On Mission . . . in Chile

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Chile is a Spanish-speaking country in South America. It is 4,329 km (2,690 miles) from north to south, which crowns it the longest country in the world. In addition, the narrowest part of the country measures only 90 km (56 miles) in width, making it the narrowest country in the world. In terms of religion, the majority of the population claims to be materialistic and agnostic.

Testimony and history

With digital development in its early years, in a world different from today, we who keep the Sabbath and practice the principle of Sola Scriptura felt alone and isolated for twelve years. Consequently, a strong spiritual depression fell over us and completely overwhelmed us. Feeling powerless, one Sabbath we kneeled and prayed to the Lord with tears in our eyes and a lump in our throat. Five of us brethren agreed to pray, all of us asking our God the same question: “Where are those who believe as we do?” We give glory to God because in less than 48 hours from that moment, we were in contact with the International Ministerial Congress (IMC) family. We are members of the IMC today.

A web connection was established with the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Italy. Without a doubt, this was a starting point of communion and brotherhood that led us to study and correct erroneous points in doctrine, such as the Trinity and the celebration of Christmas. Because of this meeting, the need to request membership to IMC was established eight years ago.

The Sabbath following our fervent prayer, we cried again, but this time with joy. We had found a family united by the blood of Christ.

Evangelism in Chile and Bolivia

By the grace of God, we currently have small but active congregations throughout Chile. Furthermore, God has allowed us to begin work in our neighboring country, Bolivia.

Once we became members of the International Ministerial Congress, we planned alongside the representative for Zone 3, Jorge Gillig, to take the gospel to Bolivia. We were focused on the administrative capital of that country, the city called La Paz.

During this time, one of our sisters (now deceased) found herself selling products on the beach during the summer and distributing tracts about the good news of salvation. She met a woman of Bolivian nationality who was worried and in great distress. Our sister did not hesitate to extend to her a cordial invitation to the prayer service.

This woman’s worry was profound. Her little grandson, Miguel, who was only five years old, was undergoing a harsh cancer treatment. The disease had already cost him his right eye, on top of receiving a terrible diagnosis: The tumor was still growing and urgently needed to be removed. However, this meant that the little boy would probably lose his left eye. If they didn’t remove the tumor, an important part of his brain would be damaged. At best, this woman’s little grandson would be brain dead and in a vegetative state.

Soon, the congregation sent me to Bolivia to find this little boy and anoint him. In the name of our Lord, by land we traveled the 1,159 km (720 miles) that separate us from Santa Cruz, the city in Bolivia where little Miguel lives. Finally, we managed to find the boy. After a grand greeting, we proceeded with the anointing, according to biblical instruction. By faith, we never gave up, and we continued praying in the church so that the power of Christ would manifest itself in Miguelito and in his terrible cancer.

Treatment went ahead with the removal process, and the little boy was referred to Argentina to undergo surgery. The Church in Argentina took the best care of Miguel and his mother. When it was time for the surgery, the attending doctor told his mother and some church brethren to be patient as they waited for news in the waiting room.

At one point, Miguel’s mother heard her name being called to a specific place where the medical staff was. To her amazement, they asked her, “Why did you bring this child?” Trembling and choked up, she responded, “Because of the cancerous tumor that keeps growing.”

Nobody was expecting this response from the doctors: “There is no active cancerous tumor. Everything is fine. Take your little boy home.”

The power of Jesus had been manifest! All glory to God, the Church of God (Seventh Day) was established in Bolivia. Much to our surprise, it happened in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the land of our little brother, Miguel — not in La Paz, as we had predicted.

Proposals and improvements

In Chile, we feel pain for every human being who has passed away from, or has been impoverished by, this pandemic, but they are living under this biblical conviction: “They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them” (Psalm 112:7). We feel that we have to enjoy this new way of doing things, and we have decided to start a digital evangelistic rebirth that will reach the entire country. Also, we are making practical adjustments in order to establish family groups throughout Chile.

Our most important goal is to spread the good news that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day. From there, we want to connect the converts to assemble in groups united in doctrine and mission.

Being a small mission, our resources are extremely limited. The support of Cristo Viene has been vital in establishing ourselves throughout the territory and in supporting the recently formed Bolivian congregation.

Working for the gospel in a country full of materialists and agnostics is complicated, exhausting, and challenging. But we are happy to know that the Lord has been with us. For this, we love to proclaim, “The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted!” (18:46).

The Lord lives!

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Pastor Enrique Vega Rojas lives in Iquique, Chile, with his wife of 26 years, Alejandra de las Mu–ecas Ardiles. They have three children. Scripture quotations are from the New Living Translation.