Friday, 30 March 2018

Day 7: Plaza and Church for Good Friday - Connie Kaefer

Hola!  It's Connie here (aka "the Mama" as I was called by our hosts the first few days)

This trip has been an amazing experience, more than I could have ever imagined!  Today was the Good Friday holiday and since everyone had the day off, approximately 50 people from local churches joined us in a large Plaza to evangelize.  McKenna and I had a husband and wife translator team and they brought their two young children along (aged 6 & 8).  It seemed so much more powerful to share the story of Jesus' death and resurrection, on Good Friday, and with so many extra translators, we were able to reach so many more people!  Over 2000 Hope magazines were handed out today and many people made the commitment to follow Jesus!
After a lunch hosted  for all the volunteers by one of the larger churches, we headed to another church for a Youth service, where all the youth ended up praying for one another.  It was very inspiring to see!
After dinner we had a great time of sharing within our group, where everyone shared their testimony.  This was one of my favourite moments of our trip, hearing each person's story and witnessing how they have grown in their faith!  I have known many of them since they were born but they have ALL become very dear to me over the past week.  Parents, you should be very proud of the fine young adults you have raised!

Over this past week, God has shown me how powerful He is and that great things will happen when we are obedient to His leading.  It's crazy to think that in less than 48 hours, we will already be on an airplane heading back home to the land of ice and snow :( and that real life starts again.  And if God has given us this opportunity and experience to share the good news with the people of Chile, how much more important is it to share this Good News with our friends and family back home?! 

Please pray for our last full day of evangelizing, for boldness and enthusiasm, and to block out any distractions that might hold us back.  Pray that when we get back to our regular everyday life, that we have the courage to continue to be a fire for the Lord.  Pray also for Ryan's foot that he scraped on a rock while surfing, it looks like it might be getting infected.  Otherwise, everyone is tired but healthy!


Thursday, 29 March 2018

Day 6: Día de Descanso - Cameron and McKenna!

¡Hola hombres y mujeres! This is McKenna and Cameron comin' to you live all the way from Santiago, Chile. We are excited to share about our wonderful experiences through our day of rest and highlights throughout the trip so far.

So today we took a 2 hour bus ride from the Hotel to the beach at Viña Del Mar. The bus ride was really sweet and had some breathtaking views. When we arrived at the beach, we went to Soul Surf and got ready to go surfing. A lot of us had a hard time getting the wetsuits on, especially me (Cameron) because there were some shoulder straps in the wrong places. After a long time of getting ready, we finally made our way to the ocean, carrying our surfboards on our heads. We had an on-land training session and warm-up before getting into the (very) cold and (very very) salty water. At first, a lot of us had a hard time getting up and actually standing on the board, but eventually we were all pros at surfing, becoming one with the waves. Time flew by, and before we knew it, it was time to go in for lunch (which also included a beautiful warm inflatable jacuzzi). Before we had lunch, we all got to experience the wonderful event of taking off wet wetsuits, which for some of us was a rather horrifying, difficult experience. For lunch, we had Empanadas made for us in giant ovens which were delicious. After lunch, Juan Carlos pointed out a large number of navy boats riding up to shore on the beach right in front of us, doing a practice run of something. They all had guns and were probably pointing them at us, but I don't think they were loaded (hopefully). We then left and went sight seeing at Valparaiso, Sotomayor Square. We went to a market that had lots of souvenir stores and then went up a steep windy road and got a nice view over a shipping yard/dock and Plaza Sotomayor. Finally,
we started our journey back to the Hotel. We saw some llamas on the way and took pictures with them, and they were threatening to spit on us. Thankfully they didn't. For dinner, we walked to Burger King and had some good ol' burgs. To finish off the night, we are writing this blog post for our fantastic viewers ;)

A huge highlight for this trip so far for me (McKenna), has been going to all the schools and seeing the excitement in the kids eyes as they receive our free gift (the hope magazine) and listen to what we have to say. You can tell they are all crazy for Jesus. They also all have huge smiles on their faces just seeing us, since they wonder why we came all the way from Canada just to see them and give them a free gift.

