Maria Villaroel lives in one of the most remote places on the planet, Easter Island. This small volcanic island, a territory of Chile, lies more than 2,000 miles from mainland South America and nearly 1,300 miles from its closest neighbor, Pitcairin Island.
Maria moved to Easter Island from Chile with her family in 1975. Just months before leaving her homeland, she became an Adventist. When she arrived on Easter Island, she found no other Adventist among the 3,000 people who live there. So Maria started her own little home church. She’d sing songs and tell Bible stories to her children each Sabbath.
For years she prayed that one day she would find a way to expand her church. Then 10 years ago Gabriel and Luz Montoya, a Chilean Adventist couple, visited the island on holiday. Maria Eugenia begged them to find someone who could come to Easter Island and hold Bible studies. Instead of sending someone else, Luz decided to return for a month and help Maria start a small group. By the end of the month they had found 30 people who wanted to study the Bible with them. A year later an Adventist pastor visited the island and baptized all of them. After years of praying Maria got her church.
Maria’s son is now studying theology in Chile. He wants to return Easter Island after completing his studies to pastor his mother’s church, as they don’t yet have a permanent pastor.
To contribute to Global Mission work in South American countries, such as Chile, please support Fund # 6700
Around the world there are many places with no Adventists, no one to tell the people the story of Jesus. Countless other places have only one or two Adventists. It is often hard for them to maintain their own faith, let alone share their faith with others. Please remember Maria and others like her in your prayers. Pray that they will find creative ways to tell their world about the loving Savior.
Global Mission pioneers are local people who dedicate at least one year to starting new churches in areas or among people groups where there is little or no Adventist presence.
Mission 360° features inspiring stories about mission work.
One day while Rajah was holding a Bible study, a mob approached his house, brandishing sticks and swords.