Unexpected, God-intended consequences

God has done some pretty amazing things since we have begun to implement changes in order to create a disciple-making culture in our church! As believers realize the implications of being a true follower of Jesus Christ, they have begun to take their Christian walk seriously, to pray earnestly for and witness to their unsaved contacts, to practice love and good works and to mentor believers less mature in the faith. In the past seven months, 16 adults have trusted Christ as Savior and almost all of them are being discipled. Last week, L., the adult son of one of our church members, as well as R., the father of a church member, both trusted Christ!

Creation Conference

On July 19-21, our church hosted a Creation Conference with Missionary Jonathan Rehfeldt as an evangelistic outreach. This conference was originally planned to take place at a another church here in Buenos Aires, but the church had to cancel. We (James and Amy) were already scheduled to be a part of a conference in Brazil during that time, but our church leaders agreed to go ahead and host it. Just a few hours before it was to begin, there was no electricity in the church building! It’s winter here, so that meant no heat either. The business next-door had power, so they allowed us to run an extension cord so that we could at least have basic lights and run the audio and PowerPoint.

Our church people had to overcome several other major obstacles during the week, but at the end of it all, the Lord was glorified. There were about 40 visitors each of the three nights and one lady, M., got saved. Because of the event promotion, people who had been looking for a church found us and started attending.

As a side note, the power company fixed the problem ten days and four official complaints later! 

Disciple-Making Seminar

Please pray for the preparations for our first South American Disciple-Making Seminar this September 11-13 for missionaries and national pastors. Our church in Pilar is generously preparing the meals for this three-day conference. As of today, 95 missionaries, national pastors and their wives from 6 different provinces in Argentina, as well as the countries of Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Chile, Mexico, United States and even Australia are registered to attend. Please pray for the Lord to work in the many, many details of this important event—transportation, meals, lodging, logistics, etc.

 Our prayer is that this conference will challenge each attendee to be a disciple maker and that we would be able to create a network of like-minded churches that can help one another start more churches.

Family Matters

In July, we were privileged to go to Curitiba, Brazil, for James to speak at a missionary training conference for Brazilian missionaries. It was such a blessing to observe how God is working in our neighboring Brazil and to be able to minister to fellow missionaries who are serving in the cities and jungles of Brazil, as well as Mozambique, Africa.  We also spent time learning from our hosts and veteran missionaries, Ed and Jan Alexander, about ministry in Brazil.

By His grace alone,

the Greenwoods

Disciple-Making Seminar

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We are privileged to be able to host the first South American Disciple-Making Seminar this September for national pastors and missionaries. Pastor Tim Potter, from Mentor, Ohio, will be the main speaker. In order to make this conference possible for many of the national pastors and missionaries, ARCH ministries has graciously agreed to cover the lodging, and our church in Pilar is providing the meals for this 3-day conference. We anticipate about 100 national pastors, missionaries and their wives to attend.

Our goal is to encourage these ministers to implement a culture of disciple-making in their churches through this conference and by making available to them the same resources that have been invaluable to us (i.e. discipleship materials). Here are the books we would like to provide for each pastor:

Foundations (Los Fundamentos) – We can get them printed here for $2.50 each.

The Trellis and the Vine (El Enrejado y La Vid)

 

Please pray for the Lord to continue to provide the funds and volunteer labor for this conference and for the Lord to give much fruit for these efforts. 

 

 

7 years old!

2016 Inauguración #buildingtogether

What started out as a small Bible study in 2008, grew into a church in 2010, and seven years later we marvel at how God continues to work in and through this body of believers to reach Pilar for Christ. Members are growing spiritually and going out and witnessing to their family, friends, neighbors and coworkers, and there are unsaved visitors every week at church. In the past month, three folks have trusted Christ and are now being discipled. Sunday morning attendance has been at an all-time high. Those numbers are a mere reflection of what the LORD is doing in this church.