Something that has impacted me (Cameron) has been talking to strangers in different plazas and seeing how open they are to talking about religion and what they believe, and how open they are to new ideas. At first it was really difficult for me to do, and I was very tentative about going up to people, but after talking to so many people, it's getting easier and easier to just go up to almost every person I see, wanting to share the Gospel with them. It has been especially inspiring to see both guys and girls my age wanting to commit their life to God after talking to them.

God is saying that we have to continue being bold, and also that as we hand out magazines and talk to strangers that we can't judge people by what they look like or what they are doing. I think it's easy to judge people based on those points but we have to realize that everyone has a story and comes from a different background and there's nothing that makes them unworthy of God's love or having a relationship with Him. We have to let God lead us into conversations and opportunities that we might not been able to do ourselves, even if it may seem uncomfortable to us.

Pray for a strong finish as we go into our last few days of the trip and that we focus on sharing God's word.

McKenna & Cameron

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Day 5: Market, Schools, and hospital - Alexx and Brennan

Hello peeps, this is Brennan and Alexx broadcasting from ch-ch-ch-chile! 

Cam and Brennan share the Gospel with a man on the beach.
We are now at the halfway point of the trip. We've been having a crazy awesome time evangelizing and talking to the locals, and even some vacationers visiting from all over. Alex and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and ran Forrest ran. Our first stop was a local market, handing out approximately seven hundred magazines to everything that had a heartbeat(the whole shebang). After, we visited a public middle school for an hour, and did the usual witnessing and handing out of magazines. After we finished our presentation, we played foosball and ping pong with the kids, and got destroyed. Next, we hopped on the bus again and visited another middle/elementary school. We handed out magazines, but did not stay there for very long. We stopped for lunch at Papa Johns aka (Papa Juans) aka ((Padre Johnos)). Next, we stopped at a huge public hospital where we split up into two groups. Seven people went to the wards, and the rest handed out magazines to people waiting in the ER.
Kelti, Alex and Cam along with Geovani (one of our translators)
head into classrooms and share the Gospel with the students!

 I(Brennan) felt God was telling me to be selfless, and let God use everyone in the missions trip to do his work, with me not feeling I need to do something very notable each day to feel "accomplished". Me next, (Alexx) I feel God is telling me to not put my focus on what I think I should be saying, but what he wants me to be saying to these people we meet. At our last school I got to be the one to pray, but wasn't 100% on what I should say, and once I was into it the words just seemed to flow out and the kids were all super excited for us to be there.

We would appreciate if you could pray that the seeds we plant be watered, and that they would all be sown in good soil, not the rocks or by weeds. Also the people that were visited in the hospital will take the magazines home to their family's, and that if any family's were struggling with hope that they will come to peace from today.

Team debrief after the day of handing out scripture in a market, sharing the Gospel message and handing out scripture in
2 schools, and finishing the day handing out scripture in the lobby of the hospital while a select few got the opportunity to share the Gospel and pray with some patients in the emergency ward.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Day 4: School Dayz - Meghan and Kelti

HOLA !!! Its Kelti and Meghan!!

We started off the day like the others, breakfast buffet at the hotel and then off to the bus. Today's focus wasn't on street evangelism but rather in schools. We visited 3 very different and unique schools. First off we went to a private christian elementary school. We were greeted right in the beginning with a bunch of little kids that were so excited to see us. We went on to give them an hour presentation including two camp songs, a play that involved Jaxon in the role of Jesus performing miracles, Craig preaching to them and finally the Cadillac ranch. We finished off going class to class handing out messages and talking to the kids. The second school we went to was a public school, very few of them had much knowledge about Jesus, like the first the school we went classroom to classroom handing out magazines and sharing the gospel with them. The third school was a special experience for all of us cause the student were mostly our age. The school was very different from the others in another way being that it contained at risk youth. Part of their education was to learn how to farm and take care of live stalk, it was shocking for us to walk around back and see the students working in the fields or the barn. We were all a little nervous since they were our age and know and that they are not as receptive as young kids. One moment that we were all amazed by was when witnessed Thomas talking to a group of students in the barn, who seemed like they didn't care at first, but once he started to share his
story you could see that they were interested and could relate.

