Newsletter: March and April

The days are getting shorter, and the air crisper.  People are back from vacations and we’re back in the swing of things.  What are we doing?  Well, I’m glad you asked!

Church

We are happy to inform that Iglesia de Cristo Maipo is doing well.  We’ve gained some new members, and we’re struggling to keep others (we’re trying to keep in touch with the ones that haven’t come back).  Mike and Jaime are back to their preaching rotation.  Todd and Dany (visit their website Christian Chile Mission or their YouTube channel) have returned from their furlough and have been actively participating in the church, as well.

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We had another baptism!  If you’ll remember, Joanna and her son, Nico, were the first people who got baptized at our church.  We are now happy to report that Roberto, husband and father, has joined the family of Christ!

We are also happy to report that the church has outgrown the space of a house, and will be renting a bigger space.  We are excited to see the growth, and we are so thankful for any prayers you might have lifted up about that.

The Institute

The Institute, as previously mentioned, is going through a transition phase.  The church that was its base of operations before could no longer provide that, so we moved it to another church.  This church is in a less central location, but closer to the majority of the students who attend.

The format has also changed from four two-hour classes weekly to one seminar-style presentation every other Saturday.  It seems to be going well, but we’re still trying to see how it will go.

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Adaptation to culture is important when one is trying to provide a ministry, as a missionary.  We are trying to find the best way to reach the greatest amount of students, while still retaining a quality education.  Prayers for this ministry are much appreciated.

Mike also spent many hours rewriting his Basic Bible Doctrine course.  It is now the length of a book, and full of great information for his students.

Translation

Tabi continues her work on translation, alternating her focus between translating the NIV Commentary on Romans, and articles for Preguntas Teológicas.  In March, she also published a series on baptism, something she has been wanting to do for a while.  During the Easter weekend, the website received over 1,300 visits in one day, and almost 4,000 visits over the whole weekend.  These numbers are not the usual, of course, but it was exciting to see the website meeting needs at a time when people have questions.

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The work on the commentary continues at a steady pace, a few pages at a time.  It’s heavy, but rewarding work.  The nice thing about translation is that it’s work that can be done, even when someone is feeling a little “under the weather”.

Tabi also received several copies of a previous book she had translated.  Several have already been placed in the hands of eager readers.

Events

Birthday Party

On a lighter note, our children both have birthdays in April, so we had a “double” birthday for them to celebrate.  It was a lovely little party, and the kids had fun.

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The Retreat in El Tabo

Mike went to a retreat in El Tabo for the weekend of the 19th and 20th.  Due to allergies, Tabi was unable to go and stayed home with the kids.  Mike was scheduled to give two lessons during the two days– one about the Cross, and one about Family.  As it turned out, one of the other speakers wasn’t able to make it, so Mike then had to write another segment about the family.  It was a busy time!  He enjoyed the fellowship and fresh air, though.

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Easter Sunday

The first Sunday that the church was in our new place was Easter Sunday.  We didn’t have a big party, but the special service did focus on the resurrection.  The children were give Easter Story egg baskets, which have Scriptures in them, as well as a little object that connects to the passage.  These are designed so that the children can tell the story to anyone else.  We hope and pray the Word that they get used, and not just stored away and forgotten.

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This restaurant is also the place that we will be using as a meeting place going forward, until we can find a place of our own.  We have outgrown a house church setting, so now we need a bigger place.  We’re still trying to keep the family feel of it, by keeping the tables and serving breakfast, though.  Thank you for all your prayers on behalf of the church.

USA Visit

Finally, we’d like to let you know that Mike will be travelling to the United States in July, to a quick trip to visit churches and camps.  We are excited about this, and would love to be able to get that time planned out as soon as possible.  Please contact us for more information regarding specific dates and times.

And that’s what we’ve been up to!  See you next update!

In Him,
The Boyces

Praise the Lord, I saw the Light!

PRAISE THE LORD!

It was the Sunday of the retreat in Las Peñas.  The sun was hot, the road dusty.  Our whole group made its way down to the river.

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Other people swimming or picnicking by the river, turned their head and watched us curiously.  We had three baptisms planned:

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Her former church had pressured her strongly to get baptized.  But she has some mental disabilities, of which she is aware, and was confused and afraid.  She didn’t want to do it because she had to, she wanted to do it because she understood it.  She spoke at length with Malli (wife of Jaime, church leader), who explained in ways she understood.  And now she was ready.

