Home again!

Here is a breakdown of this past furlough in numbers: six months, 18 churches, 20,000 miles by car, 18,000 miles by air, 90 nights on the road and 300 Chick-fil-A nuggets (guesstimating on that one).

What we can’t put a value on, numerical or otherwise, is the much-needed spiritual and physical refreshment, precious friendships forged, significant opportunities to preach and teach and, maybe the most important, the biblical teaching we heard on disciple-making that will forever transform our ministry.

In Our Absence

We are encouraged to return to the ministry in Pilar and see the progress made in our absence—on the building and in the lives of the believers. The folks made significant progress on the downstairs bathrooms, the auditorium and the exterior parking area.

Benjamin, the deacon in charge the past six months, and Adriano, our missionary intern from Brazil, have been taking turns preaching. Also, three teens have been able to teach and preach a few times, and are chomping at the bit for more! One of our newest members, Cesar, has been helping to lead the music.  It hasn’t been perfect, but the Lord is obviously at work to get this church ready for us to transition out. Please pray for wisdom as we work toward that end over the next year.

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A virtual tour

Project Update

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!

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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.

Rejoicing

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.

Furlough 2016

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.

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.

Good to be “Home”

2013-10-29 HBC Last week, in the midst of our home church’s missions conference, our daughter said, “If home is where the heart is, then I must have a lot of hearts!”  That pretty much sums up our sentiments!  It was so encouraging to be among family at Hillsdale Baptist in Tampa, Florida where the folks are excited about missions and missionaries.

The children and adults gave a very generous combined offering toward the Pilar land fund, bringing the total to $85,200.  Praise the Lord! Only $34,800 more to buy the property! Wouldn’t it be exciting to have the funds in hand to make that purchase as soon as we get back to Argentina in January?

If you would like to be a part of giving to this project, please send your donation to Baptist World Mission, with “Greenwood Land Fund” in the memo line.

2013-10-27 HBC

Sunday morning James preached on Proverbs 16:1-9 (click here for sermon).

1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.

2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.

3 Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.

4 The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.

7 When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.

9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.

When we have the proper perspective of God, the proper position will be prostrate before Him.
“…there is a proper posture involved in fearing the Lord. Those who in scripture are described as fearing the Lord are always found prostrate before a Holy God. When we see ourselves for who we really are we discover the greatness of God and worship Him accordingly. You will never hate your sin until you learn to reverence the Savior.”

The previous (8/25) message on the first two verses is here.

For the Sake of His Name

gbcWhat is the purpose of leaving the ministry in Argentina, traveling thousands of miles to dozens of churches?  Well, the number one reason would be to express our gratitude to our supporting churches and tell of the fruit that abounds to their account (Phil. 4:17b) because of their giving to missions.

The second reason is to educate and encourage believers regarding missions.  Lord willing, the Lord will use our first-hand testimony from the mission field to speak to someone’s heart about going to the field himself.

 

The words of this hymn, For the Sake of His Name, embody the message we want to share with the churches we visit:

FOR THE SAKE OF HIS NAME (Text by Chris Anderson; Tune by Greg Habegger)

Go to the world for the sake of His name;
To every nation His glory proclaim.
Pray that the Spirit wise
Will open darkened eyes,
Granting new life to display Jesus’ fame.

Refrain:
In Jesus’ power, preach Christ to the lost;
For Jesus’ glory, count all else but loss.
Gather from every place
Trophies of sov’reign grace.
Lest life be wasted, exalt Jesus’ cross.

Love the unloved for the sake of His name;
Like Christ, befriend those whose heads hang in shame.
Jesus did not condemn,
But was condemned for them.
Trust gospel pow’r, for we once were the same.

Rescue the lost for the sake of His name;
As Christ commands, snatch them out of the flame.
Tell that when Jesus died
God’s wrath was satisfied.
Urge them to flee to the Lamb who was slain.

Look to the Throne for the sake of His name;
Think of the throng who will share in His reign.
Some for whose souls we pray
Will share our joy that day,
Joining our song for the sake of His name!

Copyright 2013 ChurchWorksMedia.com.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/75827106]

Furlough Travels – September

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God has been blessing exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think. Through the generosity of His people, He provided a reliable minivan and a comfortable house in the Tampa area for us to use. He has given us especially sweet fellowship with our home church, extended family and friends. It is a joy to report to our supporting churches and observe them remaining true to God’s Word.

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I once heard the story of a man whose neighbor was trying to install a television antenna on his roof and was really struggling to get it done by himself. The man walked over and offered to help. He had a collection of nice tools and everything needed for the task. When they finished the job, his neighbor looked at his rather impressive toolkit and asked what he made with such tools. “Friends mostly,” the man answered.

Since we have been home, God has given James many opportunities to use his carpentry skills, not just to make friends, but to express our gratitude to those who have been a blessing to us over the years, whether our home church, pastors, friends or other ministries.

We continue to receive positive reports from the work in Pilar. Pastor Crowder is encouraging the men to take on more leadership. One man, Hector, is now translating (from Portuguese to Spanish) on Wednesday nights, while Carlos is still interpreting on Sunday mornings. Our prayer is that God would work during this time to reveal the next pastor for this work.