We are so grateful for your partnership in the gospel. Your prayers, encouragement, and contributions give us the opportunity to serve others here in South America. The last few months and weeks have been a mixture of lamenting and rejoicing.
Two weeks ago, we were celebrating that a new baby was about to be born. On Sunday April 8, our friends Cristian and Lena saw their daughter Gabriella Grace (Gigi) come into this world. Gigi was also the granddaughter of our teammates (John and Cathy Rug), and the newest member of our church community. Due to complications during childbirth, however, she then passed away early Tuesday in the middle of the night. And as a church community and a mission team, we have mourned. It was the first time this young church plant had been touched by death, and for many in the church it was their first up-close experience with loss. The grief has been heavy.
We have mourned a good bit these past weeks. We’ve lost Gigi, dear people from our churches in Tuscaloosa and Augusta, and the first person we saw come to faith in Guadalajara: Don Luis, among others. We are sad for losses here and yet grateful for a saving, covenant Lord who is faithful in all his ways.This reality of death also highlights the importance of gospel ministry and mission work. As Peter said to Jesus in John 6:68, “You have the words of eternal life.” Please continue to pray that the significance of these words would reach the lost.
In the midst of lamentation, there have also been many reasons to rejoice. A few things we’ve seen:
- Gigi’s parents continue to give glory to God, even in the midst of their pain. Their testimony in the funeral, in the church community, and even among the medical professionals shows that there truly is something different and beautiful that knowing Christ does for us.
- March is the beginning of both the school year and ‘ministry year’ in Chile, much like September in the USA. This year there has been a sudden surge in new families coming to church. Several of these families are not professing Christians. They are seeking answers, and several seem to be drawing near to Christ.
- In February, I had the opportunity to go to Medellin, Colombia to participate in an assessment event for potential church planters. We approved nine couples who are in the process of starting new churches! And we also got to see how God is at work in this city that just a few years ago was crippled by the terror of drug violence.
- We passed the one-year anniversary of our arrival in Chile. We are feeling more at home, more useful, and more in love with the people.
It has been a lot, and God has proven himself faithful every step of the way!