HOPE AMID THE WRECKAGE IN ILOCA: A DISPATCH FROM CHILE
Mars Hill, you’re a part of a global effort to see Jesus preached and known in every nation. We recently received an update from one of the church planters we partner with in South America. Here’s a dispatch from Doug Kallestad on what Jesus is doing in Iloca, Chile:
A TOWN DEVASTATED
February 27, 2010. The 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Chile that night would do more than just damage the lives of the small town people of Iloca, a small town on Chile’s central coast. They would watch from the height of the hills as the tsunami followed, obliterating their homes.
A PEOPLE SERVED
As a result of this disaster, our churches from Santiago began collecting food and clothing to send down. We took groups of cars stuffed full of as much food and clothing as possible to aid the people of the small towns along the coast that had been struck by the tsunami. The 290-km (180-mile) trip down to the coast took four hours and the churches went almost weekly.
During those many trips, the churches began to focus on the small town of Iloca, ministering in the midst of the locals’ despair and continually returning to them to love and care for them. The churches also began to install insulation to the government shelters that were built, and soon after, built houses to restore the people back into homes.
The people of Iloca were amazed that we had entered in to help them, that we had set out to help them. God worked in the hearts of many of the town’s people. They saw that not all was lost, that hope still existed. God moved in and around the community in Iloca, working in their hearts.
Soon, the townspeople were asking when we would be building a church for their community. One woman named Rosita was so transformed by what she saw that she gave her life to Jesus and donated a piece of her land to build a church. The property was directly in front of the beach overlooking the ocean. The church was built to look out on the ocean.
One young man named Juan, a school dropout and involved in drugs, accepted Christ and was baptized. Today he is working with the church and going back to school to finish his high school education.
A CHURCH PLANTED
The church has been planted. At the end of 2012, we held marriage seminars to restore marriages that have been broken over years of neglect. The community of Iloca went from ruin to restoration, and the church now has become a beacon of light and hope for the people of Iloca and the surrounding region.
A GENEROUS GOD
Out of a terrible and traumatic disaster, God’s blessing has been poured out on Iloca. Our churches have seen the growth and joy that has come of the friendships that have been made. Over the span of two years, the town has gotten back up on its feet again and a church has been planted in the heart of Iloca. Over 70 homes have been built and hundreds of families’ lives have been restored. Jesus’ love has changed the lives of the people of Iloca and his church has become a beacon of hope.
This post is republished material from Mars Hill Church for teaching and archive purposes only.