Breaking down and building up

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!

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Winter VBS

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!

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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.

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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.

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Growing Together

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Opportunities to learn and grow abound! Thursday night Bible Institute classes are going strong, with 10 students in the Bible Doctrines class.  After a Sunday service, a young man approached James, indicating he would like to learn how to witness more effectively. So, a few of the teen boys are going to start evangelism training every Thursday morning!

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One of the most exciting times of the week is early Sunday morning discipleship classes. James is taking the men through a discipleship workbook, and Amy is teaching the ladies an inductive Bible study on the book of Philippians.

Our goal is not only to equip the believers for their own spiritual growth, but also for them “to teach others also.”  As we ultimately “work our way out of a job” at this church plant, we want to see the church continue to thrive by reproducing themselves.

 

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What a joy to see folks saved and follow the Lord in steps of obedience! Victor and Rosa each trusted the Lord and then shortly later were convicted about their need to get married. They wanted to marry in the church so that all their friends and family would come and hear the Gospel, which they did! A few weeks later, three of those wedding guests each trusted Christ!

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Future Ministries

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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.

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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!

A Biblical Philosophy of Church Planting

Every subject has a philosophy. It may not be spelled out, but it is there just the same — whether good or bad, right or wrong. Church planting has its own philosophy — godly or worldly. Of course, the true philosophy of church planting is to be Biblical. But what is the Biblical philosophy of church planting? (O. Holmes)

Dr. Otis Holmes wrote an article in May/June 2000 edition of Frontline Magazine, which recently appeared in the online version, http://www.ProclaimandDefend.org. You can find the full article here.

Before we began our first church, we wrote out our own philosophy of church planting, along with a timeline and methods tailored to the culture of Argentina.  We have had to go back and make adjustments regarding the specifics, but the Biblical part does not change!

Dr. Holmes’ article was an encouragement and affirmation for us to keep doing right, following the clearly established pattern in God’s Word. As we read his summary, we sort-of gave ourselves a check-up on how we’re doing in the various areas mentioned:

  • The Great Commission  
  • Holy Spirit Control
  • United Leadership
  • Teaching and Preaching
  • Independence
  • Fundamentalism
  • Discipline

Of course, there is always room for improvement!  However, by God’s grace, we will continue to evangelize the lost, disciple the saved, walk in the Spirit, follow Christ’s leading, teach and preach the whole counsel of God, allow the church body to make its own decisions, contend for the faith, and confront sin.  

We thank God for our spiritual heritage through a solid Bible education, an excellent sending agency (mission board), and a strong, missions-minded home/sending church.  Each of these institutions has played a vital part in who and where we are today.  Above all else, anything good we do, say, or think is a blessing from our Heavenly Father!  (The rest is all our fault!)  Thank you for your continued prayers.

Serving the King of Kings,
James & Amy

 

 

 

Motivated Learners

“For learning to take place with any kind of efficiency students must be motivated.

To be motivated, they must become interested.

And they become interested when they are actively working on projects which they can relate to their values and goals in life.”

– Gus Tuberville, President, William Penn College

For the first time in the history of our church, we offered a Bible college-level class for the benefit of every one age 12 and up. Dr. Fred Moritz (Baptist World Mission Executive Director Emeritus) taught four days (10 hours) on theology of prayer and one day (2.5 hours) on theology of worship.

We are thrilled to report that the average attendance of the class was 32, over two-thirds of whom were from our church and the remaining were visitors from the community or from other Baptist churches. The class was extremely well received and we believe it will have a lasting impact on the lives of the believers for years to come.

Dr. Moritz teaching through an interpreter

Judy Moritz ministered to the ladies at a ladies’ meeting on Saturday afternoon. She also helped prepare and serve food every night of the class as well as supervise the children during class time.

We are so thankful for the sacrifice of Dr. and Mrs. Moritz to come down to Argentina to minister in Pilar. Their ministry to us personally was priceless to this missionary family! The encouragement, godly counsel, and wisdom we gleaned from this remarkable couple was invaluable and particularly timely.

2011 Ministry Summary

Summary of 2011

Stateside: We wrapped up a short furlough in February with basically a zero net support gain, maintaining approximately a 91% support average. We held 23 meetings in those 20 weeks, 4 of which were for new support.

Evangelism: We held special evangelistic meetings throughout the year for the church’s one year anniversary, a sacred music concert, monthly ladies’ meetings, monthly youth meetings, and our first missions conference. For evangelism training, we taught the Netcasters course on Wednesday nights. Several folks have made salvation decisions in these meetings and on visitation. Everyone who shows interest receives follow-up by either the pastor or a church member, but only a handful have shown lasting fruit so far.

Discipleship: Our discipleship program continues to be the church’s primary strength. We held two semesters of Sunday discipleship and Saturday youth discipleship as well as 10 weeks of one-on-one with various new believers. The church body has faced several difficulties from within and without. Praise God for wisdom and patience in dealing with these situations.

Training Nationals: There are three men in James’ Thursday night deacons’ training. They have studied three leadership books and have been involved in visitation and new believers’ discipleship. The church will vote on the deacon candidates in January. We are still praying for a pastoral candidate.

Church Building: In September we began a second service to accommodate for growth. Between the two services, the church is averaging 85 in attendance. The Argentines have given almost 50% of the total $20,000 raised for the purchase of property. We continue to search for land in the city center and are also talking with the owners of our current location about the possibility of buying.

Goals for 2012

Following God’s leading, our goals for 2012 are:

· Begin Saturday morning evangelism door-to-door within a 3 mile radius of the church

· Continue small group and one-on-one discipleship

· After the deacons are voted in, continue leadership training as well as visitation times

· Continue to raise funds for the purchase of church property.

Prayer Requests

· A national pastor to take over this church plant

· Wisdom and funds to purchase church property – our rental contract expires in June!

· Spiritual growth and unity within the church body

· Spiritual and physical protection of and provision for our family

systematic studies

The Lord has brought us two new families recently and they both want to join the church! They are both from Pentecostal church backgrounds, but like the many others in our congregation, came to the realization that the Pentecostal preaching and practice does not line up with what God’s Word teaches. They were eager to get involved in some kind of discipleship. For the benefit and maximum growth of all, we’ve implemented a gradual, systematic discipleship program.

· Step 1Basics for Believers – 10 lessons covering topics like salvation, baptism, and daily devotions. This is usually taught in the person’s home, by us or another member.

· Step 2New Members’ Class – 6 weeks of Baptist distinctives, taught by the Pastor.

· Step 3Advanced Discipleship – 12-13 week, semester-based studies on Sundays, required for anyone who desires to serve in the church. This is taught on Sunday’s (like a Sunday School hour) by us or another member.

· Step 4 – become a small group leader – whether adults, teens, or children.

We visited both of these families and gave them the Basics for Believers booklet to start studying. We’ll set up a time to meet with them weekly to go through the book with them. This is a great way to get to know each other as well!

On the mission field, you really can’t take anything for granted. People grow up with no Christian teaching or training. Those from other church backgrounds have been confused by conflicting faith and practice. Systematic discipleship is so vital for a healthy church body!