Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Men's Ministry: Tocopilla Trip

Guest Blogger: Pedro

Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! ~John 4:35

Growing up in church, I can't tell you how many times I heard this verse quoted to reinforce the idea of what Christ taught to be sensitive to those around us by sharing our faith. On this trip to Tocopilla, a town 3 hours south of Iquique, I literally saw a harvest field that day.

Last week I had the opportunity to take a day trip to the towns of Tocopilla and Maria Elena. It was the idea of our pastoral team to take some men from our church to impress upon them the possibility of starting another work in the future. Upon arriving in Tocopilla we were quickly able to locate a Baptist church, and we met with the pastor. He was a great resource in telling us the needs and challenges of ministering in this city. Hopefully we were an encouragement to him as he is ministering alone in a small city with little to no other gospel presence.

Even though the pictures below do not specifically show Tocopilla, it is a city with tremendous needs. About two years ago this city was hit hard by an earthquake. The city is still recovering and it is evident by the number of downtown business shops that still lay dormant because of the destruction. Tocopilla was described by our pastor friend as the bed of prostitution in the country of Chile. He described Tocopilla as having the highest teen pregnancy rate in Chile.

Tocopilla is a quaint little city. The first thing that strikes you is the architecture of a time reminiscent of the 40 and 50's (at least as how I would describe this time period in the States). The central plaza is quite impressive with its palm trees and other greenery. It is located on the coast which adds to the beauty.

Despite its beauty, the needs are great. Please pray for Tocopilla and for the opportunity to take God's Word here one day!

This final picture is of our visit with a new sister in Christ in the small town of Maria Elena (about 45 minutes from Tocopilla.) Sara received Christ through the ministry of Alejandro and Robyn Armijo, after the Lord orchestrated their unexpected meeting in the town of Tacna in Peru. She has no church or Christian fellowship in her town. Maria Elena is yet another place in need of Christ and the gospel message.

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