Fellowship beyond borders

OM International | Chile

She fell in love with the scenery, and the people just as much. Marloes Achterveld, a student in OM Chile's Intensive Missions Training programme, recently travelled to the village of Curarrehue in southern Chile, where the students supported a local church in evangelism and encouraged people on the way.

"Do you dream sometimes about places beyond places, where you have a sense of belonging, just because it responds to something within you?" asked Marloes, from the Netherlands, who discovered that southern Chile is a place beyond places to her.

"The beauty of this country, displayed in a clear sky, the mountains reigning above the deep blue lakes with a white crown of snow, and the green valleys filled with unknown paths and people... That responds to me."

To her, living in this part of the country is like living in another world.

"In Curarrehue, you need good boots because of the mud, a warm jacket because of the cold," Marloes shared. "Bring your truck, because there are no paved roads. There is no signal. No phone calls, no Internet or even SMS. In this village, you're completely shut down from the world for a while."

Marloes was blessed to stay with a family who had, like all the other families in the area, a piece of land for their pigs, ducks, chickens and cows. The animals ran around the house freely. The family also owned puppies, a horse and turkeys. The turkeys they ate during Marloes' stay.

Behind all this beauty, Marloes also found sadness while getting to know the family.

"I found out that their son was actually adopted, because his real mother abandoned him when she went out from the little community to find a job in the city," she shared. "This is what a lot of young people need to do to be able to send their children to school. But in this case, the natural mother of this 18-year-old boy never came back and never contacted him again. This led to great sadness and feelings of loneliness."

The OM team’s ministry started there. "We prayed for the families and for the church," said Marloes. The team opened the Bible and encouraged people with the Word. They had conversations about Christ and His saving grace, and shared their stories of how God had touched their lives.

"We shared a fellowship that goes beyond country borders or culture systems. That was very special," she said.

Together with the families, they invited other members of the community to church. Marloes shared her testimony with various people.

"Every time we visited a family, we asked them how they were doing and what we could pray for," she said. "They all told us about things that they needed: protection for their family, no separation in the family any more, enough food for the wintertime, for the men to stay away from the alcohol and be faithful to their wives."

A ministry like this can also take place in less isolated places on earth, stated Marloes.

"Where does your ministry start? I believe that is in the place where you are today. Can you pray for, or even pray together, with your family or housemates? Why should you not? Can you talk and invite your neighbours today to drink tea? Maybe it´s an opportunity to share about who you are in Christ today."

Marloes challenges Christians to make a difference today, with the people placed on their paths. "You never know what God will work out through you."

Do you long to get out of your comfort zone and experience a totally new culture and people, all while sharing the love of God and growing in your faith? Check out a list of OM’s training programmes here.

Published: Friday, 10 July 2015
Credit: OM International
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