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.”

Black Friday

Black Friday for us was much different than it was for many people.  Thanksgiving evening was spent visiting with a Chilean Christian family.  They had asked us earlier in the day if they could come over and talk about some things that they wanted some counsel on.  The visit lasted until late in the evening, so Black Friday morning was spent sleeping in, instead of in a line waiting for some store to open.  Even Elisha, who generally wakes up around 7:00 AM, slept until after 11:00 AM.  That never happens!

A little after I had woken up, I received a call from a friend who was stuck down town with a car that wouldn’t start.  I went to go help them to pull their car to the mechanic.  I was so happy because this time my truck was at the front end of the rope, and not the back!  Needless to say, we have had to have our truck pulled several times since being here.

Soon after I returned home, Lily and I had to rush over to the dentist for her monthly tightening of her braces.  When she was finished we ran a few errands and then rushed home for dinner – leftover Thanksgiving dinner!

After dinner I had to hurry and finish printing the discipleship booklets that we needed for the classes that evening.  Josiah and I took Franco and his brother with us into town, and as we drove both Franco and I witnessed to his brother.  We had just finished presenting the Gospel and drawing the net as we arrived at our destination-the place in the road where I first met Franco.  We prayed right there in the truck.  After we finished, Franco was so happy that his brother, who he had been praying for and witnessing to over the phone, was now saved.

We dropped Franco and Ruben off, and continued to our first discipleship class.  It was sweet to see Eduardo (who has been saved for 2 months now) re-read the booklets with his wife, Maria, who only recently has gotten saved.  It is wonderful to see the Lord working in their lives.  After we finished there, we drove to a nearby neighborhood where our second meeting was.  Catalina and her son Diego have both recently gotten saved and have begun discipleship.  We finished there at 11:00 PM, and then headed to our last class.  Cristian and Marisa, who have also recently gotten saved, can only study late at night because of his work schedule.  We enjoyed the time studying, and then started for home.

On the way have, Josiah told me that he should always go with me because each time that we have gone out someone has been saved.  I think his wanting to go again also might be influenced by the 2 cups of yoghurt, 2 pieces of Christmas bread, the cup of juice, 3 toy cars, playtime with the kids in the homes we visit, and staying out until 1:00 in the morning with dad.  In any case, I was glad to have his help and company.

The Right Place at the Right Time

Friday night I had a discipleship class fall through.   It was now about 9:45 PM but I didn’t want to come home empty-handed, so I decided to go to the town center where I would be able to pass out tracts.

We have noticed that Arica seems to come to life when the sun goes down because there are always so many people just out and about.  This night was no different. There was some kind of festival that was just finishing up, so the center was loaded with people.   I was able to pass out quite I few tracts before I handed Eric one.

Eric caught my attention for several reasons:  he was alone, just sitting and not going anywhere, and still wearing his safety vest and hardhat.  Everybody else that I had given a tract to that night had no time to listen, but Eric had plenty of it.  He listened intently as I gave him the Gospel.   When I finished I asked him if he wanted to ask for this forgiveness.   He replied, “Obviously.”   We prayed right then in the middle of the downtown plaza.

When I asked for his information so I could follow up with him, he told me that he lives in Bolivia and only works in Chile during the week.   He only has a few minutes each Friday after work before his ride to Bolivia picks him up. I just happened to find him in the right place at the right time, and all because my plans for discipleship with another family fell through.  I guess the lesson here is to be flexible.

Discipleship Turned Soul-Winning

For the past few weeks Josiah has been wanting to go out soul-winning with me, and this Thursday I needed him to go with me because I was going to go and disciple a lady who I had led to the Lord a few weeks ago.  It wasn’t soul-winning, but he was excited just the same.

There were 3 families who had scheduled to have discipleship class this after noon, but 2 of them canceled.  The one who didn’t cancel however, turned out to be just what the Lord had planned for us.  Catalina, the lady who we were going to visit, was excited to see us, and was pleased to see Josiah again, who had brought his coloring book and markers for the time in the class.

We studied about Baptism, and the 3 things that makes someone’s baptism valid: 1 After Salvation, 2 by Submersion, and 3 Administered by a Biblical Church.  After I teach on this subject, I always tell people that it is not my job to tell them what to do, but rather to inform them of what the Bible says to do.  After the study I asked her if she felt like she had seen enough Bible to know what to do next.  She said that she felt very well informed.

Just as Josiah and I were getting ready to leave, her 18-year old son came in.  Catalina introduced us, and then I gave him a tract and asked him ‘The Question’.  He said that he hoped that he would go to heaven, because after all he wasn’t a bad person.  It was great witnessing to him with his mother right there because she was able to see how that everything that we had been talking about played into the conversation.  At the end, he decided to accept his forgiveness and prayed to get saved.  They both want to continue the lessons, and I believe that they will be getting baptized soon.  Please pray for that.

