Plans for 2022

As we enter the New Year, we are feeling quite blessed in so many ways. 2021 hasn’t necessarily been the easiest year for us, we see God’s working even in difficult times. We know that for many of you as well it has been a trying year. We pray for those suffering from loss and uncertainty be comforted by God and sustained in the coming year.

As of our last update, Tabi was working on translating Jack Cottrell’s commentary on Romans. She is still working on that. She still sings in our church meetings.

As of our last update, Mike was teaching classes online and continues as an elder in the local church and shares in the preaching with Jaime Escobar, with each preaching about 50% of the time. This continues to be the case.

As of our last update, Lydia was in kindergarten. She did great (as expected) and loved going to school.  Next year she will be attending a virtual school for first grade, and we are sure she will do well with this too.

As of our last update, Caleb was getting lots of testing done. The results of a genetic study sent off to Germany came back with a diagnosis. Caleb has a genetic condition called Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome. We had never heard of it. So, if you haven’t, you aren’t alone! It is a rare condition affecting less than 1 in 100,000. We had to do a bunch of follow-up testing such as EKG, ultrasounds, ECG, MRI and blood work. So far, the results of those are good. He mainly is showing behavioral issues and delays in language and development. We are seeing occupational and speech therapists and searching for the best strategies to help him advance as much as he can.

Our church is back to fully in-person. We are trying to get back to the pre-pandemic format we used, where there was a light breakfast served and we sit at tables during the service, to encourage fellowship and seeing the faces of our brothers and sisters in the church instead of the back of their head. We still transmit on Zoom for members or visitors who need that for some reason (quarantines, health, distance). But absent a good reason, we ask people to make the effort to be present and experience Christian fellowship, believing that to be an important part of the Christian walk.

We hope to get back to some in-person studies and classes and to be able to travel and get together with people. We ask for continued prayer as Chile writes a new constitution that should be finished this year and then there will be a vote to approve or reject the new constitution. If rejected, the current one will remain in effect. Chile could use a lot of prayer for peace in the political realm, with regards to increasing crime, and some terrorist groups operating in the last few years, which seem to be getting bolder over time.

As of our last update we hoped to be in the US in the second half of 2022, and we still hope to do this. We will be working on scheduling church visits and planning our time in the US. If you or your church would like to get together with us between July and November, please let us know.

Of course, we are not Paul and our sufferings don’t compare but this passage expresses well my desire to continue serving the Lord and the church to help Christians reach maturity and to help current leadership and assist with the training of new leaders.

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Col 1:24-29)

Wrapping up 2020

As we wrap up 2020 we are so extremely grateful to God for all of His blessings, many of which have come through our family, friends, and supporters. It has been a challenging year in many respects, but also a year of growth. Our heartfelt thanks to each of you for helping to make our mission possible and for going above and beyond to make sure that we are comfortable and have what we need. As I write this, just before Christmas, I am reminded, of course, of the generous birth of our Lord and Savior. He left some of His divine privileges to take on human nature and live among us. We know that His purpose in being born was to prepare a body that could be sacrificed on the cross, to be the atonement for our sins. That message was present from before His birth as the angel told Joseph that the baby to be called Jesus and known as Immanuel would save the people from their sins. This season is a time to reflect on the gifts God has given us, and primary among them, the salvation offered exclusively through Jesus Christ to all who would receive Him. We see God’s generosity to us in this reflected in your generosity toward our family and the mission here.

It will come as no surprise that 2020 has been a very different year from what was planned. At the beginning of the year I was excited to be working on a seminary project and brainstorming how to adapt to the new political situation in Chile. Covid restrictions have pretty well ended that endeavor for the time being. Class participation has shrunk. I still have two small groups active, but continuing will require major adaptation. That said, part of the adaptation is already in place. I started offering stand-alone classes with lower, shorter-term commitment and received much interest. Moving the classes to an online format has also allowed people from around Chile to be part of the classes, people too far away to be physically present. So, while my plans look little like what I was aiming for a year ago, the classes are progressing, and people are learning.