Our theme for this year is, “Each one Reach one. Each one Lead one. Each one Follow one. Each one Take one.” The idea is that every believer is actively involved evangelizing, mentoring, being mentored and taking at least one Bible institute class per year. The response has been amazing! Men, women and teens are doing just that! One of the beautiful things about this is how God is taking broken people and using them for His honor and glory in ways none of us ever imagined.

One way we are equipping our people to disciple others is by going through the Foundations book all together in our Sunday morning discipleship hour.  In 12 weeks, the 60 people taking this class will be familiar with the material enough to be prepared to teach it to someone else. Please pray as we “prepare the nursery,” so to speak, to receive new converts. 

 

2016 Year in Review

Deadline

2016 began in a pressure cooker! Working long hours in the scorching South American summer heat, we were pressured to get the new church building ready in time for the April 1 deadline. God continued to provide the health, strength, labor and funds necessary to make that goal in just 13 months, with only volunteers laboring Saturdays, holidays and days off! To God be the glory! See pictures here.

Dedication

The men in our church who work in the construction trade observed that our volunteer crew would accomplish more on a given Saturday than most eight-man crews on a job site get done in a five-day work week!

Before the building could be dedicated on April 1, we saw the dedication of many Argentine church folks and Stateside supporters with the donation of their time, labor and offerings. Thank you, once again, to all those who gave toward this project.  See pictures here.

Departure

One of the men dedicated to the completion of the project also proved to be dedicated to the Lord for ministry. We were able to leave Benjamin in charge of the church plant, along with the other two deacons and a missionary intern, while we began a six-month furlough. We departed Argentina on August 4 and look forward to returning January 31 of next year. We have visited 17 churches so far, including five missions conferences. See our furlough video here.

Disciple-Making

With a renewed burden for biblical disciple making, we head back to the field eager for the next phase of ministry. During this next term, we will go through the process of handing over this church to national leadership while preparing a detailed plan for the next church plant, which should include a Christian preschool. Please pray for wisdom!

 

 

Missions Conference Mania

This month we were privileged to participate in missions conferences at Providence Baptist (Riverview, FL), Faith Baptist (Taylors, SC), Tucson Baptist (Tucson, AZ) and our home church, Hillsdale Baptist (Tampa, FL). Missions conferences are an exciting time to set aside our regular activities and focus on world-wide evangelism. As missionaries, we love to have that extra time with friends, old and new, to share what God is doing in and through us in Argentina.

As soon as we finished the conference in Tucson, we hopped on a plane and raced back to Tampa just in time to see off our daughter, Lauren, before she journeyed to Puerto Maldonado, Peru for a missions trip. The Lord miraculously opened doors for her to help translate for a Operation Renewed Hope medical missions team with Buddy and Loren Fitzgerald. Thank you to all those who gave  and are praying for her trip. Please keep praying for safety and for the Lord to work in and through her during her time in Peru. She will give you a report shortly after she returns.

Words cannot express our overflowing joy at the reports we are receiving from the church leaders in Pilar. Attendance is better than ever – they even hit a new record with 117 for a normal Sunday service. The men are sharing the preaching and teaching responsibilities and the church is responding with tender hearts. Our missionary intern has added a new perspective with guitar and piano classes and a renewed burden for the youth group. We are also proud of how they are biblically dealing with difficult counseling situations as they arise. Please pray for protection of God’s flock in Pilar in our absence.

We have one more missions conference in November, and then we are back to Sunday meetings and more time at our home church. We look forward to making visits, canvassing and leading Bible studies while we are back in Tampa.

 

Good News from a Far Country

We are receiving positive reports on the ministry in Pilar. Our Brazilian missionary intern, Adriano, is preaching, leading the music and teaching piano to some of the teens. Benjamin is preaching, teaching and taking care of the administrative duties, as well as working his full-time job. Pray for godly wisdom for the leadership team as they counsel two families who are going through some trials right now.

