Thanks for your prayers. We are finally feeling a bit more settled here and life is becoming more ‘normal’ –whatever that is! The children have more established friendships, I have built up a good number of meaningful relationships with pastors and others, and Helen has found a couple of supportive groups of friends.
We are now able to go to church freely without the hour time constraint and limited capacity. This month they also abolished the use of masks! Many children from the school are still using them just because it feels so weird to have a ‘naked’ face after two years of mask-wearing indoors and out.
The new, very progressive constitution was rejected last month (see Independence Day celebration outfits above!). Amazingly it was a smooth process and despite some rumbling protests, life is generally peaceful. Robberies appear to be on the rise though, including in our street. Our neighbour was robbed while she was at home and my mum was pickpocketed during her visit in August. Please pray particularly against violent crime.
The ‘Red’ network of interdenominational pastors has had some productive meetings and a night away together. It has been really nice to get to know pastors from other churches, benefit from their experience and various giftings and see them working collaboratively a bit more. As well as finding out that the pastors of Chile snore. A lot. Loudly.
I spoke at a conference in the south last month. It is a ten-hour bus journey but worth it to spend a couple of days speaking to the two Anglican churches there about the Vine Project: how they could create a culture in their churches where every member is involved in moving others closer to Jesus as well as raising up leaders for the future?
As always in Chile, there was a surprise extra event with no notice, a youth group Q&A session. All the questions you would expect from a teenage group but the added spice of it being in Spanish with no opportunity to prepare answers.
We have quite a few visitors due before Christmas. Sam Allberry is speaking at a series of events on the theme ‘Is God anti-gay?’. We also had someone visit from the Gospel Patrons organisation to speak to pastors and others, with the ‘Red’ actively involved. We had a great event with over 40 attendees; Chileans were disposed to give financially and otherwise, and there were opportunities throughout the week to see ministries both currently, and potentially, funded from outside Chile. Luke Foster and Andy Walker, also Crosslinks mission partners, came to stay with us while attending events in Santiago.
I spoke at a Santiago-wide men’s conference and a weekend away – three talks on Genesis 3. Please pray for Pablo, my old Spanish teacher, who checks all my talks. He is being exposed to the gospel regularly and has interesting questions. I recommended him to a new Australian missionary who is learning with him and also speaking to him about Jesus. I also went to the General Synod, which was a good time discussing important plans and building relationships among the bishops, ministers, and lay people.
We are spending a lot of time with unbelieving neighbours, visitors at church, and parents from school. Eva and Judah are loving their youth group, inviting friends to that and to church. Our pastor, Camilo, invited Eva to a social action event, remembering that she was keen to be involved in this area. The event is for vulnerable youths leaving the government foster scheme. Fostering in homes/families is uncommon here; instead children are taken into public foster houses/orphanages, which have a very bad reputation. This project focuses on their reintegration into society, which is a real struggle for these young people. She is also part of a social action group and travelled down south to help repair a school.
A big prayer at the moment is for our visa/residency. It seems as though we may be at the final hurdle as they have asked for the last payment but the timescale is unknown. In the meantime, they have rejected the extension of Eva’s temporary residency (but not ours). This means that she cannot leave or re-enter the country. After hours queuing at various offices, I was sent to the illegal immigration office, where someone acknowledged the fault was at their end, could not resolve it but asked me to write a letter explaining the situation, which he stamped… It is shaky ground so please pray our residency is granted and the uncertainties of being able to stay/leave are taken away, or that they grant her extension before we plan to travel at the end of the year.
As always, please send prayer requests, news, nonsense, etc.
+56 9 4751 8887 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Love Matt, Helen, Eva and Judah
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