Volume. XXIX, No. 6
Sunday, 10 August 2014


Chile Missions Report


For the past three weeks, I have been visiting the Bjur family, IBPFM missionaries in Arica, Chile. I would like to share with you about what I have seen and learnt there.

 

Arica is the northernmost city of Chile, just 18 km from the Peruvian border. It is a port city in a desert area. According to Wikipedia it has a population of 196,590 people, about a sixth of that of Adelaide. A majority of Ariqueños (people of Arica) would consider themselves to be (Roman) Catholics. Of the Evangelical Christians a large number are Pentecostal. There are several fundamental Baptist churches in Arica but also Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

 

History

 

Rev Jim and Mrs Melody Bjur came to Chile in 1992 and spent the first 18 months in Iquique, learning the language and the way churches are run here. In October 1993 they moved to Arica with their 8 month old baby, Rebekah (Becky). They first started the church in their house. They would go out walking with Becky in the pram and tracts tucked in the sides. Having a baby and being foreigners, they easily attracted attention and could pass tracts to people and invite them to come to church at their house. At that time there were not many buildings in the area and since their house has a second storey they could point it out with ease. That is how the Manantial (Fountain) Fundamental Bible Presbyterian Church began. In 1998 they were able to purchase land, a corner block, visible from the main road (Pan American Highway) to the airport and building began in 2001. When the church was built it was the building which marked the edge of town. In the past few years, new apartment buildings have been erected stretching the boundaries of the city.

 

Rev Jonathan and Mrs Janeth Jara are also IBPFM missionaries in Arica. They look after Berea Fundamental BP church on the other side of town in an area called Cerro La Cruz.

 

Current activities

 

Manantial Church has two services each Lord’s Day. The morning one (at 11 am) is what they call Sunday School and the evening one (at 7:30 pm) is the Worship service. This is normal for churches in Chile. The Sunday School service begins with a time of singing, then there is a short talk, similar to our Children’s talks of the past. After this the congregation splits up into age based classes, with three different classes for children, one for young people and one for adults. This lesson time runs for about 45 minutes, after which everyone gathers back together in the sanctuary for announcements, welcomes, birthday acknowledgements, offering, closing song and prayer.

 

Each Wednesday night at 8pm there is a prayer meeting which is held at the church. A message is given here too. The Ladies’ Bible study group meets at 4pm on Thursday afternoons and is normally attended by about 10-12 ladies. Friday nights is for Kids’ Bible Club at 8pm. They had a break for vacation time. On Saturday nights at 7:30pm there is a Young People’s Bible study. This is currently being held at the Bjur’s home because of a decrease in attendance. They have share and prayer time before their Bible study and then some snacks after.  A Men’s Bible study is held once a month on a Friday night.

 

The Berean church has similar meetings, with the Prayer meetings being on Thursday nights instead. Occasionally they will have services or Bible conferences together. Both churches organise their own Vacation Bible Schools to reach out to children in their neighbourhood. VBS is normally held during the second to last week of summer vacation in February. Occasionally they are able to organise a VBS in winter too.

 

IBPFM has long had a desire to establish a seminary or Bible College here in Arica to train up locals to minister in Chile, Peru and Bolivia but there has been and continues to be a lack of interested men.

 

My Time in Chile

 

During my time here in Arica I have been able to attend the various services and Bible studies of the Manantial Church. The day after I arrived I was welcomed by a special afternoon tea (for ladies only) which was held after the ladies Bible study. There was so much food. The ladies were friendly. They had difficulty pronouncing my name but tried hard. Attempts were made to communicate, with varying degrees of success, in English and Spanish. The following day (Friday) I went with Mrs Bjur and their younger daughter Debbie to invite children hanging out in the street behind the church to come to Kids Bible Club. Pastor Jim told me that it is harder to find children out on the streets these days. On my first Sunday there I had the privilege of being able to give one of the Sunday morning talks. I prepared it in Spanish and had it checked by Mrs Bjur the night before. After I finished talking she got up and did an impromptu review which I was grateful for. It reinforced what I’d said and showed people had understood me.

 

On Monday morning there was a little working bee. About 10 people came and helped with tidying up the office and store room and preparing the guest room for Pastor Nadir Carreño and his wife who were coming up from Santiago for a Bible conference. Another couple from Santiago turned up at the church unexpectedly on Tuesday and had been planning to sleep in their car but the Carreños spotted them when they went out to buy bread and they were able to stay at the church too.  I played piano for the Wednesday night prayer meeting. Pastor Carreño gave a message on church history. The following afternoon Mrs Carreño gave a talk to the ladies Bible study group. She began by talking about the importance of knowing what we believe in and then went on to a lesson on the first sins (unbelief, pride, disobedience) and what we should have instead (faith, humility, obedience).

