April Prayer Letter

3…2…1…Blastoff!

Charter Sunday – 3.21.2010

Praise God for a successful church launch March 21! Three souls were saved. Several more new people have begun attending faithfully since the campaign week. (Read more…)

First Baptism

Fifteen believers publically professed their faith in Christ on Easter Sunday by being baptized. It was a special day as we saw our labor come to fruition. Many family and friends of those being baptized came to church for the special event, bringing our total attendance to an all-time record of 88. These visitors heard the Gospel, not only from the preaching, but from the 15 who shared their salvation testimony just before they entered the water.

This was James’ first time to baptize, and first in line was our youngest son, Josiah.

Teaching Others Also…

Anyone who walks through the door of IBI will soon learn that we take seriously the mandate to “…commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). Discipleship classes are available for believers at every level, and everyone is encouraged to be involved in a small group. Please pray for us as we begin a new round of classes at the end of this month. Also, continue to pray for capable men to be willing to take on leadership positions (teachers, deacons) in the church.

February 2010 Prayer Letter

Summer Stats

Statistically, attendance and giving numbers should be down during the summer. However, we finished January with a healthy attendance average of 35 and an all-time high total in giving!

As our attendance grows, so does our need for children’s classes. Amy has been teaching junior church since we began. She is doing teacher training with two ladies who are willing to teach junior church once a month, but we desperately need a teacher for the preschoolers. Please pray for this need!

Praise the Lord for two new families now involved in the church. One of the couples, Adrian and Sara, first visited just before Christmas. After the service, James counseled with them, and Adrian put his trust in Christ. They are now attending faithfully and have expressed their desire to join the church!


Summer Camp

Pictured below are the kids from IBI who attended summer camp the last week of January. They all had a wonderful time and made many new Christian friends. Two received a “camper-of-the-week” award! Four of the nine were able to go only because of your generous giving. Thank you! Pray the decisions made will bring about a lasting change in each of their lives.





Countdown to Launch!

The countdown continues, with 6 weeks left until Charter Sunday, March 21, 2010! We have a different church in the area signed up to help each night of the campaign. This month we are focusing on advertising. We will be handing out church information packets house-to-house during the six weeks prior to “launch,” hanging posters in local businesses and making an announcement on the radio. We have 8,000 flyers to distribute, so please pray for our people to get excited to pass this important landmark in the history of the church and to see new growth.


Furlough 2010/2011

We are planning a furlough late October 2010 through mid-February 2011. Our goal is always to visit about half of our supporters, as well as a few new ones. Praise the Lord that He has already provided a pastor whom we know and respect, Walter and Jackie Schmidt, to take our place while we are away from the ministry here. Please pray for God to provide an interpreter for the Schmidts.

January Prayer Letter

December Outreach

December 20 was our monthly evangelistic outreach. We try to do something a little different each month. Since it fell close to Christmas, we put together a program of music and Scriptures called “From the Manger to the Cross,” telling the story of Jesus’ birth, death, burial, and resurrection. Several played instruments, sang, or read Scripture. There was a total of 51 present, including our children’s piano teacher, Marina. Please pray for her salvation. Click here to see the video.

We collected the Christmas love offering, which will go toward fixing the floors in the church to make them uniform. Praise the Lord, our little church gave above and beyond our expectations! We look forward to completing this project very soon!

Countdown to Launch
The countdown continues, with 10 weeks left until Charter Sunday! This month we are focusing on the organization and preparation printing flyers and posters as well as scheduling other churches to help with child care, preparing refreshments, and counseling during the campaign. In February, we will begin literature distribution. Our plan is to hand out church information packets house-to-house during the six weeks prior to “launch.” Please pray for our people to get excited to pass this important landmark in the history of the church and to see new growth.


Prayer Requests

· Finish building renovations

· Preparations for Charter Sunday

· Summer camp January 25-30

· Permanent pastor for the Pilar Centro church


Praises

· 51 at our December outreach

· Adrian accepted Christ December 20

· Christmas love offering


Looking Ahead

1/25-1/30 – Summer Camps

February – begin publically promoting Charter Sunday

March 17-21 – Evangelistic Campaign and Charter Sunday

December Prayer Letter

Tear Down That Wall!

With increasing attendance and new visitors every week, we couldn’t wait any longer to expand our auditorium. (A great problem to have, for sure!) We worked four full days to tear down the wall between the auditorium and the garage, giving us about 215 more square feet of usable space. Please pray for our church people to continue to give of their time and resources to cover the expenses of this work as well as finish the floors. We will take up a special Christmas offering for the project. Click here to see pictures of the renovations.

Countdown to Launch

Congratulations to the six candidates who completed the second round of new members’ class! These, as well as the group who completed the last session, will be able to sign the church constitution when we formally organize Iglesia Bautista Independiente March 21, 2010. Our first baptism service will follow two weeks later on Easter Sunday. There are currently eight baptism candidates for that date! There is much to do to get ready for this charter daycanvassing, advertising, and organizing.

Summer Camp

Last month we asked prayer for the children and teens who will be attending summer camp in January. We would like to offer a 50% scholarship to those who attend church faithfully. The cost for children’s camp is $32 and teen camp is $70 per camper. There are 4 children and 4 to 6 teens who are planning on going. Please pray that God will provide the funds to help send these kids to camp. If God would use you, your family, or your Sunday school class, please let us know.