During the month of September, we will be reporting at Mikado Baptist (Macon, GA), College Park Baptist (Cary, NC), Valleyview Baptist (Northampton, PA) and Bible Baptist (Shickshinny, PA). Please pray for safety and good health while traveling.

Perspective

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.

2016 Inauguración #buildingtogether

2016 Inauguración #buildingtogether

Building Inauguration Sunday

See photos of the event here.

See a six-minute video here.

[youtube http://youtu.be/xq8uWZBv5VE]

Thank You

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.

Wednesday, 3/16 - work day #5 - CBC work team #buildingtogether

 

What God Orders, He Provides

In our last update, we asked prayer for God to provide the $10,000 needed for the roof. In the month of December, about half of those funds trickled in. Then, just this week, one of our supporting churches pledged the remaining amount. Praise the Lord!

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As of today, the upstairs floor is poured, upstairs walls are almost finished and the steel structure for the roof is up. We will stay busy on other projects while waiting for bids for the sheet metal. The goal is to move the church upstairs by the end of January. Lord willing, in February we will demolish the old building and prepare the downstairs floor. In March, we are anticipating two possible work teams to help with sheet rock work. Please pray that the Lord works out those details.

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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Building on a solid foundation

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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.

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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.

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.

tools

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.

June update

unity_hands“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.

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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

Spiritual Growth

church planting handsIf you have ever planted a garden, you know the wonder and excitement of a sprout that comes up overnight or watching a flower blossom. Usually, though, day-to-day growth takes place that cannot be seen right away. Just the same, the plant is nourished and is becoming healthy and strong. With preaching, discipleship classes and the Bible institute, we know that steady growth is happening because of the fruit that is evident.

One example of that fruit is the “one-another” love demonstrated in our church body.  Members are helping and reaching out to each other as we have never seen before. One lady goes to visit a “senior saint” each week on her way to disciple a new believer. Some of the men helped re-roof one family’s house. Many donated food, clothing and blankets for flood victims at a sister church. Folks are praying for each other just as much as they are praying for lost souls. It’s amazing…and it’s God’s work!

September Update

Church News

We are confident that God will help our body to heal and carry on after some difficult situations.  The Lord has already brought much unity and a renewed spirit of evangelism. Spontaneously, the men are getting together to play soccer, bringing unsaved contacts with them. God continues to bring visitors and attendance is at an all-time high in the various discipleship classes.

Be our Guest!

Right now we have the joy of hosting Paul and Karen Smallridge from a supporting church, Fellowship Baptist Church in Taylors, South Carolina. They are a blessing in their fellowship as well as their help with many projects. They are retired and use their time to serve the Lord by being an encouragement to missionaries around the world. We appreciate all they are doing during the 10 days they are with us!  If you would like to take a trip to Argentina, our door is always open!

Thank You!

An enormous THANK YOU to Faith Baptist Church in Taylors, South Carolina for their generous gift toward the property fund this month. Our supporters have given over $21,400 so far! The church folks here have given $14,700. (Since some of that amount is in Argentine pesos, it is decreasing as the peso devalues.)  Please pray with us specifically that God would provide $100,000 more, and that we would be able to make this purchase in October.

Another big praise is that a church in North Carolina decided to take us on for support. The Lord provides in unexpected ways!

August Update

Practicing Hospitality

  Here in the southern hemisphere, July is the coldest month of the year. (Nothing like the heat wave our friends in the Southeast experienced!)  We normally take a break from extra church activities because so many church people are sick and/or it’s a hardship to just get to church walking or on a bus in the cold.  With all of our newly-found “free time,” we had a great time hosting various church members in our home on Sunday afternoons throughout the month.

Teaching Others

  The first Sunday in August, we start up discipleship classes again.  We’ve added a new class for the children and changed the time to Sunday evenings, so that it will be a more cohesive ministry.  The men will continue their study in The Training of the Twelve, and the women will begin a study based on the Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free.

Thank you!

