“Withhold not good from them to who it is due when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” Prov. 3:27
“…Who knoweth whether thou art come to this kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14
Dear Friends and Brethren,
Within these past two weeks we’ve received the sad news of several Venezuelan families to whom we have ministered, that have decided to return to Venezuela. Life for them has grown harder in Chile as it is very difficult for them to find work. We will miss them deeply when they go. The Lord puts people in our path and we never know for how long. We must all sow the seed of the gospel as often as we can, for we never know how long these providential opportunities will be available. One family, a mother and four small children, have been coming to Sunday School for months. Numerous times she has called telling us that the children have not eaten all day as they have no food, the father of the children has no work, and going to the corner trying to sell candy no longer yields any money. Even today, we are taking them some food so they can eat. They feel their only solution is to return to Venezuela because at least there they have a house to live in and, as Erianyeglis said, “We may not have food there either, but at least no one can throw us out of the house.” However, there is a big problem as the Peruvians have sent the military to the border and do not want the Venezuelans going to or through their country anymore!
Just yesterday we said “good-bye” to two children who have been in Melody’s 10-14 year-old Sunday School class for a year and a half. Their mother was sending them back to Venezuela with their biological father (whom they have not seen for years). We were so sad to lose them, but also so thankful that the Lord has given us the opportunity to minister to them, teach them God’s Word, and watch them grow. Jeairavict has received the Lord and her brother Victor has heard the gospel. They left last night trying to get across the border, but this morning we received a call from their mother that after a sleepless night walking in the desert, they had been stopped and turned back at the Peruvian border. There are so many just waiting between the two borders. They have no food or water; they try to set up makeshift shelters to shade them from the desert sun. Jeariavict and Victor actually came back to Arica, and for the moment their mother has decided to keep them here with her.
Would you pray for us as we minister to these ones, so we can discern how to help? We know that the greatest need they all have is spiritual and we never want to lose sight of that. But their physical needs are so urgent too. One neat experience…Melody started an evangelistic Bible study with Joimar, a lady who has come to Sunday School with her children since last November. Melody went to the house where Joimar rents a room and a little table was set up in the patio for their Bible Study. Just as they began another lady came by and said, “Are you studying the Bible? Why didn’t you invite me? I need God too!” Then a man who lives there came by and sat down too, listening and participating in the Bible Study! Please pray for these ones that they would truly understand and receive the gospel.
We are thankful to the Lord that since February’s VBS we were able to start up our nursery class again, with an ample amount of teachers and children each Sunday. Feeling the need for more workers, before VBS we had two “teacher’s training workshops” with several of our young people. They helped teach the littlest children at VBS and enjoyed it so much. It is exciting to see the participation of our young people and also children having an exposure to the gospel at an early age and for the first time. It has also made it possible for the mothers of the children to be able to enjoy their own class.
This year of 2023 is quite a different year for us with a number of trips to the US planned. We are thankful that since Joshua works for an airline, we are able to travel for free or very inexpensively. In March we traveled to Greenville, SC for the wedding of our daughter Becky to Jake Gardiner. It was a beautiful wedding and it was so wonderful to see so many family and friends that came to the wedding. We are so thankful for God’s leading in Jake and Becky’s lives. Please pray for them as they start their life together in the San Francisco area.
Our next trip is planned for June to attend the Congress of the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC) in Collingswood, NJ. A large number of Chilean believers will be participating; even a young lady from our church will be going. Then after returning to Chile, we hope to have our Winter Youth Camp the third week of July. Prayer is needed as we plan for this camp. We are excited as the Lord has given us some new youth and we have a large group coming every Saturday evening for the youth meeting. However, many of our young teens are going through great trials and struggles and we pray that the camp will have a positive spiritual impact on their lives.
An added blessing is that Debbie will be coming back with us to help in the camp and enjoy being home for about a month before, Lord willing, we take her back to the States as she will begin her first year at Bob Jones University. We are so thankful for the nine months she has had working at the Wilds Christian Camp in North Carolina. Kindly pray for the Lord’s guidance and spiritual growth in her life as well as for His provision for college.
Looking to the fall this year, prayer is also needed for plans for a furlough and visit to our supporting churches. Please pray for the Lord’s provision for the work here in the times that we are gone.
We thank the Lord that Jim had a successful operation in March to fix a hernia that had come as a result of his operation last year to reconnect the intestines. He still has to be careful about not lifting much weight, but by God’s grace he has recuperated well and is doing great.
Melody’s Ladies’ Bible Study started back up in April with an evangelistic thrust and several new ladies attending. We will have a special “tea” for Mother’s Day. Please pray that the Lord will use this ministry in the hearts of our ladies, that they will grow and that others will come to Christ as well.
We want to close this letter expressing our great gratitude for each of you that support us and the work here by your prayers and offerings. It isn’t a trite expression to say that we couldn’t continue in the work without you. Each of you that gives or prays has a part in God’s work here. We can just say, “Thank-you” and may the Lord bless each of you!
Your Servants for Christ’s sake, in Chile,