Ministering to People

Services and activities are exciting and noteworthy, as well as easy to take pictures of. But most often the most intense and life-changing ministry takes place with people in private counseling situations, home visits, discipleship classes, and phone calls at all hours of the day and night. As God brings more and more people across our path, we have more of these types of opportunities to minister. Praise the Lord for His Word which has the answer to every need! Please pray for wisdom in each of these situations.

Christmas Greetings

“For unto us a child is born… and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:6).

Thinking of counseling, we are reminded of Christ as “The Counsellor” as described in Isaiah 9:6. Our small sacrifice of service to Him in Argentina is nothing compared to His ultimate sacrifice on a cruel cross to pay for our sins. May we preach this Gospel to ourselves and to others daily!

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and financial support this past year. As times are tough for many, we realize your financial commitment is even more of a sacrifice than ever. Our prayer is that the Lord will find us faithful with the resources He has entrusted us with.



Prayer Requests

· Finish building renovations

· Preparations for Charter Sunday

· Summer camp in January

· Permanent pastor for the Pilar Centro church


Praises

· Work done to expand auditorium

· Six completed new members’ class

· New visitors every week!

· Wisdom from God’s Word to minister to people

· God’s work here in Pilar during 2009


Looking Ahead

· 12/11 – Youth Picnic

· 12/20 – Evangelistic Outreach

· 1/25-1/30 – Summer Camps

· February – begin publically promoting Charter Sunday

November Prayer Letter

Mother’s Day

The third Sunday of October is Mother’s Day in Argentina. It was a special time at IBI Pilar Centro as James preached on the Titus 2:3-5 woman and her role in the church. Our focus has been on the importance of teaching others, and this was a great day to carry that theme through. Pray that these women will be faithful “teachers of good things.”


Countdown to Launch

We kicked off our second round of new members’ class October 25 with eight in attendance. Those who complete this class, as well as the group who completed the last session, will be able to sign the church constitution when we formally organize Iglesia Bautista Independiente March 21, 2010. Our first baptism service will follow two weeks later on Easter Sunday. How exciting!

There is much to do to get ready for this charter daymore building renovations, canvassing, advertising, and organizing. We will take up a special Christmas offering at the church in order to fund the next stage of building renovations. We need to close in the garage, knock down the wall between the garage and auditorium, and make the floor between the three areas uniform.

God Provides!

God provided in three special ways recently. He used an individual to send us a large gift last month, which helped us get caught up from being under-supported for so long. The same person has also committed to take us on for support for $150 per month.

Also, we received a box of 3,700 tracts from the Faithful Witness Tract Society, a ministry of one of our supporting churches.

When a labor union came to the jobsite looking for a bribe, James told them he was a Christian and a pastor and did not give bribes. So, they made false accusations and filed a complaint with the ministry of labor. The Lord used a good friend’s lawyer to study the laws cited in the complaint and write a letter of response to defend his case. James is now in the clear! To God be the glory (1 Pet. 4:17). Praise the Lord for His provision in all three of these ways!

Summer Camp

Here, south of the equator, summer camp is just around the corner in January. Many of us can look back at important spiritual decisions we made at a Christian camp. James was saved just after coming back from the WILDS and then later called to the ministry at the same camp. We potentially have four teen and four junior campers going. Please pray for the Lord to begin softening their hearts even now.


Looking Ahead

· 10/25 – 11/29 – New members’ class (six weeks)

· 11/8 – Evangelistic Outreach

· 12/12 – Youth Picnic

· January – Building Renovations

· 1/25-30 – Summer Camps

October Prayer Letter

Highs and Lows
Life, as well as ministry, is full of highs and lows. It was exciting to see our attendance peak to 54 one Sunday this month. It is extremely rewarding to visit with new converts who are studying God’s Word and seeing Him work in their lives. It’s thrilling to see our church people remain faithful. However, sometimes our attendance isn’t that great; those we thought had strong potential get caught up in the things of this world; and the church got robbed for the third time. In it all and through it all, God is faithful!

Planning for the Future
We have been thinking, praying, discussing, and seeking counsel concerning the next step for this church plant in Pilar Centro. This Sunday had a church-wide picnic with a special meeting afterward to discuss church membership and when to constitute the church. Everyone there responded and indicated they would like to take their level of commitment to the next level. Please pray for follow-through as we organize service groups and study groups. We are working toward constituting the church on March 21, 2010 and the first baptism will be two weeks later on Easter Sunday.

A Special Visit
We enjoyed a two-week visit with James’ parents and sister. They helped with the house construction (laying block) as well as projects at the church building (welding security bars and raising a wall). It was wonderful to show them our home and church in Pilar for the first time. Their time with us was a blessing, though it’s always hard to say goodbye to family!

Construction Progress
Praise the Lord that the house construction is coming along! Almost all the exterior walls are up, and the foundation will be poured soon. God has blessed us with good workers and great prices on materials. Please pray this project will continue to go smoothly and quickly and that we will be a strong testimony in all the details.