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She came to our church already baptized, but she had been very young when it had happened.  She asked if she could be rebaptized, now that she understood the purpose and significance of baptism.  Since it was a matter that weighed heavily on her conscience, they agreed to the baptism.

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He’s young, and came to our church because of his mother.  But his interest in the faith was all his own.  He wanted to get baptized, but wasn’t sure he was ready to take that step yet.  He almost turned back (and we would have waited, because this is a big step), but in the end, he took that step of faith.

And then the leaders turned to the group.   “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of your being baptized?” (Acts 8:36).  And one more came forward, because nothing was holding him back.

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He never professed the Christian faith.  He came to the retreat by invitation of one of our members.  It’s a relaxed environment, with lots of free time to spend in nature or with friends and family.  The services are brief, but clear– come to Jesus and be saved.  They reached him, touched him.  And he responded.

All of these members of our church family have been attending faithfully, and we could not be happier.  We are so glad to see new souls come to Christ, and we love to welcome them.  But now begins the next big stage of work– to help them grow in Christ, to give them everything they need to grow strong, and make other disciples.

So the Light spreads and shines.  We are thankful because one day, long ago, we saw the Light.  And we rejoice because now more people can say, “Praise the Lord, I saw the Light!”

Unhelpful Helpfulness

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Written by Tabi

We washed the car today, Lydia and I.  It looks . . . pretty nice, actually.  We used old rags and water, and wiped away all the dirt and grime.  Lydia took the bottom and I took the top.  After a while, she dragged a step stool over and started cleaning higher up.  Here’s the thing, though.  After a while, the water got grimy, and even though we changed it out, she doesn’t quite have the patience or ability to clean the rags out thoroughly.  The water just wasn’t as clean, so the car wasn’t as clean.  After we scrubbed it down, I washed the windows.  I used special cleaner.  I used a special cloth.  You could see through them and they sparkled.  And then along came Lydia, to help me.  She took her grimy rag and rubbed it over every window.  Where once it had sparkled, now there was dirty water that, when they dried, left dirt on the window.  *sigh*  I’ll wash them again later.

She actually does this a lot.  She’s at an age where she wants to help, and don’t get me wrong!  I love it.  It’s super sweet.  What it isn’t . . . is helpful.  She’s not quite at the age where she can follow all of my instructions, and even when she can, she has a hard time really paying attention to what I say.

But then I realized.  Isn’t that just like us?

I mean, here’s God, cleaning us up spic-and-span, and making saints of us.  Then along we come with our own ideas about morality, saying, “Hey God!  I’m gonna help you clean this up.  I’ll make it better.”  Except we don’t.  Because our righteousness is dirty rags, and God’s righteousness is perfect.

I’m reminded of the promise God made Abraham.  That he would have too many descendants to count.  And after a while, Abraham and Sarah decided to help God out.  Things got a little messy.

So here’s my take-away.  Let’s stop telling God that we know better than He does.  Do what He told you to do, the way He told you to do it.  Let His Spirit do a good work in you, and continue the sanctification that began on the day you were baptized.

Hello? Anyone there?

Holy moly!  Is it almost March already?  Let’s fast-track this and do a photo journey through the last few months.

So, we came back to Chile on December 31st.  IMG-20181231-WA0002

Boy, was it good to be home!

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But before that . . . waaaay back in November, we went back to Mike’s mother’s house from the ICOM.

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We enjoyed the holidays with family, and discovered that Lydia has a surprising talent for playing Jenga.

We also got to visit a different church every week, to update and present about our mission.  If you want to see more pictures of that, there’s an album over at our Facebook page.  You can find them in the Mobile Uploads album.  Feel free to follow us there, because we update that pretty regularly!

We even got to do something special at Cornerstone Christian Church in Alliance, Ohio (our sending church)!  Tabi and Lydia sang a very special song, and then Mike preached.

We stayed in touch with our church back in Chile, and (at their request) even sent videos with greetings and short messages!

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On Sunday, December 30th, we went to our last church of the furlough.  Mike preached.  Then we had to hurry over to the airport to board our plane!  Which brings us back to the beginning of the post– Boy, was it good to be home!

