Beloved Fellow Pilgrims, Praying Saints, Family, and Friends,
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.”Hebrews 11:13-14
“Let me die thy people’s death” (John Newton, 1779) – as the ancient saints of the LORD: in faith, in peace, in joy – through the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ and His unspeakable gift. Like Abraham, we look for a better country: “for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” We do not believe we can live without Him! We need His deliverance through Christ’s perfect sacrifice for our sins, and His rescue from every evil and enemy of God. Faith is the victory which overcomes the world, 1 John 5:4-5: “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Perilous times are covering the world; men’s hearts are failing them for fear. We see “all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” – and we are seeing that “strong delusion” is very prevalent, “that they should believe a lie”, 2 Thess. 2:10-11. The lie of macro-evolution has been around a good while, and Satan is not low on energy these days. The LORD, however, as we know, is working all things together for good to those who know, love and trust Him (i.e. to the church within the church, and to the glory of Christ His Son).
Speaking of His blessing, thanks to the Lord’s grace, in the midst of an oppressed world, we have seen many answers to prayer during the past few months! In every trouble there is a blessing for His loved ones. As two new children reply when asked how they are doing, Good, thanks to the Lord! What a blessing to be raised in a Christian home.
As José Luís and Rocío and their four little ones have moved into their new home next door, Juan and Susan and their four moved into the little house in front of us (which has increased in size and is now a more normal 3-bedroom house) on January15th. The Miranda family has hired Sarah to teach violin, art, and crocheting. Sarah is very happy. Anna, not to be outdone, is teaching piano to Pablo Medina (and Faith).
Late January brought the recent flu/cold combo to (literally) everyone. Although we all felt like we got hit by a truck, praise the Lord, all of us are fully recovered, we think, or at least close to it. We still forget things occasionally. Francisco and Marjorie, who managed to finally have their “church wedding,” and somehow avoided getting sick this time, asked Paul to officiate the ceremony. Please pray for their family and friends who heard the Gospel as Paul spoke of the mystery of marriage as a figure of Christ and the Church.
In February we finally had our homeschool mini-conference with all our young families and three more young families from Pastor R’s church (together with him); everyone was very happy. Pastor R had asked us to do it for their families a while ago, but we had to wait until we were better. It is a blessing to learn from those who have learned from the Word, the experience of others, and by the trusty trial and error method, rather than make all the errors yourself.
The next day, two friends from Santiago came, followed by the arrival of another Pastor, his wife and six children from our own region. They came to celebrate Susan’s birthday with us. The next day family friends of Juan and Susan arrived from the north, and stopped for a visit. We also met Juan’s mother, brother, and cousin who were traveling through the area.
Isaiah’s dried fruit business is finally official and in full gear, bearing fruit (after drying it). He is in mid-production season and making sales. We are thankful for his initiative and his patience, jumping through many hoops and waiting upon the bureaucrats’ leisure in order to be compliant with the local regulations, which have also required much additional expense. Please pray that the Lord may bless Isaiah and his business.
A few added points of praise: we are thankful for the quenching of various forest fires. Also, in an amazing turn of events, seven of us did not require any tooth fillings! Also, we are thankful that young Isaac has been manifesting growth in the faith and Rebeca has shown great progress.
Please pray regarding the ongoing Constitutional convention process in Chile. We have some personal concerns that we wanted to express here. As expected, it is going from bad to worse. Other nations interested in Christian liberty of conscience and the ability to practice and promote righteousness as defined by God in His Word, ought to pay attention to this procedure in Chile, which is scheduled to be completed and voted upon by the population by the middle of this year; not only because Chile is a friendly American ally, but also because this is an important effort meant to be an example for other nations to follow. It is part of a greater U.N. and globalist-promoted effort to further a centralized controlled agenda which has sights on many liberties, which liberties resulted from the Reformation’s proclamation of the truth, its insistence upon God’s Law and righteousness, and its defense against the persecution of our Christian forebears.
Please pray for:
- Dilan, Renato and their parents
- Isadora and her family
- Fenya, who has spent the summer in Santiago and should return soon
- Joaquín and Isaac, returning to us in March
- Rosita and Alonso, Alfredo and Kathy
- Rodolfo and his family (parents and brother), Martina and Elena (daughters)
- the Santander family, as they finish the interior of their new home
- the many challenges and changes which we are expecting to face during the next few months; these include a new socialist government to take the reins on March 12th
- our travels this year, as we hope
- the Miranda, Gómez, and Medina families
- the Lord’s guidance for of our five families, his provision, protection, and preservation
- Chile’s upcoming vote on a new Constitution, currently being produced
- the Venezuelan family that tuned in a few times to the transmission of our worship service
Travel continues to be a big challenge. Many nations require vaccinations to enter, such as Colombia (only since December), which means that we may not be able to visit Paul’s extended family there, whom none of us have seen since 2014. Please pray that these restrictions may be lifted soon. Paul, Anna, and Sarah have an appointment at the U.S. embassy in Santiago on March 29th to renew the girls’ passports, and will travel there if necessary. Please pray that this trip, if needed, may be free from restrictions and difficulties.
We thank those of you who have been praying that we would be able to make it home for furlough soon. Please continue to pray for this, that we may safely be permitted and manage to get to our port and exit Chile (free from dangerous health interventions), and for our Lord’s journeying mercies whenever He may permit us to travel.
For Christ’s Crown and Covenant,
Paul and Cheryl Durand and family