Prayer Requests
· Protection from theft
· Salvation of P.’s wife
· Currently lack $500 per month in support
· Permanent pastor for the Pilar Centro church

Praises
· Permanent residency attained!
· Increased Sunday service attendance
· Visit with James’ family
· Discipleship classes

Looking Ahead
10/11 – Evangelistic outreach
10/18 – Mother’s Day in Argentina
10/25 – New member’s class (six weeks)

September Prayer Letter

Ministry of Music

The ministry in Pilar was privileged to benefit from a summer missions team from Maranatha Baptist Bible College as they visited several churches in Buenos Aires. They held three concerts in Pilar: one in a music school where our children attend, one in a private school where one of our church members teaches, and one in our church. We estimate among those three concerts about 400 people heard the Gospel and God-honoring music and testimonies. Pray that the seed would be watered that was planted in their hearts and that we would be able to follow up with those who visited the church.

Pilar Centro

With the three concerts and all their preparation, children’s day, a church work day, as well as the regular services, August proved to be a very busy month for us and our church people. We thank the Lord for the faithful families who sacrificed their time to help with these activities. Our goal is that our church calendar will not be full of activities for the sake of activitiesbut opportunities to evangelize the lost and disciple the saved.

The Lord has increased our numbers on Sunday mornings to an average of 33 instead of 23. Many visitors have come, and two new families are attending regularly.

Andrea Love, our summer intern, will be greatly missed. She helped in so many areas, including playing the piano. Our kids will be taking turns playing special music, but they have a while to go before they can accompany congregational music.

Nine people are now involved in small-group or one-on-one discipleship classes. Please pray for two new converts and that their spouses will come to know Christ as well.


A Place to Call Home

For the past 11½ years, we have moved eight different times in order to prepare for the mission field and, ultimately, to minister in this city. Now God has brought us to a place where we could spend five lifetimes planting churches and probably never reach every soul in Pilar and its surrounding communities. We prayed that God would enable us to build our own house in order to establish a permanent presence here and avoid paying more rent. The Lord has answered that prayer with a private loan.

The property is purchased; the plans are approved; and the construction has begun. Please pray that the building process will go quickly and smoothly and that our new house will bring honor and glory to our great God.

Prayer Requests

  • Follow up on visitors
  • Salvation of ESL students
  • Current support – 95%
  • Permanent pastor for the Pilar Centro church

Praises

  • Ministry of MBBC mission team
  • Increased Sunday service attendance
  • Ministry of Andrea Love during the past eight weeks
  • Discipleship classes

Looking Ahead

  • 9/3 – Lauren’s 9th birthday
  • 9/12-9/27 – James’ parents here to visit their grandchildren (and help with the house construction while they’re at it!)
  • 9/13 – FOUR-year anniversary in Argentina
  • 9/13 – Evangelistic outreach
  • 10/4 – New members’ class (six weeks)
  • 10/6-10/8 – Annual Fundamentalism Conference
  • 10/12 ­– Break down the next wall to give more auditorium seating

August Prayer Letter

Pilar Centro

“The house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth” (1 Tim. 3:15) is the theme verse for our church in Pilar. We know that the church is not the building, but it is certainly nice to have an adequate “house” in which to worship! After a full month of renovating, the building is a much more suitable place to meet. Because of its central location, many have found us just from passing by, and there have been visitors every week. This past Sunday, a mother and teenage daughter who found the church through our Spanish website visited and both accepted Christ! Please pray as we follow up with Edit and Cecilia.

Praise the Lord for His protection one evening before the midweek service when we almost walked in on some thieves! They bent the metal bars on the porch enough to get in and steal a lawn mower, welding machine, and large extension cord. They left their jackets behind when they hurriedly escaped out the back. Thank the Lord they didn’t have time to do any more damage! (Maybe next time they should read the sign in the front with the service times so they don’t try to break in 30 minutes before the service starts!)

Looking Ahead

Please pray for wisdom as we make important decisions for the future of the church. The people are ready to formally organize the church. Therefore, we will offer another new members’ class starting in September. Shortly after that is the projected “charter day” to formally organize the church. This involves the signing of the church constitution, joining of charter members, and officially calling the pastor. After that, we can begin practicing the Lord’s Supper and baptisms. There are at least three who desire to be baptized! James is already meeting with Benjamin Leonov to prepare him to become the first deacon.

Fruit for our Labor

We stand amazed at how God continues to use the ministry of teaching English to reach others! Please continue to pray for the salvation of Amy’s students. The daughter of one of the students went with our family one day to visit a ranch. Lauren used that time to talk about Christ to her little friend, Luli, using tracts for children. We believe Luli put her trust in Christ that day. She said she wants to learn more about God and how to pray.

Patricio (the student who got saved last month) and his family have begun to attend church. Amy and his mom, Laura, began a Bible study together this week.

Thank you for praying!

Serving the King of Kings,
James and Amy

Prayer Letter – July 1, 2009

Praise the Lord for answered prayer! We were finally able to rent the building we have been looking at for the past six months! It is in an ideal location in the heart of Pilar. It is a larger facility than what we had before with classroom space. We have been busy knocking down walls, cleaning, painting, and getting moved in. Click here to see pictures of the renovation progress.

Our first service is July 1, and then we’ll hold special services on Sunday, July 5. Please pray for the evangelistic outreach July 5, as we go out to the plaza to share the Gospel, pass out tracts, and invite people to church.


