Yet another challenge (No ice buckets required!)

ice-bucket-challengeNo doubt you are aware of the Ice Bucket Challenge videos spreading through the internet like wildfire. The purpose of these videos is to raise awareness and funds for a disease called ALS.  Before this social media phenomenon began, many of the participants and viewers of the videos probably never even knew what this cruel disease is all about. I did, because my own sister passed away four years ago from ALS. That’s why I am glad my husband and children responded to their challenges, though they realize the momentary discomfort of being deluged with ice water is nothing compared to suffering from the disease.

As Christians, however, we need to raise awareness for another disease that is even worse than ALS. It’s an infirmity that attacks your heart, then your mind, and finally your body. It causes you to do things that hurt yourself and others. Lastly, it causes an awful, drawn-out death where you feel like you are burning with a fever you’ve never felt before. This horrific disease is called sin.  Sadly, I must tell you that I have this disease. Thankfully, when I was a teenager someone told me about the cure found in Jesus Christ and I no longer have to fear dying from this malady!  My husband and I are so grateful for what Jesus did to save us from this eternal death, that we can’t help but share His cure with others.  That is precisely why we are in Argentina.

evangelize

Those who support us on the mission field don’t need to make a video of themselves throwing ice water on their head, nor do they need to be publicly challenged on social media. They respond to the Lord’s leading in their life, praying for us and quietly write out their check and place it in the offering plate or the mail box. For you, we are grateful.

Faith Promise (1)

There may be others out there who do not give to missions and do not share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others. I challenge you, Christian, to start doing both!

go ye

“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

I could tell you that you have 24 hours to complete this challenge, but instead I will say that this ought to be a part of your 24/7 daily life.  Every day, ask God for a divine appointment [God bringing someone into your life who needs to hear this news] to share His cure for this disease called sin. As you begin to share Christ either through giving out a tract, sharing your personal testimony or giving the Gospel with those who are dying and going to Hell, you will begin to have a burden to do more.  You will want to give to missions and even go on mission trips because you love your Savior, Jesus Christ.

make-disciples

By His grace alone,

~Amy 

Future Ministries

areco study

2014-07-17 Silva 029In July, we had the privilege of hosting Adriano y Josi Silva, future missionaries to Argentina from Brazil. They accompanied James to the home Bible study in San Antonio de Areco (above), where there were several unsaved who heard the Gospel. When James went back the next week, two ladies trusted Christ as Savior! The Bible study hosts and church members, Raul and Lydia, are beginning new believer’s discipleship with them.

champlin

We are very excited that another missionary couple, Seth and Lauren Champlin (with Baptist World Mission and based out of South Carolina), has begun deputation and is planning to work with us their first term.  Their goal is to finish deputation and go to language school in two years. We are praying to that end as well!

Renovation Realities

In our last update, we shared with you the huge answer to prayer regarding the property purchase. Thank you for all your replies via email and Facebook, showing your support and to let us know that you are praying. That is extremely encouraging!

Now that the waiting is over, it’s time to get to work! The church folks are putting in many hours renovating the existing structure, so we can begin holding services there on August 10.  So far, we have been able to knock down all necessary interior walls, replace the roof and do most of the landscaping. Over this next week, we hope to paint, clean and get set up for Sunday.

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Keys in hand!

Our hearts are full as we write this post, reflecting on God’s provision, protection, guidance and grace over the past few months. God provided the funds to buy the church property. In March that offer was accepted.  By God’s grace, after more negotiations and waiting for documents beyond our control, we were able to sign and take possession today, July 29!  To God be the glory!

2014-07-29 cabral 007

We already started clearing away some of the overgrowth, and have a church workday scheduled for Saturday for the real demolition to begin!  Our goal is to get the existing structure usable in order to have services starting August 10.  From there, we will begin the process of drawing up plans and pouring the foundation with the hopes of work teams helping with the permanent church building!

mission trip

Building on a solid foundation

2014-03-23 aniv grupo

Praise the Lord for a great turn out for all the special anniversary services, including two salvation decisions and six people baptized! We are humbled as we step back and watch God work in mighty ways in our midst.

2014-03-23 aniv 034   2014-03-23 aniv 098

We rejoice not only in salvation decisions, but in marked spiritual growth. We see major changes in quite a few members since our return from furlough (something we certainly can’t take credit for since we weren’t even here!).  A few years ago, someone wisely advised us that we should not endeavor in a building project until we had adequate male leadership. In God’s perfect timing, He has provided not only the funds, but also the spiritual leadership to begin the next phase of ministry.

 

Theme for 2014: Rooted and Grounded in Love

Theme for 2014: Rooted and Grounded in Love

God Gives the Increase

God_gives_growth_t_sm God is giving the increase here in Pilar! On the past three Sundays, we have maxed out our building, with over 75 people. We squeeze more chairs into the auditorium, and the two children’s classes are overflowing. Anyone who knows about church growth will tell you that when a building is even at 80% capacity, people won’t come back because of the discomfort.

In our situation, most of these are not first-time visitors; they are the faithful core, new members, as well as folks who have gotten away the Lord, but now want to get right with God. The leadership (pastor and deacons) is doing their best to keep encouraging and discipling these individuals. Pray for us!

Five new members were voted in on Sunday, with another six to be voted in soon. It is amazing to see their spiritual growth and God’s hand of blessing in the lives of each one as they begin to obey Scripture.

Vision for the Future

san antonio mapOur hearts are burdened as we hear of friends who have no local, Bible-believing church to attend. We are going to make a survey trip to two of those cities; one is in another province about eight hours away, and the other is about an hour’s drive away. Our immediate goal is to encourage the brethren who live there and as the Lord leads, one day send a missionary to start a work. Maybe the Lord would have you to be that man!

Good to be “Home”

mapAfter some bittersweet farewells, we hopped on the plane bound for Buenos Aires! God gave us grace through all the hurdles of customs and typical traveling trials. The Crowders greeted us at the airport, and James was excited to get behind the wheel of his manual transmission to maneuver through big city traffic again. We honestly felt like we had been gone 5 days instead of 5 months in the sense of feeling “at home” in our surroundings right away.

James and the deacons had a debriefing meeting to discuss what they had learned during our absence as well as to plan out the year. We met five new people on Sunday who have begun attending since we’ve left. We are excited to see how God will continue to work.

Furlough Replacements

furlough replacementsWe praise the Lord for the ministry of Roger and Sharon Crowder during our furlough.  They took excellent care of our house and the ministry. Many church folks gave testimonies of how their example has impacted them. One resounding message we heard was, “I want to finish my life well as they are doing. Instead of retiring and putting my feet up, I want to keep working for the Lord as long as I am physically able.” They allowed God to work through them to encourage the spiritual leaders to even greater service. We hope and pray that the fire they kindled will lead to God calling a man to be the permanent pastor of this work.