Divine Encounters in Chile

By Bob and Cheryl Fugate, serving in Chile

The following is an adapted excerpt from Bob and Cheryl’s prayer letter.

Chile is anything but boring. Last year’s February earthquake—with more than 1,000 aftershocks—and the rescue of 33 trapped miners in October are just two events that left us thankful to the Lord for His protection.

But there is something far more exciting taking place in Chile. It is a spiritual openness that leads people to place their faith in Jesus Christ and experience the power of God’s transforming love.

A woman started the year 2010 with a marriage on the rocks and a life in turmoil. She and her husband attended a Marriage Encounter last year, and through this ministry they decided to give their love one more chance, saying no to divorce. As the year ended, she gave her life to Christ and found peace with God and internal joy. She ended 2010 looking forward to baptism, which she calls her best Christmas gift ever.

In another Marriage Encounter weekend, three of the couples were absolute disasters when they arrived. Two of them were so miserable all day Saturday that they spent most of their time figuring out how to leave. One couple was determined to leave and called their sponsors to come and get them. Completely unknown to us, I requested that this couple be seated next to Cheryl and me for dinner.

In these types of delicate situations, the pastoral couple normally uses great tact and very careful probing to offer support and encouragement; but alas, that was not to be the case with this poor couple. No sooner did they sit down when the words just came spewing forth. I looked the husband straight in the eyes and firmly ordered him, “Don’t leave; stay the night. If by tomorrow morning you still want to leave, I will help you leave myself.” I don’t know who was more shocked-me or the poor husband across the table. He couldn’t figure out how I knew that he had just secretly called his friends to come and get them. He agreed on the spot to stick it out for the night.

Glimmer of Hope

During the rest of the dinner, we listened with more tact and empathy as the wife shared the tragic story of the suicides of her two younger siblings within the last 12 months. She wept the entire time. An hour later when the friends arrived to take the couple home, they declined; by Sunday afternoon, they left the Encounter weeping for joy and holding hands, with a glimmer of hope for their marriage and their family.

We teach throughout the Encounter that the secret to a lasting marriage, one that can weather the fierce storms of life, is to build it on the bedrock Jesus Christ. These dear couples that come in search of one last chance to save their marriage are ready to listen and open their hearts to God’s transforming love.

Cheryl and I want to thank you for your support of Alliance Great Commission Ministries, which has enabled us to minister in Chile for more than 20 years. We think of how all of Chile did not abandon the 33 lost miners, how the Lord did not abandon us last February, and how God does not abandon anyone, because lost people matter to Him.


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