This week has been muy interesante. I say that because...
We're on strike! I mentioned earlier that USACH and some of the other unis we work on were on strike or close to it. This is worse. Now many private schools are on strike to support the demands of the public unis. Ergo, almost 200 schools in the Santiago metropolitan region are on strike, including most of the ones we've been working on. Some high schools, including the one by our hostel, are also on strike.
On Wednesday, two other students and I were working on UCSH (Universidad Catolica Silva Henriquez) when we learned that there was going to be a protest. Rather than get caught up in said protest, we left campus ASAP. As we left, the carabineros (police) showed up and we saw a growing crowd of students in the street. At USACH that same day, about 2,000 people showed up, and the police were ready for a riot. On Thursday, the campus I was to go to with a couple other students was closed because of the strikes; we ended up going with other teams to their campuses. One of our teams smelled tear gas in the air and quickly decided it was time to leave. I want to reiterate here that our team is safe. No one has been caught in any of these protests and no one has been tear gassed or anything. It's a tenuous situation, but our team is cautious and aware of our surroundings at all times.
But thanks be to God, there are still students around. Even if classes are canceled, students still mill around the campuses for whatever reason, providing us people to talk to, even if there are much fewer than before. In fact, today we all descended on a campus that was pretty safe and had quite a few students milling around, and we had six people make decisions to follow Christ just today! As one of my teammates quipped, college students may be on strike, but the Holy Spirit isn't! God is still working, even when things seem crazy.
We have one full week of campus evangelism left. I don't know what the schedule will be like for us, as all the unis that I (along with two other students) work on are on strike. We may still go to the same campuses, provided they're safe enough. One thing's for sure: this will be an interesting week!
Tomorrow we go to Valparaiso, about 75 miles northwest of Santiago, for our mid-project retreat. It'll be a nice, quiet, relaxing time to process what God has done so far! We're spending two days there (Saturday and Sunday) before returning to Santiago on Sunday night and resuming campus ministry on Monday.
Things you can be praying for:
- Follow-up with new believers. Satan is fighting hard to keep control over their lives, and we can't let that happen. Please pray that they would be able to meet up with us and grow in their newfound faith.
- Continued response to the gospel. Chilean students are hungry for the love and truth of God. Please also pray for us, that God would work through our words and our ministry to reach others for him.
- Finishing our last week of campus ministry strong. Now is not the time to sit back and go about our work lackadaisically.
- Accion Urbana next weekend (Saturday to Tuesday). We will be teaming up with students to go to an orphanage, special needs school, and feed homeless people. Please pray that God uses this time to bless both the people we're helping and those students that join us. Some of them may not be Christians, so pray that God works through this to bring others to him! (also, please be praying for Mate Criollo next Friday. This is our final party of the semester and a huge outreach opportunity.)
- And of course, the strike. Pray that regardless of whether the strike ends or not, we can still reach people on campus and go about our days normally. Please pray also that our team would continue to be safe and protected from the strikes/protests.