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.
By: Matt Postiff
December 22, 2020
After much prayer and discussion, the ministry team made the hard decision of canceling summer camp activities. Although it is not what we would have desired, we recognize the Lord’s leading and are trusting Him to work all out for His glory. We will take advantage of the “extra months” to continue working on the cabin and chapel projects.
Camp will continue its ministry to pastors and their families during the summer, offering a couple furnished cabins as a retreat after a trying 2020.
Uruguay is still closed to tourists. We have purchased tickets back to the U.S for a mini furlough/support-raising visit. We plan on being stateside from beginning of March to the end of April. We would then make the move to our new field of service, Uruguay.
As the year comes quickly to a close, we can easily count the few times we have met as a Lican Church body due to COVID restrictions. We have begun meeting again, but are unsure for how long before the case numbers rise and they lock down again. We do not live in uncertainty as to what we ought do, we obey and we assemble while we can. These times of fellowship are sweet and enriching. We only have a few months left with our Lican Church family, so we are making the most of it.
On Wednesday Liz finished up the ladies Bible study she was teaching. Most of the meetings were online, but they were able to finish up mostly in person. Several ladies gave testimony as to the encouragement the study had been. We pray they will keep growing and obeying His Word.
Please pray for:
Thank you for your part in the ministry here in Chile. May we all be found faithful!
Your missionaries and His servants,
Danny and Liz,
Micah, Matthias, Morgan, and Madeline.
By: Matt Postiff
December 1, 2020
Over the years on this blog we have highlighted the missionaries and ministries of GMSA. One family featured here quite often is Dan and Becca Vallette, who have ministered in Uruguay and most recently in Chile.
The Vallettes have been active in Christian camp ministry in Pirque, Chile near the capital of Santiago. A church even started on the camp property under the leadership of local gospel ministers. However, COVID has severely restricted the ministry in Chile, a fact that is probably not surprising to you.
Consequently, they are presently in the States, visiting churches and reporting on the ministry. Would your church consider inviting them for a visit to consider partnering with them in a work which can reach thousands of souls in and around the greater Santiago metropolitan area?
You can contact them through the U.S. Home office.
By: Matt Postiff
November 17, 2020
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7).
When someone is excited about getting a job done, their zeal drives them on and makes it happen. What is it that God will stop at nothing to do? Establish his worldwide and everlasting kingdom at the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. Politics don’t really excite me, but they do increase my desire for justice, truth, and godliness to win the day once and for all when the King comes!
We are thankful that the nationwide vote on October 25 was peaceful and quiet. The measure to write a new constitution overwhelmingly passed, so another election in April will elect 155 representatives to write the new document, and then another vote in two years will approve or reject the new constitution. As you can imagine, this will greatly disrupt the political and economic stability of the country. We appreciate your prayers.
We are thanking the Lord that Bekah received a request from Immigration this past month for another document. We were pleased to see some movement on her residency application (the last movement was in February). Mark’s still hasn’t been touched since December. Please continue to pray.
Our city advanced to COVID “phase 3” this past week, removing all lockdowns except the nightly curfew. Since we now have freedom to move around the city on the weekends, that gives us the opportunity to gather on the Lord’s Day! We still cannot all gather in our new building since churches are subject to a multitude of restrictions. We plan to continue our Zoom meetings and make available a couple of homes to watch together and have a time of singing and prayer afterward since there are no restrictions on personal gatherings of up to 25 people.
We ask prayer for our teammates, Andrés and Cle, as they look for an apartment to move into December 1. The lockdown has wreaked havoc on the rental market. Please pray they could find the right apartment in the right area for the right price.
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