By: Matt Postiff
April 15, 2021
Missionary Dan Vallette reports on his brief trip back to Chile.
Thank you for your prayers regarding my trip in February down to Chile. The trip had its challenges:
After leaving the airport and upon arrival at our house, in Santiago, I was greeted by our dog Lucy. It was great to be back in warm weather. There were some repairs and maintenance issues with the house that kept me busy for the next 10 days of my mandatory quarantine.
At the end of my quarantine I was able to go out to Camp. I was reminded of the great work that was accomplished these past years but also the enormous work that still needs to get done.
Thankful for the opportunity to be Stateside at Easter especially due to the fact that in Chile they are not able to get together in person as believers to celebrate our Lord’s resurrection.
I had scheduled a return flight to Chile in April to start with some of the projects at the Camp. Due to new lengthy lock-downs in the country of Chile no workers or materials could make it out to Camp. I had to reschedule my flights until later in May.
We want to thank you once again for your prayers, interest and donations for us and the Pirque Bible Camp ministry. Looking forward to seeing what our Lord has in store for us this year. Thank you once again for your prayers.
PS: Below you will find some projects that we would like to tackle this year.
By: Matt Postiff
April 2, 2021
No, we haven’t got arrested (yet) for breaking our city’s second quarantine, but it’s a huge challenge to accomplish our errands in two 2-hour outings per week. At least we have a special dispensation to get our second Covid shot tomorrow. We’re reminded of the prophet Daniel, who from youth to old age—for nearly 70 years—lived and served God during the Babylonian Captivity. Although a year has now passed since many of us have been frequently “locked up” in Pandemic Prison, “the Word of God is not bound” (2 Tim. 2:9).
Let us share how the Lord and His word have been working since we last wrote. Despite being unable to meet for services in person, we’ve continued ministries on the existing media platforms, including a dynamic Sunday school and a summer VBS which reached into other communities. Unfortunately, no conferences or camps were held, but Diane spoke via videotape to our northern ladies’ annual retreat this month. Our own women’s group recommenced again a couple of weeks ago with around 25 in Zoom attendance.
As of the end of February, we are officially a homeless church with our “belongings” scattered. The Punta Mira congregation voted to terminate the rental and move out, since we can’t effectively use it. We will continue to search (as possible) for a property to BUY, when we need it, in the Lord’s time.
It’s all about timing these days. A week into the new school year here, authorities announced another indefinite Phase 1 (strict lockdown) for Coquimbo. May God enable us, like Daniel, to be good examples, seek the open windows (of opportunity), and pray faithfully. Whether it’s 60 days again…or 70. I hope not 70 years!
On a personal note… Summer recently ended here, and it was quiet for us out in the country! After our vehicle broke down the first part of February, we didn’t get in any beach walks, thank-you barbecues, or building progress. BUT the Lord provided rides for appointments and groceries and the needed car parts after six weeks… just in time for the new quarantine.
Thanks for passing this letter on to those who don’t have email or cannot access the Southern Sentinel blog. We won’t be able to make the trek to the Post Office for a while!
Please pray for wisdom in travel decisions, that the church will be able to find a “permanent” home, for church ministries, endurance through all the online instead of in-person meetings, and for new believers.
By: Matt Postiff
March 8, 2021
It is fascinating to watch the various buildings coming together on the Bible Institute property in Pumalal, Chile. Hopefully with one more semester’s time in construction, the property will be able to accommodate students.
They have been able to make excellent progress despite COVID lockdowns and material shortages. Here is a visual idea of some of the progress:
By: Matt Postiff
February 16, 2021
Missionary Dan Vallette reports on the changes going on in their plans these days:
As you are well aware, COVID has changed all our plans many times and it will continue to do so. Here are some COVID-related changes in our ministry so you can get a better picture of what has happened and what is still to come.