The Lord has given Amy amazing opportunities to share the Gospel through English classes in our home. The little boy pictured below, Patricio, is a beginner student this year. The Lord gave an open door, and Amy talked with him about his need for a Savior. Patricio put his faith in Christ that day! Please pray for his spiritual growth.

Another amazing witnessing opportunity was with Amy’s student Carola, a neonatal doctor. This week Amy talked with her for over an hour about Christ. She is one of the 80% of the disillusioned Catholics in this country. She said she would like to study about the Bible in our English class!


Andrea Love, our eight-week summer intern, arrived June 24 and has been a huge help already. She is helping with homeschool, teaching piano as well as English, playing piano for the church, leading a Bible study in English, and helping at the church building. We are privileged to have her with us! We would love to have a young lady here full time doing exactly what she is doing. Click here to see some highlights of her ministry here.


  • Salvation of Carola
  • Evangelistic outreaches this month
  • Current support – 95%
  • Permanent pastor for the work in the city center
  • Wisdom and God’s power as we reach our neighborhood for Christ

Praises

  • A larger meeting place with classroom space
  • Salvation of Patricio
  • Growing number of faithful men in the church
  • Discipleship classes with Pablo, Fabio Alejandro, Virginia, Veronica, and Andrea
  • God’s continual, miraculous provision

June Prayer Letter

The Long Journey

For more than six months, we have been praying and searching for a larger church building with classroom space.  As we hit one roadblock after another, we fell back on God’s provision and timing, especially when those things were completely out of our control.  It seems we are going to be able to rent a building on a main avenue with a meeting place for 60 adults and classroom space for a nursery and children’s church.  Please keep praying, and we’ll keep you updated!

 

A New Addition

Thank you for all those who prayed for the baby shower Amy hosted for our Christian neighbor and friend, Andrea.  The purpose of the shower was two fold: 1.) We wanted to show support of Andrea and her husband Alejandro. They are good friends and instrumental in the church plant in the city center as well as the evangelistic efforts here in our neighborhood. 2.) We wanted to use the opportunity to invite Andrea’s unsaved family members and coworkers to our home where we could share the Gospel.

The Lord did bless our efforts and time together. The ladies really enjoyed themselves; Andrea was assured of our love and support; and four unsaved ladies heard the Gospel presented (some for the first time). Please pray for the Holy Spirit to remind them of what they heard and to convict their hearts.

One week after the shower, the Lord blessed this dear couple with a healthy baby girl, Constanza Belén – the first baby born in our new church!  (Now we just need a nursery to put her in when she’s old enough to come to church!)   

Click here to see pictures of the shower and the new arrival.

 

More Love in our Home

One of the highlights of being missionaries is hosting guests, especially enthusiastic Americans.  We, as a family, love to share our burden for Argentina as well as our love for the people to whom God has called us to minister.  We are privileged to host Andrea Love, the daughter of pastor friend Mark Love, for eight weeks.  She first came to Buenos Aires last year on a Maranatha Baptist Bible College mission team.  During her time with us, Andrea will assist in almost every aspect of the church-planting ministry, helping with ESL classes and homeschool, teaching piano, leading a Bible study in English, and learning Spanish.

 

Prayer Requests

·    Current Support – 95%

·    A larger meeting place with classroom space

·    Permanent pastor for the work in the city center

·    Wisdom and God’s power as we reach our neighborhood for Christ

Praises

·    All who heard the Gospel at the baby shower

·    Safe and healthy arrival of Constanza

·    Discipleship classes

·    God’s continual, miraculous provision

Upcoming Events

·    Tentativesign contract on new building and start remodeling

·    June 21 – Father’s Day

·    June 24 – Summer intern, Andrea Love, arrives

 

May Prayer Letter

May 2009

Little by Little

What a joy to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord with an early morning Easter breakfast. It was followed by a special service with 29 present!

Sunday services continue to go well, with new visitors every week.  Most of our visitors are referred to us by the BBN radio station. 

Visits to our Spanish web site have increased since we advertised Sunday services on BBN.  There were 359 unique visits to the site in the month of April!  We recently added two short videos—one showing the church-plant progress and the other is evangelistic.  

On Wednesday nights we are studying family issues, particularly child rearing.  This is a very necessary subject to teach, as the philosophy of the day teaches everything opposite of the biblical model.  Our people are absorbing these new concepts and, Lord willing, will put them into practice in their homes.    

Disciple Making

“Go ye therefore, and teach…” (Mt. 28:19).

More and more we are reminded of the importance of personal discipleship.  We all must meditate on God’s Word if we ever hope to see any real change in our lives. A large part of our role as missionaries is to teach believers God’s Word and how to study it.  

We continue one-on-one discipleship with our Christian neighbors, Alejandro and Andrea.  Amy is also leading a bi-weekly ladies’ discipleship class with three regular attendees. Of course, it is impossible for us to do all the discipleship ourselves, so we are thankful that three of those we discipled last year are taking the initiative to disciple others.  That is precisely the goal—to multiply ourselves! 

The most exciting discipleship class right now is a brand new believer James is meeting with weekly.  Our friend, Dr. Martinez-Ferro, witnessed to his work associate, Pablo, many times. He finally put his trust in Christ.  Since Pablo lives here in Pilar, Dr. Martinez-Ferro sent him to us, and Pablo has been coming to church ever since!  James is doing a six-week study for new believers with him.  He has a ton of questions, and it is a joy to see his spiritual growth!  Our prayer is that Pablo’s wife and four children will come to know Christ as well.   

