Monday, June 25, 2012

Paradigm Shift

Back in 2010 we decided to work in four of the six areas of Santiago with concentrations of college students. We wanted to see students take ownership of reaching every student in Santiago. There are over 500,000 students in higher education in the city. We chose four of the six areas to work in because we had students in two and missionary staff to start ministries in two more. It did not seem prudent to do more. Our heart was to trust God to give every student the opportunity to know Jesus. At the start of the second semester a guy contacted us from a university with campuses in the other two areas of town. We met and two weeks later we were sitting down with 6 students to see what God might do through a student ministry at the Univ. Santa Maria (USM). A month later we shared with a group of 12 classmates of one of the students and began a small group that met for several weeks to learn more about the gospel and a relationship with God. One of those students started a relationship with God and is passionate about sharing with others today. While Lisset and I were gone, for a whole year, a short term missionary, Bridgette from North Carolina, along with Nele from Germany and Patricio, one of our Chilean missionaries continued to go to the university. During May of this year (2012) I returned to the USM. Two students are leading a group there with about 10 students involved. We had the honor of presenting a certificate of recognition to the members of the group who had completed a study series covering the basic aspects of the Christian life. Last week we started a series of trainings to prepare students to share the gospel more effectively. The challenge before this group is a need for a change in paradigm. The paradigm of participation in Christian activities will have to be given up and in its place a paradigm of mission (making disciples of Jesus) needs to grow. If these 10 to 15 students are content to participate in a group, it is unlikely that each of the 13,000 students at USM will have the opportunity to hear a clear presentation of the gospel during their years at the university. This morning I read Acts 10, where we find God’s grace at work, bringing Peter to a radical paradigm shift (10:34). As a result the church at that time had to figure out a bunch of things. In Acts 15 we see the church sorting out the problems that this paradigm shift created. The thing about a paradigm shift is that it affects the community but it can divide the community unless each person is able to perceive it. Please pray for the community of students at USM. Ask God to help the team and each member to grasp the mission He has put before them.

Friday, September 23, 2011

“At 20 years of age, I began to really live....

“At 20 years of age, I began to really live my life and be able to enjoy it. It all began last year when my life began to lack purpose, direction and self-acceptance. I began my university studies thinking I had achieved something great, but with my life being so empty, I quickly lost motivation to work hard. I was a self-centered person and very cold on occasion. One day I met a classmate during a workshop, and we became friends. She invited me to a Vida Estudiantil (Campus Crusade for Christ in Chile) event, and I went without hesitation. Time passed and I began to realize that I lacked something. I was not happy and, for some reason, I did not have a good relationship with my parents. Time passed, and I unintentionally became more involved in the ministry. The joy that the students from the ministry seemed to share impacted me greatly, and this year I asked God with all my heart to pardon my actions and enter into my life. I asked that He would give me the opportunity to be a good person, to love my parents, and love myself. Soon I realized that my life changed, and now I can share with other people that the love of God is infinite.”
-Macarena Llanquinao, Student of Medical Technology A few months earlier another story was just developing. 11:30pm Skype conversation: “What have you been thinking about what we discussed the other day?” Lisset asked Anna Maria. Anna- “Well, I agree!” Lisset- “You agree with what?” Anna- “I agree that I need to accept Jesus in order to receive forgiveness for sin and have a relationship with God.” Anna’s newfound joy in Christ soon overflowed into Maca’s life.

Grandma Finds Something New

Family News
It is with great joy that we share with you the news that Lisset’s grandmother, Matilde, has placed her faith in Jesus Christ! This has been a prayer and hearts desire of mine for years. She has pulmonary fibrosis. When she got bronchitis last July she was hospitalized. And there in the hospital my dad and mom shared with her and she asked Jesus to be her Lord and Savior. Pray with us now that she grows to maturity in Christ. Lisset

