Update From The Gimples In Chile

Dear family and friends,

Thank you so much to all of you who have emailed us asking about the earthquake in our country.

We have been for a week now in Uruguay on holidays, at Gera’s Mum’s house so we weren’t there when it happened. We are shocked and appalled at the news, although we trust in God’s sovereignty in the midst of it all.

Our families were not affected by it, they had their windows broken, dishes, etc and cracks in their walls, as well as no water and electricity for a couple of days, but they are alive and well.

The earthquake itself has been devastating and one can only think of how short and fragile life on this Earth is. Please pray for our country as we try to rebuild it again. We have been through natural disasters before but this is one of the three biggest earthquakes that have been recorded in the world. Most buildings are built with this in mind, but still many people are now homeless, their homes fell or were washed away by the tsunami that hit as a consequence of the 8.8 earthquake.

Please pray for our families and our country as everything is in a state of chaos, people are stealing, the aftershocks will last for 6 months, etc.

In the north of Chile, where we currently live, the earthquake was only felt as a tremor, so our flat is safe. We will be returning to Chile on March 16th.

There are practical ways in which you can help Chile, by donating money through safe organizations such as the Red Cross or similar ones that have opened international accounts for this purpose.

Thank you so much, please keep our country in your thoughts and prayers. We attach a picture of a brave Chilean in the midst of chaos, which represents how we feel about our nation.

Chilean hugs for all of you,


PS.: If you’d like to see some images of what happened, you can click on http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/02/earthquake_in_chile.html

Chile : Update from Colin & Barbara Bazley

Update from Colin & Barbara Bazley

“Thanks for your note. It was truly a mind-boggling experience. We were shaken awake at 3.34 this a.m. and I got out of bed in our top 24th floor flat and ran to the room where our guests from Bebington, David and Ann Renison, were sleeping, As I ran along the corridor the first of the huge jerks occurred and threw me from wall to wall. I eventually got their door open and David came to the door where we both sank to the floor. We stayed there wedged as best we could, he against the bed and I against the door while the jerks continued.

“It seemed never-ending and while I was there, I remembered that this was our Golden Wedding Day and in between all the other succession of thoughts I smiled to myself! The noise was deafening with crashes and thumpings as things slid around, roofing banging continuously. The lurching of the building was as if the top of the building was like the end of a whip as it jerked from one side to the other.

“When the movement stopped I went back and found Barbara trying to get out. It was very hard as three pieces of furniture had fallen down flat, with books and other stuff all over the place, so she had to climb over the bed in the darkness. The electricity had cut out immediately. The mobile phone rang and it was daughter Katherine asking if we were OK. We managed to get some clothes on, and shoes as well because there was glass all over the place, Two bottles of wine broken with contents all over the kitchen floor.

“Then son-in-law Enrique arrived. It was dark as there was no electricity, nor water or gas either. He had climbed up the 24 floors to our flat as the lifts weren’t functioning, carrying torches and some anoraks. He led us down and outside into the patio where we all gathered with the Lagos and Enrique’s mother.  We just sat there on some seats for a couple of hours and Fernanda plied us with bottled water. Then we were allowed back into (other daughter )

“Margaret’s flat on ground floor. Katherine and Rodrigo then arrived with flasks of tea. After a while it was decided we should go back with them. We spent the rest of the night and up to mid-morning there. Then David and I went back with grandson Francisco to collect some essentials – medication, clothing, etc. We were able to get into the one lift working up to our flat on the top (24th) floor, gathered stuff out of the total mess there and left it to be cleared up another day. We then went back to Katherine’s where we had a lovely comforting lunch.

“We had planned to have a celebratory meal tonight but in view of the devastation decided to put it off till later on. There is so much devastation up and down the country, 740 dead, many more injured. Most new buildings have held up as they are built with modern anti-seismic methods. Most of us felt it would be inappropriate, though some didn’t want to deprive people from earning much-needed cash at this time. But it was an 8.8 earthquake (more than Haití in fact) and there are1.5 million. homeless.

