be accepted or rejected outright. There is a feeling that it heavily represents the left, the indigenous people groups and minorities but very little else. There is also a feeling that the new constitution is idealistic with promises which would be difficult to fulfil. The vote is on 4 September. Please pray that people can express their views peacefully – and that any alterations made are positive ones which represent justice and morality. Pray that the final draft serves everyone in the country. 

'Red Santiago' interdenominational leaders

Matt has been busy, with an increasing number of pastors on his regular meet-up list. An exciting new development is that a union of six pastors from various denominations, plus Matt, are meeting in earnest to develop a plan for working together more effectively and efficiently – for example, hosting training for small group/children’s group leaders as well as having more events and a shared vision. It will take some pressure off the church leadership by pooling resources. And, of course, unity is a good end in itself, as well as a good witness in the city.

Men's retreat

Matt also had the opportunity to preach at a men’s retreat in the countryside – wilderness! – for a church in the south of the city which has a very varied group in terms of age/stage/Christian maturity.

Frozen fish sticker!

His talk at the general synod generated a good discussion and someone created a sticker in his honour that was sent to him from pastors from the north to the south depicting his visual aid with a frozen fish.

Our pastor Chris announced his resignation last month. He and his family will leave soon for the States for his wife’s work and for Chris to study biblical counseling. Our hope is for our assistant Pastor Camilo to become the main pastor. Another Anglican pastor is also leaving for a couple of years. He will train and return in two years and while we are excited for him, we are sad that two more close friends will be leaving. It has felt slightly like an exodus from Chile recently. Moreover, this pastor’s children happen to be best friends with our children and they will miss them greatly.

Helen and Eva

Please pray for our children, especially as they process some of the things that have happened over the last couple of years that have compounded what was already a huge change in their lives. We are really trying to prioritise their happiness and stability. Now he is able, Judah is getting more involved in football and basketball. Eva is about to join a gymnastics club after a pause of three years. She is also initiating a plan for her church youth group to start a homeless ministry. We hope these new activities give them a focus, more friendships and the exercise gives them a good dose of endorphins, which they lacked during so many months of not being allowed out of the house. We also hope to make the most of the extra time off school, which will be the first break since March (they don’t have half-term breaks or Easter holidays). We might take a bus trip into the Andes or head a few hours north to warmer weather. Eva is also encouraging the youth leaders at church to make plans for a homeless ministry.

Judah is getting more involved in sport

We also have the pleasure of lots of visitors at the moment. Luke Foster is teaching a week’s intensive course at the seminary, which coincides with a visit from a mutual friend in the U.K. who will come and do a few talks and share some of his experiences of interdenominational projects with this union of pastors. They will both stay with us. Then a couple exploring overseas mission will come and stay and shadow Matt for a week or so. After that, we have a family visit from Matt's mum and his sister and her family.

Please keep in touch and send news and prayer requests. We miss you all. 

Love Matt, Helen, Eva and Judah

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