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Corner of Church St and Market St Wollongong 8am, 9:30am, 11am, 5pm & 7pm each Sunday
“Hola” from Viña del Mar, Chile! We have been here for 5 months now and we have been wonderfully welcomed by both Christian family and non-Christian friends alike.
With the internet, the other side of the world is not as far as it used to be, but there are still things that remind us we are in Chile; the potholes in the roads, the (extensive) use of WhatsApp group chats, and the low prices of fruit and vegies (avocados are at $3 AUD per kilo!).
Our church, “Iglesia Anglicana de San Pedro” (St Peter’s Anglican Church) can best be described as “Latin Anglican”. You can see their love for Christ, and being Chileans, their corporate worship consists of enthusiastic singing with clapping and raised hands during the songs—even waving of ribbons just last Sunday. The prayer book is evident, although of course, everything is in Spanish! But for all the differences there is the one thing that we have in common, our faith in Jesus Christ and in God’s Word, the Bible!
There are many things that our Chilean Christian family has encouraged us in, but there are three that we wish to share.
Their willingness to open their homes and show genuine hospitality, even to “the Gringo’s”. At least every other weekend, we have been warmly invited to a lunch—and we have gone home feeling like we have known each other for years. We feel we have a strong support network, and yet we have also been able to contribute to the Christian community in our own way.
Their willingness to open their lives and share deeply. Conversations are rarely about the weather (except when it is really, really cold) or work – Indeed within ten minutes of meeting a lady in her Bible study group, Caz found herself discussing the differences and similarities between Christianity and Catholicism, as the lady was struggling to understand.
Their willingness to spend time in small group prayer and express genuine adoration for the Lord our God. As a more emotional people, Chileans are always going to pray more eloquently. However, a large part of their time in prayer is spent explicitly acknowledging the attributes of God, his majesty, his power, his love, his control.
There is one area that we feel our Chilean Christian family could do with prayer and encouragement, and that is with regards to studying the Bible. Study guides and in-depth group resources are few. Trained lay people are also few. There seems to be a hesitancy to read through the Bible in a systematic way. However, we can see a change in the wind, so please pray that the change will gain momentum and our Chilean brethren grow in maturity as they study the Word with as much passion as they pray and share their lives.
See you all soon!
The Sandison Six.