Saturday, October 18, 2008

Church Planting Among the Mapuche

Each summer we spend a week training our students in a cross-cultural mission’s experience. Planting churches among the Mapuche is a challenging task. In the region where we are working there is a clear need for a person who will disciple local church leadership. A couple weeks ago I was able to travel up into the mountains once again, to encourage the local church leadership, share from the Word with families and get a head start on the plans for the missions experience with students in January. During the trip three people indicated a decision to trust in Jesus Christ. We also were able to visit local pastors and encourage them.

Jerry and Daniel are pastors and missionaries who are also committed to helping establish churches in this region. It is great to partner with such quality people who work with a kingdom mindset. Unfortunately others who are “serving” in the area do not have this perspective. One of the biggest problems we face in evangelism in the area is a hypocritical and religious church that is divisive within the community and does not teach the Scripture.

Another challenge in evangelization in this region is the limited ability to comprehend texts. Reading is simply not a normal way of learning for these people. The Mapuche have an oral not written tradition. They are largely ignorant of the Bible. But asking them to read it is not practical. We are trying to overcome this difficulty with the use of solar powered audio devices which allow them hear the Scripture. We will also be using an audio and DVD based tool called, “God’s Big Story”. This material gives a brief overview of the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, helping people understand more clearly what God has done and is doing.

This summer we hope to have 6 teams of students. They will spend significant time with families who are open to the message. Rather than visiting a family for a couple hours and asking them to come to a film showing, our evangelism will be based on two or three days teaching the Bible from start to finish with families who are open. In this way we hope to help these families know Christ and get involved in a local church that teaches the Scriptures.