The main Pan American highway motorway joining the major cities North to South has been broken in several places as bridges have collapsed. Here in Santiago the airport has been badly damaged. Concepción, 500 km South of here is a total mess. News is very jumbled at present. We’ll prepare a proper letter soon. But we are grateful to the Lord for his care and praying for those who have suffered far more than we have.

“It wasn’t the Golden Wedding we had planned. But to see the way our families here have pulled together, gave us and our visitors so much care and love, made it a real golden day for us. Sammy, Enrique and Margaret’s son, had very concerned communications with his girl-friend, Peggy, a Chilean Christian girl who is on a two-year contract at a Christian school in Taiwán, received a text message from her. She quoted Isaiah 54:10: “The mountains may disappear and the hills may come to an end, but my love will never disappear. My promise of peace will never come to an end”. My Psalm this morning was number 138, and verses 7 and 8; “Though I walk in the midst of danger, yet will you preserve my life…the Lord will complete his purpose for me. Your loving kindness, o Lord, endures for ever; do not forsake the work of your own hands”.

“We stayed at Katherine and Rodrigo’s overnight. It was a quiet night, with just a few small after-shocks that didn’t wake us. We look forward to going to the Providencia church this morning to worship with God’s people. We value your prayers more than we can say.”


Dear friends,


If I may add one prayer request for you to consider. Please pray for the government here to act quickly and send troops and establish Martial Law once and for all in Concepción (6 hr drive south from here, Santiago). There are under 1000 troops for a city of almost 1.5 million. Supermarkets are being looted and burnt down everywhere, and people are starting to report thieves looting and robbing houses with firearms.


The situation is deteriorating rapidly. Please pray that the government would act responsibly, establishing and maintaining social order, and where necessary punish those who do evil (Rom 13.1-7). In particular pray for the Church in that place: that families may continue to act cooperatively in love, providing shelter, food & water and even protection to one another in these terrible times. 


Thank you very much.

Samuel Lago

Contact made with the Bishop of Chile

Today Tuesday 2nd March SAMS Ireland General Secretary Denis Johnston was able to speak to Bishop Tito Zavala of Chile. Things are difficult and communication is uncertain to Concepcion. The Bishop and a team from the church in Santiago are travelling by truck today hoping to arrive tomorrow with water, food and basics. Numerous church families are living in tents in Concepcion.


Bishop Tito Zavala has asked for donations to be sent through SAMS Ireland for the emergency fund which the church in Chile has set up. You can make a donation online via the SAMS website or contact the SAMS House on 028/048 38310144 for further details.     

Chilean reflections from two Young Anglicans Working in Northern Ireland.

Dear SAMS Ireland Family:

For both of us, Cristian (placed in Cookstown) and Steven (placed in Craigavon), the past days have been very tough.  On Saturday 27th February we woke up to the news that our country, Chile, had been struck by a powerful earthquake (the 5th most powerful in the world since 1900). The situation now is tough, specifically in the regions of Bio-Bio and Maule, and the communications with the areas are very difficult, so the people are not only scared as they cope with the after shocks (more than 100 in one day) but they are desperate for food, water, and shelter.   At this time of devastation and desolation, when we see the news and search the internet for information, you see the power of nature and the only comfort that we have remains in the power of praying.

We (Cristian and Steven) are grateful to God that our families are safe but they have told us that it is a desperate situation with widespread damage throughout central and Southern Chile and have stressed the importance of prayer for the people of the affected area.

Chile is a country with a great inner strength and able to recover from all natural disasters that have lived so far. Those of us abroad are united in prayer and we are confident that with time and help we will stand again.

So, please pray for Chile…

Pray for the families of the people who have lost their relatives and have suffered in the earthquake.  So far we know that there are more than 700 people dead, (and the number is expected to rise) over 500,000 houses have been damaged, and at least 2 million people affected by this disaster.

Pray for peace and understanding among the people.

