These last two months have gone by too quickly. Time flies when you are having fun… And we have certainly enjoyed being with our Chilean brothers and sisters as we minister together in different ways. We will try to give you a glimpse of what has been going on in this update and will include pics on the yahoogroups site which you can also see when this journal is posted at www.internationalministries.org. These are some of our adventures in Chile in the months of September and October:
Instituto Teologico Bautista de la Mision Chilena
PAIRS—marriage communication skills course
Missions in Coronel, la Nonocha
Church Gathering Central District in Cerro Verde
Church Anniversary in San Carlos
Mission Chile 2007
World Mission Offering 2006
Our Instituto Teologico Bautista de la Mision Chilena students have continued with their reading assignments and papers. We were able to meet with six of them at various times.
- Please pray for these fine and beloved students, Nidia, Isaac, Isaias, Ramon, Lord, and Raul, who are doing their best to grasp the meaning of ministry as they search for their own spiritual growth and development while studying the Word of God; and then putting their studies into practice in the churches where they serve.
These students and their families are scattered all throughout Chile, some of them living three hours away and several of them serving in young congregations. Knowing that you support these students in prayer is a great encouragement to us.
- Please also pray for those studying with Lucila Alvarez and Julio Arriagada, with Susan Calliñir and Victor Aguilar, and with Patricia Cofre.
We are blessed to be a part of the formation of these that have been placed under our care and covet your prayers for wisdom as we seek to guide them.
While we were on our US/PR assignment year as Missionaries in Residence at our alma mater, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Theological Seminary), we participated in PAIRS, a marriage communication skills course, with Peter and Carol Schreck. This course was so beneficial to us that we are sharing it with our friends here in Chile. We taught an introductory workshop in Pua with the churches from El Carmen (Temuco) and Pua, and also in El Salitre (Temuco). We will return to Temuco/Pua to share this introductory workshop with those from Padre Las Casas (Temuco) The response to the first workshop was so enthusiastic that we have been asked to schedule a second workshop with those from El Carmen (Temuco) and Pua in November and later with El Salitre and Padre Las Casas (both in Temuco). Other churches are learning about it and also want us to come to them to share these workshops.
Our love for missions is shared by Iglesia Bautista Renacer in Coronel and we were with them one Sunday in September, during their month of missions. The kids from Sunday School had prepared posters and memorized key Bible verses. They also performed a "pie de cueca" (a national dance) as September is the month of Chile's Independence Day. This church is very dear to our hearts and some of you who have come to Chile have shared many blessings with them.
In October we returned to Coronel to celebrate Nonocha's 70th birthday! Nonocha is a woman of faith who has been a missionary for many years, particularly in, but not limited to Brasil. It was a joyous opportunity to celebrate her birthday and her faithful service to the Lord as she shares the Good News of salvation wherever she goes.
Earlier this month we found another opportunity to celebrate during the Central District Churches' Gathering in Cerro Verde. Over one hundred brothers and sisters from nine different churches arrived to worship together and to be challenged to go on to the next level of maturity. Mario Ramos, Mision Chilena's president, shared about the challenges of church growth and maturity. He presented a "diagnostic test" so that each church could measure its own level of maturity. We look to the future with faith for healthy, mature churches that are engaged in Christ-like ministries, churches who are seeking to better serve the communities that surround them.
One of those churches is Iglesia Bautista Nueva Esperanza de San Carlos that you have heard about in previous updates. We celebrated our sixth anniversary the day after the gathering and we had a blast celebrating the many ways in which God has surprised us. We give thanks to Him for the ways He has answered our prayers, and the ways He has touched others to provide resources which allow us to continue the construction of our facilities. We are nearing completion of the church and we continue to trust that God will take care of those last details. Our pastor, Rolando Saez, celebrated his first ordination anniversary and he continues to serve God in full-time ministry with his family.Each step of the way we have seen God's hand of love, care and guidance in his ministry. As we see this church, we see how God has been faithful to provide in all aspects for this congregation to serve as a lighthouse to this neighborhood, a safe refuge to people in need.
Inauguration cards are being prepared and sent for all to be with us in San Carlos on Sunday, January 7, 2007… The five sojourners of the Mission Chile 2007 team will be with us that Sunday! The team of five (NJ & IN) includes two members of our team, The A Family Team & Network, and three from our network (of which you are a part of, of course…), and one member of the Bolicks' team and four from their network. Did you get these maths? Through our updates you have gotten to know not only about us but also about our colleagues, Dwight & Barb Bolick; hence you also can become part of their network… You can get their newsletter by requesting your copy from their editor, Beckie Craft-Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org. The 2007 team will be able to have time with both families and share in each of our ministries. A rep from NY will also be with us, a young lady that is living in Chile this year. God always surprises us with the ways in which He helps us make connections with each other.
By the time you read and share this, most churches and individuals will have already collected and sent their World Mission Offering 2006. Even without knowing the numbers, we are already grateful to those churches and individuals who have given lovingly, abundantly, and even sacrificially toward it. If you have not done so yet, there is always time to send your love offering in whichever option you choose: ie. WMO 2006-general or WMO 2006-designated missionary family. We are also grateful for those who month after month after month give toward our living allowance through "targeted giving". Each time you give, you are enabling American Baptist Foreign Mission Society missionaries like us to continue serving in each of the places God has placed us. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to fulfill what God has placed in our hearts to do. By doing so, we are one in serving our God. Your prayers, love, and financial support make the difference to our families and to the families we are blessed to accompany and minister to and with.
Family matters, and that is why we are grateful for your continued prayers as we readjusted to Chilean weather, viruses, and bacterias… We believe we have completed our readjustment process (sigh of relief…) and have gotten our clean bill of health! Your prayers on our behalf made the difference in reaching out to the mercy and care of our Lord so we could continue serving Him and those around us. The kids continue to grow… Alberto and Carolina completed their homeschooling materials of fourth and first grade and are already working on their fifth and second grade materials. Daniela continues to be an active, upbeat, terrible-twoey toddler who elicits our grins and our frowns alike… We celebrated the Chilean Fiestas Patrias, their Independence Day, with our family in San Bernardo and had a blessed time together. We are grateful as we see how our children are growing, learning and experiencing.
These last two months we have prayed to Him for guidance, health, and wisdom (for our family and our ministry); we have given and seen others give time, talents, and treasure to His service; we have been amazed and surprised by God in more ways than can be described in an update… Thanks for being a part of our journey and for also sharing your own challenges and moments of joy through your emails and church or personal newsletters. We look ahead with hope, with faith, and with assurance of His promises and His care for each of us as we seek to serve Him obediently and faithfully.
Rejoicing and with gratitude,
Mayra for the Bonilla-Giovanetti family
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8