From Chile and the “ends of the earth”
By Elena Huegel – Missionary in Chile
On a cold February day in 1998, the Hechos Theater team from the Pentecostal Church of Chile crunched through the snow to the small monument that marks the field where the “Haystack” event took place.
The Rev. Jill Graham from the North Adams Church, UCC, recounted the story of the thunderstorm and the nudging of the Holy Spirit that launched the missionary movement from the United States. Later, the young people from Chile knelt in Salem, MA, at the same bench where the Haystack youth where commissioned to take the gospel “to the ends of the earth,” and committed themselves to that same mission.
Plaques on the back of the bench memorialize these two events, but it is the living and growing kingdom of God that bears witness to the ageless power of the Holy Spirit. There is some debate about where the country of Chile got its name. Some say that “Chile” is a Mapuche word that means “the ends of the earth.” From the “Haystack” until today, the path of the Gospel comes full circle, and those from the “ends of the earth” now come to the United States to minister and share the love of God in Christ Jesus. As the sisters and brothers of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ and the Pentecostal Church of Chile have discovered, the purpose of our partnerships around the world is to be in covenant learning together how “to be and become the body of Christ in “koinonía” as we share our faith stories, learn from each other how to serve the world in Christ’s name, and join together in building God’s kingdom of Shalom.”
(Quote from the covenant agreement of the Pentecostal Church of Chile and the Massachusetts Conference, UCC)
Elena Huegel is a missionary with the Pentecostal Church of Chile (IPC). She serves as an environmental and Christian education specialist.