Harry Hamilton has worked as a missionary in Santiago full time since 1991 and has been associated with mission work since 1982. His mission has been to establish churches and be involved in leadership training. Bertram has supported Harry many years. The following report is the most recent provided by Harry.
Report from Santiago, Chile
November 29, 2019
Greetings from Santiago. It is hot right now. I am sweltering as I sit here writing this.
In the congregation in La Villa, we have been blessed with the presence of two kinds of people: visitors and babies. I will share with you a few examples of our visitors. Our sister Yoa is a young lady who is a Christian, from Venezuela. She is a quiet person, but I am impressed with her spiritual life. She rented a room from an older lady, who lived alone. Evidently, the two have been getting along famously. Yoa takes care of the lady and the lady has taken her in as if she were her own daughter. Yoa has also been bringing her to church.
Last year, two ladies were baptized, Andrea and her daughter, Nicol. Both have been great examples of true believers. Andrea never misses any of my classes. Nicol works as a nurse, so she does not come to all my classes, but she comes to the ones she can make. She has already participated in a mission trip to Ecuador. Andrea has been working on a friend of hers. The friend is typical of many who profess a religion here in Chile, whether Catholic or Pentecostal. They claim to be religious, but never go to church. The friend recently told Andrea she needed to go to church, so Andrea has been bringing her. Last Saturday, we set up a plan to convert her. The plan is basically an evaluation of her belief system, and what it would take to inspire her to be a Christian. Then, Sunday morning, I preached an evangelistic sermon. I drew a contrast between the model of religion which is a “I want to feel good” religion, and the model that we find in Ephesians 5:22 and following, which is a “love and submission” model. The difference is the first model is oriented to me, and the love and submission model is oriented to God. The difference is that much of Christianity is incomprehensible, if I do not think of God first, and if I do not learn to live for more than myself.
We have had several visitors that have been invited by different friends. I have been teaching some lessons on evangelism here recently, that are different than the lessons I have done previously. You might remember that a couple of years ago, I taught a series of lessons on how to evangelize. Recently, I have been teaching on the biblical basis of evangelism. The difference is that one speaks to technique in evangelism, that is, how to instruct someone in what they need to know to be saved, and the other lays out the fundamentals of evangelism, such as why God wants to save us, the biblical basis of salvation, and the activity of God in saving us.
I could probably make the argument that when times are tough, people show up at church, which is not a bad thing. It would also be a motive to thank God for our current troubles. We still have protests in the streets. The element that is behind this looks more and more like the lawless element that just wants to cause trouble, although there is considerable speculation that Venezuelans and Cubans are behind this. I am cautious when I go out. I have been in the supermarket a couple of times when they asked us to leave, because protestors were nearby, and the store managers did not want them to be able to get in the store. I almost got caught up in the protests a couple of times. I was on the street where I used to live, and as I went by the gas station, I noticed that there were protestors all dressed in black with masks on that were looting the gas station. Last Tuesday night, I was taking a couple of the brothers home from the Bible study. When we were at the Santa Rosa and Vicuña McKenna intersection, I noticed we were in a traffic jam, which was unusual because it was almost eleven o’clock at night. Then I noticed that they were burning tires and such in the street. I also noticed that there were people wearing masks in the street, so I thought, “time to get out of here”, and made the next turn. The major problem is that they might throw a rock through the windshield. Less likely, but possible, is they could steal the car. None of those possibilities were particularly attractive. In my neighborhood, we have a WhatsApp group that posts the location of protestors, and whether roads are usable. We have started watching those posts like they are weather reports.
This has affected our activities in the church a lot. All the transportation systems shut down at the least sign of trouble, so people find themselves having to walk home sometimes, which can be an hours long task. Getting stuck in a hours long traffic jam is not any fun either. When there is no transportation, people have no way to get to church or to studies. I have the studies anyway, and those that can make, come, and those who cannot do not.