The Search Continues

The search continues for a larger facility.  The original building we thought we were going rent back in December is still available, but with a different realtor. We went back to look at it and found this new realtor is actually ready to do business! So far, the owners have agreed that we can make the necessary changes to open the space. Please pray for the Lord to work out the details if this is His will.

“Our responsibility can never cease so long as we have a life to live for Christ and a whole world still waiting for the Gospel.”

 

April Prayer Letter

Planting a Church
Sunday, March 21 (the future) Independent Baptist Church held its first church service. Faithful families from the weekly Bible study, plus one new one, gathered in our little rented facility as the next step in actually becoming a church. The children had their first children’s church two blocks away in one family’s garage. We got off to a good start and look forward to seeing this small group continue to grow spiritually and numerically.


On Wednesday nights we have been studying how to witness and lead someone to Christ. We just finished this in-depth study and will put what we have been learning into practice with a weekly visitation program designed to evangelize the family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers of our people. Please pray for this vital part of any church—reaching the lost!

Planting Seeds

Establishing a fundamental Baptist work among the upper class is something that has no precedent (that we know of) in Argentina. Because of that, we persevere with the Biblical counsel we receive from others, asking many questions and making adjustments along the way.

We recently designed a new logo and web site specifically for our home Bible studies.

God continues to give us amazing opportunities to make contacts, build relationships, and witness in our day-to- day activities, whether it’s at a birthday party, playing tennis, watching a soccer game, teaching English classes, or just while walking in the neighborhood. We continue to hold monthly home Bible studies as well. We are thankful for the three Christian families who have been attending and helping us with this effort. Please pray for wisdom in this new ministry and that the Lord will give us fruit for our labors.
Putting Down Roots
Pilar alone has a population of over 275,000 souls, with even more in its surrounding communities. With no independent Baptist churches in a populous area like this, we could spend five lifetimes planting churches here and never reach every soul! That is why we chose to buy a lot and build a house in Pilar.

This past month we received word that there is an investor ready and willing to loan us the money to start building! This will not only give us a permanent presence in the community, but it will greatly decrease our monthly expenses in rent. This is a huge answer to prayer for us! Please pray as we work through the logistics of building a house here.

Upcoming Events
April 5 – Begin six-week new members class in Pilar Centro
April 12 – Resurrection Sunday
April 17 – James’ birthday
April 18 – Third Evangelistic Home Bible study

March Prayer Letter

Taking the Next Step
Before we ever arrived in Pilar, God had already been working in the hearts of believers here. There were several families who were seeking a Bible-believing, conservative Baptist church. There are now eight families (married couples) regularly attending our weekly Bible studies, and it is time to begin Sunday services! Whether or not we have a larger meeting place, we will begin Sunday morning services March 22. Please pray this will bring even more folks out who cannot attend on Wednesday nights. With the beginning of a new school year this month, we will also begin a ladies’ discipleship group and regular visitation.
This work is well on its way to being established as a church. However, there is no one in sight right now to stay on as the permanent pastor. (Remember, we are church-planting missionaries.) The ideal situation would be to start training someone now to take our place. Please pray for God to raise up His man for this precious group of believers!

A Lesson in Statistics

When God called us to work in Pilar, he clearly showed us that we need to evangelize the unreached people group” that represents 64% of the population in this city – the upper class living in gated communities. This is a challenging task, but it is also exciting as we think of the potential impact on this country.

This year, we will be hosting a monthly evangelistic home Bible study and various outreaches in our neighborhood, as well as other gated communities. The Lord has brought along excellent Christian families to help with these efforts. (Pictured above are two CFOs, two accountants, and a surgeon.) Please pray for boldness and wisdom in our witnessing.

You may be reading this letter and wondering if we actually have two church plants going on at the same time. Yes. The first one is called “Pilar Centro” (Central Pilar) because it consists of the middle class who live in or near the city center, and the other is “Pilar Nuevo” (New Pilar) because it will be comprised of upper-class families who have moved to Pilar in the past ten years. We must begin this way because, before conversion, these two socio-economic classes do not intermingle. That is another reason why we must depend on God’s wisdom and strength!

Family Matters

On Wednesday, February 11, James’ grandfather went home to be with the Lord after a short battle with a rapidly-growing brain tumor. He had a wonderful impact on James’ life in many ways. It was a privilege for James to be asked by the family to go to Arizona to preach the graveside service. There were about 80 in attendance. James clearly presented the plan of salvation, and we know of at least one young lady who put her trust in Christ that day!
James took advantage of the trip and got to spend a week in Tampa with family and friends there.

Update on Lauren – Dr. Lopez, Lauren’s urologist, said she does not have to go through any more testing for now. We will continue to observe her infections and decide on further testing at that time. (We did get to invite him to our next home Bible study, so pray that the Lord will work in his heart regarding that!)

