Last spring, the city of Valparaiso, Chile was devastated by a wildfire that began on April 12 and raged out of control for four days. The fire took fifteen lives and destroyed nearly 3,000 houses, leaving more than 11,000 people homeless. The Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile (IELCHI), already busy providing comfort and assistance to survivors of an April 1 earthquake 1,100 miles north in Iquique, reached out to Valparaiso’s fire survivors.
Lutheran Hour Ministries—Chile has worked alongside the Chilean church from the beginning, providing Bibles and other Gospel materials for the church’s workers to hand out, as well as a text messaging service that sent subscribers weekly passages of hope and comfort from the Scriptures.
Juan Pablo Lanterna is the pastor who serves Congregación Espíritu Santo in Valparaiso. He has visited many of the people of his city who survived the fire to learn their needs as they struggle to rebuild their lives. On one such visit in July, he delivered a Bible to Inés (not her real name), a woman who had responded to a text message from LHM—Chile. Afterward he wrote to the ministry center:
“Thanks for sending your text messages to the fire survivors. The messages have made it possible for us to establish connections and meet with them! I was happy to give Inés the Bible you provided and to read the 23rd Psalm, ‘The Lord is my shepherd,’ along with her.”
Pastor Lanterna invited LHM—Chile Director Marianela Bravo to accompany him on some visits in September. At one home they were welcomed by Mario Olivares.
“Mr. Olivares told us he was grateful every week to receive our text messages on his cell phone and that he shares them with his family,” says Marianela. “We are delighted that the Gospel is spreading to so many people through these messages and through visits from our pastors!”
To learn more about Lutheran Hour Ministries—Chile and its partnership in outreach with the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile, visit lhmchile.wordpress.com. To partner in outreach with LHM—Chile, learn about LHM’s International Ministries Partnership program at www.lhm.org/partner.