“What? Seven months since my last post?” Actually the reality is, I have some 10 or 12 posts in my head that just have not seen the light of day. One of them stole some of my sleep last night!
“No good there! We have to see it in writing or we can’t get the benefit of it” you reply.
“I agree! So I am dusting off the keyboard once again. Let me do a “Captain’s Log” style post this time. Then I will begin to treat the issues and questions that relate to my theme: missionary life and ministry. ”
“So tell me, what has been happening since July?”
“I am glad you asked!”
Starting from the most recent and working backwards…
February saw the making of history in our ABWE family! The Spanish speaking missionaries of our South American countries gathered in Lima Peru for a 5 day “Regional Partnering Conference (RPC). Every day was packed with times of interaction, worship and study. An old friend and former intern from Calvary Baptist Church School of Church Ministries in Grand Rapids, Gil Thomas (also former missionary in Portugal with ABWE and now director the Good Soil ministry of ABWE), guided us through an enjoyable and dynamic training session called “Moving Beyond Lecture.” Highly recommendable! And our sincere thanks to all our ABWE family and leadership that made the RPC possible! But especially we thank our supporters who give so lovingly and faithfully. They are the real reason we could go to the RPC. THANK YOU, supporters!
January was also a history-making month. After years of prep and planning, the Editorial Crece (TM) (Grow Publishers in English) organized and hosted its first ever “Creative writing Seminar!” Held in Santiago at the New Life Baptist Church, and attended by a fervent and passionate group of seven people, the seminar was the first ever hosted in Chile by a national Christian publishers. Those who attended began to break down the barriers of fear and nervousness about knowing what and how to write well enough to be published.
As December rolled around the year 2015 ended with a splash! Our Church ministries at New Life concluded with yet another “first time event.” The Adult Bible Fellowship organized a Missions Fair. The purpose of the fair was to give “feet, hands and wings” to the priority of local church global missions involvement. From the work done to prepare and present the fair to the Church family four important goals were identified, each of which serves to mobilize people. Two of them have been met: our own missionaries in Mexico, Marcelo and Vicki Ramirez received financial help to come back to Chile for their 2 month home ministry stay. Also another national missionary serving Chile’s islands, Marcelo and Julia Henriquez, received a generous 50 pounds of staple food items for their family, and a brand new chain saw to cut their own firewood.
In November…and here we could certainly e-x-p-a-n-d on the events…it was our family’s privilege to welcome Joel and Sarah Rogers along with their little 1.5 year old, Anne, to spend almost 3 weeks with over Thanksgiving! We enjoyed being grand parents to Anne, since Joel and Sarah took 5 days to travel to the south of Chile. We also reveled in fun times of watching Anne plan in our home. Joel and Sarah live in Raleigh, NC where they both work. This was their first time to travel to Chile with their daughter. Maybe the next time they come, they will have their second child! Sarah is expecting in June.
October was a month to travel, both for Ruth Ann and me. The annual trip required for Dave to meet with all the field team leaders of Spanish South America was held in Orlando, Florida. But, don’t draw any premature conclusions…we didn’t even see the world famous Disney world. The week there was dedicated to networking with other Spanish speaking fields. We met both husbands and wives, and we invested the majority of the time planning on shared goals and objectives.
Family needs are important solve too. So the trip to the USA in October allowed me to spend a week with Melissa, who lives in Fredrick, MD. God put me there just at the crucial time to be able to assist her in getting our family’s vehicle repaired. That very week the car’s fuel pump began losing fuel all over the ground my third day there. But previous to that, we already knew there were other major repairs that had to be covered. So, the last three days with her were spent repairing the car. Mely was grateful she did not have to work that out by herself!
In the month of September Chile celebrates her independence as a nation. The weekend of Sept. 18 and 19 are traditionally absorbed by cookouts, flying kites, visiting the city’s large parks and of course, remembering God’s graciousness in making a Chile a democratic and free nation.
This year we celebrated it as a church by obtaining permission to close the street in front of the Church building. This is a whole-church evangelistic outreach event! The Lord blessed us with about 200 people participating. The Gospel was preached at the mid way point through the program of games, folklore music and skits.
And, unlike any year previously, we had some uncommonly good help! Brenda and Gordon McComb and their 2 year old son Alex came to work and serve with! Having brought along a couple of friends from their church, the Fairview Baptist Church in Statesville, NC, the work was lighter and the fellowship sweeter! Brenda, our oldest daughter, and her husband, Gordon have been serving at Fairview Baptist for almost 2 years, where Gordon is the pastor of music and worship.
Finally the month of August. What happened in August!? Well, I should let Ruth Ann tell you, but let’s just put it this way…she reached an exciting highlight in her life as she celebrated her ??? birthday! With a little “Scottish” flavor, friends from Church and our mission team, made the evening a memorable event for her.
And here we are in February 2016! However, the issues and the trends of the United States continue to impact the work of missions world wide. Just one blip on the radar, but clearly an important matter: the Southern Baptist Convention’s “International Missions Board” (IMB) has “recalled” a significant number of missionaries that are between and 10 and 12 years from retirement. The reason? The IMB is facing critical financial pressures caused by the loss income for the Board.
Here in Chile, three families were faced with a tough decision to either leave their field of ministry and return to the USA to receive an early retirement package. Or, stay on the field and find employment! The large IMB employs over 4,500 foreign missionaries. But, due to the shortfall of over $210 million dollars in 2014 and 2015, the IMB has dismissed about 800 missionaries. Chile was one country touched in that difficult and urgent step.
I will share more about trends and concerns in the missions scene in my next blog! Thanks for going along for the ride on this compact 7 month summary! I would really love to know what you think about my blog, so if you have thoughts or questions, please submit them below.
Grateful for Grace,
David L. Rogers, M.A.Min.