Pray for the correct use of resources to help.

Pray that the authorities will make the right decisions as they seek to bring some sort of normality to those who have suffered.

Pray for the people specifically in Concepcion, Talca, Constitucion, Talcahuano and all the region of Bio-Bio and Maule.

God bless you all.

Cristian Ascui & Steven Alvarez

Abelino and Paty in Santiago, Chile.


We send you loving greetings from Santiago here in Chile.


We have now been in Santiago for six months pasturing a relatively small congregation with an average attendance of 30 adults and 15 children each Sunday. Our church is located in a working-class sector in the borough of San Joaquín. Most members of the congregation are working folk.


Since we arrived they have received us with great affection, particularly as they had been two years without a pastor of their own, and were led by the church council. Now we have got to know nearly all the members pretty well through different activities in the church and by visiting them in their homes.


Recently, that is, on April 10th we had a day-long spiritual retreat for the whole church, which proved to be a time of rich communion of our brothers and sisters. We enjoyed lunch together too. Nearly every member attended and there was a lovely spirit among the believers. We are so grateful to God for this.


We have several challenges:

  • Goal for 2016. We hope that by 2016 (date of our possible retirement) the church will have grown responsibly in numbers and in quality so as to have its own full-time pastor paid from its own resources.
  • To study God’s Word using various courses. We do lack cash to buy the materials at the moment. But we are selling items of food prepared in the church to get the money together.
  • To evangelise this sector, starting with house to house visitation.
  • To prepare more layfolk in leading and preaching the Word.
  • To improve the front of the church building – repairs and painting. It also lacks some of the finishing touches from the building process.
  • To look after a group of children suffering from economic need and serious family problems, and lacking loving care to help with their schoolwork, including food. Lady volunteers look after them for two or three hours each day helping them with their studies, forming Christian habits and teaching spiritual values with the hope that they will become part of the church family. This will continue so long as the church is able to maintain it.


The truth is that we are very encouraged as we face these challenges. We ask you to pray that God will be glorified.


For our part, we are in good health, praise God. Just a little nostalgia from time to time as we remember our families, brothers and friends in the South. I give thanks to the Lord that my sons stayed in Temuco as they remain very much connected to the activities of their church and all three are working with good prospects for the future. Elías has just been elected treasurer of the church in the IX Region; Jonatan is on the PCC of his church, Holy Trinity in Temuco, and Timi continues to play in the music group.


Along with my wife, Paty, we want to express our affection for you all. We remember you constantly and we are grateful for your prayers for our activities.


In the love of the Lord,


Abelino and Paty.


Prayer Requests from Bishop Abelino and Paty in Chile

For reasons of diocesan strategy and progress of the Chilean church we are now living in Santiago.  We thank the Lord we are getting used to live in the city, but we do miss the south.


Please pray for:

Our ministry in Santiago.  We are pastoring the ‘Church of the Saviour’ in the community of San Joaquín, which could be an 8-year assignment.  In addition I am required to assist +Tito in his visits here in Santiago as well as in the north and south. The brethren down south were deeply saddened by our departure.  Pastor Joel Millanguir has taken charge as Archdeacon of Araucania, while continuing his role as Area Coordinator for Chol-Chol.  I ask your prayers for this great challenge.  We regret that for various reasons the 9th Region has fewer pastors.  Some have come to Santiago to study at the Centre for Pastoral Studies (CEP), but are unlikely to return.  Please pray for this large and significant change in the life of the church of the 9th Region.


For obvious reasons, the Rural Bible Institute is also much weakened.  It does not have enough pastors to undertake the teaching and is also short of money.  Last year we praise God that 6 people graduated and hope that there will be other students graduating this year.  Despite the limitations they willingly continue their studies.  Let’s ask the Lord for more workers for his harvest.


The school for deaf children is going through a financial crisis and has had to reduce its staff.  Please pray.