God is telling us that the kinds in the schools back home could use this kind of education, and that we shouldn't be afraid the culture difference and share the Gospel with them.

Continue to pray for the health of the team, and for the people that we have talked to that they will take what we have said and act on it.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Day 3: Park and School Outreach! - Brooke and Katy!

Who are you?

Tonight Brooke Rowswell and Katy Paterson are writing the blog!

Today was such an overwhelming day, we started out evangelizing at a park here in Santiago. Our confidence in sharing the gospel has improved greatly over the past two days. We heard so many amazing stories, but a couple really stuck out to us. The first gentleman was a homeless man sitting on a bench, we handed him a magazine and went on our way. We felt God telling us to go back and talk to him, so we trusted him and followed his guidance. As we were speaking with him, he shared the hardships in his life. He was left when he was 5 years old and sent into childcare when he was 7. Surprisingly, he was very open to receiving Christ in his life, after talking for a bit he made the commitment to go to the local church and follow God.

Another gentleman that we felt called to speak with was sitting on a park bench. At the beginning he

was very hesitant to receive the message, but we learned that he felt unworthy of God's love, because he was an alcoholic. Through talking and sharing each other's testimonies we ended up in tears. None of us deserve God's love, but that is what makes grace so beautiful. Going forward in the conversation he accepted Jesus into his heart and you could tell that something truly changed in him.
After eating lunch at the local church, La Gracia, we headed to our first school!! They were extremely different than the schools back in Canada, but the hearts of all the children made up for the broken building. We performed the Cadillac Ranch line dance and sang Mighty To Save in front of 100 kids, each one with a huge smile on their face. Although they did not understand a word we said, we felt a connection through Jesus Christ!! They jumped at the chance to get a free magazine and they were so grateful for so little.

Prayer Requests:

Health throughout the group has improved, so thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for good health, restful nights, great conversations and open hearts.

Thank you so much to everyone back home. We all send our love!!

Brooke & Katy, Te amamos.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Day 2: Church and Beach Outreach - Nathan and Ethan!

Who are you?!

This is Ethan Andrews and Nathan Depner reporting from Santiago, Chile!

What have been some highlights of your trip so far?

Here is a quick recap of today. Firstly, we drove an hour an a half to Viña del Mar, a town on the pacific coast. We began with a church service with amazing worship and extremely welcoming congregation. We enjoyed their music, then we lead a song of our own. Thomas preached and then we had some mouth watering enchiladas for lunch. Afterwards, we departed to the beach where we evangelized for around two hours and we were successful. Here is a story about something that happened today...

Nathan and I (Ethan), along with translator approached an elderly lady sitting alone on a park bench. We introduced ourselves and what we were doing. She at first rejected us and our Hope magazine so we moved on. When we were walking away, our translator, Juan, said that he felt that we should go back to her, as something was urging him to do so. At this point, he asked one of us to come along with him back to the Carmen, so I returned with him. Juan talked to her in Spanish for a while and

then explained to me what she said. He told me that her name was Carmen, and that she was sick and was feeling down. I then started to do as we were trained and explained the Hope magazine to her. She seemed interested but she remained silent. I then felt like my testimony would fit very well in this situation, so I shared it. I will not go into great detail, but my sister had cancer as a child and ever since has been struggling with many health problems. She has had three major surgeries since her cancer but every time she has recovered. After sharing this with her, I looked up and saw that Carmen was in tears. I then shared with her Psalm 23 v 4 from the front of the Hope magazine "even when I walk through the darkest valley I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me., Your rod and staff protect and comfort me".  I then prayed for her and I was on the verge of tears. Half an hour later we noticed that she was still flipping through the magazine. In the end, Carmen needed hope and that is exactly what we gave her through the Hope magazine.

