Missionary Correspondence from the Bjurs

May, 2024

“And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.” Matthew 18:5

Dear Friends and Brethren in Christ,

            With gratitude first to God, we’d like to tell of the blessings and His faithfulness over these past few months, beginning with VBS in February. Years ago, we began the work with the children, and VBS remains a highlight of every year. To feed Christ’s lambs always will be a high priority and privilege. Its endeavor is an expression of love to Christ, and so personal and important to Him that receiving a little one in His name is like receiving Him. We are thankful to the Lord for the great participation of our young people in teaching and helping in VBS this year. The theme was “Jesus Christ, the Best Friend of the Believer”. Our theme verses came from John 15:13-15. A good percentage of the children who came were Venezuelans, who come from homes with very different circumstances and great needs. We never know for how long we will have them. So, we were thankful to show them how we were enemies with God, can be reconciled to Him, and even made friends of God by Christ’s amazing grace and sacrifice on the cross in our place. Fewer                                                                                             came from the invitations we gave out in our church area. But we still saw God’s providence in bringing new children, a steady increase in attendance each day, and great enthusiasm to hear the gospel. Many                                                               parents attended Sunday’s VBS closing and heard the gospel as well.

            School started back up in March. It has been kind of a “blow” to have a number of our youth now in college in other cities. We would appreciate your prayers for Debbie, Nayra, Damaris, Karina and Nathalya. Also, Karim and Pedro, a young couple in our church, have gone to Argentina to further their studies. But one great blessing is that Ambar Matamala, from our church in Iquique, came to Arica to study medicine in the university here. She is living with us and is a blessing to us and the church, as she plays the violin and is active in the youth group.

            About 30 brethren from our church traveled to Iquique for an Easter Congress during the last days of March. The messages focusing on Christ’s death and resurrection were a great blessing, as was the fellowship with fellow believers from Arica and Iquique. The brethren from Iquique have a beautiful new sanctuary and were such hospitable hosts to all of us.

            Melody was able to make a trip back to the USA to visit our first grandson, Gideon Robert Bjur, born March 19th. Melody was able to help Jeremy and Daniella for about two weeks, and she sure enjoyed it! Just a side note: Robert was the name of Jim’s Dad, Jim’s middle name, and Jeremy’s middle name as well. We thank the Lord and rejoice in His blessing to Jeremy and Daniella.

             We are thankful that the Lord brought back one of our Venezuelan new believers, who had gone south for work. Guadalupe was planning on going with her baby to Peru, but the Lord has providentially worked out things providing temporary housing here and some limited benefits. She is a great joy, and it is wonderful to see her desire to grow in the Lord.

            Our daughter Debbie has just finished her first year at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. We are so thankful for the Lord’s guidance, help, and provision for her this past year. This summer she will be working at a Christian camp in PA as their videographer, making videos each week of the camper’s activities. But we are so happy and thankful that, through an unexpected personal gift, we are able to bring her back to Chile for a couple of weeks before she begins her summer ministry. She has not been home in nearly a year and has greatly missed her church and friends. She is always a great encouragement to us and the young people at our church. Debbie will also be able to renew her expired Chilean ID card while here. We’d appreciate your prayers for her travels and for her service to the Lord this summer as well as provision for school in the fall.

            We would ask prayer, as well, for a number of people in our church who are dealing with serious health issues. One of our elders, Juan Carlos Vera, had a “mini” stroke during Sunday School in March, which affected his vision and continues to cause headaches.  Jaime, our other elder, deals with only a 30% functioning kidney. We have asked prayer for Carlos Cousins before; he is going on his fourth year now with lung cancer, by God’s grace.

            In our last prayer letter we mentioned Manuel, who has severe leukemia.  Through his illness, he has come back to the Lord, and his wife has come to Christ. He was told that they could not medically help him any more here in Chile, so he and his wife travelled to the US to look into some experimental treatments. In God’s providence, he was accepted last week in a study at a hospital in Austin, Texas, where he is now undergoing treatments. His cancer is very advanced and he is in a greatly weakened state. This month their tourist visas run out, so we are praying that an extension could be given. His children are staying with their grandmother here in Arica and came to Sunday School last Sunday.  Thanks for your prayers for this family.

            Looking forward, we’d like to ask prayers for several upcoming activities. On May 31st and June 1st we are having a Ladies’ Conference for the North of Chile. Our theme will be “In View of Eternity.” Then in July, we will be having our winter youth camp. Please pray much for the preparation. We have used the church facilities the last few years, but we have had so many young people coming this year that we may need to look for another place to hold the camp, which has proven to be hard to find, and expensive to rent when we have looked before. Please pray for the Lord’s guidance and provision.

            How we thank the Lord for your prayers and support of the ministry here. We literally could not keep going without your prayers. The Devil is attacking our church through physical and spiritual problems in the lives of our believers. We know that our God is greater, and somehow He uses the prayers of His people to accomplish His work. Thank you so much.

                                                                                                                 May the Lord bless you,

                                                                                                                        The Bjurs