Our church group has gone through the same thing. We have been online since March as government restrictions prohibit gatherings of any kind (sometimes totally, sometimes just on the weekend). We moved into a more relaxed phase and were able to meet in person for two weeks, and then all of Santiago went back into the weekend lockdowns. So, our church services have moved online, through Facebook and Zoom. We have, in addition to Sunday services, two weekday Bible studies (one of which I teach) and a weekly prayer meeting. The church has seen some baptisms as a result of the online services, once again in areas we would not have reached otherwise. We have seen people coming to the Lord and growing in spite of the obstacles. Of course, there are challenges too as people feel isolated, struggle with economic and health fears, and don’t get the fellowship time that I think we all need.

Tabi has been striving hard to make progress on her translations while also practically homeschooling Lydia and taking care of a rambunctious toddler. Lydia is enrolled in a school, but the schooling has consisted in the teachers sending text messages with some assignments each week – not enough to challenge or teach Lydia, or really follow up on her progress. So, we have had to do that, but also supplement to make sure that she continues growing. Caleb is enrolled to start preschool next March but has some stuff we need to work on to get him ready for that. Still, somehow Tabi manages to get that done and work on her translation and is done with the first section of a Romans commentary she is working on with LATM.

With the uncertainty generated by Covid and the accompanying restrictions, Chile’s November vote to repeal its constitution (the new one is supposed to be written in 2021 and 2022) and continued social and political unrest (as the US embassy phrases it) it is hard to know how to approach plans for 2021. The plans we do have are for Tabi to finish her part of the Romans commentary, to figure out the kids’ schooling situation, to continue working in the church and continue with the stand-alone classes I have been doing online. I plan to rent an office space in January to try to increase productivity since working from home is difficult. We also need to figure out our furlough schedule (navigating quarantines, limited flights, and churches that aren’t doing physical meetings) and if/when furlough will be worthwhile. We appreciate your prayers for these situations and for wisdom as we look forward to working together in the Lord’s field in 2021.

August 2020 Newsletter

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 Ministries

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

Tabi’s Ministries

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.

Iglesia de Cristo Maipo

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.

What now?

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.

The Heart of Communion


Written by Tabi

It moves me almost every Sunday.  I can’t help it.  When I see my brothers and sisters in Christ post their pictures of church, and especially of the Lord’s Supper, I am reminded that God’s Kingdom ignores whatever lines we’ve scribbled on the Earth.  Its citizens hail from every tribe, every nation, every people group.  And every Sunday, I eagerly swipe through my feed, hitting a love react on every picture someone shares of their time.

It reminds me that there’s a bond.  A Bloodline.  A heritage.

Sunday, March 22, 2020
A highly contagious virus has spread rapidly across the world.  It’s a surreal feeling, because most of the time, natural disasters happen other places, but not here.  Or they happen here and not in other places.  I struggle to explain what it’s like, and people either pity me or try to ignore the situation altogether.  But not this time.  This time, we’re all in it together.  My friends in China, my friends in Italy and France, my friends in the United States, my friends in Tanzania . . . we’re all facing quarantines and homeschooling and difficulties getting supplies.

And for at least one Sunday, I see the CHURCH, the real church, the Bride of Christ rise up from her surroundings and shout “I AM HERE.”  For one Sunday, people stop going to church, and start being the church.  They start reaching out to their community, because they have no jobs to keep them too busy to help.  They wake up and start looking around, because now they have little else to do.  They start finding ways to be the church when there is no building to hide in.

And that’s why I was moved to tears this time.  Why every picture I saw of the Body and the Blood was a beautiful, resounding anthem to Communion.  And it didn’t matter if people had wine or grape juice or grapes, or even water (after all, our Savior did turn water into wine).  It didn’t matter if the bread was unleavened or not.  What mattered was that One People gathered to “DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME” and by doing so, “proclaim the Lord’s death” until whatever day He decides to return.  We all came flocking to His table, because what we longed for was Communion with Him and each other.

