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Jesus at the Stoplight and the Supermarket

In Chile, we’ve noticed that certain periods of the year seem to be marked by spasms of intense activity sometimes followed by a bit of a lull. The last quarter of each year is jam-packed as the close of our academic and calendar year coincide with a crescendo of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. Now that we can catch our breath and look back, we invite you to rejoice with us in the ways the Lord has enabled Lonquén Valley Presbyterian Church to reach out to their community—and how He continues to open doors for our family to serve together with our new church family in unique opportunities.

Evangelism at the Crossroads
Without a permanent location, no local malls or other popular gathering points, church leaders have been looking for new ways to meet folks in Lonquén—a semi-rural, semi-residential area on the outskirts of Santiago. “What about El Cruce?” someone asked. El Cruce is what some locals have dubbed the meeting place of the two main roads which crisscross the area. The intersection is also quite near the town hall where we worship. Perfect!

So, on two consecutive Saturdays in November about half of the church headed for El Cruce to share a message of Christ’s redeeming love in a dynamic visual presentation (timed to fit with each cycle of the stop lights). Others greeted passersby with a warm personal invitation to join us for worship and a custom-designed pamphlet explaining the gospel message. Many thanked us for our efforts; a few were put off. Several enthusiastically remarked, “We had no idea there was a church so close by!” And at least one person we met has joined us for worship on several Sundays.

A few carols to go with your produce?
In December our church’s Brazilian pastor, Egimar Olivera, approached the manager of the largest supermarket in the area (also near El Cruce) about the possibility of singing Christmas carols at the entrance of the store and distributing invitations for the Christmas Eve service.

We were all surprised by the response: “Of course! But your choir might need more room. Why don’t you plan on presenting inside? We’ll free up a large space in the center of the store.” Our family is pretty sure it’s the first time we’ve played and sung “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” between discount signs and dish soap displays. However, we also trust and pray that it’s not the last time that many in the Lonquén area of Santiago will come into contact with Christians living out their faith—in the center of everyday life!

We’re so thankful to serve alongside a church that launches such creative outreaches. Pray with us for increased fruit in Santiago as people have opportunities to hear the gospel in the midst of their daily routines.

Craig & Stacy Pohl are MTW missionaries in Santiago, Chile.

Craig Pohl, Santiago Chile Mar 16, 2015
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