Posted on: 8th May 2023
CMS missionary Frances Cook serves in Chile. In this article she shares how two women in her community have started attending church and exploring faith.
Elena* married a widower who already had six children and then had three of her own with him, raising all of them in the three-bedroom house she still lives in. Her husband had been a practising Roman Catholic and part of Elena’s commitment to him seemed to be to continue that tradition. Still hurting from both his death and later, that of her only biological son, she came to our church rather by accident. It was our first Sunday gathering face-to-face after 17 months of not meeting due to COVID, and our windows were open as a COVID precaution. Towards the end of our service, she was walking past on her way to another church. She heard a phrase that grabbed her attention, she came in, was pleased by the reception she received and has stayed.
Juanita, who lives in the same condominium as me, had married a divorcee many years ago. This distanced her from the Roman Catholic church—although not long before COVID and by then a widow, she had quietly started to go to Mass nearby. Soon after, huge abuse scandals in the Chilean Roman Catholic church rocked her. Like many others, she declared herself no longer a Catholic. We met about a year into the COVID pandemic, both enjoying the sun in the gardens at home. She had observed me early in the pandemic raking up leaves (when we were short of cleaners), so there was some connection.
During the cautious opening-up process following lockdown, it was the elderly—especially those who lived alone—who were quickest to enrol to take the (legally limited) available spaces at church. Both Elena and Juanita joined.
18 months on, Elena and Juanita are still involved and often also attending the home Bible study group I lead, as much as health permits. These ladies are enjoying the church community and growing in their understanding of faith.
*Name has been changed for privacy reasons.
Pray for Elena and Juanita to continue exploring what it means to follow Jesus, and that in God’s timing they would put their trust in him as Lord and Saviour.