The 11th of September is the anniversary of the military coup of 1973 in Chile. Every year thousands of people go into the streets to protest this day. In most parts of Santiago this day is just a time when all the punks get together for mass vandalism. Just such an event happened in front of our church.
We were expecting a rough night, so four of us spent the night in the church to protect the building. As the first few rebellious teens appeared, we noticed that several were people we knew from the neighborhood. After going out to talk with them for a minute and to establish our presence, dozens of young people began to arrive to the street corner in front of our church. Before long, over 100 young men were ripping apart a neighborhood security booth across the street from our church. They pulled all the street signs down and formed barricades in the streets. Then they started a large bonfire in the center of the streets.
During this time, we were anxiously standing along the sidelines of the activity. According to the other men, if we showed no fear, they would leave us alone… I had my doubts… there were about a 100 of them… and 4 of us!
Soon they cut the power lines and out went the electricity of the entire area. Only the city streetlights remained functioning.
Then something very unexpected happened. Several teens broke into the front gate of a house about 20 yards from our church. They pulled a car out of the yard and burnt it in the street – right there in front of our eyes!
Several minutes later the mob headed a block down the street to ransack a local liquor store. With beer in hand, everyone headed for their houses to get drunk.
Well, thankfully nothing happened to us or to the church. I can honestly say I’ve never seen or experienced anything like it.
Through it all, I could only think that one day some of these guys might going to serve God with this much passion. One day one of these guys could be preaching the gospel and risking their lives to reach the lost.
Please pray for Chile!
Here is a short video I shot from the window the church. You can see people standing all along our gate, and you can see some of the bonfire in the street. Listen to all the loud clangs in the background… that’s the sound of the guys destroying the security booth in front of our church. The lighting is not very good, but you can get the idea of how close they were to the church.