Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Plans to give you a hope and a future

(Missionaries from Viña del Mar, Concepción y Rancagua)

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:1-5

This weekend was an incredible time of hope for the disciples in Santiago, Chile as we enjoyed a reunion of all the disciples in Chile. We shared our homes, our hearts and God's word with our brothers and sisters from Rancagua, Viña del Mar and Concepción. This is a special week in Chile as the country celebrates its independence. Friday night we worshiped together and heard a great lesson about loving one another with a deep love. Most of the visiting disciples arrived on Saturday and we learned about the great faith we can have in God from Cristian Escobar. An encouraging time of fellowship was enjoyed by all. We also had a focused time of praise and worship to God where we sang almost every song arm in arm with one another.

Sunday was an amazing service followed by a family lunch and an Independence Day party. The church stayed late in the afternoon to fellowship, eat together and dance the Cueca. The focus of the service was Romans 5 and the hope that we have in Christ. I was privileged to speak for communion about the hope we have through the incredible sacrifice of Jesus. Christian Amestoy preached a lesson from Romans 5 that challenged us to stand firm in the hope that we have. In all that we have been through in the church here recently, we are confident that suffering will produce perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

We saw an incredible victory also, having Delia restored in her walk with God. She shared with the church in tears of gratitude for God's mercy in her life. During the service we had a special video with good news from different parts of the world and also pictures of the many souls God has brought to himself in Chile. It is incredible to look at the miracles that God is doing in our lives and in the lives of those around the world. Before the communion, we sang "Amazing Grace" in Spanish, in French and in English. The words of the song profoundly impacted the church as we meditated on the grace that God has given us in saving our souls. With this hope, we can walk in confidence that it "was grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."

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