Change #1: Chile Camps 2020. In March of 2020, COVID was in full effect in Chile. Curfew and stay-at-home orders were issued and enforced by the government. This forced us to cancel not only national but international work teams and retreats at the camp, as well as the rest of the camps year’s activity. Travel within the country was restricted and monitored. We were saddened not only by the lost opportunities to minister, but also for the standstill of the construction projects of the camp.
Change #2: Work teams. The original plan during the month of May 2020 was to host a work team from Northern Ireland to help us build a rock fire pit and the corresponding seating to go along the fire pit. This trip was planned two years in advance; we appreciate the effort the team put into organizing this trip, we hope to reschedule some other time. A work team from Pennsylvania scheduled for October had to postpone until 2021.
Change #3: Our stay in the United States. Our family left Chile in June for the purpose of our daughter beginning her university studies. We were to return to Chile in July. Due to COVID restrictions, we extended our stay until August. During August, we consulted with our home church and field leadership and felt that we should go ahead and take our furlough now. We will return to Chile in July of 2021. We are thankful for the extended furlough that gave us the opportunity to help our kids during this time.
Change #4: Summer of 2021 in Chile. Early in November we had to cancel our summer camps due to COVID restrictions from the government. The number of people that were allowed to gather and the social distance that was required by the government made camp impossible to operate effectively. We were saddened, once again, for the missed opportunities to minister this summer (January and February) to campers and staff.
Change #5: Dan’s trip in to Chile. Once again the original plan for Dan’s short trip in February 2021 was to have some work teams of volunteers from different churches of the Santiago area complete some projects during his time in Chile. At the time that plans were made and tickets purchased all indicated that we could host this modified summer activity. Now, due to new COVID restrictions we may not be able to have an organized work activity (there is a 10 day in house quarantine awaiting him in Chile upon arrival).
Change #6: Return to Chile 2021. Our current return date is early July. We have family, churches and supporters that we need to visit in June. The plan is to return to Chile, this time, without children. It will be a new stage for us in the dynamics of our ministry due to the important role that our children have played in the ministry all these years.
We want to thank you once again for your prayers, interest and donations for us and the Pirque Bible Camp ministry. Looking forward to see what our Lord has in store for us this year. Thank you once again for your prayers.
By: Matt Postiff
February 4, 2021
In 1992 our colleagues the Beyers were introduced to the GMSA family and constituents in theMission magazine. They shared the following testimony:
The majority of missionaries who are serious about serving the Lord overseas spend years in preparation. We were very surprised when God called us. Although we were unaware of what lay before us, we found that He had been preparing us over the years for this ministry.
Hartmut Beyer is my name and I was born in Hannover, Germany. My parents were believers and they brought me up in the church. At an early age, I accepted Jesus as my Saviour. God used a number of people to help me in my Christian walk. At the age of fifteen, I knew He was calling me into ministry. I learned to be a professional cook and also studied at the St. Chrischona Bible Institute in Switzerland. Upon graduation I married Gabriele Scheifele. We pastored a church near Frankfurt for the next seven years.
My wife’s parents were Christians also. While young, she took an active part in a missionary group. She studied nursing and received her title. In the meantime, God graciously gave us four children.
One day, while pastoring, we received a phone call which changed our lives. Someone asked if we would be willing to serve as pastor to the Germans in Chile. “Indeed we are willing to do the Lord’s will,” we answered, “but we don’t clearly see that this is His plan for us.”
Then I was asked a second time and the Lord gave me clear guidance. I had to ask myself, “Why are you so sure that your place is to stay in Germany? How can you preach the Great Commission to others and you are not ready to go?” Some hours later, I talked with Mr. Manfred Bluthardt, now (then) Director of the “German Fellowship Mission.” He and his family spent more than two decades in Chile. He was able to answer my questions. A few days later we were persuaded in our hearts that this was God’s plan for us.
The Beyers arrived in Chile in 1987 with the prayer that God’s power and blessing would be upon their ministry. They served for four years as pastor of the Iglesia Sociedad Evangélica de Chile, primarily in Temuco, but also in Faja Maisan and Los Lagos. In the beginning he was pastor of the German speaking part of the church, but after he learned Spanish he was named senior pastor of the entire congregation.