Now for the babies. For the first time in the congregation, we have lots of babies. I like it for two reasons. It means that we have a lot of young couples, and it also means that we have a new generation coming on. Every person is precious to God. I am happy that we have young families in our church. It is a good sign. While you all were preparing for Thanksgiving, I was in the hospital with our youngest arrival, Jose David, one month old, and his mother Génesis. Jose David has an infection, and we were there with them to minister to that family. I tell our married couples that it is important to pray for the babies that are on the way.
We have had several activities apart from the classes.
The Ladies have their monthly get together. Several of our younger ladies are getting involved in teaching the children’s class. Before, it was Pilar, Marlene, and Elizabeth that taught the children’s class.
So far, this has been all about the congregation in La Villa. The congregation in Domeyko has some younger people who are Christians, who are participating. This is a congregation of older members. The younger ones are helping the congregation, especially in singing.
Luis in Chillán wrote a note telling me about his success in baptizing a man there in Chillán.
Life here in Chile has some challenges right now. However, we have some good congregations that are keeping up a good work.
Thank you for your support. May God bless you.
Report from Santiago, Chile
November 1, 2019
Greetings from Santiago, Chile. I hope that all of you are doing well.
I have been busy with a variety of activities. My schedule was complicated by the difficulties that we have experienced here in Chile. I, along with Elizabeth, was on the way to a Bible study on Friday afternoon, when all this began. We wound up sitting in a traffic jam for over two hours. I decided to escape the traffic by cutting through the adjoining neighborhood, which Elizabeth was totally against, because it was the most dangerous neighborhood in Santiago. As we drove through this neighborhood, I was surprised by the number of police and army vehicles in the area. Since the protest was just beginning, I did not expect to see such a strong response so quickly.
The difficulties began as a protest against a rise in the price of a ride on the subway, which in all honesty, is high for most people here in Chile. What complicates the matter is that all the public transportation in Santiago is oriented toward the subways, which means that the buses run their routes toward the subway stations where they unload people to continue their journeys. The poorer people wind up paying a hefty percentage of their wages just to get to work. Practically everybody I talked to about it was for the protests, but that they be peaceful protests.
Unfortunately, they turned out to be anything but peaceful. I tell the Christians here that a good preacher is a student of human nature as much as a student of the Word. Here we saw human nature in action, and it was not pretty. Rioting in the streets is an institution in Santiago. Every September 11, the anniversary of the coup d’état of Pinochet, a certain element takes to the street and riots. Most of us know to go home and stay there on that date. Here is the interesting part of this. Most of those who riot on that date are young people who were not alive during the Pinochet years, which means they take to the streets to create mayhem just because they can. This makes it impossible to have a peaceful protest here in Chile, because as soon as you try that, the rogue elements start their fighting with the police.
The first to go was the transportation system. Rioters burned up some buses and several subway stations, which meant that the transportation systems shut down, which left everyone with no other option than to walk home. Those that had cars took to the streets to go home, but everybody else walked. I was particularly worried about several of our Venezuelan sisters. We have several young ladies (members of the church) who have come here by themselves from Venezuela. We checked on several. Eliannys and Dubroneska told me it took them six hours to walk home. The sad thing is that they started wondering if they made the right decision to come to Chile. I told them they did. The difference is that while some do want to make Chile a socialist paradise, it will never happen here. With a little patience, everything will get better.
Of course, everything has not gotten better yet. The rioters turned into looters. They looted and burned down several supermarkets and other businesses, with the result that nobody wanted to open their doors for businesses. People could not buy food. When the supermarkets finally opened for business, they only opened for a few hours each day. This meant that people were lined up for hours waiting to get into the supermarket. I drove around to several different locations to see if I could get in but it was impossible. So it was beans and sandwiches for a while. One thing that was sadly typical was that people would tear down the fences around certain businesses and carry things off. I saw one video where people would carry off tanks of natural gas. They drove up in SUVs, nicely dressed, and carried off two tanks of gas, one in each hand.
Another thing that happened was that thieves formed gangs. They would go into neighborhoods and kick in the doors of houses in the neighborhood and take what ever they wanted. Four or five guys against twenty or thirty were not going to do much. They managed to rob a few people that way.
