Dear praying friends,
This year’s Christmas and New Year letter will be shorter on account of 1) an appointment and 2) an emergency that have filled our time more than usual. Explanation below!
A wonderful and blessed Happy New Year to all our praying friends and family! May this coming year afford us many opportunities to bring his light into this darkening world. “In him was life and that life was the light of all mankind”.
Several people have said to us that 2020 has been the worst year of their lives….We understand, having shared in many of the unexpected, terrifying and sometimes tragic experiences suffered under COVID-19 and lockdown. We would be unjust, however, if we did not testify to God’s loving faithfulness and goodness during these abnormal months, because he has enabled much healing ministry, powerful witness and merciful rescue for people in need. God is teaching us to glorify his name in every circumstance, in high and low places.
Our family particularly gives thanks to God for our three new, beautiful granddaughters, Amanda, Jessie and Emma. You can see them amid our multiplying family in our Christmas photographs this year. You will notice the return of Ara and Jahnn and the reunion of “Las Tres Terribles”, “The Terrible Three”, our granddaughters. Their short lives have already provoked in us much joy and emotion. Many of you helped us through that very terrible moment when we nearly lost Ara at Jessie’s birth.
And so the news: 1) the appointment: President Pinera has named Alfred again to office in the Palace, this time as protocolar representative of the Evangelicals and Protestants. Alf represents the interests of Evangelical and Protestant Christians before the government and therefore needs much prayer as providence has once again brought him closer to the authorities. This, when the country faces uncertainty socially, economically and politically. A referendum on 25 October mandated a new Constitution, a two-year process in which Alf’s part will be to seek to put as many Christians as possible into the constituent assembly of 155. So far so good as we bring together evangelical groups that are usually disunited. We seek those capable of standing up for Christian freedoms and values as well as seeking the greatest good for the nation.
And, 2) an emergency: One of our pastoral team (I prefer not to name them) was suddenly accused of an offence relating to events some 40 years ago. Our protocols demand that we take very seriously the accuser and relieve the accused person of his/her duties while the investigation is ongoing. We ask for much prayer as the judicial process works out, hopefully as soon as possible. Please pray for the accuser, the accused and their family, that God’s light and healing prevail. We know that in these cases we need to pray and trust that justice will be done in the courts.
Our family was saddened by the passing on to heaven of Rosemary Prior, Alfred’s dear cousin who, together with her husband David, introduced him to Jesus. We stood in the living room looking at all the family photos of generations that would never have been here were it not for their witness. All our love and prayer for David and family.
So we have had a strange Christmas, semi-presential, semi-filmed, but if there is one thing we have learned over this COVID period it is that God’s love and power appear in the midst of the most uncertain, unexpected and forsaken circumstances. So, we are glad to have begun 2021.
Blessings to all,
Alfred and Hilary