In 1989 Hartmut was invited to teach at the UCB (GMSA) Bible Institute in Temuco, a tenure that has lasted for 31 years. In 1992 the Beyers became associate missionaries of the GMSA, and teaching in the Bible Institute became Hartmut’s primary ministry. He served as rector of all three institutes in Chile from 1998 to 2000 and at different times helped teach at the Temuco Theological Institute (Alliance). Throughout the years the Beyers have also ministered in numerous UCB (GMSA) churches, including Mallohue, Lautaro,and 21 de Mayo (Temuco). Gabriele led the Bible correspondence course ministry for many years, an outreach to hundreds of Chileans.
Those who have labored along side of the Beyers know that their prayer was answered, that God’s power and blessing were indeed upon their ministry. Hartmut and Gaby, thank you for your example of godliness and years of investment training pastors and Christian workers, overseeing Bible correspondence courses, ministering in churches, and so much more. You will be greatly missed.
Hartmut recently wrote, “It gives me joy and satisfaction to see the new ICAT facility in Pumalal, and it is clear that the Lord is preparing a new phase of ministry for the William Strong Bible Seminary. We will always have a heart for the brethren and will not cease to intercede for all the work. Though they do not yet know what God has prepared for them in Germany, their children and grandchildren anxiously await their arrival.
By: Matt Postiff
February 1, 2021
Editor’s note: This update was from a few weeks ago. However, it still documents relevant information for the West family and their leadership training ministry.
The coming of the Son of God was the beginning of the fulfillment to establish God’s Kingdom on earth. In Christ Jesus, the King had come. Though He was rejected by His people, He has only departed for a season and now awaits the moment of His return. In the interim, the Church is tasked with recruiting future citizens for that Kingdom as we preach the Gospel to every people and nation on earth. We have an awesome and wonderful work to do. He is not only the reason for the season, He is the reason for our mission and all that we do!
What a year 2020 was. I believe that it will be quite some time before we realize all the consequences of the Covid-19 and its impact on our world. What started out as a two-week check on our activities nine months ago has turned into a global lifestyle shift.
At the same time, the Lord has been at work in the world and in each of our lives. We have seen the explosion of the Gospel’s presence on the internet with even the smallest churches and other ministries maintaining a ministry footprint in cyberspace. Because of the separations created by social distancing, I believe a greater hunger for fellowship has grown among believers. It is amazing to discover all the things that we took for granted ten months ago. It is important to remember that nothing can stop the work of God. Jesus promised that His church would be built. Rather than witnessing the demise of the church through the measures of the pandemic, we are experiencing the continuation of the ministry and a wise and creative response to its challenging effects. What an amazing God we serve. What grace He pours out on His people!
On the residency front, we are pleased to say that the offices that handle the processing have opened finally. Patti and I had an appointment the first week in November. However, about halfway to Buenos Aires the timing belt on our vehicle broke and we had to be towed back to Chivilcoy. Almost immediately, we were given a new appointment. On Thanksgiving Day, we had our application serviced, and we are now waiting on documentation from the Ministry of Religion to complete the application. This is great news! As you may remember, our son Michael had an appointment at immigration to continue his processing for his temporary residency. That appointment was a no-go as the offices were not open for service to the public at that time. This has been a months’ long saga and we are still waiting for his next appointment to be scheduled.
Our move to Temperley in Buenos Aires in January means we said “good-bye” to our beloved Mission home in Chivilcoy, where we have lived for two and half years, before this move to the big city. We will then have a little less than three months to get everything ready for the start of the Bible institute on March 22. It is an exciting, though challenging, time as we anticipate many things from the Lord as He takes us forward. I will be teaching the Panorama of the Old Testament class. There is still some uncertainty as to whether these classes will be done on-line or in the classroom (maybe a combination of both). The government is hinting that protocols may be re-imposed with an anticipated surge in cases in the Fall, which begins in March. We will see. We must be ready for any contingency. Flexibility and adaptation are a constant need for missionary work.