We made a loud and clear declaration that Sunday.  We declared that our faith transcends hardship, mild or oppressive, that it cannot be shut down or locked away or quarantined.  We declared that we are a Community of believers, and it doesn’t matter which piece of land we live on, we serve the same Lord and were all invited to His Table.

And maybe we didn’t have the elements of Communion perfect, but I think we found the heart of it.

Resources and Ways You Can Help During Quarantine

Coronavirus in Chile

A brief update from Chile:

Some have been wondering about and asking about how things are in Chile with regards to the Coronavirus.
I preface all my comments saying that I am not a medical expert, just a regular person trying to do the best I can.
Coronavirus is in Chile. As I write there are over 150 confirmed cases. No one knows how many more may be present but not confirmed. All told, that is a much lower number than in many countries. Chile has taken a number of steps such as cancelling all schools for 14 days, closing all borders, and prohibiting meetings of more than 50 people (that number started at 500 and keeps getting lower). More recently, the president declared a 90-day state of emergency, allowing him to deploy military, freeze prices, restrict movement, impose curfews, and so forth. He has not elaborated on exactly what measures will be taken except that the military will be used at border crossings and to protect infrastructure.
As some of you may recall, back in October of last year, Chile experienced severe civil unrest with protests, clashes with police, riots, looting, and vandalism. Some supermarkets were burned to the ground. Most subway (metro) stations were damaged, some quite badly. Public buses were also a frequent target. In the following months, and up to the present, there are problems several nights a week. Just last week, while driving home I drove up on a flaming barricade on the route that I usually take because I was later than usual (about 11PM). Another day recently as I was going to the pharmacy, I saw police clashing with a group of students, while a block away (I later learned) a group attacked the municipal building, trapping the public inside. Given that things are so volatile here, the president’s actions are probably necessary to protect critical infrastructure and supply lines.
Our church met last Sunday as usual (but with more hand sanitizer and disinfectant sprays) with good attendance and one baptism! We did that because there were only a dozen confirmed cases in Chile at that time and none in our area. We will be evaluating future church services and my classes as we see how things develop and it is likely that we will have to suspend in-person meetings. I am currently experimenting with options like Zoom, Facebook live, Youtube live, Vimeo, etc. to figure out the best (and hopefully free) way to conduct classes and other meetings.
We are seeking to be wise in our conduct and to respect the requests of public health officials to help limit the spread of this virus, while we pray that God will help us to continue to shine His light in the darkness.

Looking Back at 2019

As we finish up 2019, we give thanks for the coming of our Lord that has made possible our salvation and our service. This year has been a full one. Here are some of our highlights.


• Dios Altísimo, a theology book that will help ministers and others in their understanding of God and His plans, is in people’s hands.
• Translation of The College Press Romans Commentary is in progress. This is a work requested by missionaries that will help them in the planting of churches and in leadership development.
• Preguntas Teológicas is helping across the Spanish speaking world, it gets about 300 views per month. continuing to progress, small size but getting results, seeing growth.

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• Christian Restoration Bible Seminary is working to develop new leaders and strengthen existing leaders. So far, we have taught: Discipleship, Bible study methodology, basic doctrine, Restoration Movement history, preaching, Spanish grammar, finances, and more. Mike tries to write and teach at least one new course per year – this year will be the book of Acts.
• Continuing to progress. It’s a small size but getting results and is seeing growth and new interest.
• We’re finishing the year with about 15 students in two groups.
• We will be accepting new students in March 2020. The format is 6 hours of study, two Saturdays per month for three months. We do three trimesters per year.

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There have been shorter teaching events on evangelism, leadership, doctrine, and mental health. We traveled south, to the coastal town of Calbuco for one of them. The Mental Health seminar was approached from three points of view– psychological, Biblical, and ministerial. Mike addressed the Biblical perspective on mental health.

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Mike participated in the organization, planning and teaching. The event lasted three days, and was filled with fellowship, discussions, and messages.

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Iglesia de Cristo Maipo has had 14 baptisms in 2 years, and its average attendance is around 25 each week, finishing this year. We’ve been meeting in a restaurant, which is a set-up the members enjoy. Mike is one of the elders (along with Jaime Escobar), and Tabi participates in the music group.

