“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. Rooted and built up in him and stablished in the faith as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7)
The words “with thanksgiving” remind us that thanksgiving is an appropriate ingredient to add to all we do. It makes everything more pleasant. As we look back over the past few months, there were problems and setbacks, but also much for which to be thankful. Thankfulness is the key to contentment. We are indeed thankful for the privilege God has given to us to serve him here and for his abundant grace and mercies.
Update on Janeth Jara: Cancer-Free!
The verse mentioned above reminds us also of the good Ladies’ Conference the Lord gave us in October. The conference theme was “As a Tree,” with the verse, I Corinthians 15:58. The meeting emphasized how the believer, like a tree, is to be steadfast (rooted firmly in a deep relationship with Christ), unmovable (constant like the trunk of a tree because of knowing God’s Word) and always abounding in the work of the Lord (being fruitful in the Christian life). The presence of our dear sister and co-worker, Janeth Jara, was a great blessing to all the ladies. She gave a moving testimony about the Lord’s grace during her cancer treatments. The Ladies were so blessed by the way she has glorified the Lord and has been an example of being “steadfast” through all of the trials she has been through in the last months. Janeth had finished her chemo and the Lord answered prayer and gave her strength to attend the whole conference. It was a very special time for all of the Ladies. We are so thankful too that Janeth is now cancer-free! Although we must keep praying for continued recuperation and regaining of strength, we are so thankful for how the Lord answered prayer.
We thank you for your prayers for our return to Chile after our short furlough. The Lord gave us good flights, and all our luggage arrived! It was a little difficult to get back into the “swing” of things, but He was ready to give grace! In mid-September, five of our young people attended the annual youth conference way down south in Puerto Montt. They enjoyed it very much and were so thankful they were able to go. Then in October we had the Ladies’ Conference with about 40 attending. On October 31st we had a special service commemorating Reformation Day and also celebrating the 24th anniversary of our church here in Arica! We praise the Lord for his grace all these years!
One prayer request we mentioned frequently in the churches we visited during our furlough summer was for our youth. We were concerned that the youth group was diminishing. We had some young teens that we were hoping would start to get involved. While we were gone, a father and a son in our church took on the challenge of the youth group. Upon our return we were so thankful to see that the youth were faithfully attending and even there were a number of these younger teens coming. Since then some of these young teens have also invited their classmates to come – one of those just recently received Christ! Such a wonderful answer to prayer!
Just a week after that 14-year-old boy received the Lord, Melody was able to lead a 92-year-old man to the Lord also! The man is the father of one of the ladies in our church. We found out he was in the hospital and expected not to live for very long. Melody went to visit this lady and go see her father. He has heard the gospel for many years (his wife is a faithful believer), but had never received Christ. Melody just shared the gospel with him there at his hospital bed, and this time he was ready to receive Christ! What a blessing! Also, the Lord ended up healing him and he is now at home doing much better!
Thank you for your prayers for our daughter Becky. She is really enjoying living and ministering in China. She is teaching several different subjects at an international School there. It has been somewhat difficult since her students don’t know English very well yet, but the Lord has given her help and grace. She really enjoys being involved in an English-speaking church made up of almost all foreigners, and they have become a family for her. Please continue to pray for her as she teaches and seeks opportunities to share Christ with others. She will not be able to come home for Christmas, but her school does send her home for their winter vacation, so she will be coming for nearly a month at the end of January. We can’t wait! It is probable that she will lose her Chilean permanent residency because she will have been gone for more than a year; pray for the Lord’s will in this matter. We are thankful, however, that she was able to keep it all through her college years.
Jeremy continues his studies in Culinary Arts at BJU. Please pray for him as he will soon need to make decisions about next summer, as well as possibly staying on at BJU after receiving his Associate’s degree in May, or if he will look to start working. Please pray for the Lord’s clear leading. We are very happy that he will be coming to Chile for Christmas vacation.
December is always a month of many activities, most notable is our annual Christmas program. On Sunday, the 20th, we will be presenting “The Greatest Announcement of All Time.” The children always have parts, and this year the growing young teen class will have a special skit in the program to present the need to give the news of Christ’s coming to those around us. As we always have visitors, pray for them and especially that the parents of our Sunday School children will come.
On December 17th the Ladies are hosting a “Christmas Tea” with the specific purpose of bringing unsaved ladies (neighbors, co-workers, etc.) to hear the gospel. Again, please pray for this special activity.
We would also ask prayer for activities in January and February, our summer months. Some of our families and youth will be going to a youth camp in the first week of February. It will be down South on the island of Puluqui, where Jim went with a S.O.M.E. team many years ago to build a church. Also in February we will have our summer V.B.S. Please pray for the Lord’s help, provision, and blessing on these events.
We are so thankful for your continued prayers for us and for our ministry here in Arica, Chile. We are SO human and fail so often, but God’s grace is so wonderful and he uses your prayers to uphold and lift us up. Thank you so much. We wish you all a blessed Christmas and a wonderful year in 2016. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it’s the year that Christ comes and we’ll see each other in glory!
With much love,
Jim, Melody, and family