  An immense THANK YOU to Fairview Baptist in Decatur, Alabama, and Tucson Baptist Temple in Tucson, Arizona, and an individual for their generous gifts this month toward the property fund.  Church folks continue to give to the land fund as well. They have given over $16,000 US! However, as the Argentine peso devalues, it takes even more pesos to equate to one US dollar.  Please pray with us specifically that God would provide $100,000 more, and that we would be able to make this purchase by October.

38 supporters x $3,500 = GOAL!

“God’s work, done God’s way, will never lack God’s supply.”

-J. Hudson Taylor

Doing Business in Argentina

  Doing business ethically in Argentina is not for the faint of heart! Government restrictions are getting tighter every day regarding the way financial transactions are handled.   See the latest in The Economist: http://www.economist.com/node/21556273?fb_ref=scn%2Ffb_ec%2Fthe_blue_dollar&fb_source=timeline.

By faith, we are moving forward with the first steps of the negotiations process on the property.  However, our initial offer was rejected. Please pray we can meet with owners face to face and discuss the price, terms, and conditions of the purchase.

We are so excited to finally have identified a potential property for the church!  To date, the Argentine nationals have given 15,000 US dollars!  Combined with love offerings from our supporters in the States, we have $26,000 in hand.  If every one of our 38 supporters were each to commit to give $3,500, we would have the total funds necessary for acquisition and improvement.

“God’s work, done God’s way, will never lack God’s supply.”

-J. Hudson Taylor

May Prayer Letter

Growing in Faith

Discipleship could be defined as the “…increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16). About 24 men, ladies, and youth are involved in discipleship groups this year. These small groups have become the spiritual yardstick of the church as we get together to study God’s Word, edify one another, and pray in a more intimate setting. Praise the Lord for two couples who are rotating with Amy and me to lead the youth discipleship groups.

Growth through Multiplication

One of the most joyous occasions for a discipler is to see his disciple reproduce himself. Edit got saved over a year ago, was discipled, and is now bringing others to Christ. Pictured below is Beatriz, Edit’s neighbor, who trusted the Lord just last week.

Ramon, a church member who’s been in my men’s discipleship for the past year, is helping me disciple Emilio, the man who was saved last month.

I’ve heard it said, “If you don’t have problems in your ministry, then you probably aren’t ministering.” If that is true, then there is much ministering here in Pilar! Much of my time has been spent in various counseling situations, helping folks deal with their problems in a biblical manner. Praise God for His Word, which is sufficient for every situation!

Land Update

Our land fund is increasing steadily as our church people give! In June 2010, we began taking special offerings for the land project. Our people have given almost $3,400 so far. We recognize the effort they have made, yet we would still like to challenge them to begin giving sacrificially. Pray that God will give us wisdom as we seek His will and timing in guiding our young church through this process and as we look for the right piece of property.

Relying on God’s provision, our goal is to raise $100,000 for the property before June 2012. Will you pray and ask God how you can be involved? If the Lord would have you to give toward this need, you can send your gift to Baptist World Mission marked “Greenwood Church Land Fund.”

Praises

  • New discipleship classes
  • $7,096 in land fund
  • Two couples teaching the youth discipleship groups
  • Edit’s neighbor, Beatriz, who trusted Christ
  • Discipleship with Emilio
  • Three lay leaders in training – Benjamin, Carlos, and Ramon
  • Nine prospective new members

Prayer Requests

  • Wisdom and funds to purchase property for the church to build their own building
  • Men’s leadership class
  • Monthly support – 93%

January 2011 Prayer Letter

Rehearsing What God Has Done

December is typically slow for meetings, but nothing seems to slow down for this family!  We reported to five churches and had two other special meetings, besides all the typical Christmas activities! One of those churches, Calvary Baptist in Gray, Georgia, is a small rural church, but bursting at the seams in their love for God and missions. They gave us a generous Christmas love offering toward the land fund for building a church building in Pilar. Thank you!

