Rodrigo Avila

Recent Ministry

As you may know, it has always been my desire to go back to Chile, my homeland, to plant a church where I can preach and teach the Bible and shepherd God’s people and evangelize the lost. But, are there any specific ways that I, by God’s grace and providence want to accomplish these things? Yes, there are. I want to take some time to share with you briefly two of the many features that hopefully will mark my ministry in Chile: Expository Preaching & Street Evangelism.

Expository Preaching

Preachers are to preach the Word (2 Timothy 4) and not their own ideas. Preachers are to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) and not pick and choose scriptures. In order to avoid these two errors, I want to make a commitment to expository preaching. A popular Hispanic pastor once said that “expository preaching is the lost jewel of the Latin American church.” I believe he’s right. But I also believe that God is changing this. I want to be a part of that change. I am convinced that expository preaching is the most biblical way to preach God’s Word to God’s people. By expository preaching I mean “A discourse that expounds a passage of Scripture, organizes it around a central theme and main divisions which issue forth from the given text, and then decisively applies its message to the listeners (Vines & Shaddix).” I also believe that the most effective way to preach the whole counsel of God is to cover entire books of the Bible verse by verse or section by section. And this is what I intend to do. If God gives me enough time, I would love to at least preach all the Psalter, the Minor Prophets, the gospel of Matthew and of John, Romans, the Pastoral Epistles, the Johannine Epistles and the book of Revelation. I don’t think that thematic preaching is wrong. But I believe that it has to be considerably less usual than exposing books in their entirety. I want to make sure that the people I serve are hearing the word of God regularly. I want to be the waiter and not the cook of the message. I want to be the one to serve the food, not make it. Chile is lacking preaching that is biblical, clear, and applicable to people. I trust the Lord will use me to preach his Word in Chile for his glory and for the benefit of his people.

I wish to be a tool in God’s hands that he can use to bring sinners to salvation and to lead saints to sanctification.

Street Evangelism

One of the things I want to do the most in Chile is street evangelism. I want to go where the people are and tell them that Christ came to seek and save the lost. I wish to be intentional about reaching the lost with the gospel in Valparaíso.  This old port city, where I was born and grew up, has many parks and “plazas” were preaching the gospel in the open air is possible. This city also has many prestigious high schools, colleges, and institutes. There are a lot of students that come to Valparaíso from different parts of Chile and Latin America to pursue higher education. I don’t want to just yell at them from a corner. I want to approach them in an honest and friendly way. My desire is to interact with them as I preach to them. I want to call their attention by asking provocative questions, hopefully in a way that anybody can hear and participate. I will expect push back and opposition from the people, but regardless I want to show them that I care for them and that I’m there for them. It is my hope that the Lord will empower me with His Spirit to return evil with good and a kind word for insults and mockery. True humility, patience, perseverance, and compassion are key in evangelism. I know it is not easy. If it were, Christ would not have promised us that he would be with us always even to the end of the age. I seek to be biblical, clear, and precise in what I say. I intend to be bold but not purposefully offensive. The gospel is offensive by itself in the minds of unbelievers.

These are two of many essential ministries I want to implement in Chile. By the grace of God, I will. You can be a part of this if you get involved in praying for me, supporting me financially, or telling others – ideally the missions committee of your church.

As soon as God moves the hearts of his people to support us with what we need, my family and I will be ready to go. We’ve already moved out of our home and have sent our things to Chile.

Charles Spurgeon said once, I remember one who spoke on the missionary question one day saying, “The great question is not ‘Will not the heathen be saved if we do not send them the gospel?’ but ‘are we saved ourselves if we do not send them the gospel?’”

My question to you is, will you help me to send the gospel to Chile? I hope you will, in one way or another.

May the Lord bless you

Thank you

Rodrigo, Sheila, Ian, Evan & Susana

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Introduction Letter

We are very happy to share with you some exciting news. First, Sheila gave birth to our new baby daughter, Susana, on Monday, March 11th.  She weighed 6 pounds and 5 ounces and measured 19 inches.   Mommy and Susana are doing very well.  Her brothers and I are all thrilled to welcome her to our family. Our second big announcement is that God willing, we will be returning to Chile this year to begin pastoral ministry starting a new church.