On the way home Josiah was super excited because all along he wanted to go soul-winning.  Turns out that he was able to see someone saved even though it wasn’t part of our plan.  Never pass up an opportunity to witness, you never know what God will do with it.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

3rd John 4 – “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  One of the greatest joys that a Christian can have is for one of his converts to show spiritual growth.  Wednesday I went out soul-winning with Franco – the man who recently got saved and baptized.  He recently helped me to check a new tract that I had designed for grammatical errors, and when I gave him a stack of the finished tracts he told me, “Leave this soul-winning thing to me.  I know how to get it done.”

Well, this Wednesday we had our chance to go out soul-winning for his first time ever.  In the truck on the way to the area that I have been working, he told me that he was really excited about it, but he wanted to see it done a few times before he was the ‘talking’ partner.  When he told me that, I explained to him the jobs of the ‘silent’ partner (pray, keep distractions away, smile, etc.).  He said that that sounded like the job for him for this trip.

When we got to the area, we walked to the first door, and then prayed that God would bless our efforts.  When we looked up, this lady walked up to us and said that “It is so good to see people out doing, well, whatever you guys are doing.”  I then asked her ‘The Question”, to which she replied that she was sure that she would go to heaven because she was a good person.  We tried to explain to her that her goodness was not what God was looking for, but she wouldn’t stop talking long enough for us to really explain it to her.  We left her with a tract, which she promised that she would read while we were out, and moved on.  I told Franco that this was his 1st lesson: Be careful for Time-Wasters, those who love to talk, but aren’t interested in what you have to say.

After knocking on a few doors, a lady finally answered who was very open to talk.  We got all the way through the Gospel, but right at the point where I was going to draw the net, her husband came out with her cell phone.  Apparently, someone who hardly ever talks to them just happened to call and needed to talk.  I told Franco that this was his 2nd lesson: Satan is against the soul-winner, and will pull any trick to get the listening sinner away from a Gospel conversation.

We talked to several other people, none of which had the time or desire to talk to us.  It was getting rather discouraging.  After a few more doors the sun had completely disappeared, and our time was up.  On the way back to the truck we passed by a small general market and stopped in for a coke.  Upon entering the store Franco gave the clerk one of his 2 last tracts while I got the cokes.  While paying, I asked the clerk ‘The Question’ to which he responded that he didn’t know if he would go to heaven.  I asked if he would like to know what the Bible says about how he could go to heaven.  He nodded and into the Gospel we went.

By this time Franco’s idea of being the silent partner was completely out the window.  He was so excited to participate in the conversation on all the points that he had heard me talk to the others about earlier that night.  When Nelson (the clerk) bowed his head in the sinner’s prayer, it was all that Franco could do to contain himself.  When he lifted his head, Franco shot his hand across the counter to shake Nelson’s hand and congratulated him.  As we were leaving I told Franco that this was his 3rd lesson: Never leave on a negative visit.

The whole way back home he was telling me what a great time he had and that we needed to go again and soon!  He had come up with some ideas about how we could make the whole process work smother and for the beginning of the conversation at the door to be more accepted.  I think this night I witnessed the birth of a soul-winner.  Please pray for him that he would continue his own spiritual growth, and that he would become the man that God has planned for him to be.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

English Class Salvations 01Yesterday I had the opportunity to follow up with a lead that Sandra started.  One day while she was out picking up a friend from the bus station, she had to stop and ask a police officer if she was in the right place to pick up her friend.  The kids must have caught his attention because he asked her what she believed – if she was Christian.  She replied that we are Christian missionaries from the USA.  He then asked if we taught English classes because his girlfriend was going to be traveling to the USA this year and that both of them needed to learn the language.  She told him that we do teach English, and at no cost.  She gave him our email and a tract and then went to pick up her friend.

Later that week he sent me an email asking if we were serious about teaching English classes, and if we could get together to start the class.  After a few emails back and forth, we finally settled on a day.

Yesterday Richard and Eliota came by the house for their first English lesson.  We sat down around our patio table and began to talk about their lives and then they asked about our lives as missionaries.  It was a perfect open door to present the Gospel.  After a few minutes of explaining to them the Biblical view of salvation by grace, and not by works, they both decided to ask Jesus for their forgiveness and got saved!

After about an hour of class, we decided that they would be coming back twice a week for classes, and hopefully will begin discipleship too.  The simple Gospel still works, but it needs to be shared.  I’m so glad that I have a wife who is not only willing to share me with anyone who needs to hear how to go to heaven, but also initiates the opportunities herself.