“The future is as bright as the promises of God!”
-Ann Judson (wife of Adoniram Judson)

February Prayer Letter

Growing from the Inside Out
Two weeks ago we began evangelism training during our Wednesday night Bible studies in Pilar. We are so thrilled that Veronica put that knowledge into practice. She invited her sister over to her house for a Bible study, and her sister trusted in Christ as her Savior! As soon as we finish this six-week course, we will begin to go out in teams to witness to family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers of our church people.
It is so amazing to see these believers go from the point of “Spiritual ICU” just six months ago, to now serving with joy, restoring their marriages, properly training their children, and being instruments in the Redeemer’s hands. May GOD receive the glory!

Thank you Cornerstone Baptist Church in North Carolina for your generous donation to the ministry in Pilar! In God’s perfect timing, they needed to “clean house” just when another missionary was packing his container to move to Buenos Aires. James’ parents took on the task of loading up a moving truck and transporting a piano, an organ, dishes, toys, room dividers, Christmas decorations, and other furniture to the container. It’s been said, “Every material item needed for the mission field is either in your wallet or in your attic!”
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Well, we have plenty of supplies; now we just need a building! Again this week, God closed the door on the church building we wanted to rent. The search continues, but everything else we have found is either too small or way beyond our budget. We are now looking into the possibility of using an events center just for Sundays. Please pray for wisdom. It is encouraging to hear the church people not lose their enthusiasm as they trust in God’s wisdom and timing.
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Two other ways God has provided recently that we did not mention last month:
1.) Through Christmas gifts sent by you, our faithful prayer and financial supporters. We appreciate your generosity!
2.) The Clearwater team left us ALL the VBS supplies they brought down, including the entire Betty Lukins flannelgraph set.

God’s Protection
Thank you for praying for Lauren’s recent medical testing. The doctor could not say enough about how well she followed instructions and remained calm. Praise the Lord that it appears she does not have urinary reflux again! We still have to figure out what is causing her febrile urinary tract infections, so we will go back to the urologist to see how we should proceed.
All in one week, three fellow missionaries around Buenos Aires lost immediate family members—one lost her mother due to a medical error, one lost their four- year-old daughter from an appendicitis complication, and one lost their unborn baby. At the same time, we found out Amy’s grandmother has lung cancer and James’ grandfather has a rapidly-growing brain tumor. This causes us to stop and give praise to our sovereign Heavenly Father for the way He continues to protect our family. The more we learn of the loving nature and surpassing wisdom of the One Who has all things in His control, the more easily we can rest in His perfect decisions.

Website – Read more about the Greenwood family and their ministry
Spanish Website – Iglesia Bautista Independiente de Pilar
Sending Church – Hillsdale Baptist Church
Mission Board – Baptist World Mission

“God’s work is not man working for God; it is God’s own work,
though often wrought through man’s hands.”
– Hudson Taylor

January Prayer Letter

Planting Seeds

Sacred concerts. Vacation Bible school. Youth rallies. Family conference. Evangelism. Lots of steak and ice cream… Where do we begin in reporting on the Clearwater Christian College mission team? We were privileged to share our home and ministry with this wonderful group of 17 students and two sponsors. We saw God work, from beginning to end, in ways that amazed us all. Though there were never astonishing crowds, there were believers edified and encouraged as well as souls saved.

The seeds of the Gospel were planted here in our neighborhood through a VBS for children and a soccer ministry for the older boys. On the last day of VBS, we were alerted that we were no longer allowed to knock on doors to invite kids to the VBS because a neighbor had complained. After praying for God’s intervention, more kids than ever showed up to play soccer and one prayed to accept Christ as his Savior! Please pray for wisdom as we follow up with these new contacts.

You can read more about the trip from the students’ and sponsors’ perspective on the Clearwater website.

Serving with Joy
All week long, Julieta (14) and Franco (12) helped translate for the team. These are the children of Alejandro and Andrea, our Christian neighbors whom we have been discipling. This was a life-changing week for them to get to know young people serving the Lord and to see God work in their own backyard (literally). Their parents, too, were moved by the transformation they saw in their children.

Some of our church ladies prepared lunch for the team during the week. (One day they even managed without power!) They served with joyful hearts and were great examples to all of us.
All the families with young children brought them out for the VBS, so there were between four and eight church kids from outside the neighborhood every day. Plus, there were a total of 10 kids who heard the Gospel for the first time.

Building Update
Thank you for praying, as well as for giving, for the building we want to rent. The church people gave over $1,000 pesos toward the project (almost US 300) and the Lord provided the other $1,500 that we needed. With the holidays and the owners on vacation, they have not begun the paperwork. It can be frustrating, but we will keep trusting God’s timing in this matter and keep you updated.

December Prayer Letter

A Good Problem to Have

“So then neither is he that planteth any thing,
neither he that watereth;
but God that giveth the increase.”
(1 Cor. 3:7)
What could be a good problem for a church? We’re running out of space! God provided our current location at a great price in order for us to get started. Now, we’re maxed out and realize that we cannot grow unless we find something bigger to rent. Please pray for a meeting place for at least 100 people, with classroom space, in a central location, and at an affordable price. This may seem like an extraordinary request, but we know that our God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20).
The first week of January a missions team from Clearwater Christian College will be here to hold a VBS program, as well as several concerts here in Pilar. We would love to be in a building by then in order to establish ourselves in the community. Then, the plan is to start regular Sunday church services in March.

