Sunday, January 13, 2008

Holidays in Santiago

This year we celebrated a very special holiday time with our family. Even though they live thousands of miles away, they made the trip down to Santiago just to spend time with us. It was a blast! Thomas & Tina with their daughter Leila came from Ft. Lauderdale, Rita Hoyt came from Orlando and Dan & Mary came all the way from Kabul, Afghanistan.

We spent a fun-filled week showing them around Santiago and giving them a taste of our life here in Chile. To start off, on Sunday, they spoke at the church here. Thomas met with the Chemical Recovery ministry before service and encouraged that group with a few lessons from his life. Dan and Mary shared about their work in Afghanistan and then Dan preached a great sermon about staying firm in our convictions until the end. After service, Dan, Mary and Rita had a lunch with parents of teens while Tina and Kay gave a class for the Campus sisters. God really used the family to encourage, inspire and call the church higher.

On Monday we spent time together, toured the city and then celebrated Kay's birthday with some ice cream from Bravissimo.

Tuesday we climbed Cerro San Cristóbal and had a picnic. Tuesday evening we celebrated Christmas and shared gifts from all around the world.

On Wednesday we had a special Chilean lunch, Pastel de Choclo, spent time with Christian and Luz who lead the church here and then went to midweek. Thomas shared a few thoughts with the campus and teens while Dan and Mary did split classes for the married men and women.

Thursday we went to Viña del Mar and the family was able to see the Pacific Ocean. We celebrated Leila's one year birthday by taking her to a clinic to see if she had an ear infection.

Friday brought the week to a close with a lunch at Jorge Ivan & Maria Lucia's house. They have become great friends of ours and housed my mom for a week.

Sending the family off at the airport was difficult, but we had savored every moment and enjoyed a holiday time that we will never forget. Thanks to our family for coming to visit us, participating in our lives and giving us the best Christmas present ever: you!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

To our brothers and sisters in Florida

We want to wish you all a Happy New Year from Santiago, Chile. First we wanted to thank each and every one of you for every prayer that you have prayed for us and for the churches here in Chile. Thank you for the emails and calls and cards we have received since we moved here. Thank you for sacrificing financially for missions, not only for Chile, but for all of South America. There is an indescribable amount of spiritual need and we are so grateful that you are sacrificing to meet these needs.

Although the church here in Santiago has met its share of challenges this year, we are watching God transform us and we have seen many victories in the past few months. We have been encouraged to watch a teen and three campus students be baptized. The church has had some incredible victories through our chemical recovery ministry and we have seen 5 people graduate in the recent months. One family in the church was able to adopt a baby boy and we had our first wedding in our small mission church, Viña del Mar. We want to ask for your prayers for the church in Concepción because the couple that was leading the group there is now leading here in Santiago. Please pray that God will strengthen the brothers and sisters there. We personally have been growing in God's grace and watching him work in our lives here. We are speaking Spanish now relatively fluently and learning to serve God and his church in South America. You can also pray for a woman that Kay has been able to reach out to named Laura. She has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and is eager to learn about God's word.

We want to you to know that we are constantly inspired by your faith and by the miracles that God is doing with each of you. You can be sure that although we are thousands of miles away, your faith is having a mighty impact.

And finally,

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

With all of our love,

John, Kay and Maya Hoyt