Another church’s youth group collected an offering which is going toward summer camp scholarships.  Eight teens will receive help, so they will be able to go to camp.  Thank you for your generosity!

The majority of our other love offerings from meetings has gone to make up for the deficit of being under supported.  Please pray for God to provide the remaining eight percent of our support as we return to the field in February.  He has been faithful to provide so far, and we are confident He will continue to equip us to do the work to which He has called us!

Good News from a Far Country

God continues to bless the ministry in Pilar under the leadership of Pastor and Mrs. Schmidt. The Sunday morning attendance is maintaining an average of 65; there was a record of 40 at the annual Christmas Eve service; and 11 teens are signed up for summer camp so far.  Pastor Schmidt invited the men to come early to pray with him before the service last week, and nine showed up!

The Schmidts have been in the ministry for many more years than we have, so we are trying to observe them (from a distance) and learn from their godly examples.  They serve joyfully and make the ministry of the church their first priority.

One of the most encouraging reports we’ve heard is that one of the laymen, Benjamin, has begun a Bible study for married couples, with four couples attending.  James has worked one-on-one with Benjamin for two years, and this is the first time he has shown this kind of initiative.  Please pray that the Argentine men will respond to God’s call to be leaders in the church. As one pastor put it, “I do not believe the problem is God’s silence; I believe the problem is a deafness to the call or an unwillingness to respond.”  (Bud Calvert, God’s Passion).

Reversing Roles

It’s been an interesting balancing act to stay focused on stateside ministry while keeping up with the needs on the field. Our neighbors, friends, and church members–Alejandro and Andrea Quaglia –have been vital to us during this time.  Since they also speak English, they have helped with issues with our house, translated for the Schmidts, and jumped in to help any way they can at church.

With mixed emotions, we will have to say goodbye to this sweet family in March when Alejandro’s company transfers him to Miami, Florida.  We did get to take a few days to see them in Miami while they were taking a survey trip. We got to help them look for a house and learn about our American culture.  They immediately found an excellent church and Christian school, First Baptist Church of Westwood Lake.  We are so excited for the opportunities ahead for them, especially for the children’s education. Please pray for the Lord to fill the gap where they had been serving in the church, as well as their fellowship with us as dear friends.

 

December Prayer Letter

Rehearsing What God Has Done

Well, I must admit we’ve had an exhausting, yet exhilarating furlough so far – five missions conferences in a row is only for the young…or crazy!  It certainly does take the pressure off the family when we are reporting back to old friends and supporters, instead of seeking new support!  It is thrilling to “gather the church together, and rehearse all that God has done with us and how he has opened the door of faith unto the Argentines in Pilar” (Acts 14:27).

We enjoyed reacquainting with old friends as well as forming new friendships at our home church, Hillsdale, and four other supporting churches this past month.  It’s exciting to see the new growth and positive changes in each of these ministries since our last visit.

Good News From a Far Country

We are overjoyed by the response of our church people to the shepherding of the Schmidts in our absence!  Since day one, Dr. and Mrs. Schmidt have shown Christ’s love to our people.  We are so proud of our church people as they have made sure the Schmidts were taken care of their first few days.  Sunday morning attendance has maintained its average of 60, so that’s encouraging as well.

Summer Camp

Last year we began a fund to help send our church kids to summer camp.  We would like to continue that this year.  Through your donations, we can provide a discount to faithful church members to make camp more affordable, or even possible.  Click here for more information on the children’s camp.  The cost of camp this year is $76.  If the Lord would have you to contribute toward this, please let us know or send your donation directly to our mission board designated “Summer Camp.”

 

October Prayer Letter

Surprise!

Our true furlough arrival date had to be kept a secret in order to surprise our pastor and church family at Hillsdale.  The entire family was planning on being a part of Pastor and Sheilah Smith’s special event to celebrate their 25 years of service at Hillsdale, but the Lord had other plans.  Amy and the kids arrived in Orlando September 30, spent a few days “hiding” while giving them some time to relax and go through reverse culture shock, and then headed over to Tampa.

