Now starting the third month of quarantine here in Santiago, Chile, life has taken a very unexpected turn! I have listened to all my old CDs, and found some very cool stuff! I have read all of my library…well, not yet! But I am making some progress. I have figured out how to use a Roku, which I erroneously thought was more for travel or being away from home. And I have called through my list of all the men from our Church that I am responsible for. I have been busy at home.
Now what do I do?
When the virus first hit the news here in Santiago, some time late in December 2019, we were all thinking, “well just another Chinese export!” But the story soon hit close to home. The risks, the rapid spread, the uncertainty, the scare factor and the prognosis on CNN were a bit more than we had bargained for. A new strain of virus called the Coronavirus was rewriting our schedule, and our priorities!
Since we live in a large city, somewhere around 7.2 or 7.8 million people, the problem of highly contagious diseases spreading is very real here. Just think: our home in an eastern section of Santiago is surrounded by thousands of homes. The outside wall of our house is not more than 15 feet from our neighbors on both sides. Not what you would call an important distance!
But now it became necessary to take every possible precaution, just as many around the world are. Some of those include shedding shoes, clothes and taking an immediate shower when arriving home. Wearing a mask, covering hands, and living with disinfectant gel everywhere. And worst of all, we cannot hug our brethren or friends. To the North American mentality that is not a big deal. But to a Latin American mindset, that is really a sacrifice!
Other important sacrifices have been placed on us: no classes, services or gatherings over 10 people. That means that the physical meetings of the New Life Baptist Church have all been suspended. No classes for school at the Santiago Christian Academy, either. Nor can we travel to our normal places of work, training or ministry.
Since March 16 we have been restricted in many ways. And since that same day God has burst open the doors of electronic and digital ministry! Our pastors, now four of them at New Life Baptist, all are online 3 or 4 times a week. The ladies, men, teens and even children, have a method of virtual meetings. Our children’s ministry teachers have even ramped up their production of weekly classes on Facebook. The church has gone viral! Cool, right?
Maybe. What about prayer that is Holy Spirit guided where He moves the body of Christ and directs those present to carry out His will? When does the body of Christ serve one another? How do we exercise our spiritual gifts unless we can “digitize” teaching, showing mercy, evangelizing, prayer, preaching…? We need to adapt, and thousands of pastors and churches have indeed done so. But the body of Christ is not “invisible,” it is visible. And to that aim we are looking for ways to “be together” in visible, personal and corporate ways here in Chile. Not really a fast thing to accomplish.
While we adapt, we also understand that the Gospel is not trapped behind closed doors or behind sanitary masks. So through some attempts to be innovative, we are spreading the Word of God on YouTube, on Facebook, via LinkedIn and right here, in a blog in Spanish (feel free to visit the blog called “Defensores de la Verdad” or Defenders of the Truth). Preaching and working, without stepping beyond the front door of our home has never been more modern!
Thank you for praying with us, for praying for us and for keeping the Chinese in your prayers…the coronavirus that is, that came from China! Also thank you for praying for the hundreds of nations and millions of people who may have finally realized that they cannot run from their mortality!
Serving the Savior,
David Rogers and Family