On the home front, we have enjoyed two great milestones in our family. Our youngest son Stephen was married on December 5th to his bride Samantha. They are currently living in Minnesota. Our first (and only) granddaughter Riley turned 1 in December. She is so precious and beautiful. She and her parents (Rose and Aaron) are currently living in Pennsylvania. Our son Doug quietly passed his third year out of the Marine Corps and is settled into life in Iowa. Mike, who lives with us, still enjoys the opportunities he has to work out at the camp property here in Chivilcoy. After we move to BA, we will see that he gets time to return and help out when he can.
As we prepare to meet the new challenges of off-site learning due to the restrictions of the pandemic, we are in need of the necessary equipment to address this need. Please email us for more information about these needs.
Thank you for praying for us. Thanks for good health, for progress in residency paperwork, and the move. Pray that we will receive the needed letter to complete residency, that Michael’s residency appointment will work out, and for a smooth transition to Buenos Aires.
Below, Michael is showing his work permit to work at the camp!
By: Matt Postiff
January 15, 2021
Missionaries Curtis and Diane Steward sent their January update just a few days ago. Here is some of what they wrote:
Happy New Year! We did it…we FINALLY moved on the morning of New Year’s Eve! With the help of 8 guys from our church, most of the major furniture got transferred the 10 minutes out of town. Little by little, we’re digging out from the “avalanche,” getting electrical and plumbing functional, and continuing to pack/clean in preparation to turn over the rental house by the end of January. Now we have the fun of decorating our blank canvas of walls and (hopefully) beginning to use our new home as an investment for the glory of God.
However, the new year of 2021 looks like a blank slate too, as the possibility of making definite plans and preparations for the future is limited. Even the rush to move has been partly motivated by the almost weekly threat of a return to Phase 1 (total) quarantine. That hasn’t happened (yet), but unlike most Coquimbo churches, our Punta Mira group has been unable to return to using our small building because of restricted capacity. Though some one-on-one contacts and small groups have resumed, we’ve continued with our YouTube, Zoom, Facebook/Instagram, and WhatsApp ministries…and are admittedly very weary. Curtis is performing a wedding later this week…not sure just how that celebration will happen.
BUT in spite of a blank gray horizon, our future hope isn’t built on do-overs and dreams of perfection, but on the Solid Rock. Our trust remains firm in the One who knows the year ahead from beginning to end and fills in every week and month between. His presence with us is the only sure thing!
Thank you for praying for Chile as a country. The pandemic has only exacerbated the existing social and economic problems. Please remember all those in positions of authority and responsibility during these stressful times. Because of differing quarantine local phases throughout the country, our mission conference and national church convention (normally held in January) have been canceled. We continue to deal with many deaths among our church family, and ones who are sick and need the Lord.
By: Matt Postiff
January 5, 2021
Daryl and Earlynne Thompson have been ministering well into what many would call their “retirement years.” They live in Villa San Ramon near Temuco, Chile and are holding Bible studies by Zoom or Google classroom and in person when the government COVID restrictions are eased. They have prayer meeting tonight, Bible study on Friday, and “church” services on Sunday. Daryl also teaches theology and ministry courses at the Bible institute.
They have not been able to meet with Chilean believers in their church building since March 2020. A deacon has helped to maintain the facility in their absence. They have been able to meet on a limited basis in some church family homes, but only in very small groups.
Older folks in the church who do not have Internet or know how to use it are especially isolated. When they can finally see their fellow believers on Zoom after a long time apart, they are so delighted. It warmed this editor’s heart to hear that report and it seemed good to share it with our Southern Sentinel readers.
Please pray for countries where restrictions are even more difficult than what perhaps what you have experienced. Pray for believers who have been isolated. Pray for missionaries whose ministries have been curtailed, yet who have found new ways to serve the Lord. Pray for projects that have been stalled, camps that have been canceled, classes that have moved online, and for in-person fellowship once again to be restored.
Search Southern Sentinel