 

A Bible conference was held on my second weekend in Chile. It was on the second coming of Christ. Pastor Carreño was the guest speaker. I helped Mrs Bjur with the Children’s program which was run for three of the four Bible Conference sessions. The young people presented two different song items during the conference and I accompanied them on piano. I also played for one of the services. On Sunday night there was a special graduation service for Jeremy Bjur, the elder son, who just finished year 12 of home schooling. This was followed by a celebratory dinner.

 

During my last week lead a Bible study for the ladies and repeated it for the young people. It truly was by God’s grace that I could do this (and the lesson that first Sunday). It is always a privilege to be able to share God’s word but doing it in another language adds stress and promotes a far greater dependence on God.

 

A project I started working on but haven’t completed yet is typing out the words for a compilation of over 800 songs and choruses in Spanish. A pastor from one of the churches in Southern Chile complied these songs and choruses with music. He did this because sometimes songs are passed from one person to another but without music and then people forget how the songs go and gradually they are lost. This work brings a whole lot together but the book is too big for them to print copies for the general congregation so they would like a version with just the words which should be a more manageable size.

 

On my final weekend in Arica I twice got to watch Mrs Bjur use her ventriloquist skills to share Bible lessons. The first time was as a special surprise for a VBS run by some Brazilian missionaries and the second time was for the Sunday School talk. She is very good at this and holds the attention of all who are watching and listening well.

 

Each night before going to bed we had prayer time together and quite often we also listened to a chapter from Proverbs and shared about which verses stood out for us and why.

 

I enjoyed my time in Arica and am thankful that I could go, visit the Bjurs, meet the people there and have opportunities to serve God in different ways. We have all been given the Great Commission, to share the gospel with the world. Each of us can start by looking at the mission fields around us where we are now, in our own Jerusalems, and even if we cannot go further we can support those who have, possibly with gifts, but at least with prayer.

 

Prayer Requests

 

Opportunities to organise mission trips to Peru.

 

Need of seminary and annual camps for training and edifying believers.

 

Becky and Jeremy’s studies at BJU. Becky is in her final year and Jeremy is just about to start.

 

Arica “Manantial” church – especially for more children and young people.

 

Berea church – especially for more male leadership.

 

Consecration of young people.

 

VBS and children’s ministries.

 

Homeschooling (Joshua in year 9, and Debbie in year 4) and personal holiness.

 

Direction for the Bjur’s future.

 

Deaconess Purdee Yeo

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Leader: Today: Bro Raphael Ng. Next Lord’s Day: Volunteer.

*From September, meal charges for Catered Fellowship Lunch will be Adult $7, pensioner/unemployed/student $5. Child under 5 still FREE.

*2013 Christmas Concert & 2014 Camp CDs’/DVDs’ are now ready for collection from the Bookstore. Please make exact payments when collecting your orders.

*Those seeking Baptism, Re-Affirmation of Faith or Membership Transfer, please see Pastor Ki or Elders as soon as possible.

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Deaconesses Joyce Gong (Adl/Canb/Adl); Bros Samuel Ki, Lucas Yiew (Adl) & Houston Li (Mt Gambier/Adl); Sisters Marion Chan, Nicole & Ashley Chia, Helen Heah (Adl), Xiao Hui Chye (KL) & Michelle Lee (Melb); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations. 

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Visitors & new worshippers.

4. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

5. Starting of Providence B-P Church by Bro David Weng at his residence, Valley View, today at 3 pm.

 Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bros Herbert (Dilly) Anderson (Kenya), Raymond Ang’s father (S’pore), Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (Sis Felicia’s father - S’pore); Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong, Margaret Hooper, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Iris Surman’s brother, Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi, Susan Weng & Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong; Mr Lucas Lee; Mr Tony Zhang; Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Mumbai); & others in affliction.

2. God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis WolHee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).

3. Chemotherapy: Sis Queenie Lau (Canberra).

4. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.

5. Cambodia Missions - Bro David Koo & Ministry (Sihanoukville); Bro Liv Rotha & Ministry (Kampot).

6. New Life BPC (London) - strength & encouragement for congregation; Resident Preacher Mok.

7. Laos Missions: Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry

8. Providence B-P Church, Bro David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

9. Journey mercies: Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe (Adl); Bros Raymond Ang (S’pore), Houston Li (Mt Gambier/Adl) & Lucas Yiew (Newcastle); Sisters Michelle Lee & Katrina Loh (Adl); & others travelling.

10.  Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

11.  Final weeks in pregnancy - for health & normal delivery: Sisters  Heng Yee Cheah (S’pore) & Tabitha Tan.

12. PR application: Bro William Song & Sis Yashu Qin.

13. Postnatal recovery: Sis May Lau; good health & development of Mia.

14. God’s comfort & salvation - family members & relatives of loved ones killed in MH 17 crash.

15. Christians under severe persecution & expulsion in war-torn Syria & Iraq. Salvation of Moslems.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063