Thursday, February 19
Manuel Pastén tells how his home in Paihuano was very, very poor. His family was large, and there was little to eat.
One day in 1958 he jumped onto the back of a truck and embarked on an adventure that took him to the city of Vallenar. Not knowing anyone, he began to walk the city streets. He met a gentleman pulling a cart and told him his story. Although they had just met, the gentleman invited Manuel to accompany him to his home. He gave Manuel a place to sleep and a job in his ironworking shop and fed him for several years.
This generous gentleman was Avelino Araya, an elder of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Vallenar. Avelino and other church members shared the gospel and the love of a vibrant faith community with Manuel.
Manuel still shares this testimony of Avelino’s compassion and of a faith community who was willing to extend a risky, warm welcome to an unknown youth. Manuel explains that this is how he encountered Christ.
My mother knew Avelino well. She tells me how this gentleman served God and his neighbors with all his heart—so much so that back then our church was known in the community as “Don Avelino’s church.”
Avelino also regularly visited the sick at our local hospital. He often accompanied the dying: consoling them at the moment of their death, offering them God’s forgiveness, and assuring them that the God of peace was waiting to embrace them. My mother remembers that they departed with the tranquility and joy that only God’s Spirit can offer.
—Rev. Patricia Cruz, secretary of the synod, Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Chile
Let us join in prayer for:
Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Chile (IEPC): Rev. Dr. Jorge Cárdenas Brito, moderator, Jacqueline Troncoso, executive secretary • Evangelical Theological Community of Chile: Rev. Dr. Daniel Godoy, rector • Presbyterian Ministry to the Roma: Rev. Carlos Hernandez, coordinator
Presbytery of the Pines, with the IEPC
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Creator God, teach us to take risks. Teach us to see our neighbors with compassion and tenderness and to receive them into our homes and churches. Teach us also to be instruments of your peace, today and always. Amen.