Faith After the Fire

Luis makes furniture by day and plants churches at night --- and, of course, on weekends. He lives with his family in Santa Cruz- about 190 miles west of Santiago, Chile's capital- and the church he's planting today shares the place they call home.

"It's more like a community center," Luis admits, "and this is the place everyone from the community comes for Project Philip Bible studies- people from the community and believers from nearby churches." Luis has been planting churches and leading Project Philip Bible studies for several years, and he has already planted three churches (including this one that meets in his home).

"We were doing so much that was good," Luis says, "and then the forest fires destroyed so much of this area." January's fires were the worst in Chile's history- thousands of acres devoured, hundreds of towns and villages lost, and dozens of people killed. In the Alcántara sector where Luis planted his first church, the entire area was burned and many new believers lost everything.

"In addition to the aid we could offer, the believers asked for New Testaments," Luis notes, "the pastors there said people had lost everything, and needed God's Word to find their way out of their loss."

Forest fires in central Chile are not uncommon, but this year's disaster was made worse by drought and arson. "People who lost everything don't understand why, and the government has no answer because the fires were so great," Luis notes. "But the help people received when you shared God's Word with them will help them now and for their future."

"Thank you for the gift of God's Word to help the people of Chile," Luis volunteers, "it gives us motivation and renewed determination that moves us to share the message of hope to the people here. As people try to put together what they've lost, they will now have God's Word to help them and their lives will be different because of it.

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