Friday, September 12, 2008

Recap of Last Weekend's Events

I feel like my posts have been rather random the last few days, but did want to take the time to share a recap of last weekend's events. Over the course of five days, the message of the sanctity of human life as well as the challenge of sexual abstinence until marriage were presented to over 1,000 people here in Chile, thanks to ABWE missionary Evelyn Stone who traveled from Peru to be with us.

In the first school on Thursday, six back-to-back sessions of approximately 45 minutes each were shared with groups of 100-120 students. This particular school of 3000 teenagers is characterized by having "at-risk" students, most from very difficult home situations. Over 200 students have been expelled from the school for behavioral reasons in this year alone. (Recently, a student was brought to the principal's office with a long, deep gash in his head from a sabre wound inflicted by another student. As she attempted to stem the bleeding and talk to the student, she was stunned when he reached into his pocket to remove a gun and hand it over to her. Just one example.)

All that to say, this was an extremely needy group of kids. When I asked our pastor, also a teacher at the school, how many kids come from stable, two-parent homes his answer was: Maybe five in forty-five. He also pointed out that in a class of forty-five students, he might have three who raise their hands when asked who would like to marry someday. Illegitimate families, unmarried and often abusive relationships are basically all these kids know. This meant that the idea of abstinence until marriage was completely foreign to them, but for the most part the groups did listen respectfully and from my observations seemed to especially key in on the slides about the reality of abortion and the topic of internet pornography - both of which are probably very common for these teens.

While Evelyn was not able to share the entire gospel message in this context, she did use Scripture several times in the presentation and encouraged the students to talk with Pastor Cristian (their religion teacher) if they had further questions. Afterwards, he told us that the reaction from students and especially from teachers had been excellent, and they only wished we could have reached the other 2300 students as well!

On Friday, the MK's at our school and their parents were able to hear the abstinence message in English. Another great response. Immediately following, the students at our seminary received several hours of training by Evelyn on "How to Counsel in Crisis and Trauma" and "How to Start a Prenatal Center." Both topics were excellent and very well received.

Unfortunately, the two events we had planned for later that afternoon fell through. At the last minute, a school of 1200 girls (30-40 of whom become pregnant each year) backed out of their commitment to have Evelyn speak. The director said in no uncertain terms that she did not want this topic shared at the school. How very sad! And what a reminder that the enemy does not want this message to be heard by the millions of young people around the world who are daily falling prey to his lies in the area of sexuality and relationships. All the more reason to speak out loudly and clearly upon every opportunity!

Saturday's event was our long-anticipated conference entitled "Conscience & Compassion: Facing the Crisis of Abortion, the Sanctity of Life, and Our Responsibility as Believers." We had hoped for a group of around 200 from area churches, and while we only had about half that number those who did participate were passionate about what they had learned! Personally, this was a culmination of a goal that was near and dear to my heart for this year in Chile: to awaken the conscience of Christian believers about the issue of abortion in Chile and challenge them to consider the option of crisis pregnancy ministries here. (I have my eye on one pastor's wife in particular who would love to head up a center if and when God enabled her to not have to work a secular job. Be praying to that end!!)

On Sunday, Evelyn spoke to the youth group at our church; and on Monday, she spoke two final times to students at a public school in downtown Santiago before heading home to Peru. Talk about a jam-packed schedule, but she handled it with much grace and truly accomplished some wonderful things with God's help and by His grace. I am so thankful for having been part of this weekend of ministry and look forward with much anticipation to what God will do with the seeds that have been planted!


Melissa said...

Wow, that was a very busy schedule. I am praying that God will water the seeds that were sown.

Rebeckah said...

I am glad the missionary could share with the students. I hope they will be able to talk to the religious teacher if they have questions.