Baptist World Mission South American Family Conference
November 17 – 21, 2008 – Mar del Plata, Argentina
Fifteen missionary families (serving in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Mexico) met together for our bi-annual Baptist World Mission South American Family Conference. We were privileged to sit under the preaching of Pastor John Stevens (a supporting pastor) from North Charleston, South Carolina. This was also a great time to renew friendships and exchange ministry ideas. Click here for pictures – Part I and Part II.

Family Matters

When Lauren went for an annual check-up with her urologist this month, he expressed concern over her frequent urinary tract infections, which are accompanied by high fevers. So, he is sending her for further testing. The first matter is to rule out urinary reflux. This is what she had surgery for in 2004, so it would be extremely rare if she had it again.

For those of you who are familiar with Lauren’s history, you know that her major issues were resolved by the time she turned four, so there is a great deal she does not remember. Now that she’s older, she understands more of what is going on, and it makes her nervous. Please pray for Lauren (emotionally and physically) and that God will be glorified in all of this.

November Prayer Letter

Share the Vision!

Thank you for praying for our special meeting Saturday, November 1. There was a terrific turnout of 25 (representing seven families) who squeezed into our meeting place. Most of these individuals have gone through 12 weeks of doctrinal study with us and are now ready to be a part of this new work in Pilar.

We gave a Power Point presentation of who we are, the need in Pilar, and our goals for this church. Even though some of these ideas were new, the people responded. A few even volunteered for various tasks right away, like cleaning the building and hosting an evangelistic home Bible study!

Click here to see pictures of the meeting.

Working from Home

God has given us an unexpected source of contacts right here in our neighborhood through English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Amy has not even advertised, but she currently has five ESL students from our community. She has been able to share the Gospel during several of these classes!

After the new year, we plan on starting an evangelistic Bible study in our home. We will invite these contacts, as well as other neighbors. It is exciting to see God work His plan and to play a small part in it!

September 2008 Prayer Letter

Praise Him for His Work
God gave Independent Baptist Church of Pilar a great start this month with an average attendance of 17 at our weekly Bible studies. Since the majority are believers from a variety of backgrounds, we are studying the main doctrines to make sure we are all on the same page. God has brought this group together, and we are thankful for their sweet spirit. Please pray for wisdom in ministering to these individuals.



Praise Him for Open Doors
Never would we have imagined that we would move to Pilar, find an affordable building in a great location, start a Bible study, and have seven one-on-one discipleship classes taking place. It can only be of the Lord!

God has opened doors in other ways too. Even before we have officially formed the church, James preached the first funeral. The father of one of the young ladies passed into eternity August 22. The family spent the next 24 hours in the funeral home with the open casket. We then accompanied them to the cemetery, where James preached a short graveside service and presented the Gospel. After each family member tossed a handful of dirt on the casket, the workers immediately buried it while we all watched. Pray for Edit, the widow, and Marianna, the daughter, that God will comfort them with His peace and protect them as they are now alone.


Please pray that God will open one more door – ­for our permanent residency status. Since we have now completed three years in Argentina, we are allowed to apply for this important document. This will allow us to actually open a bank account, purchase a cell phone, and live without so many restrictions. The process of obtaining the necessary documents has been cumbersome and expensive, but it is worth it, knowing that God has called us to minister here indefinitely.

Praise Him for His Provision
With the current economic downturn, we recognize that your support may be an even greater sacrifice than it was just six months ago. Thank you for continuing to give to missions even when times are tough. “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account” (Phil. 4:17).

God has been so good to provide for us through many unexpected and unusual sources as well. One of those sources this month was a private loan in order for us to purchase property for a personal house. The lot is actually in the neighborhood where we are currently living, right across the street! We would like to build our house as soon as the Lord provides those funds. We already have the blueprints in hand!

August Prayer Letter

On Your Mark…Get Set…Go!

Praise the Lord that we have rented an office building to start our weekly Bible studies for the future Iglesia Bautista de Pilar. Friday, August 1, we will be hosting a “Meet and Greet” reception at the new building. It will be an opportunity to get to know contacts from the BBN station, the MBBC concert this May, and others who are interested in being a part of a Bible-preaching Baptist church in Pilar. On Wednesday, August 6, we begin weekly Bible studies. Please pray that we see much fruit from these events.

James installing heaters
Teaching Others Also

Amy began weekly meetings with Veronica, and James with Benjamin, studying Changed Into His Image by Jim Berg and praying together. This is a great time for us to get to know one another and to help Benjamin and Veronica to grow spiritually. (The Leonov family is the one who had been with BBN radio before they closed the office in February.) They have already been a tremendous help in getting the church going in Pilar.

Culture 101
The atmosphere in Pilar is very distinct from most of Buenos Aires in the virtual absence of a middle class. We are learning the effect of that as we notice more and more the great divide between the working class and the upper class. Those from the upper class live in gated communities, go to private schools, desire to better themselves by education, and advance in their careers. Those from the working class live in humble dwellings, go to public school as long as they are required, and often just try to get by. As we seek to evangelize, we need to be cognizant of this discrepancy between the classes in our methods of outreach. An outreach that would work great for one group would not be effective with the other. We have purposefully located ourselves in the center of Pilar, since it is a more “neutral ground.” It is mainly a commercial district, surrounded by a few houses.
Our friends and neighbors have affirmed our cultural observations with comments like, “You want to choose your location carefully so that someone with a nice car won’t be scared to drive to the church.” “Most churches target the lower classes by preaching in a certain style, but the upper class would not tolerate that.”

