What’s Up?

What’s Up? 

Oh, if only you could have seen my students’ faces when I first introduced “What’s up?” to them. At first, they all looked at me with great confusion,  and then they gave at least one of the following responses:

  • Si!
  • Yes, I have what’s up.
  • Do you want what’s up?
  • You want to what’s up me?

Their confusion was justified. In Chile, and in many other Latin American countries, almost everyone uses a texting app on their phones called WhatsApp (pronounced so that it sounds like “what’s up”). This app is completely free and, apart from facebook, it is one of the most popular social media devices used in Chile. My students could not believe that their beloved texting device was actually an English saying! Now, they take great joy in asking me “What’s up?” every day (often screaming across the playground).

WhatsApp and other forms of social media have been some of our biggest blessings since moving to Chile! I find it absolutely mind-blowing that not only can I talk to my family on a regular basis, but also that I video chat with them from almost anywhere. I am far far far away from my little sister, nephew, and goddaughter, but they can still grow up seeing my face and hearing my voice. Gone are my days as a missionary kid when my family turned off all the lights in the house so that all the energy could be devoted to my dad’s little computer as he tried to dial up with family in the States once every couple months. Social media has vastly improved, and I personally couldn’t be more thankful!

Social media also plays a huge role in our current mission here in Chile. We use WhatsApp and Facebook daily to quickly connect with others, to send out event invites/reminders, or to simply encourage. Picture this, the school that I currently work at is in the countryside. However, almost all of my students and parents have cell phones. I, like many other people here, personally have a prepaid phone that I rarely have to put money on because my social media is free with wifi. Thanks to social media, people almost anywhere and of all socioeconomic statuses can easily connect.

Even more impactful than WhatsApp has been the Academia Cristo website and Facebook page. This resource was created by Lutherans who desired to use social media to share the gospel with Spanish speakers all over the world. It houses encouraging messages based on scripture, videos, and bible lessons to easily walk through. It also contains church services and music so that believers anywhere can worship even if they are not close to a church. Literally thousands of people connect on Academia Cristo every day and through this website they can find pastors, churches, or answers to their questions.

Academia Cristo has been an incredible blessing for us. Every week, men and women meet to do a bible study series together found on Academia Cristo. Many of these people are members of our church and some are people who are simply interesting in hearing more about grace and their Savior. Since Jon and I are currently learning Spanish, it is amazing to have resources already written in Spanish and written specifically for the hispanic culture. Without Academia Cristo, it certainly would be much harder to help guide these bible studies with confidence.

In the days of the New Testament, letters were written and distributed to the churches. During Luther’s time, the printing press shared the good news of grace in a language everyone could understand. Now, we have the blessing of social media as a method to share the gospel!

I pray that we and you also are always ready to tell others “What’s up?” about our faith…preferably shouting it on a daily basis just like my kids!

 

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