Meet Teresa: Reaching Youth in Chile

[Please see “Restoring Hope One Friendship at a Time” for background on the work in the displaced people’s camp in Dichato, Chile.]

For the Pennsylvanian churches that comprise the Mission of Hope in Chile consortium, working with partners on the ground is key to the long-term success of their mission to bring hope to the people and ultimately plant a church in the displaced people’s camp in Dichato.

No formal partnerships have formed yet, but some important friendships have begun to develop.

One of those friends is Teresa Sanhueza, a university student from Concepción (an hour south of Dichato) who trained with YWAM and now ministers to the youth in her local church.

“I completely fell in love with the place and people,” Teresa says of her work in Dichato. “It was the most beaten up by the earthquake of 2010, and I became involved in Dichato by the invitation of Pastor Randy [from Susquehanna Valley EFC]. Through contacts, we met and we talked about the project.”

Teresa enjoyed working alongside the Pennsylvanians while they were in Chile in June. However, she continues to serve in the displaced people’s camp regularly. She has even brought the youth group from her church in Concepción to visit the camp.

“We make friends, chatting with the youth and children,” she explains. “Not just talking, but playing and giving love to them.” Teresa also brings her guitar so they can worship together — youth from Concepción with those from Dichato.

It’s relationships with those young people that keep Teresa motivated to keep making the trek from Concepción to Dichato.

“I asked a small group of young people, ‘What or who is God to you?’” Teresa says. “Generally, the youth at my church in Concepción answer me, ‘He is my life, my all, my best friend, the Lord of Lords, the Almighty…’

“Perhaps I had become accustomed to hearing that answer, but that day in Dichato was different. The response of these young people was silence… nothing,” she says. “They had no words, and not because they were moved, but because God is really nothing for them. He is not important.

“Now they already know a little more of God. I know I need to spend more time at camp, but I see growth, perhaps a kinder love between them. I’m glad.”

Maybe this resonates so deeply with Teresa because she remembers her own story and a time when she thought little of God.

After walking away from the church as a young teenager and rebelling against God and her parents, Teresa was reintroduced to Jesus as her savior a year after starting college.

“At that moment, I decided that I would live my life for God… but it wasn´t as easy as I thought it would be,” Teresa says. “I had a reputation at my college that was harder to restore than I anticipated. There were people of my past who didn´t believe in me. They thought I was crazy for thinking that from one day to another I could change my life and decide to live for Christ.”

But Teresa has experienced personally how God can change one life — how God can go from nothing to everything just overnight.

That’s what Teresa and Mission of Hope pray will happen with the youth (and adults) in Dichato.

* * * * *



Bring a short-term team to Chile to help with rebuilding.

  • For Teresa and others like her who are investing in the lives of the people in Dichato, Chile — that God would open doors to share the gospel.
  • For the restoration of hope in the people displaced by the 2010 earthquake and tsunami.

Make an online donation to Chile earthquake relief efforts.


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