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In July, Mike took a trip to the US, to do some extra fund-raising. In November, Tabi went up to Ohio with the kids to attend the ICOM with Rose.
We also try to take time to do things as a family, because we believe that keeping our family strong and united is important to the healthy continuation of our mission.

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• We continue to be grateful for those who sacrifice to contribute financially to our ministry. However, our account needs help. Our mission account has been sustaining a continued deficit. This is a source of stress for Mike.
• Our deficit this year came to $2549.49. If you would like a more specific breakdown of these numbers, feel free to email or message us, and we will send you the information.
• Getting $215 a month more would help make up for this deficit. Feel free to tell other churches and individuals about our mission if you think that they might be a good fit.
• Here are links to donate online and to learn more about us on our website and to follow us on Facebook
• Chile had massive protests regarding cost of living and asking for more benefits for retirement, healthcare, education, minimum wage, public transport, and the perception of heavy-handed police intervention in the protests among other things.
• The disorder interrupted travel and our ability to have classes for a few weeks, but things are a bit calmer now and we were able to finish out the year more or less on track.
• Chile will be creating a new Constitution and we are praying about that.
• The economy is expected to suffer due to the damage done in protests and looting.
• Christians, too, are quite divided on the underlying issues and what to do about them.
• It is always a challenge to see to the welfare of the family and all of the ministry obligations we have. Tabi feels this acutely as she tries to work on translation at home with the kids pleading for more attention.
• Pray that we will have wisdom in dealing with these challenges and continue to grow spiritually as a family

• This is a blessing that requires wisdom. Pray that we will be able to decide well.
• Mike’s ministries are progressing nicely, but as new doors open, we must decide where to invest our time, energy and resources. The need for solid Bible teaching is great and Mike has had more churches requesting classes, studies, preaching, and short seminars… all while the new church needs to continue to grow and find stability and develop new, Chilean leadership.
• In this area, prayers for more workers (national and/or missionaries) are appreciated — specifically qualified Bible and ministry teachers. One other ministry that Mike is doing that is not mentioned above is mentoring a newer missionary to help fulfill the work.

September 2019 Newsletter

We’re wrapping up winter and all the cold months.  The plants are starting to flower, allergies are starting to act up, and the skies are getting fewer and fewer clouds.  September also has the distinction of being the month in which Chile celebrates its independence.  So there are a lot of fun activities coming up, but let’s take some time to rewind (there’s a term the younger generation won’t understand) and check out the last few months.

The Church

In the last newsletter, we had announced that we were changing buildings, because the church had outgrown its house setting.  I can say that, when all the members come, this is still very much the case.  And we have been adding new members since then, as well.  But of course, as any church knows, we struggle to encourage faithful attendance.  Still, little by little, our members are beginning to show more stable attendance.

On August 18th, the church hosted a lunch.  They asked each member to invite their whole family.  We were very encouraged to see that many of the families who don’t attend did come to the meal.

The children also now have a separate class.  This has been a huge blessing, and we are grateful to their wonderful volunteer teacher.

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USA Visit

In July, Mike headed up to the USA to make a special fundraising trip and meet with several churches and people.  He stayed busy there, as well as continuing his ministries here, via video chat.  Tabi and the kids held up the fort in Chile.

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The Eclipse

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”  Romans 1:20.

In July, we headed to La Serena for a trip to watch one of the most beautiful works of nature– a total eclipse.  We met there with another family of missionaries (the Hurleys) and had a wonderful time of fellowship.  On July 2nd, the Hurley opted to stay at the cabin, while we packed up our kids and headed toward the mountains, where totality would be the most complete.

We all enjoyed it very much.  The excitement building up, then the beginning of the eclipse.  Mike took video and Tabi took pictures (both cameras protected, of course).

Our trip back was very long.  What had taken us 3 hours on the way up, took us 8 hours in traffic on the way down.  But it was worth it.  So worth it.