To me, this shows why civilization is so important. It has been popular in some sectors to ridicule Western Civilization, and minimalize its importance. Try living somewhere when societal norms break down. Laws exist for those moments when immoral people go wild. This is one of the reasons why it is important to have missionaries, so that we can be an influence in certain societies, and teach values that come from the Bible. I think the Churches of Christ in the United States should be happy to have a missionary that is willing to put up with all this nonsense.
Since I do not have much space left, I will mention a few items. We had a visit from a couple from Lake Houston, Warren Roane and his wife Danna. Fortunately, they left before it got crazy. We had a pretty good visit. The Roanes were missionaries in Uruguay for twelve years.
We had about four hundred participate in an area wide meeting. Roland Bowen preached. He was a missionary in Chile for nine years. The number that participate are about the same number each time.
Our sister, Elizabeth, has been teaching a Bible class for the ladies. She has been doing an outstanding job. This is important because we have several young ladies that have made their way to us from Venezuela. Also we have some young Chilean ladies who have been converted. Liza is a force in their lives. My perspective is I am motivated to see Christians that use their lives to the glory of God, both from the older Christians who help the younger ones, and the younger ones who are a joy to be around because they want to do God’s will.
We have several young men who are wonderful Christians also. One, Jonathan, hates to talk to me, because I can’t understand a thing he says. Turns out he is from a spot in Venezuela that has its own dialect. He also needs to learn to organize his thoughts. But he is a good young man. Another young man that impresses me is Eduar. For some reason, that is his name, and not Eduardo. Don’t ask me why. Eduar is one of the Venezuelan guys that were sleeping on the street in the cold. We rescued him and he was baptized. Saying that he was sleeping on the street is not to say he was homeless in the drug abuse or alcoholic sense. He had recently arrived from Venezuela and literally had no where to be. He participates in my classes and has learned a lot. I expect good things from him.
My fund raising efforts continue. If anyone knows of anyone who would like to participate with me in this ministry, send me an email, and I will make the contact.
Thanks for your support. May God bless you.
Report From Santiago, Chile
August 29, 2019
Greetings from Chile. We are finally making it through the winter.
I mentioned it briefly before, but I am going to repeat it again. My mailing address is: Calle Pastor Ponciano Yañez 1549. Aires de Buin III. Buin. Chile.
Two of our young men, Daniel and Raul, held a conference in Uruguay. Unfortunately, Raul caught a virus and was pretty sick. Milton held a conference in Peru. He had a medical emergency, and was sick. Fortunately, he is better and participated in my class Tuesday night. Currently, several of our young people are participating in a youth conference in Ecuador. Pablo was invited to give a conference in Ecuador.
I gave a week-long conference in Temuco during July. I talked on various themes. One was spiritual leadership. Biblically, the spiritual man is a servant. Spiritual leadership is not based on the authority-obedience dynamic, since Jesus says in Matthew 20:26 to not do it. In the same passage, in verse 28, Jesus says that he came to serve. So the better dynamic is one of love and submission, such as we find in Ephesians 5:21-33. The Christian leader helps the Christian be the best Christian he can be. Since we had several participants who were not members of the church, I also talked on faith, and the relation between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The latter was especially important because many people do not understand the difference between the two. The Christian religion is the religion of the new covenant, not the old. I tell people all the time that we are not Jews. We are Christians. The importance of the theme of the faith is that many do not ask themselves why they believe what they believe. In teaching on faith, I repeat many times to people that the only reason to believe in something is because it is true. Many people believe because they want to, but they never ask themselves if what they believe is true. If you believe in something that is not true, it is either a fantasy or it is a lie. After the conference, one of the brothers, Sergio, thanked me for the spiritual profundity of the presentations. I should also mention that we had an excellent barbecue on the last day.
Our effort to build a church building passed another step. The municipality in La Florida approved our next step, whatever it was. Thankfully, Marlene has a lot more patience for this sort of thing than I do. She, along with her husband, Alan, have been instrumental in getting all of the red tape done.
