Greetings from Santiago. I hope that all of you are doing well. The winter here has been nasty. The air in Santiago has been extremely dirty, and as a result, we have all been walking around, coughing and hacking. I will be glad to get out of this air for a couple of months. Maybe I can get my lungs to functioning again.
I will be going to the States in September and October. I am looking forward to visiting with you all. Here is a hint about my missions presentation. I am going to highlight as many members of the different congregations who are actively involved in evangelizing others as I can.
One ministry that deserves special consideration is the benevolence ministry. If you recall, I mentioned that Camilla’s mom, Juanita, had come across a friend of hers that had been suffering. As a church, we have been able to help that family. Liza told Juanita that she was now famous in the USA because I had mentioned her in my previous report, which made her feel good. The church in La Villa has a benevolence ministry that has been helping several people that are out of work. Our different congregations really show the love of God in helping others.
Since we have several contacts in Machali, we decided to start meeting in Camila’s, Juanita’s and Rigoberto’s home. This actually is good for us in several ways. It allows us to meet as a church with three members of the church (Camila, Rodrigo, and Judit) instead of asking them to go into Rancagua. So we have been doing things a little different on Sunday evenings. I let Sergio off in Rancagua at Eduardo’s and Yaya’s house and then I drive on to Machali. Liza and Felo usually go with me to Machali. So far, in Machali, we have been meeting with Camila and Rodrigo, their little girl, Anais, who is a precious little thing, Judit, Camila’s mother, and her father, her brother and her brother’s girlfriend, and their little girl. All of these people are really nice people. They are also interested in learning more about the Bible. Sergio and Liza have been doing magnificent work on Thursdays in teaching the Bible there. On Sundays, I have been doing the Bible class there and the preaching. Usually Felo coordinates the worship service. Sergio and Juan Carlos, one of the members from the congregation La Villa in Santiago, have been working with the congregation in Rancagua. This splitting up of the effort does have its cost. Aileen, Liza’s niece, told me the other day that she missed me. I should also mention a conversation that I had with Camila. I do not remember the reason why we started talking about this, but in the course of a conversation, Camila mentioned that the reason why we had so much credibility with her was because every time she asked a question, we always answered with the Bible. I never say stuff like, Look at us, we are super Biblical, which I think is interesting, since she came up with that on her own. Camila is a new Christian, and she has already been instrumental in bringing her friend, Judit, to Christ. Judit is an excellent young woman.
On Sunday mornings in La Villa and also on Tuesday evening in Los Andes, I have been teaching the book of Daniel in the two congregations. In Daniel, God uses narratives to communicate spiritual truths. As I have mentioned many times before, Chile is a people oriented culture. Chileans are interested in stories about people, such as we find in Daniel. So, the study in Daniel was well received in both congregations.
The church in La Villa is doing well. The future building has motivated the congregation. Beto and I met with an architect a couple of weeks ago. Here in Chile, there are many regulations in play as far as building a building. One concern is making sure that the building will be safe in earthquakes. For this reason, an architect has to sign the plans. If anything goes wrong, such as collapsing in an earthquake, then the architect has to answer for his plans. The building also has to meet requirements of the ministry of public works, such as a certain number of bathrooms for a certain amount of people and so on. It is more complicated that I would have imagined. One regulation is that no more than 70% of the lot can be constructed on. Financially, we will do what we can when we can. We saved money for fifteen years just to have enough to buy the property.
Marlene is teaching a Bible class on Sunday mornings for the 8 to 10 year olds. The other day, she told me that she had taught a class that I had written up a while back on discerning between right and wrong. I was pleased that she had done this, because it is necessary to combat some bad thinking concerning tolerance that is common in the public schools. Any lesson on discerning right and wrong starts with the assumption that there is right and wrong. This is an assumption that many (such as the homosexual lobby) do not want anyone to make, because then one evaluates their behavior. Their proposal is that one should tolerate that with which they disagree. I point out a couple of things about this. Tolerance of ideas is a bad concept. If it is a good idea, then we should accept it. If it is a bad idea, we should reject it. We also have to be careful how we understand the idea of tolerating people. 1 Corinthians 13 does speak of love as being longsuffering, but it is not the same as the concept of tolerating people, which is that we should put up with people that we really do not like. This is not a Christian idea. Those who ask us to tolerate people instead of loving them asks us to do something different than what a Christian should do, which is to love one another. Loving someone does not mean that I accept all of their bad behavior. Loving people also means that we call them to repent of their evil ways. By the way, I try to model repentance.
I appreciate your support for this work. Thank you for your help. May God bless you.
Harry R. Hamilton