“Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; Being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.” II Corinthians 9:10-11
It is amazing to us how God provides. The above verses come near the end of a great passage on giving in II Corinthians 8 and 9. It is the Givers Benediction. God ministers seed to the sower that keeps allowing him to sow.
Sometimes in our own ministering to Venezuelans entering Chile, we have thought, “That’s it, we can’t do anymore.” And then the Lord sends others and he provides again. Recently, on a Saturday morning, Melody prayed about a specific need, asking the Lord to show us if He would have us help certain ones. That day, just a short while later, we received a message from a Peruvian brother in Christ in another evangelical church, who had visited us for a youth conference about 20 years ago! He was passing through Arica and wanted to greet us. We met him at the church. Honestly, we did not remember him! He and his wife talked with us for a little while, and then prayed for us and the ministry here. Before they left, he gave us a love gift to help in ministering to Venezuelans. That was God’s answer! God is faithful to supply the seed we need to sow.
Once again this past July we could not have our in-person camp because of pandemic restrictions, yet God provided and blessed in our virtual camp. Its theme was, “Forward by Faith” with three messages from the book of Joshua given by Pastors Heliud Ramirez, Angelo Salvatierra and Luis Monge. Workshops and testimonies were especially precious. Pastor Juan Luis Guerra from Puerto Montt and Becky Earnhart, former missionary to Peru, gave wonderful workshops. Newlyweds Alex and Carmen Woehr from Callao, Peru, and Kaitlyn Laine from the US, gave their testimonies. And then there was a very moving testimony given by Pastor Juan Hoyos from Iquitos, Peru, on “Faith in the Pandemic”, as he told of his experience in the hospital with Covid and his healing by the Lord. One young man from Pastor Jonathan’s church commented that this camp was one of the best we ever had, even though we couldn’t be physically together.
The Lord also provided for Melody and Debbie’s trip to the US so Debbie could attend the MK camp at the Wilds. It was kind of like a senior trip for her as next year, Lord willing, she will enter college. Admittedly it was tricky with all the Covid requirements and restrictions. At camp, there was a lot of rain that week, but the spiritual blessing to Debbie was wonderful. It was also a blessing to see Missionary Tim Chapman and his wife from Lima who were also there. While Debbie enjoyed camp, Melody enjoyed some rest, and was able to spend time with Jeremy and Daniella and the beautiful Wilds’ scenery.
Melody and Debbie were also able to take some time to be with Becky and Joshua in Greenville, SC. Several times all the siblings were able to be together. Such a blessing! Also, in God’s providence, Melody was able to attend the funeral of Dr. Edward Panosian of BJU, a faithful servant of God who, together with his wife, had an impact on Melody and many others through the years and on our ministry here as well.
Coming back to Chile was harder than going, but still God was faithful. Melody and Debbie had to spend 10 days in quarantine in Santiago, as a requirement to enter the country. From Santiago, they participated in services in Arica, the Smyrna church in Santiago, and Melody even taught her Personal Evangelism class online. They were so glad to get home and most thankful for the Lord’s care over Jim while they were gone.
Excitement prevailed when restrictions were lifted enough at the end of July so that we could start having Sunday services AT OUR CHURCH – WITH PEOPLE! We had not been able to do so for nearly a year and a half! There are still many restrictions, everyone but the speaker has to wear a mask, people have to sit a meter apart, everything has to be sanitized and there are some restrictions as to how many we can have in the building. Still, how wonderful to worship with our people in person! We have had visitors just about every Sunday, many of them were Venezuelans! We actually had 11 Venezuelans this past Sunday. Krisbelly, our 12-year-old Venezuelan who received Christ in February, had a surprise for Tia (Auntie) Melody when she came back from the States; she brought NINE children that live along the street behind our church to Sunday School. It was so cute as they all entered church in a line behind Krisbelly, with each one carrying an artificial flower to present to the “Tia”. One of our ladies, Cecibel, is here teaching the children during the preaching service. They are so enthusiastic to learn God’s Word! What a blessing!
Rumors are circulating concerning the possible tightening of restrictions. We hope they are only rumors and that we will not have to go back to only online services. Please pray for our church and pray that the Lord will give us wisdom in dealing with all the restrictions.
Thanks and praise to our Lord as He has provided for the church in Iquique, four hours to the south of Arica. For years they met in a house that served as a church building, with another house next door that served as a manse. Several months ago a fire in a house next door damaged the roof of the manse. We are thankful to the Lord though, that the Iquique church has now begun to build a larger church building where the two houses stood before. As you may know, that church has been without a pastor, but the brethren there are extremely involved in outreach and eight of their members are currently taking seminary classes online, that we and Pastor Jonathan teach, in order to be better prepared to serve. Pastor Jonathan is the moderator of the session for that church. Let us thank the Lord for what He is doing for and through that church.
Looking ahead, we continue to trust the Lord for future provision as well. Because of an overloaded hospital, Jim’s needed operation to reconnect his intestines is still on hold. We appreciate your prayers for patience and that the operation could be performed soon and be successful. We are thankful for God’s grace and care. Our trust is in Him as we wait.
God provides through the giving and prayers of His people. We have always found Him to be sufficient. Thank you so much for your faithful giving and prayers. We here in Arica are dependent upon both. We always marvel how God keeps providing all that we need in order to sow, and know He does for you as well. May the Lord bless you all.
Goodbye for now, your servants for Christ’s sake in Chile,
Jim, Melody and Debbie Bjur