The ladies of the congregation in La Villa had a Ladies Day. We have a bunch of wonderful young ladies, and Elizabeth, Marlene, and Pilar are doing an excellent job of helping them to become better Christians. Elizabeth taught the class on that day. She taught one of the themes from my doctorate. As a result, Raisa decided to be baptized. Over the last few weeks, we have been working with her to bring her to a faith in Jesus, and to an understanding of what it means to obey the gospel. I find her to be a mature young lady. In our studies with her, it was important to lead her through the vast thicket of confusing concepts that accompanies much of religious thought. For example, questions such as: How can I know that I am worshipping the real God? How can I know that the Bible is the Word of God? How can I know if the church is the one that God established? These and a million more questions were on her mind.
This points out one of my functions as a preacher. Sometimes as a preacher, it is as important to raise questions as it is to answer them. The goal is to stimulate a person to think in the various concepts that come from God, so that they will be converted. Many think of evangelism as giving ten lessons and we’re done. The real goal of evangelism is to transform the mind of people (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23) so that they will obey the gospel. The obedience is a product of the new understanding, which is a result of learning what the Bible teaches. Elizabeth did this with the lesson on formation, deformation, and transformation, which came from my doctorate. I used the play on words to develop a point. Every person is created by God, which is the formation. The first relationship which every person has with God, whether they want it or not, is that God is our Creator, and we are his creation. When Adam and Eve sinned, they destroyed that relationship through sin, which is the deformation. This results in a need to be transformed, which is God’s goal for us. In Romans 6:3-4, when one shares with Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection, through baptism, he is raised as a new man. The way this plays out in reality is that when we talk about sin, most people realize they are not perfect. Most also realize that they would like to be better people than they are. What many do not know is that they can be better people than they are. Sometimes they do not know that God wants to forgive them, that they can be the people that God wants them to be, and that they can have a hope of a better life.
This is why it is important to have classes, and sermons, and invite people. Here in Chile, most people will decline if you invite them to study the Bible. If you say to someone, would you like to study the Bible for an hour every week, people get that panicked look in their eyes, and they start thinking of what excuse they can give. But if you ask them to come to a Bible study where all the brothers and sisters are going, and if you mention to them that there is also an once (tea and sandwich), most are happy to participate. In most of my classes, there are people who participate who are not Christians. In the worship services, we generally have several who are not Christians. One of the excellent things about the Church here in Chile is that many of the brothers and sisters are evangelistic. We have a lot of excellent brothers and sisters. I consider it as an important part of church life that everyone is as active as possible. An active church grows.
Thank you for your support May God bless you.
Report- December 13, 2018
Greetings from Santiago, Chile. I hope that all of you are doing well.
I spent September and October, 2018 in the United States. While in Houston, I taught 1 John in Spanish at the Hidden Valley congregation. I have taught there several times over the years. I also gave presentations to several congregations.
While I was in the States, the ladies here in Santiago hosted an International Women’s Conference. Ladies from all over Latin America and the United States participated. Even though I was not there, I had several ladies stay in my house. During the conference, seven ladies were baptized. Several of our ladies gave presentations in the conference. I helped Elizabeth and Yesenia with their presentations. Everyone told me that they did a great job. I am always inspired by the spirituality of our excellent sisters and the great work they do. Over the years, I have worked with a lot of people, both men and women, to help them be better servants of the Lord. It is in the interest of the church that we raise up as many spiritual men and women as possible.
Shortly after I returned to Chile, we held our annual retreat in la Villa. I presented the theme of the Holy, referring to the Hebrew word, kadosh, which means holy. I explained that the holy life begins with knowing what our limitations are. In Leviticus, God distinguishes between the pure and the unclean. The identification of that which is clean and that which is not teaches the people of God the distinction between that which is acceptable to God, and that which is not. We need to be aware of what lines to not cross. I talked first about God being holy. Then I explained that he allows us to be holy, which is possible through the sanctification of his people. Several things that we participate in are holy, such as marriage and the church. They are holy because God allows us to participate with him in them. I ended the retreat with a sermon on Sunday morning from Ephesians 4:17-24. Through the Word, God renews the understanding of his people, which results in his people being a holy people for him. During the retreat, one young man, Arturo, was baptized.
