Lectionary Selection: John 13:31-35
Prayers for Chile:
A new commandment: Love the local hospital and healthcare personnel who are stretched beyond their energy and resources by so many needs and demands.
A new commandment: Love the police, the carabineros, trusted by some, feared and despised by others as they struggle to clean up a history of abuse.
A new commandment: Love the politicians, left and right wing, who have been wallowing this year in a swamp of corruption and scandal.
A new commandment: Love the truck drivers who threaten to strike bringing the country to a standstill; no food in the supermarkets, no gas at the filling stations.
A new commandment: Love the school teachers and administrators with overflowing classrooms and standardized testing consuming their energy and attention.
A new commandment: Love the news media feasting on all the bad news.
How difficult it is, oh Lord, to love our enemies while longing for dignity, truth and justice. May everyone in Chile know that we are your disciples first because of the way we love those who know you, and then, because of the love we have for those who don't. May the new gossip be "Those Christians sure do know how to love!"
I write to you from the “Gathering Place” in Talca, Chile, the Shalom Center’s primary meeting spot and the place where I have called my home for the last nine months. By the time you receive this letter in the mail, I will be back in the United States having completed a year and a half abroad. Last year at this time I wrote to you from a small Peruvian village along the Amazon River. Today, I write from a bustling city between the Andes Mountains and the Pan-American Highway. Summer is upon us, and for the Shalom Center, that means that our camp season is in full swing and the Gathering Place is abuzz with the ins and outs of delegations from different countries, camp staff, and brothers and sisters from the Pentecostal Church of Chile stopping by for visits. The Shalom Center, the organization with which I am interning, is a group of people who facilitate programs based on peace education, environmental education and spiritual development. It is also a place with an off-grid expanse of forest dotted with cabins up in the foothills of the Andes Mountains where many of the Shalom Center’s camps and programs take place.Read more
Today I dug out my 1996 journal from the box in my closet. I am re-reading the entries from my first year of service with the Pentecostal Church of Chile on behalf of Global Ministries. An entry from January during those first few days in Chile says: "In these moments of 'beginning again,' I ask you, Lord, to be with all those with whom I will walk. Prepare the way before our feet."Read more
“Por lo demás, hermanos, regocijaos, sed perfectos, confortaos, sed de un mismo sentir, vivid en paz; y el Dios de amor y paz será con vosotros.” 2 Corintios 13:11
Tomados de la mano en un círculo y cantando "Shalom javerim" a la luz de las estrellas, miré alrededor en nuestro grupo, nuestros párpados pesados después de una semana llena de juegos, manualidades, talleres y cantos. Mientras cantábamos, mi mente se perdía en mis propias experiencias de campamento de verano donde por primera vez vi realmente el rostro de Dios. Fue allí como parte del equipo de trabajo que me sentí llamada a aplicar a los Ministerios Globales. En un continente diferente, en una cultura diferente y rodeada de gente que recién había conocido, cantamos esta misma canción. Allí también sentí la presencia de Dios.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Luke 13:1-9
Prayers for Chile:
God, You hear the prayers of our Chilean brothers and sisters as they lift their voices from the foothills of the Andes Mountains. We petition you today with their requests: for peace to surround both the political relationships of the Mapuche conflict and the protests occurring in Valparaiso. We pray for people of the church, that the young people of Chile will fall in love again with God, for strength within pastoral families and that the Shalom Center will continue to be a place of healing for many years to come. As a new school year begins, we pray for teachers who work with vulnerable children, that they may not only offer academics, but also refuge and hope. We lift up those working to heal their emotional traumas, those who have dared to share their stories and those who still remain silent. We pray for strength and perseverance as the Chilean people find their way through these challenges, being moved by Your guidance and perfect peace. Amen.
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11
Holding hands in a circle and singing “Shalom chaverim” to the starlit sky, I looked around at our group, our eyelids heavy after a busy week of games, crafts, workshops and singing. As we sang, my mind wandered to my own summer camp experiences where I first truly saw the face of God. It was there as a staff member that I felt called to apply to Global Ministries. On a different continent, in a different culture and surrounded by people I had just met, we sang this same song. There, too, I felt the presence of God.
On January 11th, EPES (Popular Education in Health) will be hosting their 7th Annual International Training Course on Popular Education in Health - which shares their 33 years of experience working for dignity and justice in health with participants from across Latin America and Africa.Read more
At the start of the weekend, we piled into the living room, introducing ourselves, looking over the schedule and reviewing the emergency procedures in the event of a fire or earthquake. “Of course, we will care for those who have fears of earthquakes, so do not worry,” a group leader assured the staff. Everybody nodded in solemn understanding. The atmosphere in the room became still and I could see their faces change just slightly. I reasoned that in that few seconds before shifting topics, each person could not help but recall a memory made on February 27, 2010.Read more
After the earthquake and tsunami of Feb. 27th, 2010, the members of the Pentecostal Church of Chile built “Blessing Cabins” to provide dry, warm, temporary, emergency housing for people whose homes were destroyed. One Blessing Cabin remained on the grounds of the central church in Curicó after all the others were shipped out; it provided emergency office space for the national church whose recently renovated building had to be torn down and then remained as a reminder of God’s provision in the midst of the devastation.Read more