2020 has been, without a doubt, the year of the unexpected. I’m sure you’ve seen the lists compiled and circulated on Facebook. It isn’t all bad news, for Chile. This year Santiago has had record rainfalls, which they desperately needed after a 13-year drought. Whether it’s the end of the drought or just a respite is anyone’s guess, but it was certainly a small good thing amidst so much change.
A global pandemic has changed the face of church and missions everywhere. Missionaries and ministers have struggled to decide what the “right” decision is, regarding church meetings and the continuation of ministries. Given that Chile eventually settled on putting all of their largest cities in complete lockdown, our church opted for switching completely online. We have more about this in the newsletter.
Although our missions changed in many ways, we are still doing everything we can to continue in our service to the global Church, and we want to let you know what that looks like now.
Mike’s primary goal has always been to teach and train leaders in Chile. Several years ago, with the help of several local ministers, he managed to get an institute started. The format has changed several times throughout these years, but the heart of it remains the same– to teach doctrine to those who wish to learn. The latest change in this series of changes, of course, was a transition to fully online classes through Zoom. Due to the constant need for Zoom meetings, both for Mike’s classes and for church use, we decided to pay for a subscription, so that we could get the best use out of it that we can. He is currently teaching three of his Institute classes.
Given the possibility of an expanded platform, however, he decided to offer an additional class, to anyone, anywhere. His first class had about 45 computers connected. We speak of computers, rather than students, because some of the accounts connected had more than one person sitting and listening from there. As is common in classes, eventually this number went down to 25 computers, but it has been holding steady there, and that is encouraging.
His students are mostly in the Santiago area, but also hail from other parts of Chile. Overall, it has been a good experience.
Mike also recently began a channel on YouTube, where he posts videos with teaching, as well as some of his sermons and classes. Feel free to visit and follow. Click on the following link to visit: Dosis de Doctrina
In order to focus on translating the Commentary on Romans, regular translation and uploads of articles to Preguntas Teológicas has been suspended. In order to keep that page going for the time being, Tabi welcomes two things:
- Translators willing to pick up a couple of short projects, and translate some articles to be published on the website.
- Submissions of articles, especially in Spanish, for publishing on the website.
She will review all the work for a approval, but doesn’t have time for much more.
Progress on the book has been slow, but steady. She spends two hours a day translating, so that she can keep going on.
Since the quarantine in our area has yet to be lifted, our church continues to meet online. They had been streaming exclusively on Facebook, but starting in August, they transitioned to doing part of it on Zoom, in order to provide more of a sense of community.
You can view the videos by visiting the page: Iglesia de Cristo Maipo.
The service is comprised of some pre-recorded material, edited to fit the format of the video, and some live material, streamed live on Sunday morning. Mike preaches two Sundays, and Jaime preaches two Sundays. In July, we had guests speakers send in sermons for a month focused on missions. We have done our best to maintain excellence, as well as encourage a sense of community. Through it all, though, we yearn for the day we can meet again, and see each other face-to-face.
We also have two Bible studies a week (different groups), as well as a prayer meeting.
Chile currently has enacted the longest quarantine during this pandemic. As of the 8th of August, it was 142 days long, with no clear end in sight. There is a plan, with stages, but no timeline for when they were going to actually go through with it.
We had a little bit of money saved up “for a rainy day”, and we finally decided that this was our rainy day. So on July 2nd, Tabi and the children traveled up to the United States to stay there for a month. The goal was to give the children a little bit of breathing room, as our house has restricted space, and they weren’t allowed to go out, even to a park or for a walk. The month spent there was a time of rest and blessing. We are deeply grateful to have had this opportunity.
We returned to Chile on July 31st, and have been in a strict, 14-day quarantine, with which we have complied.
So what do we do now? We still don’t know when quarantine will be lifted in our area, or if we will go back into lockdown if things don’t go well. What do we do with our ministries? The church? Our family?
We hold steady.
Mike will continue to give his classes online, as he has been doing. He has considered offering another massive class, once his current extra one has finished. It has had a good reception, and is reaching people he had not been able to reach before. He hopes, once the quarantine is lifted, to engage in “transitional classes” of sorts, that will occur in person but also be transmitted online for a time.
Iglesia de Cristo Maipo will continue to meet online, partly through Facebook and partly through Zoom. The Bible studies and prayer meetings will continue to meet online as well. When the quarantine is lifted, the possibility of having small reunions will be considered, but we try to comply with government and health standards as much as we are able. We are considering maintaining a presence online, at least for a while, until the transition has been made fully back to in-person gatherings.
Tabi’s translation will continue as it has, with two hours of dedicated time a day. She will also be focusing on schooling Lydia with the material provided by her school. For the time being, schools are not reopening, and we do not know when they will do that, so homeschooling is our option now. Tabi is using the materials provided by the school, as well as other various materials in English, in order to bolster that side of her education.
- Pray for Chile and its leaders as they decide how and when to enact their plan for reopening.
- Pray for those in lockdown who are in need of basic goods and services, and unable to work.
- Pray for our church and its leaders as they decide best how and when to transition back to in-person gatherings.
- Pray for Mike’s classes, as he finds ways to incorporate in-person classes, along with availability online.