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Getting back to Chile at the beginning of summer vacations means that church attendance is down, and classes are out.  So . . . that’s the time to focus on friendships and learning more about Chile’s beautiful countryside and culture.

Have you ever had watermelon ice cream?  Lydia has!

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It’s been a summer of record-breaking highs.  We’ve reached 104°, which is unusual for Santiago.  Staying hydrated is very important!

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We’re still working, though.  Since we were gone for three months, Mike has taken over the preaching at our church, Iglesia de Cristo Maipo, for a while.  While we were in the US, Tabi bought Lydia some Sunday School material to work on during the sermon.  She has also found some good websites online.  Any recommendations for further material (especially in Spanish!) are welcome, though.

Also while we were on furlough, Tabi picked up another translation project.  We are very excited about this one!  She will be translating half of Cottrell’s Commentary on Romans!  She has already started, and has been working alongside LATM and Susan Calderon to make sure she delivers a quality product.

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Along with this, she has continued the upkeep of the various websites associated with Cornerstone Chilean Mission.  They are all listed at the end of this update, if you would like to check any of them out (or better yet, share them!).  She has a series on baptism coming up in March, and she’s very excited about it!  She enlisted the help of several authors– preachers, teachers, and missionaries.  We appreciate prayers for this project.

Mike has continued to work tirelessly toward setting up the institute.  Although it is vacation time, and classes are not meeting, he is still calling, visiting and talking to all the ministers associated with the project.  He’s still looking for teachers, and would appreciate any prayers and recommendations you can send his way.

We have a separate blog update reserved for this, but we wanted to go ahead and share a little bit about this.  At the end of January, we did our yearly retreat with Jaime Escobar (and family).  This year, there were 80 people in attendance.  Mike preached, and we did a meal setup for that.  It was different, and people were intrigued, but liked it.

Perhaps most exciting, though, was that three people asked to be baptized.  And while we were there, we asked if anyone else was ready to take that step, and a fourth came forward!  Praise the Lord!  They have all been attending church faithfully since then, and we are so grateful for more brothers and sisters.  We ask for prayers for the continued growth of the church and His Kingdom.

Thank-you all for reading this update, and for supporting us financially, with prayers, and with encouragement.  We feel privileged to be able to work here, and are so grateful.  We pray blessings for you all.

In Him,
Mike and Tabi
(and family)

Cornerstone Chilean Mission
Website     Blog     Facebook

Dosis de Doctrina
Blog     Facebook

Preguntas Teológicas
Blog     Facebook

El Discípulo Cristiano
Blog     Facebook

Vacation? No. Blessed time? Yes.

We’ve passed the halfway point of our furlough in the US.  It’s a busy time, full of planning visits, putting material together, redesigning, updating, visting, and presenting.  It is also a time to try to visit with friends and family.

It is worth noting that one of the main reasons we come to the US this time a year, is so that we may attend the ICOM (International Conference on Missions) while we’re here.  This happened last week, and we’d like to take some time to tell you a little bit about this conference.

We arrive on Wednesday, when they have events and workshops tailor-made for missionaries– to encourage and equip.  This year we arrived too late for this, but it has been a blessing in past years.

Thursday kicks off the conference, and as the hall begins to fill with people, the excitement grows.  People of all ages talk to missionaries and their representatives.  Old friends find each other, new friends are made.  Children race down the aisles, stealing candy and freebies from every table.  Clusters of teenagers amble through, joking and taking interest in whatever mission catches their eye.  College students wander the halls, some of them looking for internships.  Friendships begin, projects are broached, and information is traded.

Although it is a big expense for us, we always get a booth.  Tabi sets it up to look and feel as cosy and homey as possible, to welcome people in.

It is a wonderful, busy, tiring time for all of us.  And we love it.

We’d like to encourage you, if you’ve never been to it, to try to attend some year.  There’s LOTS to do, and people to meet, and missions to see.  If you feel like the Kingdom is being crushed under the foot of the World, this is a place to see how strong the Call is, and how hard we are working, and how vast HIS Kingdom is.

Do you remember?