The anniversary was a sweet time, honoring two of God’s faithful servants who have been godly role models in our lives for many years.  We are thankful for their wisdom, counsel, friendship, support, and love.

Facing the Giants

We were all disappointed when James had to postpone his trip by one week in order to resolve some issues back in Argentina.  In follow-up to last week’s update on the house situation, the Lord answered your prayers so that there was no more confrontation or harassment before James left.  We do not know yet what the neighborhood administration will do regarding the fines they are trying to impose, but we keep praying that they will just drop the issue since the house is done and we are not even there.

The exterior of the house is finished, and the inside is functional for the furlough-replacement missionaries who will stay in it while we’re gone.  That was the main objective, and we can now say, “a desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.”  James arrived in the States on Wednesday, exhausted from the past few weeks’ activities, but glad to be together with his family again!  “No rest for the weary” as they say, since Friday morning we head off to begin a series of five missions conferences!  Please pray for continued good health, especially for him, and traveling mercies on the roads.

Looking Ahead

  • 10/10-13 – Faith Baptist, Taylors, SC
  • 10/17-20 – Tucson Baptist, Tucson, AZ
  • 10/31-11/3 – Hillsdale Baptist, Tampa, FL
  • 11/5-7 – Calvary Baptist, Winter Garden, FL
  • 11/10-14 – Community Baptist, Bradenton, FL
  • 11/21 – Parkdale Baptist, Gastonia, NC
  • 11/28 – Fellowship Baptist, Anderson, SC

September Prayer Letter

New Discipleship Classes

We recently finished Changed Into His Image in small discipleship groups on Sunday nights. Twenty three folks participated—that’s about HALF our Sunday morning adult attendance average! As we neared the end of this study, we asked who would be interested in beginning another one. The “catch” was that we will not be able to finish it with them, since we are going on furlough.

The response was overwhelming, with 25 signed up. We give God the glory for the desire of each of our church folks to grow in their spiritual walk. These Sunday night groups have been the highlight of our week as we dig into God’s Word together and hear testimonies of how God is working in each of their lives. Please pray for this internal growth to continue, and that it will lead to greater service for Him.  Read more…

James with his men’s group

Teen Picnic

Already having a jump-start last month to the youth ministry from the Mikado mission team, we had a wonderful spirit and turn-out at a youth picnic this month. Three of the 16 teens present were the fruit of the ministry of Mikado. Once again, the youth committee did a great job planning and executing the activities. We are proud of the way they have sought to encourage the teens to dig into God’s Word.

One of the teens saved last month, Sara, has already begun basic discipleship with an older teen girl, Cecilia. We have found that if we can get new believers “plugged in” right away, the retention rate is much higher. Praise the Lord for the willingness of Cecilia to serve in this way.

Teens playing Bible search game

“Discipleship is nurturing immature believers to maturity in Christ so that they are equipped to serve God effectively, especially in reproducing themselves in other converts.”

– Frederick, The Making of a Disciple

Family Matters

On August 22 we celebrated Josiah’s (our “baby”) 8th birthday! Upon his request, we took him racing at a go-kart racetrack. Click here for a short video.

The Lord has been gracious to allow us to build a house here in Pilar. After a variety of setbacks, we are working hard to prepare it for our furlough- replacement missionaries. Please pray for the Lord to help us get it livable and comfortable for them.

