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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.