4th Service and 3 Saved

Today we had our 4th church service.  Each week so far we have had some remarkable things happen.  This time was no exception.  Friday evening Franco’s wife (Sandra) was able to come to Arica because it was a holiday weekend in Bolivia, and is staying until Monday morning.  This was great because she was able to come to church today with her family.

Normally, I try to witness to people before they come to a church service, but with Sandra we had not had the chance to so far.  The message was about the benefits of belonging to a biblical church, and several points of the message touched on different aspects of salvation.  Not only was it good for Sandra to hear, but also for the others who have only recently been saved themselves.

By the time the message was over, the message of salvation had been throughly explained.  In the invitation I asked if there was anyone who had not yet made a decision to become an active part of a biblical church but wanted to make a decision to do so, and several people raised their hands.  The second question was that if anyone was not totally sure that they would go to heaven when they died.  At this point Sandra, along with 2 other people (1 a new visitor), all raised their hands.  After the invitation and a brief Q&A time, they all came to talk to me about how they could be saved.  We sat down and explained the plan of free forgiveness using the Wordless Book, and all 3 got saved!

Sandra, the kids, and I were very excited about all that had happened, but not nearly as excited as Franco was.  Finally, all of his family was saved.  What a blessing that we get to be here in Chile leading whole families to Christ.  Thank you for all your prayers, and for the many of you who help us to be able to stay on the field.

Salvation with Dinner on the Side

There are people who are ‘keys’ to winning others to Christ.  The woman at the well was one of these keys – she brought her city to meet Jesus.  It seems that we have also found a key in our area – Franco.  Ever since he got saved, he has been continuing with the discipleship course, has been out soulwinning with me, and tries his best to arrange opportunities for me to witness to others.

Yesterday some of his family members came to Arica to visit him: his daughter, younger son, a few nieces, a nephew, and a friend.  Because Franco doesn’t have a kitchen in his apartment, we offered to cook for his visitors.  We had hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill!  After everything was done cooking, we all sat around the table and began eating.  About half-way through the meal, Franco began telling his story to them of how he got saved.  He finished by saying, “And now Pastor will tell you how you can be saved, too.”  It was so sudden that I had to wait a few seconds to finish the bite of hot dog that I had just taken, but after a few seconds, I asked them ‘The Question’.

All of them replied that they were not sure that they would go to heaven.  I explained to them the idea of free forgiveness and they were all very happy to accept it.  We prayed right there sitting at the dinner table.  It is amazing how ‘key’ Franco has been in seeing many of his family members saved.  In addition to these that I just mentioned, he has helped with the salvation of his older son, 3 of his son’s friends, his brother, his sister-in-law, and several others that we have meet in town.  All that remains of his family to be saved is his wife.  She will hopefully be coming to visit in a few days.  Please be in prayer for her that God will prepare her heart to receive the message of the Gospel also.

Church Member Now Saved

A few months ago we were introduced to Karina.  She had been attending a church in Tacna, PERU, but livid in Arica, CHILE.  She was so excited that we were going to be starting a church in Arica!  She told us to let her know when we started so that she could attend.  True to her word, she came to the Christmas service a few weeks ago.  She also sand that she was interested in the discipleship course that we offer.

This last Wednesday we were finally able to line up the time and day and Josiah and I went to study step #1 – Salvation.  Her sister, who has been a member of the church in Tacna, PERU, for 7 years, was visiting this day and was also excited to attend the class.  We studied several aspects about salvation: what it is called, how you get it, and how long it lasts.

After finishing the study, I asked her to tell me about the time when she got saved.  She answered that she has “received the Lord” about 2 years ago in a church in central Chile.  That phrase caught my attention because it is generally what the evangelical churches use to describe the time that they dedicate themselves to obeying the Bible.  Right then we put the conversation in reverse and I asked her ‘The Question’ to which she replied that she wasn’t sure if she would go to heaven.  Right down the Roman’s Road we went and she accepted the free forgiveness that Jesus offers.  At some point in the presentation of the Gospel, she told me that she had never understood that our forgiveness is completely free and without strings attached.  She had always thought that one had to somehow do something to earn his forgiveness.  This little book has helped me to understand that the only thing that I can do to get saved is accept what Jesus has already done for me.  Thank you, she said, for taking the time to come and study with me.  I’ll see you Sunday!

A Trip to the Hospital

The other day we were finishing up some work when our neighbor, Amari, walked up to our front door holding bloody hands.  She had been washing a glass cup that was chipped on the brim and had sliced the area between her thumb and index finger.  She was quite scared because she had no idea what to do.  Sandra got me some paper towels and I put them on the cut and then applied pressure.  After holding it there for about a minute, I had her to continue while we got what we needed together to run to the hospital. Amari, Franco, Sergio (Franco’s son), and I got into the truck and zoomed to the hospital.

I dropped them all off at the front entrance and then circled back around to find a place to park.  There is no parking provided at the hospital, and it is located in one of the busiest areas in town, making parking a very difficult situation.  Finally, I found a spot, parked the truck, and then headed over to the hospital to join with the others.  They had registered her with the front counter and were now waiting for her to be called.  She was still holding the same bloodied paper towels.

After about a half-hour of waiting, I asked the front desk (who was just a lady with a notebook sitting behind a folding table) how much longer she had to wait.  She told me that there were people who had been waiting since 11:00 that morning, and it was now about 5:00 in the afternoon!  Turns out that she had forgotten to write her name in the book, so now everyone that had come in during the half-hour was now ahead of us in line.  After a bit of convincing, she wrote her name on a separate piece of scrap paper and then disappeared behind the doors.  About 5 minutes later, Amari was called.

They took her and 3 others to one of the side rooms to collect financial and personal information, and traded her paper towels with a formal bandage, but still didn’t begin the treatment of cleaning and stitches.  They then sent her back out to wait until her name was called again.

We all went outside so we could wait in the fresh air.  Franco and Sergio excused themselves so they could go buy something to eat, leaving me with an opportunity to ask Amari ‘The Question’.  She responded that she probably wouldn’t be going to heaven.  She already believed in God and the Bible, but was knew that she was not living in accordance to what the Bible teaches.  The funny thing is that she is the type of person that would probably not give us the time of day if she were not in the exact situation that she was currently in.  After explaining how free forgiveness works, I asked her if she wanted to receive it.  The enthusiastically replied, ‘Yes!’

We still had a few hours of waiting ahead, but at least now we could see the reason that all this happened.  Franco told me that he had noticed that many of the people that we were seeing saved, including himself, had to pass through a difficulty so that they would be open to hearing the Gospel.  “I wish that all that had to happen to me was a trip to the hospital.  I would rather have received 1,000 cuts like Amari did rather than go through what I had to.  However, I’m glad that God saved me.”