Praises

· New discipleship classes

· Sunday morning attendance average is now 58

· Church property fund – $960

· God’s continual provision

Prayer Requests

· Furlough preparations – home and ministry

· Willing and able men to train for leadership positions in the church

· Salvation of Claudia, Mele, and Marina

· Monthly support – 89%

· Wisdom and funds to purchase property for the church to build their own building

Looking Ahead

· September 3 – Lauren’s 10th birthday

· September 5 – begin new discipleship classes

· September 11 – teen activity

· September 18 – Amy speaking at ladies’ meeting at a sister church

June Prayer Letter

New Members

We are excited to report that 16 adults completed the new members’ class this month!  The next step is to have an interview about their testimony of salvation and then to be baptized, for those who haven’t been already.  They keep telling us how excited they are to be in a church where they can learn God’s Word and grow spiritually.

Little Ones to Him Belong

Now that that there are more members available to serve, we’ll be recruiting teachers for children’s church.  Right now, between the elementary and preschool classes, we have four teachers rotating to teach once a month.  That leaves Amy to teach a class every Sunday.  Please pray for four more teachers to take her place before we go on furlough.

Line upon Line

You can feel the excitement in the Sunday night discipleship groups!  There are eight men in James’ class, eight ladies in Amy’s, and six teen girls in another lady’s class.  Even though many have been saved for several years, this is the first time they’ve done a personal Bible study like this.

Last month we asked you to pray that God would give us wisdom to begin to identify and train male leadership.  The men’s discipleship class has been very insightful for James as he spends time with the men.  There are a few men showing great potential, not only in studying God’s Word, but also in taking the initiative to serve.

Evangelistically Speaking

The church men brought seven visitors to their outreach.  They had an Argentine asado (barbeque) and James gave a short evangelistic message.  He and another man will be making visits to follow up on these guys about salvation.

There was a good response to Amy’s Wednesday night English class from the youth.  A few of their unsaved friends came too. Pray they can come to the youth activity June 26.

For the past eight months, James has been doing weekly marriage counseling with a couple in our home.  (He’s a baby Christian and she’s not saved.)  Now that their marriage is doing better, they want to do a Bible study instead of just counseling.

Happy 200th Birthday!

May 25 commemorated Argentina’s bicentennial of liberation from Spain’s rule.  Our prayer and heart’s desire is that Argentines will find liberty in Christ and no longer be entangled in the bondage of sin (Gal. 5:1).

May Prayer Letter

Teaching Others Also…

One of the most exciting aspects of shepherding is being a part of the spiritual growth of your sheep.  We look forward to seeing more of that growth through the new discipleship classes begun this month: The response has been phenomenal so far with 23 men, women, and teen girls in their Sunday night small groups, 8 in Tuesday ladies’ Bible study, and 16 adults in the new members’ class!

Amy also began a 10-week English as a Second Language (ESL) course as an evangelistic outreach. Please pray that church people will bring their friends and that the unsaved will come to know Christ through this outreach.

Where Is a Gideon?

“Where is the man who gives up ambition?

Worldly desires are all set aside.

Where is a Gideon?

Where is a man?

Who’ll be a leader and follow God’s plan?”

The words to this song by Mac Lynch continue to echo through our minds as we watch God grow our church numerically and spiritually, yet we lack willing and capable men to serve as deacons and teachers.  Some are capable, but sadly, not willing.  Others may be willing, if they were capable.  Please pray for the Lord to work in the hearts of the men whom He would have to serve as leaders.  Pray for wisdom for James to be able to identify and further train those men.

Youth Ministry

With all the current ministries already going on, we are physically unable to take on anything else.  However, the need remains for a ministry to the youth of the church.  There is a group of about 15 youth who need opportunities for fellowship with other Christian friends.  We will be meeting with interested members to see about organizing a youth leadership committee.  Please pray for wisdom for us, and once again, willing and able leaders in this area.

Praises

  • Sunday attendance averaged 57 in April!
  • Discipleship classes began this month
  • Sixteen in the new members class

Prayer Requests

  • Salvation of Mele and Marina
  • Willing and able men to train for leadership positions in the church
  • New youth ministry
  • Lacking $383 monthly support
  • Schedule meetings for 2010/2011 furlough late October through February
  • Wisdom and funds to purchase property for the church to build their own building