A time to break down, and a time to build up
Sixteen teens and six sponsors from Faith Baptist (Taylors, SC) left a remarkable and lasting impression during their ten days in Buenos Aires. They stayed busy tirelessly helping with our teen leadership retreat, passing out over 7,000 tracts and VBS flyers, working our winter VBS and demolishing most of what was left of the old building. While they did some tearing down, they also built up our community, church body and us personally. We thank the Lord for their very encouraging visit. Please come back anytime!
Despite the rain and cold at the beginning of the week, the Lord brought more and more kids each day of VBS. One of our ladies brought up to 30 kids all by herself on the city bus! (Praise the Lord, the bus driver only charged her for two fares each time!) Six children made professions of faith during the week. The ladies also had a craft table to encourage the mothers to stay. One of those ladies trusted Christ on Sunday morning!
Going out with a splash
On the last Sunday of this term, we had the incredible blessing of baptizing 11 new believers and adding 11 new members to the church body! It was a glimpse of what our heavenly reward will be like as we heard each one’s testimony, how they were saved and discipled through the faithfulness of our church folks.
But continue thou…
We thank the Lord for the capable leadership God has blessed us with three deacons, as well as missionary intern, Adriano dos Santos Silva, to preach and serve in our absence. Please pray for the spiritual protection of the leadership team and the flock in their charge during our time away.
Would you like to take a virtual tour of the new church building to see how God has provided for this project? Here is a video so you can do just that! This video also explains the projects that are still left to accomplish before our furlough beginning August 4.
This past week, we presented the following list before our church to ask for folks to sponsor projects. Their commitments and/or donations are reflected in the “Amount Given” column below. At an exchange rate of $14 pesos to US $1, that is a substantial amount!
If the Lord is leading you or your church to sponsor one of these projects, you may send a check to Baptist World Mission marked “Greenwood Church Land Fund.”
In the short six-year history of the Pilar church, we have had the heartbreaking experience of having to discipline several members at different times for various reasons. Our desire is that those people would repent and seek restoration, but that rarely happens. This past year we asked you to pray for a former deacon who was one of those disciplined. With much tears and rejoicing, he has repented and returned to his family and the church. Praise God! Pray for him and his family as they seek to regain trust and establish new habits in the home.
Praise the Lord that He has provided housing near our sending church during furlough! We are also working with a ministry to purchase a mini-van. We will arrive in the States on August 5, yet there is so much to do before then— building projects, a teen missions team from Faith Baptist in Taylors, South Carolina, packing up our house to make room for Brazilian missionaries who will be staying here and all the other details you can imagine if you were to leave the country for six months. Please pray for the Lord to help us accomplish these things and for His continued provision while we are in the States.
It all started in 2012 in an awkward storefront, with a vision and a goal of saving for an ample piece of property in a central location. Two years later, the land was purchased and two years after that, the church has a new building with room for growth. God does indeed pay for what He orders! We thank God for His provision and protection, as well as His strength to sustain us during the past four years of this process.
Building Inauguration Sunday
See photos of the event here.
See a six-minute video here.
Many of you played an important part in this process, whether it was praying, giving and/or coming down with a work team. Thank you for being an instrument for His glory. Just a few weeks before the inauguration, one more work team came down to help install the dry wall. Six adults from Calvary Baptist Church (Winter Garden, Florida), as well as James’ brother from South Carolina, gave the project that final push toward completion so we could be ready for the big day.
One year ago this month, the church building plans were approved and we began construction. (See photos here.) In that time period, God has provided the funds and volunteer labor to get to this point. He has sent offerings from churches and individuals in the States, as well as from our church family here in Pilar. Three mission teams have joyfully donated their time and labor, with a fourth team arriving next week. Our church people have sacrificially given almost every Saturday and holiday over the past year in order to dig holes, pour concrete, lay block, cook lunch for the workers, clean up construction debris and whatever else needs to be done. For all these things, we give all the honor and praise to our great God!
The Lord gave us a blessed time, as always, participating in summer camp in Uruguay. This is the third year we’ve gone to Archie Perez’s (fellow Baptist World Mission missionary) ministry’s youth camp.
Besides our family, seven campers and one adult from our church came with us. James directed the games this year, which was a nice break from the usual routine back home. Two teen boys surrendered to full-time ministry while at camp! (See more photos here.)
Baptist World Mission missionaries represented (from L to R)- Jonathan & Micki Rehfeldt (Colonia, UY), Archie & Ruth Perez (Colonia, UY), James & Amy Greenwood (Buenos Aires, AR) and Paul & Johanna Harmon (Durazno, UY) (plus MKs scattered throughout!)
You may notice from the missionary picture above that there is a dearth of BWM missionaries in Buenos Aires. As a matter of fact, we are the only ones. Yes, it does get lonely! Even more importantly, as we look toward the future, we realize we need help! Over the next two years, our plan is to hand over the Pilar church to a national pastor and plant another church. However, there are no Argentines to help us like there were back when we began the Pilar church with two Christian families. Would you specifically pray that God would send us at least one mature Christian Argentine family and one missionary family?
Not meaning to sound trite, but so much has happened since our last prayer letter. That explains why we haven’t sent more updates – because of a demanding and exhausting schedule! (We will try to do better in the future!) Since January, the Lord has provided the funds, labor and health to install the sheet metal on the roof, move the auditorium upstairs, demolish the old building downstairs, install the sub-floor and begin laying the mosaic tile.
God continues to amaze us with how He is working and protecting us even in the smallest details. For example, the weekend that we moved upstairs, scaffolding fell on top of two of our men, someone tried to break into the cars in the parking lot and a tree branch broke, falling on our power lines and landing in the parking area. In all of those things, the Lord protected our people and property.
Please pray that God would continue to mightily work through the following:
- March 11-16 – Mission team from Calvary Baptist in Winter Garden, Florida here to install drywall
- April 1-3 – Special Inauguration services, with our home pastor, Travis Smith, preaching
A.ma.zing! An awesome work crew showed up and let out all their frustrations with sledge hammers on the old building’s concrete walls! In two days they got all the walls down and a large section of sub-floor leveled and poured. God is good!
Recycling at its best – We used the material from the walls we demolished as filler for the sub-floor
Getting started on the subfloor