Lauren Kabat, Global Mission Intern

How would you describe the mission of our partner in Chile?

Traditionally, the Pentecostal Church of Chile (Iglesia Pentecostal de Chile) has consisted mostly of working class members who brought the message of the gospel from larger cities back to their rural farms and villages. Since its founding in 1945, the Pentecostal Church of Chile has grown to approximately 400 congregations located across Chile, with its headquarters located in Curicó. The Pentecostal Church is committed to the education of both children and adults, disaster relief, and caring for the poor and elderly.

How do you fit into their mission?

During my time working with the Pentecostal Church of Chile I will be assisting with planning, programming and administration for the church’s camp and retreat center, the Shalom Center. This center focuses on environmental and peace education as well as spiritual development. I will also be assisting with hospitality for camp groups and staff, care for the elderly, as well as participating in various church services and activities throughout Chile. I will be accompanying the Shalom Center staff to a international camp leadership conference with partners from Puerto Rico, Paraguay and Argentina.

What led you to engage in this calling?

After attending and working at Horton Center, a United Church of Christ summer camp located in the white mountains of New Hampshire, I have witnessed the impact that summer camps can have on both the campers and the surrounding community. Through all of these experiences, I have found that being outdoors has had a big impact on my faith journey. I feel that the stewardship of our environment is faith forming in that as we recognize the value in all of creation, we gain a deeper respect for the creativity of our maker. This opportunity to participate in a camp setting in Chile will allow me to apply my skills as well as continue to learn about peace making and conflict transformation. Participating in the Pentecostal Church of Chile broadens my scope ecumenically as relationships are made across the global church.

Is there a passage of scripture that carries special meaning in your daily work?

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" ”Isaiah 6:8. This verse has special meaning to me throughout my travels and serves as a reminder that the most necessary trait in doing God’s work is the simple willingness to accept whatever He is asking you to do. It goes along with one of my favorite quotes which is “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”

Another one of favorite passages is the story of Jesus healing a man at Bethesda in John 5:1-9. To summarize, Jesus encounters a man who has been sick and waiting at the healing pools for 38 years in hopes to be made well. Jesus told him to take his mat and walk away, and the man was instantly healed. I like this scripture because the man does not give Jesus all the reasons why it was unlikely that he would get healed. When Jesus told him to walk, the man did not reiterate, “but you don’t understand, I haven’t been able to walk for 38 years, etc”. He simply believed and was made well. It reminds me that healing of any sort of physical or emotional pain does not always have follow the long, arduous path that we think it will take. Stories like this one remind me that Jesus is the Great Physician, and can and will heal people instantly. He has done it before and will do it again. It reminds me not to not limit Jesus’ healing power.

What are some of the challenges facing the people of Chile, our partner, or yourself?

There are many wounds still being healed in the Chilean people from human rights violations during the dictatorship, the terrible earthquake 5 years ago that devastated many communities, as well as domestic violence and alcoholism. We pray that the church continues to be a place of hope and healing. 

Which books have influenced your understanding of your country, work, or theology?

  • True Religion, by Palmer Chinchen
  • Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, by Parker J. Palmer
  • Church Shouldn’t Suck the Life Out of You, by Jim Minor
  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Freire

Which films that have influenced your understanding of your country, work, or theology:

  • "Compelled by Love"
  • "The Mission"
  • "Romero"
  • "Opening Our Eyes"

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Lauren Kabat