Missionary Correspondence from the Bjurs

July, 2023

“The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” Psalm 121:8

            So far 2023 has been a year like no other for us. It has been, and continues to be, a year of “going out and coming in”. Through our son Joshua’s work at Delta airlines, we have been able to travel free or very inexpensively by standby. (That in itself often creates uncertainty, drama and adventure!) But we are very thankful for it and the Lord’s provision allowing us to make several trips and still keep a hand on the work here.

            After traveling to the US in March to help and participate in our daughter Becky’s wedding in Greenville, SC, we returned again to Chile. But in June another trip was necessary. This time we flew to SC and then drove on to Collingswood, NJ, to participate in the 75th Anniversary of the ICCC. Approximately 150 Chilean brethren participated in the Congress, so we felt very much at home. Along with others, we helped in translating, on paper, some of the messages into Spanish. Melody was often back in the booth actively translating for the messages as well. The theme was “Declaring His Glory to the Nations.” There were a number of tremendous messages given. Pastor Jack Sin gave a wonderful message from I Corinthians 10:31 on doing all to the glory of God. Although we came down with the flu and had to miss a couple of days, we enjoyed the Congress very much. It was wonderful to see so many old and dear friends, some Jim hadn’t seen since college days over 40 years ago! Our daughter Debbie was with us, as well as her best friend from our church here in Arica, Naira. They especially enjoyed the fellowship with other Christian young people. Jim also gave a message from Romans 11:36 on “A Clearer View of What God is Doing” (or “Paul at the Pinnacle”). We were able to stay at the Cedar Lane Mission Homes during that time. The Durands, fellow missionaries in southern Chile, stayed there as well. Over the years, CLMH has become to us a beloved “home away from home” where we have met and enjoyed fellowship with other missionaries and are able to get spiritually refreshed and recharged.

            From New Jersey, it was back to SC for us and then on to California to participate in our daughter’s and son-in-law’s reception there for family and friends that couldn’t attend the far-away wedding in SC. We had a wonderful time getting to know Jake’s family better and seeing a little of the San Francisco area where Jake and Becky are living.

            In all, it was wonderful to see the Lord providing, protecting and preserving us in our “going out and coming in.”

            Then, back in Chile we were busy preparing for our winter Youth camp on July 12-15. The theme of the camp was “Citizens of Heaven on the Earth”. The passage we studied was Colossians 3:1-17 with the theme verse from verse 2: “Set your affection on things above, not on things of the earth.” We are so thankful to the Lord for the 35 to 40 young people that attended each day. Wonderful messages were given by a Fundamental Baptist Pastor from Tacna, Peru, Pastor Henry of Calvary Baptist Church. Pastor Jonathan Jara, as well as several fathers of our young people, also gave excellent messages. The camp was held at the church each afternoon from Wednesday to Saturday, 3p.m. to 10 p.m. There were times of discussion about the messages and memory verses were learned. There were also ample fun times of games, a talent show and skits. Several new young people attended and heard the gospel, and six Venezuelan youths also participated.

            Now we are on the brink of another trip. Our youngest daughter, Debbie, was able to come back to Chile for a month and helped in camp. But now it’s time for her to begin her first year of studies at Bob Jones University. We plan, Lord willing, to travel with her on August 8th to the US, help her get needed items for school, and get her settled in there the best we can. We appreciate your prayers for her.

            Since it has been four years since our last furlough, it is time for us to visit supporting churches and hopefully some new churches as well. Right now, we are planning to be in the States for most of August and September, based in North and South Carolina. Please contact us or our mission board office if we could possibly come visit your church during that time.

            But then, and here is where it gets tricky, we will probably return to Chile to be here in October and for our church’s 30-Year Anniversary on Reformation day, October 31st.  The reasons we are thinking of doing it this way is because a number of our men who bear the bulk of preaching duties in our absence are suffering various health ailments, some serious. The Venezuelan ministry also suffers when we are not present as many can only come to church if we go pick them up. It is also increasingly difficult to find ones that can stay in our rented home, especially over a prolonged period of time. So, because of the blessing of being able to fly stand-by, we are able to be a little more creative concerning our furlough plans so that we do not have to stay away from our ministry here in Arica for too long.

            Lord willing, we would then return to the States for parts of November and December to make more visits to churches. Again, please contact us or our mission board if your church would be willing to have us present our work to your group.

            We would like to give a few updates as well, on the Venezuelan refugees to whom we minister. Joymar, mother of three, received Christ as her Savior several weeks before our trip to the States in July. What a joy to see her understanding of what Christ did for her! The day before we left for the States, Aliciany came to stay with us one night on her way passing through Arica to go to Ecuador where her mother lives. She was one of the first Venezuelans that we met in 2019, when she received Christ as Savior and then left Arica to work farther south. She still had the Bible we gave her four years ago! Two of Maibel’s children attended our camp and brought a new girl as well. Please pray for Maibel as she is waiting for an operation on a mass on her shoulder that could be cancerous and causes her much pain. Venezuelan children (and their mothers) fill our car each Sunday. These families go through great challenges and needs. Would you please continue to pray for us as we minister to them.

            We can never mention enough how much we appreciate your prayers for us and the ministry God has called us to. He is so good and faithful to preserve us in all our “goings and comings”. Thank you for YOUR participation in the ministry here in Arica, Chile. We hope to see many of you this fall. May the Lord bless you!

                                                                                                            Your Servants for Christ’s sake, in Chile,
                                                                                                          The Bjurs