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World Missions News & Information

From Santiago to All of Chile

Wed, 03 Mar 2010 - 2:18 PM CST

Downtown Santiago, Chile


A brief history of the Assemblies of God in Chile

 

By Janet Walker

 

Rudelindo Cortes was addicted to drugs and alcohol.  He grew up in an impoverished, dysfunctional home in Chile, the oldest of six children and a victim of rape.  In sixth grade, a classmate who was president of a communist youth group influenced him to join the cause.

 

“We had strong hate in our hearts,” Rudelindo says. “With my background, I was the perfect candidate to become a drug addict.”

 

After Rudelindo married Francisca, his hate and addiction intensified.  In a drugged haze, he often abused his wife.

 

The couple’s second daughter, Daniela, was born with an illness for which there was no treatment.  One day some friends stopped by Rudelindo’s pottery business and invited him to Los Andes Assembly of God, pastored by Eduardo Oyarzun.  Los Andes is a city of 55,000 people about 80 miles north of Santiago, Chile’s capital.

 

“I thought maybe church could help me,” Rudelindo says, “so I went.”

 

On that Sunday, Pastor Oyarzun’s text was John 8:32: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (NIV).

 

The pastor’s message was so specific, it was as though he was speaking personally to Rudelindo.

 

This guy knows everything about me, thought Rudelindo, and he responded to the salvation invitation.  But he told the pastor he would give himself to God and give up drugs and alcohol only if God healed his daughter.

 

“Do you want to make a promise to the Lord?” asked the pastor.  “The Lord will glorify himself and will heal your daughter.”

 

In His mercy, God healed Daniela, and Rudelindo Cortes gave his life to Christ.

 

When the first Assemblies of God missionaries arrived in Santiago in 1941, they found few Chilean believers to help them proclaim the Pentecostal message.  Local opposition made it difficult to rent buildings, prompting churches to start as meetings in homes.  As the number of U.S. missionaries grew, the work became stronger.  At some of the first evangelistic meetings in Santiago and Valparaiso, a nearby city, thousands attended. Hundreds were saved and healed, and new churches were planted.

 

Steadily the work developed, and the Chile Assemblies of God was officially established in 1950 under missionary leadership.  Three years later the first Bible school opened in Santiago, giving Chilean believers the opportunity to train for ministry.

 

Now more than 746 churches and preaching points serve communities along the 2,880-mile length of this narrow coastal nation.  These congregations, led by Bible school graduates, connect hurting families with the gospel through a spectrum of outreaches.

 

Today trained Chilean ministers make up the entire leadership team of the national Fellowship.  Missionaries assist the church in a number of areas, including training ministers, church planting and construction, youth and children’s ministries, Women’s Ministries, Global University, Latin America ChildCare schools and more.

 

The passion and vision of early missionaries in Santiago continues and is spreading to all of Chile — to the hearts of a new generation.

 

Excerpted from a 2007 article in the World Missions Edition of the Pentecostal Evangel.

 

Click here to read a recent article from Chile.

 

CURRENT FACTS ON CHILE


THE NATION


Population - 16.6 million
Unemployment - nearly 10%
Below poverty line - more than 18%
7 million people live in Santiago, the capital, and surrounding areas
About 5.5 million Internet users

THE CHILE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD


AG churches/preaching points - 746
AG ministers - 336
Believers/adherents - nearly 20,000
Bible schools - 4
Missionaries - 22
LACC schools – 10

 

The following account is being used to receive funds for the Chile Disaster Relief efforts.

 

AGWM/COH Disaster Relief 410946-8 (68)

 

Click here to donate online. Enter the above number in the “comments” box.

 

Contributions can also be made by calling toll-free 1-866-470-9514. Please reference the above account name and number when you call.

 

You may also make out a check to AG World Missions with the above account name and number and send it to:

 

Assemblies of God World Missions

P.O. Box 2020

Springfield, MO 65801

 

Visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AGWorldMissions

Copyright ©2010 The General Council of the Assemblies of God.

Authors: Janet Walker

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