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Work is slow, trying to balance being a mother, a wife, a housekeeper, a missionary, and a translator.  But little by little, the work does get done.  Tabi continues to chip away at translating the Commentary on Romans.

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The ER

These last couple of months were rough for Lydia.  We had to take her to the emergency room twice.  The first time was on August 3rd, for a fever that shot up from 98 to 104 in a matter of hours, and which Tabi couldn’t bring down with Tylenol.  Mike was in the US, so a friend drove her to the ER.  She was diagnosed with pneumonia and a partially deflated lung.  She received treatment for it, and soon was on the mend.

Then, on September 1st, we were getting ready for church.  Tabi came out of the bathroom and didn’t see Lydia slide her finger in the door where the hinges are.  *slam*  Once again, we were off to the ER.  They took her in right away and cleaned up the wound, but told us she would need reconstructive surgery on her finger.  So, after much paperwork and waiting, they checked her into the hospital.  That evening, they did the surgery, and afterward, the doctor explained what had happened.

  1. Although she practically amputated the very tip of her finger, there was a sliver of skin left attached. And it happened to be the place right where the blood vessels run through the finger. This meant that the tissue was still alive and had a very good chance of having the best reattachment possible.
  2. She’s young. He would have just removed the piece from an adult, but children have bodies that heal much more efficiently than adult bodies.

So, she’s currently healing from that.  Subsequent checkups have been good.

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The Institute

The institute continues forward, with new classes and a few new students.  We are happy to say that classes continued even when Mike was in the US, via video call.  He has two classes that meet once a week, one on Thursday, another on Friday, and another class that meets every other week, on Saturday.  They are currently wrapping up Basic Bible Doctrine and Hermeneutics.  Then all three classes will be moving on to Homiletics.

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Pastors Retreat

Each year, ministers of the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ from all across Chile gather to have a retreat.  This year, one of the groups of ministers in Santiago offered to host the event, so it was held in a town very near our home.  They decided to speak on the topic of eldership this year, and the topic for Mike’s speech was a defense of plurality of eldership.  We’re told it caused quite a stir, and much debate.  Some of the ministers in more remote areas of Chile had never even heard of the concept!  More than one pastor?  Intriguing!

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A Taste of Chile

And just as a little bonus to wrap up this newsletter, we’d like to tell you about one of the foods you’ll find in Chile.  It may come as a surprise, but a favorite food here is hot dogs!  They do look a little different, though.  A completo has the hot dog, then a layer of mashed avocado, then chopped tomatoes, and a generous helping of mayo to top it off.

Like in the US, there are other toppings to choose from, of course.  Some come with onions, parsley and sauerkraut.  Some come with tomatoes and green beans.  But you must never forget the mayo!  It’s Lydia’s favorite topping for everything.  Don’t offer her ketchup (she doesn’t like it).  Give her mayo every time!

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Thank you for reading through this newsletter.  We are blessed to have such wonderful supporters, and we are grateful for every single one of you.  We love to hear from you, and are especially blessed to know you are praying for us.

As always, we remind you to go check out our Facebook page.  We also would like to remind you that we have a page where you can donate online to make things easier!


P.S.  Feel free to go check out our friends’ mission at Christian Chile Mission!  They’re awesome people, and Dany is working toward setting up a Christian café, which is a dream we have both wanted to move forward for a long time.  Simples Delicias.

Born of water, born of the Spirit

Born of water and spirit

Written by: Tabi

We sat around the table, talking.  The expression on his face moved from puzzled, to surprised, to shocked.

“Why,” he asked, irritated, “has no one ever bothered to tell me any of this?”


We were sad to see her go.  Nina was one of the earliest members of our new church, and the most vocal advocate for serious Bible study.  But circumstances change, and she ended up needing to move to a city about 5 hours away, to move in and become primary caretaker for her parents.


She still joined our church online, but eventually asked if there was any way to get something going in her city.   Her father, Nina explained, has never been a Christian, though he always encouraged his wife and daughters to go “do their religious thing”.  He has a severe heart condition and no one knows how long he’ll be around.  She was pressed for time.

