Wednesday, March 09, 2011

When God Calls

Pedro with good buddy Alex before his departure to Santiago

Last Saturday our Iquique church hosted a going-away party for three young people headed to Bible college. One young lady is entering her second year at Word of Life Bible Institute in Argentina, and two men are headed to our ABWE theological institute in Santiago.

This may seem relatively mundane to our American mindset, as we are accustomed to kids heading off to college away from home almost immediately after graduation. Here in Chile, however, things are a bit different. Most colleges do not offer on-campus housing, and culturally it is much more acceptable for students to remain living at home (even into their 30's if they are unmarried.)

Also, an annual nationwide exam (similar to the SAT) determines not only which college(s) will accept a student but also what career he or she is allowed to study. A person who wishes to study medicine, for example, would only be allowed to enter that program if his points on the exam were high enough. This test is such a huge deal that there are separate institutions dedicated solely to training students to take it.

Of the three students I mentioned, the young lady is a high school graduate whose future plans included earning a teaching degree. She had intended to receive one year's Bible training prior to returning to her secular studies but found her life and perspective transformed for ministry instead. Her spiritual maturity has been a testimony to many other young people in our church!

The two men are separated by age and experience; one, just graduated from high school, had looked forward to a military career his entire life. But receiving Christ as his Savior last summer radically changed him and soon he felt God calling him to study for full-time service in pastoral ministry. His testimony has had a powerful effect on his unsaved family and friends.

The other student is in his mid-30's, unmarried and has always lived and worked from home - not to the burden, but to the delight of, his parents! In some ways his leaving the "nest" is an even bigger step, as he leaves behind a dependable job as well. Yet he has a passion for evangelism, one which Pedro has encouraged in him during the course of their discipleship together, and it is exciting to see him take this leap of faith in his Christian walk.

It is thrilling to watch God call and lead His children in ways they perhaps never expected or imagined. As a church it breathes life into the ministry to see those who have been saved, discipled and taught now training for lives of service themselves.

To God be all the glory!

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