We also held an area wide church service, which the congregation in La Villa hosted. Our brother Marcos preached. He did a good job, but it was a long sermon. I visited with several people that I do not usually have a chance to see.
One of the things we are doing in several different congregations is we are having a visitor’s day, on the first Sunday of each month. It has brought several new people in, some of whom have been baptized. In La Villa, I think we have had fourteen baptisms this year. In the other congregations, I have not heard yet.
Except for the time I have been in the university, I have spent all my adult life in Chile, which currently is twenty-eight and a half years. I have known several of our young adults, such as Romina, Rodrigo, Paulina, Javiera, Tomas, and several others all their lives. Needless to say, I have a lot of love and affection for them. One of the things I love to tell them is that I have been in Chile longer than they have. They probably hate that. One of the young adults that was a part of our group is Milton Andres. He spent a good portion of his life living the rebellious life. Just like everywhere else, one of the difficulties that we have in Chile is passing our faith on to our children. I learned that Milton Andres was baptized while I was in the States, which made me very happy, as well as a lot of other people.
Another one of our young adults, Tomás, whom I have known all his life, had a conversation with me, where he told me he wanted to turn his life around, so he confessed his sins, and we prayed together. He had been baptized several years ago, but strayed from the path. His desire to return to God also made me very happy.
Another young man from that same group is Daniel. He has been helping with a lot of things at church, including he helped with the retreat, in leading singing and some things like that. I think he would like to be a minister, but I have not had that conversation with him yet.
Another young man that I find impressive is Mauricio, Paulina’s husband. Many of the things that he says shows me that he has spent a lot of time thinking about godly things. He has a friend that he really wants to convert, but the young man has not shown much interest yet. I do not believe in giving up on anybody, so the thing to do is be patient. There are a lot of people here in Chile who told me that they would never be members of the Churches of Christ, that are now members of the church.
While I was in the States, I learned that my sponsoring church of twenty years will be ending our relationship in a year and a half. So at that time, I will lose my sponsoring congregation and over two thousand dollars a month. Obviously I am looking to replace that loss. It is my intention to continue as a missionary in Chile. When I returned to Chile, I learned that a couple of our ministers also have lost their support. In addition, I understand that the only other missionary in Chile lost his support and will be returning to the USA. So I will once again be the only missionary here in Chile. I am looking for any congregation or individuals that would like to help the work in Chile, so any suggestions that you might have toward that end would be helpful.
One of the blessings of being a missionary living in Chile is that I am a part of the lives of a lot of people here. The greatest blessing about being a missionary is seeing people´s lives change.
Thank you for your support. May God bless you. Please remember the work here.
History of Work
“My ministry in Chile began on April 18, 1982. I spent two years in Chile (1982-1983) working with a teamin Santiago, the capital city. I then returned to the United States. In 1991, I returned to Santiago in 1991 with the intention of working on three goals: ministry leadership, establishing acongregation in the southern part of Santiago, and working toward the evangelization of the entire country of Chile.
Over the years, I have helped many members of the church become ministers. These men have been active in spreading the góspel not only in Chile, but also in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. Two ministers, Pedro Sanchez and Milton Muñoz, have even held meetings in Mexico and the United States.
During the time that I have been in Chile, the church has grown from a metropolitan church located primarily in Santiago to a national church with congregations from the northern city of Arica to the southernmost city of Punto Arenas. In addition, we have had hundreds of baptisms.
The congregation in La Villa, which is the congregation that I work with most, has grown over the years. We recently bought a property and are desirous of constructing a building, as soon as we can get the funds. The number of members is increasing. We recently had over 80 in attendance.
I also work with other congregations such as the church in Rancagua, which is to the south of Santiago, the congregations in Domeyko, Los Nogales, and La Florida.
The church in Chile is growing. For that we can give thanks to God.”
Bertram Church of Christ is supporting Harry monthly.
Preaching at Los Nogales in Santiago 03-2019
Sep 7, 2018- Fine Christian Women
Both young ladies moved here from another country.
Chile Young Preachers