Update from Chile

Dear Friends,

Last week we held our summer Vacation Bible School with the theme: Lost and Found. The life story of John Newton was told in segments each of the 6 days in the first part and Bible stories in the classes about things in the Bible that were lost and found. What a wonderful reminder of the depths of God’s Grace! It is truly AMAZING!

By God’s grace, many new children came to VBS with a high attendance of 45 and more than 55 children coming throughout the week. In the closing meeting on Sunday morning about 10 parents came that had never come before. It was such a blessing to see our church kids get excited about inviting and bringing their schoolmates, neighbors, and friends. One girl alone brought 7 visitors! The children enjoyed the story of John Newton, the Bible story, a game time, snacks, oh, and, of course, JACKSON! We are so thankful to all our dear people who worked hard before and during the VBS so that many children could hear the wonderful story of Salvation. Thank you for praying!

By God’s grace, early in February, Melody was able to go to the ICCC Congress held in Coatzocoalcos, Mexico. She was able to translate several times a day for the messages as well as speak to the ladies, and give special music. It was a great blessing to be with brethren from different parts of the world and fellowship with friends we are not able to see very often. The messages were very good, practical, and spiritually motivating. One highlight was visiting a local church on Sunday morning. The Mexican brethren were so loving and hospitable. They fixed lunch for all of us “foreigners” on the rooftop of the church. My, can they cook! They served about 10 different foods—all scrumptious!

By God’s grace, Melody also had the opportunity while in Mexico to travel to Victoria where her Aunt Flossie Abbott and Melody’s late Uncle Edward have ministered as missionaries for over 45 years. Two of Melody’s cousins, who live nearby, were able to come over with some of their family, and Melody’s cousin Ginger, who she hasn’t seen in over 30 years, was able to come as well for a day and a half of sweet fellowship. What a wonderful blessing! Melody was so impressed with Ginger and her husband Andrés, who for the cause of Christ have lost so much (a 16 year old son was shot and killed, and they lost their house and everything in it when they had to run for their own lives), and yet, they are CONTENT! What a testimony to God’s grace!

By God’s grace, our daughter Becky was able to come in January for her 3-week “Chinese New Year’s” vacation. Also, Jeremy was able to be here for 2 weeks in December for Christmas. What a blessing to have them here (even if it couldn’t be at the same time)! We are thankful! In February Jeremy was able to travel with some from the Wilds staff to Nova Scotia, Canada, for a short mission’s trip. It was a growing time for him and a blessing. We thank the Lord for His provision and care over Jeremy.

We asked prayer in our last prayer letter for our Christmas Program, “And His Name shall be Called…” Actors presented the Christmas story in the words of scripture interspersed with Christmas hymns sung by individuals and choral numbers by the children as well as the Adult choir. The children also presented a Christmas poem. A lady in the church did a wonderful job with scenery and directing the actors. Everyone said it was probably the “smoothest” and most organized program we’ve had! There were a number of visitors there as well to see their family members participating in the program. We thank the Lord for these ones who, by God’s grace, heard the gospel, perhaps for the first time.

On December 14th, by God’s grace, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary! Our kids paid for airfare and hotel for us to have 4 wonderful days in Puerto Varas in the south of Chile. Our hotel was right on the shore of a beautiful lake where a snow-capped volcano could be seen in the distance. We even took a boat ride on the lake to see the volcano better. We enjoyed so much seeing our God’s beautiful creation and being able to relax together in such a nice hotel.

We have also seen God’s amazing grace in the lives of several of our church people who have had sudden physical problems. In December, Ariel, a deacon in our church, suddenly was taken to the hospital with extreme muscle weakness. As the week passed it got worse and they diagnosed him with Guillain Barre Syndrome and he was flown to a hospital in Santiago for treatment. God was so good and the treatment took effect immediately and he was in the hospital for 12 days instead of the expected 45 days! He continued therapy and is now home and almost completely symptom free! Carlos, a doctor in our church, had a routine exam done and found out he had a cancerous tumor that had taken over his right kidney. The Lord led him to Santiago where a friend operated on him and took out the kidney. A few weeks later the results came back: cancer free! How thankful we are for the demonstration of God’s grace in these men and their families’ lives.

As we look to the future and the activities of the next months, we are very aware of our need for God’s grace! We’d appreciate your prayers for the following:

  • In mid-March, we will be resuming our weekly Ladies’ Bible Study. Please pray for wisdom for Melody as she teaches, for new ladies to come, and for faithfulness in the lives of the ladies that attend.
  • Possible ladies’ retreat in May.
  • Brother Luis Rojas in our church has two cancers at the moment, skin and prostate. He has been waiting for MONTHS (in Chile’s socialized medical system) for them to call him for surgery. He does not have the funds to pay for the surgeries himself. Please pray he can have those surgeries soon and that the cancer would not advance.
  • At the end of June, Melody’s family will be having a family reunion in Colorado to celebrate her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Please pray for those plans and provision for all of us to go.
  • People are already asking us if we will have our winter youth camp again this July! We do want to and will plan for it, but please pray for God’s grace in bringing all the plans together and providing for all the things necessary to have camp!
  • We always need God’s grace in our personal lives and in the lives of our children. Please pray for us!

By God’s grace we have wonderful prayer partners like you that uphold us before the “throne of grace,” some every day! We thank God and we thank YOU!

At the end of his life, John Newton said, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Saviour.” May we all remember those two truths! Thank you again for partnering with us here in Chile!

Jim and Melody Bjur
Arica, Chile