Serving the Lord in Chile

November 2021

Beloved Ones,

   “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.                                                                  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”Romans 4:7-8 (Psalm 32:1-2)

     What glorious words of the eternal Gospel the Apostle quotes from David!  For any of us that have received the Scriptures as God’s holy infallible Word, could there be any more wonderful grace than to know that our sins against Him have been forgiven and that He will not count them against us in the Judgment?  Indeed, to be such a one is to be greatly blessed!  If indeed He has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west, having given His only begotten Son to the Cross with our guilt upon Him in our place, we are of all men most blessed.  Having united us to Himself by faith, seeing us in His holy beloved eternal Son as free from every natural defilement, our Creator is able to love us with His infinite love and fit us to be His people forever.

     The Scriptures make it clear that this is not every person’s case, but that of those who repent and believe on our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the great Giver of life.  Thank you, O heavenly Father.  Let there be eternal praises to your holy and majestic Name.  We love you.  Please fill us with your perfect love, refashion us according to your blessed will.  Whatever it takes, Lord, we are thine forever.

     Praise the Lord for this blessed season of Thanksgiving.  We think it the best holiday of the year and miss being in the U.S. at this time.  We must give thanks for Christ and all of our Lord’s goodness and grace, which we do all year long as well, especially in worship on the Lord’s Day, but it is good to set aside a particular day to thank our God for the mercies and provisions of the past year.  Here in Chile there is no such national holiday, but some churches do so on the last or first Lord’s Day of the year.  It is also easier to find a whole turkey here in December, once Thanksgiving Day is past in the U.S., because some of those which were not sold up north are then brought here and made available for the year-end holidays.  We like to observe the tradition of a special Thanksgiving meal with friends, so we wait and usually do so in early December!  We also celebrate Anna’s birthday J.

     Thank you for your prayers.  We missionaries are a needy people.  What could we possibly accomplish without God?  He alone is the Savior.  We need His grace and His Holy Spirit every day: to fill us, to guide us by His wisdom, to give us boldness, to give us hearers, to grant us “utterance”, and to work by His grace in our hearers, to name but a few of our needs.  “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy nameThy kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. . . .”

    We have continued meeting each week for our Wednesday evening prayer meeting, Morning and Evening Worship services and Bible class on the Lord’s Day.  There are a few who join from a distance in each of our Lord’s Day meetings through Jitsi video conferencing.  Recently, a family who came to Chile from Venezuela a few weeks ago and are staying with our friends in Antofagasta joined us online for our Morning Worship service as well.  They                                                                                                   have indicated a desire to continue doing so.

     Also, a local church in another part of Chile asked Paul to provide a weekly Bible study series through Zoom, on the doctrinal and historical foundations of the Church, which began on October 6th.

     Please pray for Rocío (pictured on back) and Felipe, who is scheduled to be born by C-section on November 19th!  So this event may be soon to take place or may have taken place recently as you read this letter, and Rocío should be recovering.  The last few weeks have been more difficult than with others of her previous pregnancies. 

     Lord-willing, Paul will administer baptism to Felipe on November 28th, while Julio, Johanna and the grandparents are here.  Please pray also for the health of Marcos, who is working for José and Rocío, that he may be able to return to work on their house, and that it may be prepared sufficiently for them to move into it very soon.

    Please pray also for our friends Juan and Susan and their sweet little family who are preparing to move here as soon as possible from afar, once the house where our brethren José Luis and Rocío are currently living is available.  Please pray that the Lord will arrange everything in good order for them, and for His helping them in their move.  He has already provided one need they had, which was for a renter and potential buyer for their house in Santiago.

     Please continue to pray for Rosita and her family.  She recently recovered slowly from her operation on September 7th and injured her hand while working, so has not yet been out to worship anew yet.  Pray also for the salvation of her husband Alonso, her son Alfredo and his wife Kathy.

     Please also continue in prayer for Rodolfo and his family.  He has recently professed, with some understanding, his faith in the Gospel we have been explaining to him, but began attending another church on Tuesdays and Thursdays as some churches have begun to gather again after being closed for about one year and six months.  He and his daughter Elena stopped coming to our worship services a couple months ago when they were obligated to quarantine for two weeks for having had lunch with someone who tested PCR positive, and have visited much less with us since then.

     Please pray for Cheryl’s English student Isadora, who continues memorizing Scriptures in English.

    We continue awaiting response from Air Canada regarding our refund requests.  Please pray for the Lord’s provisions and for the help needed for the ongoing work here.  Please pray that our Lord will preserve freedom of movement and health liberty for us and for Gospel ministers and missionaries everywhere.  Special exemptions from testing and injections, such as those for “health department personnel” and Pfizer employees are very discriminatory.  Here in Chile the discrimination pass has been extensively rolled out; we are thankful for doctors, attorneys and others who are leading the battle against it.

     It is also very sad to see churches meeting (as they have recently begun to open again) with forced distancing, mask requirements and occupancy limitations.  Some are even requiring injections for admission to worship, or for certain meetings.  This is encouraged by the government as there are distinct occupancy guidelines which depend on whether or not those in attendance have received the experimental shots.  All of this follows the end on September 30th of the official “State of exception to the Constitution,” after which the politicized “ministry of health” has continued the “health alert”.

     Please pray for Chile’s upcoming presidential and congressional elections on November 21st, after which there will be a runoff between the top two presidential candidates.  It appears as though the outcome will have a tremendous impact upon Chile’s near future, and if the left does not win there may well be a renewal of Marxist upheaval.  Please pray for the Lord’s mercies as Chile’s constitutional convention continues deliberating, with a pending vote on a new constitution in mid-2022.  There appears to be hope that many have lost faith in the convention’s work.  On the other hand, organizations external to Chile, such as the United Nations, seem to be wielding great influence upon the process.  God’s grace is needed!  Liberty to declare the Law of God and to disciple the nations free from the threat of repercussions may be at stake.

     Last but not least, Sarah and Anna have been giving violin lessons and will hold a recital for their students and friends and family on December 4th.  Please pray for this event, and also for our acquaintances Stefany, Fenya, Jorge, Patricio, Claudio and Pastor Rodrigo and his family.  We were also surprised just while writing this letter by the return of the Medina family from Antofagasta!  They had to move their planned arrival up due to the critical condition of Elias’ father in a hospital in this area.  Please pray for them too.  Thank you for your prayers and support!

                                                                                    Very Thankful to our Redeemer,

                                                                                    Paul and Cheryl Durand and family