Preparing Missionaries for Serving/Living Overseas

“Instead of just looking through the window, come inside.” “Dive into the water, don’t just look down into the depths from the boat.” These were just a few word pictures that helped us begin to grasp the difference between transparency (to see)and vulnerability (to join). In our coaching groups at X-track we were invited to let others really take part in our stories, vulnerability. We found that God showed up as we engaged each others stories with all the mess and the glory. The gospel took deeper root in our lives as we processed our life experiences in it’s light. This summer’s training for cross-cultural missionaries, X-track, was one of the best things I have been a part of during my 12 years on staff. The heart of the missionary being transformed by the gospel was the clear emphasis. And it was also the experience of the participants. There was also good content to put in our heads that will help us do well in life and ministry abroad. We acquired language learning skills, advice for raising children in a culture different from that of his/her parents, and input about making study of the Word and spiritual disciplines a constant area of growth. I was amazed by what God did as we were vulnerable with each other and asked the Holy Spirit to help us see our true self. This exposed both how we were uniquely formed for His glory (very encouraging) and ways each of us were needing the gospel to continue transforming our hearts (leading us to repentance). The experience of grace and truth in spiritual community impacted our lives in a profound way. For me it was humbling and exciting to be used by God to prepare these men to thrive as they leave for their respective assignments in the next few weeks. George

May: New Staff Training

“With God there are no transitions, just preparation...” At the end of last November, before leaving Chile for what will be most of 2011, we attended a weekend marriage retreat with our church in Santiago. One afternoon during a time of prayer the pastor and his wife prayed for us and encouraged us with those words. The first week of May we attended new staff training. It was great to be part of a diverse group, most of whom where professionals who left their jobs, following God’s call to join staff. They will be ministering to families in FamilyLife, soldiers in the Military Ministry, grade school teachers with International School Project and athletes with Athletes in Action. Lisset officially became a missionary with Campus Crusade for Christ at this training. With this new job comes the responsibility of financing our employment as a family in missions. Right after new staff training George went to Bogota Colombia for a week long leadership retreat with leaders representing the campus ministry in 18 countries in Latin America. Next month we will attend the International Campus Staff training called X-Track, which prepares missionaries to establish life and ministry in another country long-term. George will work as a coach at X-track. We are thankful for God’s call to serve and grateful for this time to prepare for the coming years serving Him in Chile.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"On The Road"

“On the road” is the phrase that captures 2011 for us. On January 4th we left Santiago for three weeks of summer camp and national missions projects in southern Chile. During the last week of January we packed our bags, and our apartment as we prepared to leave Chile for what will hopefully be only 11 months. February 3rd we arrived in Cali Colombia with the team of nine Chileans and one American. During the rest of the month we served alongside Colombian students on 5 university campuses in Cali. On March 3rd we set out again, this time on vacation in Colombia and Mexico. We enjoyed getting to know Colombia for a few days and on March 9th arrived in Acapulco, where Lisset’s family lives. In just a couple weeks we will be on the road again, making our way to Nebraska. We have traveled thousands of miles and slept in 19 different beds so far this year. But with all the travel we are never waiting, every day and every place God is at work and we are thankful to be His servants. His yoke is easy and his burden is light.

The second day of the national missions project our truck had a serious breakdown. After a major delay in getting it repaired, we finally hit the road, only for it to break down again. Finally after the third repair, it still isn’t fixed. We planned to sell it before leaving Chile. Now our good friends in Chile are stuck with the work of getting it repaired and selling it.
But as is usually the case, God used this experience to expose ways in which I fail to trust Him. The idols of money and control were clearly exposed as I lost control of this situation and continue to loose a fair amount of money. All I had left was to trust God. And that was just it, God took me to the place where I had to face that in this area of my life, I was in control and worse yet I did not want Him to be in control. He is in control! And now my heart is being freed of idols that were making it hard to enjoy the gospel.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


