For several months now, James has been holding home Bible studies in Duggan (a rural town about an hour north of Pilar) on a weekday afternoon. Some have trusted Christ through these meetings, while others are still attending and listening. We sense God’s leading to move these meetings to every other Sunday evening, one step closer to a church plant. There are several men from the church in Pilar who will be going out and helping with the Sunday meetings. So, actually, the reason for the move to Sundays is two-fold: hold the meeting at a time more conducive for people’s work schedules and give our men opportunities to minister. Please pray the Lord would give much fruit in the town of Duggan and this would help our men to develop their preaching abilities.
Praise the Lord for 90 ladies, 31 of them visitors, at our ladies’ tea! These visitors, many of whom we have prayed for their salvation for years, heard the Gospel three different times during the tea. Please pray for God to work in their hearts and that they would put their trust in Christ.
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!
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.
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!
No 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.
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.
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 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.
By His grace alone,
In 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.
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!
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
After a tumultuous year of ministry, it certainly was pleasant to have an important business meeting last week with all the members in one accord! God is good!
One of the major issues discussed was how to proceed with the purchase of the property. After weighing the pros and cons of all our options, we unanimously agreed it would be wise to wait until we have all the money in hand. We only need $50,000 more in order to make the purchase! Thank you to all the churches and individuals who have already given to this need.
James finished up his Hermeneutics class at our Bible institute with three men, and has now begun Bible Doctrines.
Our church co-sponsored a youth rally (a mini version of Farm Fest) for eight other Baptist churches in Buenos Aires. We were thrilled with the eagerness of the adult volunteers who worked all the games. Even better, our teens placed second in Bible quizzing!
We continue our monthly evangelistic outreach of taking religious surveys in the city center. This exercise is not just to plant the seeds of the Gospel, but also to help us all to be bold witnesses to the unsaved contacts in our personal lives. The Lord has blessed with fruit for our labor, and we pray He will continue to do so.
Just yesterday, two members have made great sacrifice to witness to contacts in need. One couple went to visit a former co-worker who had been in an accident and led him to Christ! Another church member learned of a friend in Paraguay who had a medical emergency and might not make it. He immediately got on a long distance bus so he can go visit the man and tell him about Christ. God is working!
As we have the opportunity, we also organize other outreaches. Last month, we had a baby shower for a church member. It was held in her home, so she could invite her unsaved family and neighbors. Amy gave a devotional with a gospel message and later had a good conversation with a Jewish lady about her need for a Savior.
By His Grace alone,
James & Amy
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)
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
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