We finished the day with a lovely half an hour round trip trek to McDonalds for ice cream only to be informed that they close the ice cream machines at 7:00 :(    .............  don't worry, we still got some elsewhere :)

We ask that you pray for our continued energy and success here in Chile. Pray for health and confidence.

God has shown us his grace through this trip so far. We feel as if he is calling us to give people hope in Chile. We have already experienced many powerful works, and he will surely show more.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Day 1: Santiago - Jaxon Lutzer and Ryan Kaefer

Hey, it's Jaxon and Ryan! Even though we haven't been in Chile for 12 hours, we are all exhausted but  incredibly encouraged.

Once we got on the plane in Edmonton, the flight was great to Toronto. In Toronto we had some time to get some food to eat, before the grueling ten-and-a-half hour flight all the way to Santiago. We hit the ground running as we landed in Chile, as we headed straight to the local church to do some training and meet the translation staff. After the training, we feasted and fellowshipped with over 40 local youth at Padre John's. Before you read the rest of this post, make sure to read 1st Corinthians 16:20. Now, back in North America we would find this awkward and untasteful. Luckily in Chile, they don't! It was certainly awkward at first, but I think we can say for the rest of the team, we've all come to love it. The mutual cheek kiss is oddly intimate and symbolizes the unity of the church down here in Chile.

After leaving Papa John's, we hit the streets, gospel in hand, and began to evangelize. It was terrifying initially, because we were forced to be vulnerable and it was very out of the ordinary. After about half an hour, we became comfortable in sharing our faith and I (Jaxon) certainly embraced Luke 12:11-12. After a few flopped conversations, we began to actually resonate with people and we were able to hold a conversation for more than three minutes. Our deepest conversation occurred with a universalist - a man who believed in no religion, but in the God behind all of them. This belief system didn't make sense to us then, and it still doesn't now. He even had a tattoo that depicted all basic religious symbols - a cross, the star of David, a yin-yang etc. - surrounding a circle with the words "ONE GOD", with the whole tattoo being engulfed by a spirit of some sort. We were able to talk to him and his wife for around half an hour, we could see that what we were saying was really impacting him. We were able to rattle his worldview, and both him and his wife began to open up to us. We were able to speak truth into his life, and he began to really take seriously every word we said. He began to speak less and listen more, as he began to question his foundation of his beliefs. We were even able to get him to read Romans 10:9: If you declare with your mouth "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. The two of us are both incredibly encouraged by this, as we were able to effectively explain and show the love of God to someone who purposefully and actively rejected the gospel for many years.

Prayer requests.

First, that we can continue to effectively preach the gospel to everyone here in Chile. We've had many great successes today in leading people to Christ and hope to continue to do so throughout the week! Also Cam and I (Ryan) are still feeling a bit sick since before the trip, so if you could pray that our health would return to full strength that would be greatly appreciated. In addition to this, health in general for the whole group. Lastly, for the people that we gave the gospel to today, but didn't think much of our message, that they may read what they received and understand and take it to heart.

What is God Saying, What Are You Going To Do About It?

For the both of us, God is telling us that we need to be doing this great work not just in Chile, but in Edmonton and wherever we go. The gospel is not just something to share exclusively to people you're never going to see again, but to people you can build an ongoing relationship with. The atmosphere is a bit more accepting in Chile, as people are willing to be more vulnerable and open with their beliefs. The experience we're receiving in Chile will assist us in evangelizing to those back home who have much harder hearts. Mainly, what we're going to do is obviously evangelize more back home, but other than that we will continue to pray and ask God what he wants us to continue to do. In all that we do here in Chile and back home, we pray that we (and you) will be fearless in our faith. Just because you don't know how to evangelize effectively doesn't mean you can't evangelize.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold your with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10