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A meditation on Communion
by: Tabi

I was 11. I stood at the top of the steps and looked at my father, waiting for me down in the water. A week before, the speaker had said, “What excuses are you telling yourself? Are you going to go another week without giving your life to Jesus? What’s keeping you from turning your life over now?” And, like the Ethiopian, I realized I had no reason not to. And now I stood at the brink. This was the moment of change, the descent into the grave, the steps into new life.

My foot touched the icy water and a shiver ran up my spine. Another step. The water was cold, but my heart was on fire. Another step. I gasped. The chill wrapped around me. My father took my hand. And down I went, into the grave, death to the old me. I was buried with Christ and raised again. I was alive! So very much alive!

Do you remember? Think back. Do you remember plunging down and bursting out? This is the moment to remember that bond you made with Christ. This is the moment to reminisce with Jesus. To break bread and drink the fruit of the vine, to sit and commune . . . and remember. Remember what He did for you. Remember your walk together. Remember your life in Him. Do this . . . in memory of Him.

Newsletter: August and September 2018

A newsletter that isn’t six months late?  WHAT?  Is there something wrong with me?  Shh.  Just enjoy it while it’s happening.

Regarding Furlough

Before we go any further, we’d like to let you all know that, thanks to some generous donations from friends and family, we will be able to make our furlough trip this year.  If you are a church that supports us, please check your email for a message from us.  We’d like to visit you this furlough!

Ok, moving on . . .

Regarding Ministries

Tabi

IMG_20180817_181713August and September have been pretty great months!  The kids are transitioning into new, interesting stages.  They’re learning so much, and I love seeing how they grow!  As I have mentioned in previous letters/entries, we decided, as a family, to invest in year passes to our local zoo.  It’s educational for Lydia, and great for a day trip.  Lydia isn’t homeschooling yet, but I take every opportunity when we’re out to teach her something new.

There’s a section at the zoo that has to do with dinosaurs and archaeology.  Lydia really likes to “discover” the dinosaur buried in the sand.  We had quite a few really nice days, and it was good to get out of the house and let the kids play.

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I finished up the Discipleship class with Malli, and now we’re working on Basic Bible Doctrine and Hermeneutics.  Honestly, it’s been a real blessing, because the way she applies the knowledge I give her is just amazing.  I may have the book information, but she has the experience to apply it in ways that are wise.  I teach, but I also learn.

Women’s Fellowship

On September 8th, I participated in a Women’s Fellowship event.  I preached one of the sermons for the day.  I talked about attitudes that kill the spirit, and practical steps to address them.  The sermon was called “Emotional Cancers”.  It was a good day, and I made a lot of connections.

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Whenever we’re home all day, I keep up with websites and blogs.  At the moment, I manage a website, five blogs (and do occasional write-ins at another), the Facebook and Twitter pages for each of those blogs, and I write the newsletters.  It takes a lot of time, but I enjoy doing what I do.  See the bottom of this newsletter for links, if you’re interested in knowing what websites and blogs these are.

Mike

IMG-20180716-WA0022Mike has been teaching two short classes at two churches– Montijo (teaching Hermenutics) and Pudahuel (teaching Basic Bible Doctrine).  The Institute is currently on break, and will resume classes when we return from furlough.

He has also continued participating in meetings for ministers.  They formed the first group several years ago, seeking to encourage unity, spiritual growth, and mutual encouragement.  They’ve had their ups and downs, but have continued to meet regularly to study the Word and encourage each other.

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Church/Bible Study

Iglesia de Cristo 1The church has been doing well.  Most of the member attend faithfully every Sunday. The Wednesday night Bible study has begun streaming video, so that members who can’t make it then, can still listen in from their homes.  It includes a chat room where they can add comments if they have any.

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Events
Minister’s Retreat

We attended a retreat for ministers and their wives.  There were services, workshops, a day trip to see the surrounding area, and a concert in the evening.  Overall, a nice experience.

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And that’s what we were up to in August!  Thanks for reading this, and we hope to see you soon.  Many blessings!

Mike and Tabi Boyce

 

 

Cornerstone Chilean Mission Website, Blog, Facebook
Preguntas Teológicas Website, Facebook, Twitter
El Discípulo Cristiano Website, Facebook
Dosis de Doctrina Website, Facebook
Tabicat Blog Website, Facebook

Newsletter: July 2018

It’s nice to read about exciting things happening, and big events.  Most of life, however, is made up of the small moments strung together, of the daily toils adding up to a life that July 2018reflects Him.  It is the many links that form a strong chain.  We have had some exciting events in the last few months, but we have also had many days where we continue chipping away at our missions.