William Wilson School at Chol Chol has good plans for the future but is currently weak in the area of Christian education as a consequence of my wife Patricia’s departure.  I ask your prayers for new mature Christian influence.

San Lucas, Santiago, Chile.

La Familia Cerón Espinoza

San Lucas, Santiago, Chile.


Dear friends,

We are at the beginning of a very special year and are convinced that God has great things prepared for us, in spite of the current crisis! He is real, and will show the world his beauty and faithfulness as we proclaim Jesus in our home countries.


There is a lot going on in Chile and we would be very grateful if you would join us in prayer for the things set out below:


Our family now has a new member – our daughter, Jacinta Lael, was born three months ago. She is a beautiful, calm baby and has made us very happy. Alejandra is rather tired, so we would ask you to pray for us to get into a healthy routine this year. In the midst of tiredness, we would like to be able to really focus on family life and continue serving God joyfully.


This year we will be researching the university world. In 2010 we would like to establish a university church plant in the centre of Santiago and want to find out what God’s plan and strategy is so that we can work with him. It will be a year of walking the streets, doing evangelism, praying and forming training teams. Please pray that God will give us the WISDOM AND COURAGE we need to start out in this mission work, completely new in Chile, and which we would like to do with real passion.


This year too will see the Urban Mission Operation, which brings together over 500 young people in Santiago, and has now spread into many different cities. It is an evangelistic mission, which I am leading and which has simply become too big for us, thanks to what God is doing to make it grow. Throughout Chile many young people are making a commitment (and also in Argentina and other Latin American countries). Pray that this passion for evangelism will continue to grow and that these urban mission projects will be led by HIM in the different cities where they are taking place. The goal is that by 2010 we will be able to celebrate a National Urban Mission Operation when all the young people can go out in their own cities during the same week to share the good news of Jesus. Pray too for us, so that the power of God will be manifest in Chile as we preach the gospel of his Son!


Thank you for your continued support and wishing you many blessings for the coming year.


 (Cristóbal, Alejandra, Belén y Jacinta).

Gerry, Suyai & Tommy in Chile


Dear SAMS Ireland,

Time runs so fast that I was convinced of having written just a few weeks ago but then I realized that the only way it could be like that… would be if weeks were 30 days each. Not that I have forgotten you but I was running late.


Finally I have finished my studies at the CEP and I have reached the end exhausted, carried by the Lord (well, for sure I was carried the whole race), my soul having aged centuries, older (so, grumpier too, hahaha)… but joyful and grateful, free at last! I tell you, I had a great respect for all those who had gone through Bible College, but now that respect has grown. What a war in every field… and it is not that it has ended now. It is strange to be out and I beg the Lord for wisdom, humbleness, tenderness and grace to serve Him… but He is a generous, rich and faithful Lord.


I have to pay homage to my beautiful wife for her support and company and love across these years… so I tip my hat to her with my hand on my heart. And my son? Many told me: “oh, wait for a few weeks to see if you keep that smile”… but the smile has been put as a seal on me. He started to walk a month ago and still has that drunken sailor balance. Such a blessing he is, that if there was no God (but there is ONE!) I would have to become a believer anyways in order to thank Him… but there is another Son who is a bigger blessing. There was a day when the Saviour was born among us… and His message of hope and salvation has shone in the world and changed the lives of many.


Mostly for sure, we’ll be moving to Antofagasta in February to work at the Church there. It is a city located in the north of Chile (approx. 1300 kms from Santiago, where we currently live), in the driest desert of the world. Vultures instead of doves at the parks. Water is like gold, a treasure not to waste. Majestic mountains. Rain is welcome as a miracle, if it rains at all.


There are two loving congregations up there… and as the rector will be in Australia for the next six months, please pray for us: that we will be good servants for these congregations.


We love you and miss you. This is just a “wee” greeting for Christmas and I am attaching two pictures (Tommy was in a “mood”, but who could blame him when it’s quite hot and the red hat is put on him!). May God bless you all.


So, Merry Christmas from the three of us.


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