We have an intense burden for Chile.  According to the last census, sixty-seven percent of all Chileans consider themselves Roman Catholic. Only seventeen percent are Evangelicals. Twelve percent say they don’t belong to any religion.  We have decided to return because we know that in Chile, there are millions of people who have heard of Christ and the Bible, but who do not know the true biblical Gospel and have not been born again.  

Additionally, we have noticed that in Chile, there is a growing interest, especially among young people, to know biblical and historical doctrines.  We believe that this opening interest is both a sovereign and merciful work of God. In answer to our prayers, God is opening a door for us to return to Chile for ministry.

In response to the trends that we see in Chile, we desire to plant a church in Valparaíso, my hometown, in which I can preach regularly and serve as the pastor. We want to evangelize the lost so that they may turn to Jesus Christ and then disciple the believers so that they grow in his Word and become like Christ.

I am a member of Grace Community Church and a graduate of The Master’s Seminary. I have taught and led Bible study groups during the time I served in this church. Currently, I work at Grace to You as a sermon editor and Internet coordinator. The knowledge and experience I have gained in these organizations have been vital to my spiritual and personal development. I thank God for giving me the privilege of being part of these ministries. We desire to return to Chile to put into practice all that God has taught us through godly men and women who have influenced our lives for good during all this time.

It brings tremendous joy to me that Sheila, my beloved wife, is entirely supportive of this new stage of our lives.  She speaks Spanish fluently since she learned the language during her time as a missionary in Chile for six years. She knows the Chilean culture and has an excellent relationship with my family who will be welcoming us back to my hometown.  The transition for her from living in the US back to Chile will be easier for her than for someone who has not lived in another country.  Our two boys, Ian (10) and Evan (7) are very excited about our move to Chile. They are eager to learn Spanish more fluently and get to know the culture and the popular places in Valparaíso and the rest of the country.  They are also happy to know that they will now have a deeper and closer relationship with their grandparents, uncles, and cousins.

I have been researching the ministry potential and the reasons for us to return to Chile for quite awhile.  Interviewing current pastors around Valparaíso has led me to some important conclusions. There are over three hundred thousand inhabitants but only a few biblical churches. What the region needs is a church committed to biblical preaching and the training of future church planters.

God has opened a relationship with a mission organization that has been supporting National Pastors since 1956. White Fields Ministry has the same purpose and convictions that we share—we are committed to establishing strong, self-sustaining national churches whose pastors live among the people providing an example of a biblical Christian in the context of the local community. The President of White Fields is a graduate of The Master’s Seminary and was previously a staff pastor at Grace Community Church. With their encouragement and assistance, we believe that we will be able to establish a faithful church that will become a training ground for future Bible preaching pastors.

We are writing to you to share that we need your help. First, we need you to pray for us. Pray that God will provide everything necessary to reach the goals that we are certain He has placed in our hearts.  You can join our prayer team by adding your name to our list to receive emails and read our latest news reports.  You can also visit our information on the website: http://www.whitefields.org/pray/pray-for-a-pastor/chile/ 

Secondly, we are seeking to raise financial support. You can make your donations through White Fields in the best way that works for you. You can donate from your credit card or from your checking account online at the webpage, or you can mail a check with the enclosed giving slip in the envelope provided. You can give a one-time gift or prayerfully join us with automatic monthly donations.

We would also appreciate if you would help us share the news of our ministry goals. Your church mission committee might be interested in allowing us to share our plans with them to consider supporting us, or maybe you have some mission minded friends that you could give our brochure.  We trust that God will provide all that is necessary through the generosity of His people. The Apostle Paul shared, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” Philippians 1:3-5 [NASB]

We are approaching the “first day” of our new ministry in Chile. We hope you will join us as partners in this gospel ministry. 

In Christ,

Rodrigo, Sheila, Ian, Evan & Susana