Missionary Correspondence from the Bjurs

February, 2023

“Strengthened with all might according to His glorious power unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.” (Colossians 1:11)

As we enter 2023, by God’s grace, it is with many unknowns, challenges, as well as an awareness of our own weaknesses and inabilities.  It is precious in the Scriptures to see how God strengthened his servants such as Nehemiah, Daniel, and others for the work before them. We appreciate your prayers for us to be strengthened with spiritual and physical strength by God for the task He has given us to do.  Not only is it marvelous that He does so, but how he does so as well, “unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.”

         Since our last letter God did give us strength for the year-end activities. We are thankful how the He provided abundantly to be able to offer Christmas gifts for 31 Venezuelan children and food for Christmas dinner to their families.  Along with each delivery of gifts was given an explanation of the gospel to be read before the opening of their gifts.

            Our Christmas program had as its theme, God’s orchestration of Christmas.  The program felt much like those of the past (pre-pandemic) with greater participation and attendance. The church young people were admirable in their willingness to do much of the work in a relatively short preparation time.  One teen-age girl, Naira, did a monologue as Ruth from the Bible, explaining God’s grace to her in the preparing of the Messianic line. It was the highlight of the program! Several were brought to tears, and there was notable silence after she finished.  You felt like Ruth was right there in our church building!

            Another blessing of the program was little five-year-old Nicole, a Venezuelan girl. When Melody went to pick up the children for the program, only Nicole was ready. All the other kids where she lived went to the beach that day but her mother said that Nicole wanted to go to church, and she wanted to come to the Christmas program with Melody. She was so excited when an extra pair of angel wings was found for her, and she happily played the part of an angel.

            Other blessings from the Lord came at Christmas time.  Our daughter Debbie made her first trip alone by airplane to be with us for Christmas. Becky and her boyfriend Jake also came.  During that time Jake asked us for permission to marry Becky; then later formally proposed and she accepted.  We are thankful to God for His goodness and providence in providing a Christian husband of like mind for her.   Still another blessing (and near heart attack) was the surprise visit of our son Joshua who came walking through our open door unannounced and unexpected on Christmas Eve. The Lord was so good to us at Christmas.

            Summer months in Chile always bring unique challenges.  A number of our people are away on vacations.  But the first few Sunday morning services of 2023 have been pretty well attended, considering that it is summer.  A number of Venezuelans families with their many children have been pretty faithfully coming Sunday morning.  The other services though, have notably suffered the summer slump.

            We pray and trust that the Lord will use and bless VBS this summer.  This is the first one we have been able to schedule since the pandemic of 2020.  We hope we can reach children living nearby the church once again. We are planning to use material that we used many years ago developed by Melody´s Uncle Ed Abbott, missionary to Mexico (now residing in Heaven). The program is called “Heavenly Treasures”. Melody will be having a training course prior to the VBS to help train teachers and helpers.  We are also in great need of workers for a nursery during Sunday morning services. Please pray for many children to attend our VBS and listen to God’s Word.

              Then in March, Lord willing, we will be making a trip back to the U.S. for Jake and Becky’s wedding in the Greenville, SC area.  Much needs to be done in the short time until then.  Please pray for strength and grace from the Lord.

            There are a few other updates and matters of prayer to relate to you.  Please pray for Jim as he will need another operation soon to remove a hernia.  It seems as if it should be a pretty standard operation.  We just need to see if it can possibly be done before traveling in March or if it should be done after our travels.

            Pray for our ministry with Venezuelan refugees.  It is sad when some we have ministered to decide to leave and go elsewhere.  But the Lord does not forsake His own.  One family we ministered to left for the US and is now attending a fundamental Baptist church in Colorado. Another family, who received the Lord with us, is now in the US and has attended the BPC in Tacoma, WA, thanks to the kindness of some who looked them up and brought them to church and showed them Christian love.  We don´t know what will happen with them but we are encouraged to see the Lord caring for them.  Last Sunday, two new Venezuelan families who are currently living on the streets, came to church here. Yesterday on our way into a grocery store we saw a Venezuelan lady with her small son. We gave her a little money with a tract. When we walked by her on our way out, some 30 minutes later, we saw that she was reading the tract out loud to her little boy! Please pray for these ones and for us to know how to minister to them.

            Pray for our plans for 2023, to attend the ICCC congress in June, help our Debbie to enter college in August, and then for needed furlough visits later in the year.

We praise the Lord that Jeremy and his wife Daniella arrived safely in Chile. They were able to come visit us for a few days. Jeremy has really enjoyed showing Daniella where he grew up! From here they are traveling down south and then will be working with the Wilds Camps Abroad program, helping our church camp in the south on the island of Puluqui. It really is special to think that over 35 years ago Jim was on that same island helping to build the little church building there on the campsite. Jeremy will be teaching and translating for the counselor training as well as helping in the youth camp. Daniella will be ministering to the young ladies. Please pray for the aftermath and spiritual results of their ministry there.

            Thanks be to God for the strength He gives.  “In the day when I cried thou answeredst me with strength in my soul” Psalm 138:3.  Thank you all for praying for us.

                                                                                    Your Servants for Christ’s sake in Chile,           

                                                                                                            Jim and Melody Bjur