June 2013 Update
Pedro & Stephanie Garcia (2002)
Typically we send these “hard copy” updates every two months, so some of our faithful readers may wonder what ever happened to the months of March and April this year? Well, we are wondering the same thing! :) The year is certainly flying by and has been filled with much activity. We have sent out a number of shorter e-mail prayer updates during this time. To summarize, in March our colleagues Hugo and Débora Armijo departed to the USA. Pedro and our colleague Jon Spink spent many hours in baptism and membership training, which culminated in a beautiful Pacific Ocean baptism service for five individuals. In April, church ministries which had been “on hold” through the summer months resumed in full swing. We began leading a brand-new ministry, that of a weekly college and career group, as well as taking on several individual discipleships. In the early months of the year we battled a very expensive water leak in the church, which was eventually diagnosed and repaired. God provided through several of you to meet this financial need (thank you!) And finally, just two weeks ago we bid farewell to Jon and Kim Spink as they left to the USA.
You’ve heard the term “growing pains?” Well, we have certainly felt some of those as we have adjusted to new schedules, responsibilities and expectations since our return to Iquique. Indeed, there have been many transitions even within our church family. We would especially ask prayer for our deacons and their families. Of our three deacons, one is working full-time while also completing a masters-level degree (a work requirement.) Antonio has a wife and two children, one of whom was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s. He is also church treasurer. Needless to say, his plate is extremely full! A second deacon, Juan, was sent by his work for what was to have been a six-week assignment in Colombia. His return has been postponed repeatedly due to problems at the job site. He has a wife and son and is also our youth leader. And finally, our third deacon after an extended time of work insecurity was hired for a good mine job. Unfortunately José’s new week on, week off schedule dictates that he is only able to be with us two Sundays and an occasional Thursday (prayer meeting) per month. We appreciate our national co-workers and have felt their absence during this time.
Recently Stephanie wrote on our family blog:
“ … to be honest some of the situations we have faced since returning in January involve emotionally charged and weighty issues. We've sat and listened to individuals who are still processing the suicide of our colleagues' daughter. We've counseled with a couple on the brink of separation. We've been at the hospital bedside of a church member diagnosed with cancer. We've been on the receiving end of concerns about eating disorders, sexual purity, "hauntings" and homosexuality. These are heavy discussions which don't lend themselves to light blog posts … However, there is another side of ministry which we can and should share. Just this morning we read with our children this verse: "The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart" (Proverbs 17:3.) Our church family in Iquique has certainly been going through the crucible of testing this past year with pastoral transitions and personal tragedy. For some the heart response has been to fall away. But for many others it has been a strengthening of their faith and spiritual maturity. What a blessing to witness, and to God be the glory!”
We will be presenting a new series of posts highlighting recent ministry events on our blog, the first of which can be read here - http://garcias2chile.blogspot.com/2013/06/ministry-update-jovenes-mayores.html. It is our goal to involve you more closely in the ministry for which you pray. Your prayers sustain us daily, and lives are changed through them!
A couple of “housekeeping” items to mention: One is that we are considering going “paperless” with our prayer letter. At around $175 per mailing every other month, this would be a savings of $1050 per year. However, we want to be sure to communicate with those who have faithfully followed us in prayer and not lose anyone in the process! Please contact us at email@example.com if you are interested in being added to our e-mail list. We will continue with our paper letters at least through the rest of 2013. Secondly, we have a monthly deficit of several hundred dollars due to the loss of some support and an increase in educational costs for our children. We are trusting God to provide.
Finally and most importantly, next week is our pro-life conference with David & Evelyn Stone. Please be much in prayer for fruit and conviction in people’s lives, and for God to birth a pro-life ministry for His glory in Iquique!
Great is His faithfulness, Pedro & Stephanie, Eva, Isabel, Owen, Ian & Alec Garcia
June 27 Update
Dear Praying Friends,
Tonight our church begins hosting the conference "Valorando la Vida" (Valuing Life.) We appreciate your prayers so much as we move through the weekend with various teaching sessions relating to the sanctity of human life, sexual purity and Biblical counseling. This evening in particular, Stephanie would appreciate your prayers as she fills in for our speaker (due to unavoidable change in travel plans) on the topic: "She Is Pregnant? What Do I Say?" She has asked several of our ladies to consider sharing their testimonies, and as of right now one has committed for sure - please pray for Cata, who will be telling her story of teenage pregnancy 30+ years ago for the first time publicly. Her testimony for Christ is radiant and it is our desire that those who hear it will understand that when we allow God to write our story, a unplanned pregnancy is just the beginning rather than the end of all that He has in store for us.
It has been a crazy week, with two days spent on visa paperwork for Ian and Alec; an unexpected problem with our international money transfer service; plumbing problems that required professional assistance at both the church and Pastor Hugo's home (where we will be hosting our speakers); schooling issues; etc. Even the weather has been cold and gray, unusual for Iquique. Yet God is in control and we remain expectant, trusting this weekend into His hands which are so much more capable than ours.
For those who might wish to pray specifically, we are attaching the conference schedule with topics and times (in Spanish.) Thank you so much for your prayers!
Pedro & Stephanie
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