Curtis & Diane Steward – Coquimbo, Chile
Hello today from our gigantic gravel pit: At our back towers a cactus-clad hill that would take two days to climb—not that we’re about to hike it! Before us is the cement-block wall of a neighbor’s half-built house, and beyond, the rocky Pacific shore of Totoralillo. Local wildlife consists of dry brush and tarantulas…and I don’t want to imagine what else! But in this barren place, the Lord has certainly provided us with “honey out of the rock” (Ps 81:16) during these challenging months.
Thankfully, our last total quarantine lasted only 30 days, but we’ve lived in Phase 2 (out Mon-Fri only) for several months now and with a 9 or 10 pm curfew for well over a year. Six weeks ago, our van finally died beyond feasible repair. While we wait for the Lord to provide something else, we’ve had to rely constantly on the generosity of others to meet our needs. Honey from the rock!
Another “sweet” spot in the stony landscape is a young man’s online Bible institute studies and his desire to go into fulltime ministry. He’d have to move south to Temuco (with his wife and two little daughters) to finish the pastoral course by the end of 2023. Thanks for praying about his future decisions and our own as we consider extending our term a bit past age 65 to support him in this project.
Finding property for a church in Punta Mira sometimes feels like getting water out a rock, for sure. Even the “leisure” and liberty to look seems like pulling hen’s teeth within the limits of our quarantine restrictions! Would you pray fervently that God would direct us to the last great corner of the neighborhood? We’ve been a homeless church now for three months. Some of the new believers have expressed curiosity about what a “real” church is like and their desire to meet brothers and sisters in Christ in person. Older members long to get back together on a regular basis, but we do need a meeting place big enough to be practical. Interestingly, even an unsaved dad recently asked, “But where are my boys going to go to Sunday school now?” He offered a piece of his own land, but it’s too far out in the country for most of the congregation.
In the meantime… the church leaders record Sunday services as well as Sunday school classes for YouTube each week. We’re studying the book of I Peter this year, a sweet encouragement for a church struggling through hard times. Our Zoom prayer meetings and ladies’ Bible study are well attended and enjoyed. God has abundantly blessed in spite of the difficulties.
Please Pray for:
- God’s provision and direction to a suitable church home for the Punta Mira congregation; growth in new believers, especially women with difficult and/or unsaved husbands.
- God’s supply of our personal needs, as prices have skyrocketed for many basics; patience in tribulation, that we may count it all joy (or honey).
- Health and paperwork appts. that need attention and are often held up indefinitely; protection and wisdom, numerous deaths in the area.
- That we can visit our family when we travel for conference in December (Chile closed its borders in April-May so we didn’t make it to our daughter’s graduation).