November 2019

Our life has changed since our last prayer letter. It has changed a lot because Chile has changed a lot!

We are happy, safe and well but all is not well in Chile. What started as a protest over a rise in metro fares escalated quickly into general unrest. In the last month over half of the metro stations have been burned down (including the ones near our house) along with churches, a university and many supermarkets and businesses. There are daily protests which stop the now very limited public transport, meaning travel home can sometimes take three hours!

The chaos and destruction you may have seen on the news are very much a real-life experience for us (and the Fosters) day-to-day in Santiago. The children are a bit shaken by what they’ve seen – the army on the streets, soldiers with machine guns everywhere, daily curfews, fires, people throwing rocks at cars, shops being looted, barricades and a lot of destruction. Our biggest prayer before we came was for them to settle and, despite all the troubles, they both say they love living here. Praise God!

The shops are often shut because of the protests, looting and mindless vandalism. We filmed our local supermarket being looted by a big cross-section of the community.

All that said, God is very much in control. Our neighbourhood has really pulled together and we have been able to meet lots of them for the first time. Our area was patrolled at night by a large organised group of residents with clubs and bats, which made us feel safer. It has also led to more meaningful conversations at church and deeper relationships there. 

I (Matt) am becoming more involved in our church and others in Santiago. I have spoken at a couple of weekends away recently and have been preaching (with translation) in our church for the last few weeks. Please pray for our pastor, Christian, who is off work for a while following some very difficult life events.

The daily commute

Our main aims are getting to know people and learning Spanish. Our daily lessons are really helping and people are seeing an improvement, even if we think we are still struggling. It is fun to see how, despite life getting in the way of our pre-made plans, God is helping us achieve these aims in unexpected ways. The Spanish lessons often start an hour early these days when we catch a lift into school with a kind, chatty stranger because the buses suddenly cease service.

We are finding it hard being a long way from family and friends, especially when we miss birthdays, weddings and other significant events. It can sometimes be very wearing too when nothing in life runs easily and we are hot and tired. But we definitely feel that we are in the right place at the right time.

Please pray for Chile generally as well as the above situations. Please also pray that we get our Chilean ID cards. We have our numbers but lack the card as proof. The chaos has obviously delayed the process but in order to get on with life (e.g. get a driving licence, open a bank account) we need one. 

Thank you for your love prayers and support. Do email or WhatApp us anything we can pray for you. 

Love la Familia Pope

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