I want to tell you a story about a Latin American teacher-pastor-musician and a recent workshop he taught just a few days before the nation of Chile shut down because of COVID-19. Don't miss the music video at the end of this post.
Helmuth Zalathiel Aguilar Navarro grew up in the Los Lagos ("Lakes") region of southern Chile (South America) and completed his theological training at the Baptist Seminary in Santiago, Chile during the 1980's. His mother, Detelvina Navarro Cárdenas, age 88, still lives in this region of Chile where she and her husband, the late Blas Aguilar, served as pastors for over 60 years. His mother, also known as "Pastora Nina," hosted a radio program "Opening Scriptures" for children on radio Colonia for many years. Now retired, she is still serving the Lord by facilitating a weekly home Bible study.
You may have noticed, like I did, that Helmuth's first name looks and sounds more German than Chilean. That's because this region was settled also by German immigrants as part of a state-sponsored colonization plan between 1850 and 1875 after the German revolutions of 1848-49. "[T]he Germans of southern Chile retained much of their German culture or Deutschtum." So over the course of time, many communities in this region developed a "dual Chilean and German sense of belonging." So it's not surprising that Helmuth's parents gave him a German-sounding first name when he was born.
Today, Helmuth lives permanently in El Salvador (Central America) with his wife, Hilda Elena, where they both completed the fourth and final Timothy Two workshop in 2019. Since then, Helmuth regularly teaches Timothy Two workshops as one of our Latin American National Missionary Partners in El Salvador and in his native country of Chile.
Last year, when visiting his mother in Chile, he taught Workshops 1 and 2 in the cities of Osorno and Llanquihue. His goal over the next several years is to teach workshops in four cities in this region of Chile: Osorno, Llanquihue, Frutillar and Puerto Montt.
Last month, on the eve of COVID-19, having moved up the schedule by one week in anticipation of the country shutting down, he taught Workshop 3, "Trusting God" in Osorno. When the workshop was completed he wrote these words in his reflections about teaching this series of lessons,
"This is a different workshop because the themes are from everyday life and their application is in sight, almost all the brothers can feel them with their hands and feel them in their hearts." - Helmuth Aguilar
"Trusting God" covers perhaps the most challenging topics in the entire Timothy Two workshop series for pastors and ministry leaders. This particular workshop is divided into three groups of topics: Relationships, Social Issues and Personal Issues. And within those groups are lessons about Husbands, Wives, Fathers, Mothers, Children, Friends, Government Authority, Divorce, Sexual Sin, Homosexuality, Abortion, Work, Money, Fear, Sickness, Grief, Suicide and Death. We have found that many of the more controversial topics in this workshop are typically not taught in the churches at all. So these pastors and ministry leaders are thankful for this material to use in teaching their people what the Bible says on these very practical everyday issues.
Below are testimonies of several participants of this workshop held in Osorno a few weeks ago:
"As a young Christian, it is difficult for me in these times to let God act completely in my life, because the world is increasingly cruel and empowered in many areas, but this word makes me feel protected by God. I feel his arms caressing me and giving the strength, the courage and the love to continue doing his will, to thirst for his word and how good it does my life. I am grateful for each topic since God teaches us how to be good parents, children, friends, etc. How to behave with our authorities, how to intervene in issues such as homosexuality, suicide, abortion, sexual sins, etc. For this last reason I find that my church should take emphasis, in order to be able to act and be able to evangelize without fear and be prepared in the word of God and its endorsement." - Carolina Tamara Arraño Ojeda
"These studies have taught me to look at the stages of life with a different attitude, that as human beings we will pass, but also with the help of God and his wisdom we have the blessing of being able to encourage, sustain, pray and exhort those who are weaker, as well as those who do not know God. I am asking God to help me and all my brothers to use what we learned about "Trusting in God" in this new study to encourage ourselves and to share these teachings with others in church." - Hilda Margot Ojeda Paredes
"Regarding module Three "Trusting God," it has been a source of blessing for my life. The social issues discussed are tremendously useful and much needed issues that are seldom addressed and or studied within congregations. They broaden the vision, insert new knowledge, reinforce others and make them rethink in front of others. I will apply it in the different ministries that I pastor with my husband. Once again, immensely grateful to the Lord for this great blessing of having had the possibility of this material reaching our hands." - Emma Aguilar Navarro
Finally, Helmuth is also an accomplished musician and musical worship leader. In his younger years he travelled throughout Chile with a small group of minstrels playing and singing in churches for the edification of believers. Today he plays and sings to lead worship in his local church as well as in the churches he serves as an instructor for Timothy Two. Below is a short video of Helmuth leading a song, "Jesus esta Aqui" (Jesus is Here) between workshop sessions in El Salvador.