During the past few months, the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile has continued to reach out to local communities with the Gospel, despite the lockdowns. Worship services, devotions, catechism classes and Bible studies are shared online while in-person services are not permitted. Pastors maintain phone contact to encourage and assist members whenever possible.
With unemployment numbers and business closures reaching unprecedented levels, affected communities are seeing a corresponding and disturbing rise in criminal activity. As a result, quite a number of households are lacking the most basic necessities. For most, food is a crucial need.
Food pantry at Cross Hill Lutheran Church in Valparaiso
Photos: Rev. James Sharp
In Valparaiso, the church opens its doors each Saturday for eager volunteers to come together to prepare and distribute lunch, dinner, dessert and bread for over 150 hungry families. Some homes are lacking even the fuel to cook a hot meal, so the prepared food is especially welcomed.
Volunteers in Valparaiso prepare meals to share with the hungry
María, an octogenarian who cares for her three sick adult children , shared, “I trust God, He still has me here, and He takes care of me. I am not afraid because God is with me so that I can take care of my children.”
“I trust God, He still has me here, and He takes care of me. I am not afraid because God is with me so that I can take care of my children.”María
Church members in Talca are pooling their available food resources in a “Despensa Solidaria”, or Solidarity Pantry in English. Fresh and non-perishable food and some basic hygiene supplies are made available on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for anyone who has a need.
Rev. Omar Kinas, President of the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile (left), and church members stocking up on supplies for the solidarity pantry
Along with the food, the members and pastors hand out information and coloring books provided by Lutheran Hour Ministries (CPTLN in Latin America)
Photo credit: Marcelo Rivas
Environmentally friendly bags are provided with contact information for the church and for Lutheran Hour Ministries in Chile.
“We are happy to be making pastoral visits, as some of those who received physical food now are asking for spiritual food, the Word of God.”Rev. Omar Kinas, President of the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile
Likewise, in Santiago Centro, the members of Divine Providence Lutheran Church prepare hot lunches on Wednesdays and distribute them from the parking lot of a local hotel. Members and others donate fresh fruits, vegetables, meat or other food items to provide this welcome relief. This week’s “Olla Común,” or Community Pot, was a hearty chicken soup enjoyed by over 80 hungry people.
Church members prepare food for the “Olla Común” or Community Pot in Santiago Centro
Thanks be to God for the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile, the faithful volunteers who serve, the pastors who share God’s Word of comfort and peace, and for the financial resources provided by the LCMS to help meet the needs of the hungry during this time of crisis.