Mike does a lot of work preparing courses, classes, sermons, and devotionals.  He also teaches and preaches, as well as recording a podcast.  Tabi continues to translate and tend to the various websites associated with the mission.   She has recently also begun having a Bible study with a friend, and has participated more actively in the women’s ministry at Iglesia de Cristo Maipo.

The Institute

The Institute had a good start, but has met with challenges.  We expected these challenges to come, so we have several plans of action to implement in response to the difficulties.  Class participation tends to drop off toward the end of each semester, so we are working on ways to keep the students motivated.  Although many of them say that they value the emphasis on theology and Bible, they have a hard time setting aside the time to attend the classes and do their homework.

LogoWe ask that you keep this ministry in your prayers.  It was started a little earlier than anticipated because the local ministers asked for it.  And although they have been supportive of it, they cannot obligate their members to attend.  So the challenge now is to promote the institute, and to encourage students to attend faithfully, in order to gain the greatest amount of profit from it.  We are also looking for more teachers.

Iglesia de Cristo Maipo

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Not long ago, we collaborated with some Chilean friends to start a church in our neighborhood.  Jaime and Malli Escobar are a couple with a heart for the Lord and His work.  In the time we have known them (about 6 years), we have seen them plan yearly retreats focused on families, do marital ministry, start a Bible study for non-Christians (they called it Come and See), and now start a church.  We have had the privilege of participating with them in most of these activities, usually with Mike as a teacher.

Starting this church has gone surprisingly well.  It already has a youth group, women’s group, prayer group, and Bible study group, in addition to the Sunday morning services.  It is facing challenges, of course, but we are grateful and happy with its progress so far.

On Sunday the 22nd of July, we had a special service.  Two members, Joana and Nico (mother and son), had asked to be baptized.  Joana got baptized first, and then baptized her son.  Later, they joined us in taking the Lord’s Supper.

La oración te da alas

The women of the church have started a series on prayer, and stay in touch through Whatsapp, encouraging each other to pray every day.

Maipo, by the way, is the name of the province where this church is located (a little like a county in the US).

Life Between Ministries

When we’re not working on our ministries (institute, church, websites, translation), we spend time with our family and our friends.  It’s important not to get lost in the work, and neglect our relationships.

We thank you for your prayers and support, and pray that God blesses you as richly as He has blessed us.

What a Trip

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Written by:  Tabi

My daughter is three years old.  She’s at the age where she likes to experiment, to test limits, and to learn about life through experience.  I’m a big advocate of allowing children to learn through experience and consequences.

A while back, I bought a pair of shoes for her.  They’re much too big, so I put them away for later.  Today, she found them.  Instantly enamored, she begged (and begged and begged) me to let her wear them.  Finally, I decided to let her do it.

Just outside our house, she tripped and fell.  She cried.  I picked her up and asked if she wanted me to change her shoes.  She wiped her face and shook her head.  “No.”  So we continued our walk.  The whole time we were out, she spent the time tripping and falling.  She had to move slowly, and not run like she loves to do.  But every time I’d ask if she wanted to change her shoes, the answer remained the same.  “No.”

And here’s my question for you today– do you have anything in your life that’s making you trip and fall?

Do you have anything that’s hindering your relationship with God?  Maybe it’s not a bad thing.  Maybe it is.

Is there any hindrance in your life that you cling to, because you like it, because it makes you feel special, because it makes you feel good?

Is there anything in your life that God has asked you to give up, because you’re not ready for it yet?

Is there any great desire that you have, any blessing that you yearn for so bad it hurts, and hurts, and hurts?

Is there anything in your life that’s slowing you down.  Preventing you from running ahead, from soaring high, keeping you from being truly free?

Maybe you’ll get to have it in the future.  Maybe not.  I’m not God, and I don’t know all the blessings He wants to give you.  But I do know that sometimes, we have things (habits, behaviors, hobbies, loves, addictions) that come between us and unhindered joy.  And if we could begin the process of letting go, we’d find out it’s easier to follow God.

What will you shoes today?  (Gosh, that was bad.  Sorry.)

Choose freedom.  And life.

Choose God.