Dec 10, 2019
Pray for Habacuc in Chile
Habacuc, who leads the Nomad team in Chile, shares about the political unrest in their country and how their team is responding. Read below to learn how to pray for the team, the nation of Chile, and the progress of the gospel there.
For months, unprecedented political and economic trouble has plagued Chile. Longtime residents say it hasn’t been this bad since the mid-'80s, and the nation is reeling. The transportation, education, and healthcare sectors have been directly affected. Many citizens suddenly find themselves living in extreme poverty, making things worse. We’ve never experienced this kind of violence and turmoil.
In October, large-scale protests erupted all over our country because many citizens disagreed with the new economic policies. Since that time, over 200 have been injured in our city alone, and more than 20 people have died. Most protestors are young adults, but there is discontentment across all age groups and demographics in the country.
Children only go to school for half the day, but even getting there is complicated and dangerous. People have to find alternate routes around the protestors, and we have to watch out for tear gas along the way.
Another reason it’s challenging to get around the city is that protestors have disabled our subway system. They burned 18 subway stations, crippling our public transportation. Since there’s no Uber here, citizens have organized themselves and share rides to help each other.
We’ve also lost many of the public services that keep a city running and make life normal. Last week, our trash collectors went on strike. Bus drivers, truck drivers, and many others soon followed suit. It is problematic because negotiations take several days and even weeks.
All this weakens our economy, and we’re suffering from severe inflation of gas prices and scarcity in grocery stores. Right now, there’s no end in sight. People see injustice and corruption every day, and they are angry. There are more protests every day and great polarization among different groups of people. It makes many of us feel hopeless. There’s significant pressure to change our constitution and remove the president, but no one really knows what will happen.
Many cities, like the one where we live, are under curfews. Everything closes by 6:00 pm each evening because of the rioting. For a few days after the initial protests, we weren’t allowed to assemble in public. Because of curfews and the difficulty of travel, not to mention the constant stress people are under, many churches have found it hard to continue their normal activities.
When we can meet, our Sunday gatherings are drawing lots of people. There’s an enormous need for Jesus and for people to preach the gospel. God has us in Chile for a reason, and we want to be courageous. A police officer who had been shot came to church last Sunday. He said he was lost and needed help to find his way. We praise God for bringing people like this man to us and that we have the opportunity to be Jesus’ hands and feet.
Since we believe we are here for a purpose, we want to be wise in how we reach out to our city. Many people are facing significant anxiety and dealing with mental illness, so we’re looking for ways to encourage them with scripture and positive words. So far, we still have electricity and the internet, so we’re creating and sharing content that we hope is meaningful. Some of our developing projects include podcasts, teaching videos, and worship music.
Because we want to distribute this content quickly, we’re not using any fancy cinematography or editing techniques. Our goal during this time of upheaval is to remind people of God’s love and his peace. We’re also planning a Christmas program that will focus on the gospel and how it makes peace possible, with God and each other.
Distributing podcasts and sharing videos can be risky. By doing so, we’re inviting criticism, and we expect to experience some backlash. Nevertheless, we feel that God has placed a huge opportunity in our hands. We’re pressing forward because we want to glorify God, and we think it’s worth the risk. Over the coming weeks, would you pray with us about the situation in Chile and how we can serve God’s purposes here? You could pray the following things: