Our Work in Chile
ELS Mission work began in Chile when the Board for Foreign Missions feared that political unrest in Peru might eventually drive its missionaries from that country. Chile was chosen as an alternative mission field and work began in 1993.
Throughout the mission’s history, several missionaries have served in Chile. The most recent missionary was Rev. Timothy Erickson. Missionary Erickson provided administrative leadership, served as the seminary professor, assisted with preaching, and performed other pastoral duties. Missionary Erickson and his wife Ellen concluded their service in March of 2018. Now, the Chilean church operates under Chilean leadership with support and guidance from the ELS.
The year 2017 marked twenty-five years of sharing the Gospel in Chile. A special celebration was held in Linares to celebrate this milestone in conjunction with the ordination of the first Chilean pastor, Mario Galvez. Three Peruvian pastors attended this event and participated in the ordination.
Today, work is centered in Santiago and Linares and is carried out by Pastor Galvez, two Chilean vicars, and one Chilean seminary student. All these men are small business owners and serve in a bi-vocational capacity.
In Santiago, there are three congregations. Pastor Galvez serves in La Cisterna. Vicar Guillermo Ruz serves in Puente Alto. Vicar Victor Herniquez. The congregation in La Cisterna was recently blessed with a new church facility located near a major metro stop. The congregation is also looking into the development of an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) center as an outreach tool.
In Linares, approximately 300 km south of Santiago, the congregation is led by seminary student and congregational president Ariel Arriagada. For many years, the congregation hosted an EFL center on site. While that center is no longer operating, the congregation in Linares is very active and is blessed with many outreach opportunities. It has three Kingdom Workers serving as teachers in nearby public schools. These North Americans regularly invite their friends and acquaintances to worship services. They also sponsor activities and do other things to promote the church and share the good news. Pastor Galvez and Vicar Ruz Herniquez take turns traveling to Linares to preach and serve the congregation. Lay leaders led weekly men’s and women’s bible studies. The congregation recently dedicated a new worship facility.
The Lord has certainly blessed the spreading of his Word in Chile and we look forward to seeing how it continues to spread and take root in the future.