Mike and Jaime talked it over, and decided to travel down every other week to do a Bible Study in their home, beginning in the book of John.  Jaime and Malli would go down together every time.  Mike and I, having very young children to think about, decided to take turns going.

And so we reached John 3.  Now, John 3 is a beautiful little chapter, because it opens with a poignant conversation about baptism, and then proceeds to tell stories about baptisms, and wraps it all up neatly with John the Baptist‘s affirmation that the teachings of Jesus are the words of God (so you best be believing them).

We talked this all over, and why it’s important to be baptized, that Jesus says “no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again”.  Jaime decided to buckle down and do a little more pushing.  He asked each person at the table to seriously ask themselves if they thought they’d be in Heaven when they died.  Nina responded that she knew she would.  Nina’s mother, we thought, would respond just as confidently.

We were wrong.

She broke down crying, confessing that she didn’t know.  She’s not always a very good person, though Lord knows she tries.  She certainly hoped so.  And she cried some more.  My heart squeezed.  This is the deep cost of not teaching the truth about grace.

“You’ve been baptized?” asked Jaime.  She nodded.  He leaned toward her, holding her gaze.  “Then, from what I can see, from what you tell me, and what your daughter tells me, and what the Bible tells me, there isn’t anything hindering you from your Lord.  You live in His grace and you have nothing . . . NOTHING to fear.”  Then the tears were happy ones.

“Now.”  Jaime shifted his gaze to Nina’s father.  “You, sir.  Do you think you’re saved?”

He thought about it, nodded, and responded confidently.  “Yes.”

Jaime pushed again.  “Have you been baptized?”

He nodded, but his wife and daughter shook their heads.  “He was baptized as a baby,” responded Nina.

“Ah.”  So we went into the details of baptism.  Why you must first be able to recognize your sinful nature, and repent.  Why we immerse, and don’t sprinkle.  We talked about the death of Christ, and why He had to die.  The whole Good News.

We sat around that table, talking.  The expression on his face moved from puzzled, to surprised, to shocked.

“Why,” he asked, irritated, “has no one ever bothered to tell me any of this?  I thought I was fine, and it turns out I wasn’t!”

We shook our heads.  “It’s all there in the Bible.  You know now, though.  Do you want to be baptized?”

He looked as us as if we were idiots.  “OF COURSE I DO!”


Planning his baptism took a lot of work.  His health was so delicate that he couldn’t even splash cold water on his face without getting palpitations.  They didn’t have a bathtub.  It took us a full two weeks to plan it, getting in touch with a local Church of Christ in their city, and coordinating with them to have a small pool full of warm water.

Jaime and Malli were out of town, so Mike and I packed up the kids early that day and headed down.  When we arrived, we found out that all of the daughters who were Christians were there to see their father baptized.

It turned out to be a very difficult task to pull off.  Winter temperatures in Chillán dip below 30°, and most people don’t have central heating.  They started in the afternoon, pouring hot water in with the icy water already in the pool to heat it.  The water cooled almost as quickly as they poured it, because the temperatures outside kept dropping.

We sang songs together, Mike gave the meditation.  We checked on the water every so often, but it was still always too cold.  “Fire from heaven is usually a sign of judgment,” I joked, “But maybe God can send us a little warmth from heaven.”

Finally we decided to go ahead with it, because the temperatures were dropping too quickly and we wouldn’t be able to warm it faster than the weather would cool it.  The water was lukewarm, and we all prayed it would be marginally warm enough to keep him safe.

So we did the baptism.


When he came up out of the water, his family cheered.  He climbed out of the pool and went first to his wife.  He held her face in his hands and wiped away her tears.  Not a word passed between them, but the look he gave her spoke volumes.  I’m here.  You’ve prayed for so long, and I’m finally here.  I had a camera, but I couldn’t bring myself to take the picture.  Then the moment ended and he embraced her.



Luisa, Nina’s sister, later told us what her father had said to her.  “You know, honey.  I know the water was too cold for me, but all I felt was warmth.”