Being at home is a funny concept: how do we decide when we are at home or not? After spending six months traveling around the United States and definitely not being at home, we’re happy to return to Chile, where we feel at home, even though we’re foreigners. But even then, we’ll never really be “at home” until we are with Jesus. Paul says that living by faith means that “we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him” (2 Cor 5:9). In other words, as long as we are away from our eternal home with Jesus, our goal is to be pleasing to him.
We arrived back in Chile on October 22 after a few delays, a night on the floor at JFK airport, and several standby flights. We were able to return to our apartment and get resettled in a familiar place. We’ve jumped right back into the life of our church family, visiting church families, participating in a church-wide activity, seeing new members join our church, and sharing the Lord’s Table. Mark was able to travel to Santiago for a week-long pastors’ conference as well as get back into the regular teaching schedule. Our church was able to begin meeting indoors again last month, and we’ve gotten to meet several new families that have begun attending over the past six months. Jesus is still building his church!
This coming Friday we have appointments to finalize our permanent visas and get our ID cards. Lord willing, this will mark the end of three and a half years of prayers and effort. We thank you for faithfully partnering with us in prayer and trust God will bring a good resolution to this process.
Our teammates, the Flincks, will be taking a survey trip to look at gospel opportunities in the second largest city in our region, Calama, about three hours away up in the desert. We appreciate your prayers for wisdom and clear thinking as we think about ministry possibilities in the future.
Jesus has been gracious to our church, giving us shepherds and teachers to equip us to do the work of the ministry, building up the body. We thank God for his continued work through Pastor Andrés and also through our elder, Adrián, for their faithful and effective ministry among our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a blessing to be built up and encouraged through their biblical teaching and example.
We appreciate your continued prayers for us and for the Iglesia Berea here in Antofagasta.
Thank God With Us:
For his grace in safety traveling thousands of miles visiting churches in the United States.
For his grace in allowing us to return safely to Chile.
For his grace in the spiritual and numerical growth of our church these past six months.
Pray to God With Us:
For his grace as we get back into life in Antofagasta.
For his grace as we seek to give the gospel and equip Jesus’ disciples here in Antofagasta.
For his grace as we look to the future of our ministry in Antofagasta and beyond.
It has been a joy to be a part of the life of the Iglesia Berea of Antofagasta again. In some ways, we’ve picked right up where we left off, and in others, the church has grown significantly while we were gone. Praise the Lord!
It’s been wonderful to get to meet new families and individuals who have started attending our church while we were gone, as well as to hear of professions of faith, baptisms, and other unbelievers who regularly attend as well.
Mark had the privilege last week to travel to the Santiago area and enjoy a pastors’ conference with instruction for pastors from Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay.
Since God has made us his sons and daughters, we are brothers and sisters, and the local church is a family. Many single people in our church have come to this city to work and live far from their extended families. One of our ladies recently completed a degree after several years of taking night classes, and was rightfully celebrated by several sisters in Christ who came to support her.
Final Furlough Stats:
we were gone for 181 days
we flew 13,132 miles
we drove 17,999 miles
we visited 27 states
we slept in 32 beds
we presented the ministry in Antofagasta in 18 churches
we visited all but two of our 16 individual supporters
We were glad to find that our street dogs from the beach still remembered us after six months away.