I really enjoy frisbee, disc golf, ultimate frisbee... all good!
In 2005 there were two groups of summer project students who visited Chile. I joined a team from Mexico for two weeks. Both groups got to know Gabriel, a physical education student at the Universidad Andres Bello. Gabriel came to know Christ personally during that time. He continued to be involved when I arrived in Chile long term in 2006. But during the second semester of 2006 we lost touch with Gabriel. He had decided not to continue in discipleship.
The marvelous tool of facebook reconnected us last year. Gabriel now teaches at the Universidad Católica, one of the most prestigious schools in Chile. While in the USA he learned to play frisbee. And when he came back he began to teach others to play. Through facebook he invited me to come. A couple weeks ago we finally were able to meet up. I had not seen Gabriel in person for a couple years.
Today a group of young men, Lisset and I were able to go to the Universidad Católica and play Ultimate Frisbee with Gabriel and his class. Gabriel has not grown much spiritually, but he has a clear conviction about the new life he has in Christ. He also has a desire to know the Scriptures better, serve God and be in community with other believers. Pray that these desires would grow to be stronger than his desire for others good things.
For me it was an awesome afternoon, playing a game I enjoy with eight young men representing five universities and Lisset, seeing the fruit of years of sowing…
And Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."
(Mar 4:26-29)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Personal Stuff

On Sunday morning June 7th I was taking the summer project students to church. As we walked to church a friend of mine called and informed us that the service had been canceled due to a swine flu outbreak. So we changed plans and went to another church nearby. We arrived 30 minutes early because of the different service time.
Before the church service I ran into Jeff and Aki. They led a small group at the church I go to several years ago. It turns out that Jeff is studying the same program, MA in Religion at Reformed Theological Seminary, and is in the same course, History of Christianity I. Although adding studies to my responsibilities is a challenge, this seems like a good time. I am more established in ministry here and finally have a bit of learning community while on the mission field.
We will be meeting Friday afternoons to discuss the study questions and try keep each other on track with readings. In addition last week I met Tim, who is Australian, but teaches at a pastoral training institute here in Santiago. Hopefully he can be my mentor, which is a requirement for each course.

I spent the afternoon of June 7th with Lisset. The month not dating allowed us to work through some issues. I am grateful that God has put a godly beautiful woman in my life. We covet your prayers as we continue to pursue God’s purpose in our lives and in relationship with each other.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sowing and Reaping

The week before classes start students were on campus arranging their class schedules and financing for the new semester. I went to campus to meet with Diego, a young man who is trusting God to reach his peers in the electrical engineering department. We refreshed our minds and hearts with what the Word has to say about living the Spirit-filled life. As we were talking a student that I had met years ago walked by, and I immediately remembered her name, Fernanda, but did not have the opportunity to say hello.
About an hour later I was standing at the entrance to the university with one of our staff. And there was Fernanda making her way towards the metro on her way home. I called out her name and we got to chat for a few minutes about how things were going in her life. Three years ago we had met her and some of her class mates as freshmen. She had come to a few things and had the opportunity to hear the gospel but did not stay involved or trust Christ. It had been about two years since I had talked to her.
I asked her how her family, studies and plans were going, and then asked her what her experience has been spiritually for the past few years. She admitted that for most of that time she had distanced herself from God and been very focused on her studies. But she recently had started to think more about God. I asked Fernanda if she considered herself to have a personal relationship with God. She said yes. Then I asked her how confident she was that she would be with God for eternity. She said that she thought she probably would but that it is hard to know. My next question, "If you could experience greater confidence and intimacy with God, would you want to?" She replied, "Sure!"
So we got a drink at the cafeteria and sat down in the grass for about 45 minutes. She was very honest and genuine in her desire to know God. We talked through the 4 Spiritual Laws. But more importantly God was talking to her heart if a special way and she received Christ with the joy. Her hunger for truth was evident in the questions she asked as we finished our conversation. She immediately accepted the invitation to study what the Bible says about growing a relationship with God.
Three years ago during my first semester, I do not remember anyone coming to Christ all semester. And without a doubt there are no new believers involved with us from that first semester. But we sowed. And now it is time to reap.
Over 40 students have trusted Christ in the past year. Most of them are studying the Bible with us. Just today on campus three young men from electrical engineering met over lunch to plan how to reach out to the freshmen class. All of them have trusted Christ within the past two years. And two of them just came to the Lord last semester. Seeing their desire to study the Word, reach out to the lost and encourage the body of Christ is a tremendous joy for me.

"Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him."(Psalm 126:5-6)