International Ministries

New Year's Greetings

January 11, 2017 Journal
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The Beautiful Truth 

This month's Girls' Clubs' lesson is on the virtue of hope. A fitting subject for this time of year don't you think? 

So how do you explain what hope means to young girls, many of whom live in situations that are hopeless? We started by making snow globes. Snow globes are fun even when you live in a country where Christmas comes in the middle of summer. There is something beautiful about looking into a peaceful world where light is shining in from all sides. 

And that is where we began talking about light shining in and bringing us hope. We talked about hope guiding us through the dark times. We talked about focusing on the light we see, never taking our eyes off of it and never stopping, never giving up, always moving toward the light. 

That is what hope means for us this year in the Girls' Clubs, finding the light and moving forward in spite of the darkness that seeks to surround us. 

I spent yesterday with my friend Ruth who is helping me with the editing of our Girls' Clubs' materials. We talked about the lesson on hope. Ruth is a doctor. So every abstract conversation always comes down to some scientific principle. That's how she makes sense of the world and I love to see it through her eyes. 

She talked about how one point of light no matter how small it is, overcomes a seemingly infinite darkness. She told me that in the deep, dark Chilean mines, when the electricity went out, no one could move until just one lantern was lit. Even though that lantern was only a small light, it diminished the darkness enough for all of the miners to orient themselves and follow those who were closest to the light. 

She reminded me that the definition of darkness is the absence of light. It is a scientific principle that darkness cannot diminish light, but any presence of light diminishes darkness. 

Wait, I think I've heard that somewhere before. "I am the light of the world, the light has come into the world and the darkness cannot consume it." 

In November light came as a special gift to us in the visit of our friends from the Rocky Mountain and Nebraska regions. Twelve new friends came to travel with us, see with us, and support us. For those days we heard one harmonized message from them all, "you are not alone." 

A special guest in the group was our friend Tomi Stock, a sheep rancher from Wyoming. Tomi is not a pen-light in a dark world. She is a full blown flood-light of love. 

She came to visit the yarn and weaving groups she has partnered with. But not stopping there, she decided to come and do five soap-making workshops to help our women develop products for local sale. 

Tomi took the time to come shine her light into the lives of our women. 

So during this Christmas -Epiphany - New Year season is the beautiful truth that we want to write on the hearts of our girls. Hop has come into the world in Jesus, God-with-us, the Son of God. Hope has come into the darkness and the darkness can never put it out.

No matter where we find ourselves this year, let's look to the light together, never despairing, reflecting it in our own lives. 

Invitation to a Photo Gallery 

Would you like to get a glimpse of the places where we live and move and have our being, and the people we love and serve? 

Below you will find a link to a gallery of photos that will give you an overview and perhaps a taste of the spirit of God's mission in Chile. 

In November, we hosted a group of ten American Baptist pastors from the Rocky Mountain and Nebraska Regions. We were delighted to have our Area Director, Adalia Gutierrez, accompany them, also. 

The Executive Ministers of those Regions, Steve Van Ostran and Robin Stoops, organized this Pastoral Mission Discovery trip with several goals in mind, ably expressed by Steve: 

I think it was a peak experience for all of us, mutually edifying, and fun!

We visited mission sites from Santiago to Panguipulli, covering over 500 miles, where we are directly or indirectly involved.

Our friend, Ernesto Alcayaga, who is the Dean of the Baptist Theological Institute, is a photographer and accompanied us on most of our travels.

He generously created an online gallery so we can share some of this experience with you.

Click on this link / or copy and paste it to your browser to view a gallery of photos from Chile: authkey=%21ADCEW2Kur- 0teNs&id=8918407964AECCCD%21215&cid=8918407964AECCCD

 "A great door for effective work has opened..." (I Cor. 16:9)

Thank you for your strong support, which along with your prayers, makes these good things possible.

Pray for open doors towards opportunities we cannot yet imagine, that will help us share Christ and see lives changed.

May God bless you, and equip you, also, with every good thing for doing His will, and may He complete in all of us what pleases him.