November 6, 2019
Dear Praying Friends and Family,
“O give thanks unto the Lord!” Psalm 105:1
THANKSGIVING and PRAISE – We have much to report and many answers to prayer for which to give thanks!
We thank the LORD of heaven, first of all, for His glorious grace and the gift of His amazing love by which He created us, has ordered all in His wisdom and mercy by His providence constantly overruling all sin and evil, and especially redeemed and begun to remold us by His Holy Spirit on account of the work of His holy Son, our Lord Jesus. We thank Him for His faithful Word sent into all the world and His life giving promises which sustain us.
We thank you for reading and praying for us and the work of the Gospel, and give thanks for and to each of you who have a part in the missionary outreach of making disciples by your support through the Independent Board. We are thankful, too, for those who have reached out to us in love to encourage us by a word of friendship or encouragement, or simply giving of your time to write a line or two.
And we are thankful to Christ for the victories of liberty in this dark world, for those who have stood, by God’s grace, to protect the freedoms we enjoy to worship according to God’s Word and our conscience (1st & 4th Commandments), to steward in His service the property He has placed under our care (8th Commandment), to keep and manage the fruits of one’s own labor, to be secure in our persons and effects (ibid.), to be protected from other ills (the rest of the Decalogue), and to be able to serve others as the Lord leads us in the Scriptures (freedom of speech, the liberty to teach our own children, for example). In short, we are thankful for western civilization (which can be traced back to the Bible) and that great work of God, the Protestant Reformation and its consequents!
On November 1st we had a special Reformation Anniversary Presentation and Music Program with 27 guests in our home. In the afternoon most of us played outside (believe it or not they enjoy the countryside even though they live so close) and then we had delicious pizza and desserts that Anna made. She is an excellent chef! After that Paul spoke on the history and importance of the Reformation and especially the Synod of Dort, which closed 400 years ago, of which no one else except Julio had even heard. Next, several of our children presented music pieces interspersed with Bible passages, prayer for Chile led by Julio, and readings of translations of the pieces that were hymns. In closing, Paul clearly presented the Gospel with a call to faith and repentance. As they were leaving, one couple said they would like us to visit sometime and have a Bible Study with them. Please pray that we will be allowed to minister the Word on many occasions to these friends who were all willing to come to our home for this event, particularly with a mighty work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. We have known one of these families for a couple years and they have always been friendly but they make no profession of faith. However we thank the Lord that they came and pray that He may be pleased to give life to the spiritually dead. Several other parents present were in our home for the first time.
On October 17th Sarah and Isaiah returned to our home here after their ten weeks in the States with their Grandpa. We are so thankful for their safe travels, their helpful attitudes, their opportunities in the U.S. to spend time with old friends and make new ones, and that we are all back together now. They are a blessing in our labors here!
We are very thankful for the students’ good progress in Paul’s N.T. Greek class. It has been possible thus far to progress at the clip of one chapter each week, even though our meeting time is limited to one lengthy class once a week, and everyone is engaged with many other responsibilities or activities. The group is in Lesson Eight in Machen’s text as of this writing.
Cheryl’s two students, Joaquín and Isaac, continue to do well in their learning here in our home. We have a lot of time with these boys and it is an excellent way to make disciples as they are with us all day, including for morning devotions, and later spend time memorizing Scripture and the Catechisms as well as doing school work from a Christian perspective, all in an environment that encourages faith and Christian virtues. Much prayer is necessary for the continuation of this work with them next year while we are on furlough. We have been in prayer for a good solution and we praise the Lord that their parents are in serious conversations with our dear Christian friends to allow these friends to teach the boys in our absence (instead of sending them back to their old school). Please pray that they would work out all the details and that it would be a success and blessing for all those involved.
Have you ever given thanks to God for the running water in your home? If not, I suggest you shut it off for four days and see what happens! Yes, we were four days without running water because right at the beginning of the Chilean mandatory two day Independence holiday celebration in the middle of September, our pump stopped working. To make a long and dry story short, the pressure control was the actual problem. Once the stores were back open, Paul was able to replace it. Needless to say, we are all extremely thankful for running water in the house.
We are thankful, too, for additional answers to prayer. The Lord has granted Don Alonso a willingness to sit in on the Bible studies and prayer visits we have with his wife often. Carolina and her parents were among those who attended our Reformation presentation and her father mentioned that they would be interested in having a Bible study together sometime, so we hope we will be able to assist them further by the time you have received this letter. Please pray for them. Also, many thanks to those who have prayed with us for Don Oscar and his wife and daughter who are now back together. We praise the Lord for this, though they are still in need of much prayer and grace, and they may not be able to remain in Chile after December as well.
We are also thankful for safety and tranquility in our area during the turmoil of the last few weeks in Chile. The large cities have witnessed many scenes of looting, pillaging and violence which have emptied and burned stores and other businesses in protest over the poor wages, the high cost of living and other perceived inequities, mainly staged by socialist elements. Even today, we saw many businesses and stores in Chillán with their windows entirely covered to prevent breaking and entering, or perhaps because they have been broken. The president responded by changing several members of his cabinet. Julio’s university has closed for over three weeks and he spent the first two with us. Praise the Lord, he was able to complete his thesis paper and turn it in today.
We also had Julio’s family with us for two extended visits in September. Please pray for Solange, Consuelo and Connie, three children who have moved away. We may not see them again for a long time. Their half brother remains in Santa Clara. Please pray for Josiah’s friends Hans, Abraham and Chito who have been coming to our Bible classes and into our home at times as well lately. And please pray especially for the ministry of the Word in our Lord’s Day services. Paul has preached through Acts 1 12 and has recently taken a break to preach through 1 Corinthians 13. May our Lord be pleased to bless His Word and enlarge our reach to more souls and our impact upon them.
Thank you for your prayers and support!
Happy Thanksgiving Day,
Paul and Cheryl Durand and family
P.S. from the Executive Director: The Durand family will need a rather large vehicle (van) for their 2020 furlough. Kindly pray for this need, and if the Lord would have you give, it would be greatly appreciated.