Vision was so super kind to Betty and me Sunday afternoon. They had a very special Pastor Appreciation service. I had no idea. They just took over the service after the men prayed.

It blew my mind to have our children and their families come and be with us. Stephanie and David Young with their nine children. Chris and Andria Gardner with their four children. Of course Joy and Jimmy Soncco, who we serve Vision with, were there with their four children. David and Katie couldn’t be there due to serving in Peru but they sent a video.

Chris Gardner preached a wonderful message. I was very blessed with the message and all the kind words from the sweetest people ever.

The church was super kind. I have no words to say thank you. It was the biggest surprise and greatest appreciation service I have ever experienced.

Special thank you to Hannah Shreve who instigated the special evening for us.

Protests, Riots, and Chaos

The New York Times is reporting that at least eight people have been killed in Chile during these riots. Please pray for our missionaries serving there and all God’s people who are suffering through these riots.

Vision Baptist Church supports the following missionaries that live and serve in Chile. Jason Holt, Daniel Sparks, Jamie Smithey, Jason Kenney, Tracy Paver (deputation), and Stephen Carrier (deputation). Please pray for them.

Jason Holt reports

Earlier this week, protests over an increase in public transportation fairs quickly turned violent. The growing social unrest surrounding increasing prices on various fronts soon took center stage. As a minority of the protesters turned to violence and vandalism, the authorities countered with force leaving some wounded and others dead. This sparked further riots which have now spread all over Chile. Mass looting and violence led the president to unleash the military on the streets of the capital to regain control.  Amid all the fear and danger, we are reminded that there is hope, and His name is Jesus! 

Daniel Sparks reports

Over the past three days, we have seen and heard about a lot of heartache across our city and other parts of Chile. Despite all the chaos, the Lord allowed our team of churches to hold normal Sunday morning services across the country. At our church, only about half of our people were able to make it due to the civil unrest in their neighborhoods. At the end of our service, I had a young man let me know that the Lord has been working in his life and he surrendered to be in the ministry and follow the Lord’s leading in his life. We are very excited about how God continues to work among us even during this difficult time. We will continue to trust Him and make much of the name of Jesus. 

Please continue to pray for the people and leadership of Chile. Also, pray for the lawbreakers (mostly young people) to stop the violence, quit stealing, turn to Christ, and be saved. Now is a great time for people to be receptive to the gospel. We will be going out to evangelize heavily this week. Over a hundred grocery stores have been looted and many have been burned, as well as many other retailers, banks, pharmacies, and homes. Subway stations, trains, buses, and cars have also been burned. At least 10 people have lost their lives. The main reason for the original protests was due to a recent increase in the price of public transportation. There are also other frustrations concerning increasing costs of utilities, the price and quality of education, among many others. Below is a pic of a Lider (our Walmart) that was looted and burned just a mile away from our church. 

Jamie Smithey reports

We want to give you a quick update regarding the current crisis that we are experiencing in Santiago and other areas around Chile. 

First of all, we want you to know that we are safe and as far as we know the families in our churches are as well. We did have some members that were in very dangerous situations when the riots began on Friday, but thank the Lord they all made it home safe. 

The situation is more complicated than what can be explained in an email or facebook post. Therefore, we simply want to ask you to pray for all involved and that the Lord will help order to be restored as quickly as possible. 

Today our church met together and held services trusting in the Lord to protect us and to allow us to meet without incident. We are happy to report that in the midst of all that is going on we had a good attendance and a wonderful service.

We prayed together, sung together, and listened to the teaching and preaching of God’s word. We thank the Lord for his comfort and encouragement throughout the service and for his word that teaches us how to respond in times like these. 

On our way to church we saw first hand much of the destruction that has taken place during the riots and looting. We passed over several barricades on the roads and interstates that had been set on fire to block traffic. Most had burned through the night and one was still in flames as we passed by it today. 

We are currently in a state of emergency and under a mandatory curfew. Many of our dearest friends and people we consider family live in places where many of the riots are occurring and they are very anxious as you can imagine. However, they are trusting in the Lord. 

Also, I am beyond proud of the Pastors of the churches here.I was stirred by the courage and determination to hold services despite the consequences. They realized the importance to meet with our people and encourage them in the Lord and explain to them from the Bible how Christians should respond in times like these.  

Juan Carlos, who is working with me contacted me last night to let me know that even if I was not able to make it today because of the road blocks, safety of our family, or whatever reason he still wanted to hold a service to pray with and encourage our church family. I can’t explained to you how encouraged I was and by his desire to honor the Lord and lead in this way. 

Again, please just pray for order to be restored. Even as I am writing this I am watching the news where there are conflicts between rioters and the military taking place. We will try to keep you informed and updated as much as possible. 

As always thank you for your prayers and support. There is much work to be done. We pray that the Lord will use what is taking place to bring people to himself. 

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