We all know that this past year has been filled with challenges and hardships. Few places around the globe have been untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our brothers and sisters around the world have faced their own challenges brought about by the pandemic. Yet, through it all, God has been at work in powerful ways to build His church and advance the kingdom of God. In His mercy and grace, He even allows us to play a role in that incredible work. God is working through these trying times to draw men, women, boys and girls to Himself and He’s utilizing your generosity as He works! I’m happy to welcome Christian Acosta as a guest blogger today. Christina and her husband Caleb serve as the directors of Latino Ministries for the CGGC and they pastor the Sanidad Divina Church in Columbia, PA. Christina will share the exciting news about how God is working through the trials in South America to mobilize His people to establish new works.
A Story of God’s Work from Venezuela to Chile
Many of us have become accustomed to the new way of this world under the coronavirus restrictions and quarantines. These new regulations have often limited our mindset in what can be done in God and what we feel can’t be done. Here is a story that I hope will motivate you to do more and to reach out further than you ever have before, even under the restrictions or challenges of our new way of life!
Meet Yolmary Rodriguez, and her family, who is heading up a new work near Santiago, Chile. This family found Jesus through the work of the Churches of God, General Conference in Venezuela through the ministry of the Ezperanza Viva Church in San Juan de Los Morros, Venezuela.
In 2018, her husband, Jose Dario Brcieño Chacon moved to Chile to seek new opportunities.
With the economic and health crisis in Venezuela, they chose to move out of the country as have many others who were part of the ministry in Venezuela. The mass exodus from Venezuela is caused by hunger, famine, difficulty in finding jobs, financial crises, health crises, and difficulties with the past and present ruling governments. Many are finding it necessary to make this decision to move for the betterment of their family circumstances. Pastors Liarxi and Mara Alcala from Ezperanza Viva Church have encouraged them and kept in touch with them as they got established in Chile.
Jose was in Chile for about two years before helping his wife and children, Isaac and Isabella, to come and meet him. During this time, he found a place to live, a job which provided a stable location for his family. God provides, and we can continue to trust in His provision.
Since arriving in Chile, Yolmary and her family proved to be persistent and faithful in their efforts to reach others through Christ’s example and Word. During their first year in Chile, the
Rodriguez family began to reach out to the community by starting Zoom meetings, all under pandemic restrictions. Yolmary started a weekly Bible Study that still runs today, it is recorded and broadcast for many people to join and hear God’s word. The stop-and-go Coronavirus restrictions have made things more difficult, yet the ministry is having a good impact.
Last year, the ministry was provided with COVID Emergency Relief Funds through the CGGC (the Chile ministry gives a special “thank you!” to all the people who donated for this cause). Those funds helped them provide protective wear, disinfectants, and emergency food for people in their surrounding area to stay safe and healthy against COVID-19. This allowed them to meet more families in the area and opened the door to even further conversations. Because of the funds given to COVID Emergency Relief, and the outreach efforts of the Rodriguez family, a house church was birthed in early 2021! The congregation is gathering each Sunday in their home. Traveling, even within the country, is very restricted right now in Chile. One must obtain a special pass to travel about to purchase food or go to work and yet they are able to use these passes to travel to and from the house church service on Sundays as well. So even with a full quarantine in effect, God’s Word and outreach goes on! This reminds us of the times in the early church when the believers had to use symbols for people to know where gatherings would be held, only in Chile, they need to use a pass to get to the services that are held in secret.
COVID restrictions or not, it does not change the human need that we all have to be filled with God’s presence. Now more than ever, people have a greater need to find someone, to find a place that is still open so that they can receive counsel, especially spiritual counsel. Churches are being planted, people’s hearts are being reached, God’s work continues to impact many here in the States and across the Globe. We just need to believe that God is so powerful, and His plan is so perfect that He knows what He is doing and where He is doing it. We need to learn to trust in God and His ways and be able to give our plans up to Him so that we don’t interfere with His will and purposes for His kingdom. Let’s make a decision to BE the Church when it matters most! “Perhaps you were born for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
Pastor Christina Acosta
Director of Latino Ministries
CGGC eNews—Vol. 15, No. 18