Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Ministry Update: Valuing Life Conference

"Biblical counseling" students with teacher Evelyn Stone
She was 17 and pregnant. Pressured by her boyfriend, she arrived at the door of the place where her abortion was already bought and paid for ... and then turned around and fled. Now her son is 40, and her granddaughter is 7 years old and her pride and joy. She was 21 and pregnant. To this day, her mind blocks out whether she took the injection as planned. She remembers going to the home of the woman who provided it, and then she remembers nothing more except that she would give her life for the now-grown son she once considered aborting. She was 23 and pregnant - by a married man. At a friend's house she waited anxiously for the man they had called to perform an abortion. He never showed. Looking at her son now, she cannot imagine life without him. She prays every day that he would come to know Christ as she has in recent years.  

Evelyn calls on two students to helps visualize the risk of STD's

Three women, three stories, three divine interventions in the lives of those who would one day become daughters of the King of kings. And I would never have known, except that this weekend our church in Iquique had the privilege of hosting missionaries David and Evelyn Stone for a pro-life conference entitled Valorando la Vida, or in English "Valuing Life."

Attentive students during the Biblical counseling seminar
On Friday night the teens listened intently as Evelyn spoke on the topic "Willing to Wait." With nervous giggles they participated in hands-on learning, rolling the dice of "sexual roulette" to review the risks and consequences of sexual activity outside of marriage. The room was somber as the reality of abortion was discussed, and loud with laughter as peers took to center stage in a demonstration of the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases. The next day, they were back for more.
"The sanctity of life" - Saturday session with Evelyn Stone
On Saturday morning, a small group of eight gathered for an excellent two-hour course on Biblical counseling. On Saturday evening, a group of about 22 arrived to hear the primary session, "The sanctity of life." More than half of both groups were comprised of our young people - who incidentally, also organized and carried out open-air evangelism on Saturday afternoon! Though disappointed in the slim showing of our adults, we are so thankful that God has captured the hearts of our youth. They are carrying His truth into their present circumstances and into the future.

Pastor David Stone on "The Value of Life"
We trust that those God brought to the conference heard Biblical insights that transformed their thinking in the area of abortion and challenged them regarding how we as a church family can better minister to those who are hurting and struggling in our own community. As one woman said to me after Saturday's session, "I ask myself, if I had known these truth before now, could I have made a difference in the decisions my friends made to abort?"

If nothing else, the reality we suspected became crystal-clear during this conference through half a dozen personal testimonies of women in our church who had come very close to aborting, or knew someone who had aborted. Although abortion in Chile is illegal, it is happening every day. The consequences of individual lives and on society as a whole are devastating. We have been given tools to minister in this context and pray God will open doors to do so.

Evelyn brought with her two new Bible studies recently translated to Spanish and printed in Peru. One is for post-traumatic healing and the other for post-abortion healing. The former addresses the sexual abuse which is rampant in South America. One Christian counselor in Santiago told us that he estimated 90 percent of Chilean women have suffered sexual trauma. This statistic is staggering, yet from all we hear and observe we believe it to be true.

Please pray with us for wisdom and direction to know how, when and to whom we are to provide the hope of healing that God offers. We will begin in our own church family, and if God allows one day we will open a crisis pregnancy ministry in our own city. As Jesus said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful ..." ending with "... but the workers are few" (Luke 10:2.) Yet we also know that God is "not willing that any should perish" (2 Peter 3:9.) May we truly be a lifeline to those who are "destroyed from lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6) because only by knowing the truth will the truth set them free! (John 8:32)

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