Quotable Quotes

[Missionaries] must be equipped to be evangelists who can share the Good News in another language and culture, disciplers who can model and teach Christ-like ministry to converts, and trainers who can furnish local Christian leaders with the knowledge and skills they will need to propagate the Gospel. That was the model established by Jesus and practiced by the Apostle Paul.

– Mark C. Vowels; Director of Missions; Bob Jones University

July Prayer Letter

Dear Praying Friends,

Getting Involved Now that we are settled into our new home in Pilar, we are venturing out into the neighborhood, meeting new people, and getting involved in the community. Jaden and Josiah are playing soccer twice a week, and Lauren is in a play group with other girls on Saturdays. Amy is teaching English to Andrea, a Christian lady in the neighborhood. Please pray for these evangelistic and discipleship opportunities, that utterance may be given unto us, that we may open our mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel (Eph. 6:19).


Politics, As Usual James and Benjamín Leonov met with the Director of Community Relations for the Municipality of Pilar with the intention of finding out if the city has a building available that we could use for our weekly Bible studies. We will let the Lord work out the results of the meeting. Many politicians make promises, but we trust God to do His perfect will.

So, What’s Next? The next step in the church-planting process is to get in touch with all of our contacts in Pilar who have expressed interest in being a part of our church. We would like to introduce ourselves, explain our goals, and get to know them as well. (These folks are from diverse church backgrounds and have various reasons for wanting to find a new church, so we need wisdom in each of these “intensive care” situations.) From there, we will launch our first weekly Bible studies. Please pray for wisdom on our part as well as for a building in which to begin meeting.

Praise the Lord that Faith Baptist Church in Taylors, South Carolina recently voted to partner with us, bringing our support total to 96%.

Serving the King of Kings,
James, Amy,
Jaden, Lauren, and Josiah Greenwood

June Prayer Letter

Dear Praying Friends,

Over a year ago, God began working in the hearts of a few students at Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wisconsin. He gave them a burden to take a missions trip to a South American country, but they had no idea where. Little did they know that the missions director at their college had ties with our friends Ron and Chris Self here in Buenos Aires—but God knew! On May 2, 30 students and faculty members, barely knowing each other yet, boarded a plane and headed off to minister through music, English classes, and basketball clinics. Pastor Self did a fantastic job organizing this diverse group. In 20 days, they held 24 sacred concerts all over the city and even in Uruguay. Everywhere they went there were record attendances, whether it was 30 or 330. We were privileged to help translate, chauffer, bake, wash dishes, give tours, or whatever else was needed. They were a terrific group of students with a desire to serve the Lord.

Two of the days the group spent in Pilar helping to launch our church plant there. We passed out 3,500 tracts and flyers advertising a sacred concert in a rented facility in the heart of the city center. We were excited when 27 new contacts showed up to hear the concert and find out more about this new church. Two people accepted Christ that night! One was a Peruvian immigrant lady and the other was a young man who came over from the bar right next door. Please pray for us as we follow up with all of these new folks.

The only thing that has hindered us from already doing more in Pilar is that we are not living there yet. For the past two months we have been diligently searching for a house to rent. The Lord has just provided a wonderful home to rent! We are planning to sign the contract and get the keys on Saturday and then move in next week. However, we just received an e-mail stating changes in the contract that we did not agree on. Pray this can be resolved in our favor. Thank you for your faithful prayers and support.

What a mighty God we serve!
James, Amy,
Jaden, Lauren, and Josiah Greenwood

April Prayer Letter

Dear Praying Friends,
Safely Home! After seven months of ministering in churches in the United States, we safely arrived back to ministry in Argentina on April 4. God took good care of us during our flights, through customs, and back to our house. We never want to take for granted His daily watch care over us.

No Greater Joy – We had the joy of seeing some of the fruit of our labor from our first term when the national pastor, Victor Dominguez, was ordained into the ministry and installed as pastor of Iglesia Bautista Esperanza in Escobar. We have spent much time with this wonderful young couple and know they will be successful in this ministry as they trust in the Lord to guide them.

Step-by-Step – We are ready to begin a work in Pilar and are taking the process step-by-step. First of all, we needed to purchase a vehicle since we sold ours before we went back to the States. After much diligent searching, we found another Hyundai H-1 van, but a bit newer and with fewer miles than the one we sold. The next step is to establish ourselves in the community of Pilar. We have looked at several houses, but none suitable to rent because of either location, price, or size. Pray that we can find a home to rent soon ¬for an affordable price, in a convenient and safe location, and with enough space to meet our needs.

Team Ministry – Meanwhile, we are attending a sister church just 20 minutes south of us in Don Torcuato. They are graciously allowing us to be a part of their leadership team so that we can learn even more about ministering in this culture. They have also offered to help in the church-planting process! Right now we are observing and helping where we can in staff meetings, seminary class, weekly services, music ministry, and special projects. One of those special projects will involve helping translate for a ministry team from Maranatha Baptist Bible College this month. We will be with these 30 students and faculty every day for three weeks in city parks passing out literature, in the gym hosting basketball clinics and tournaments, and in the church holding Conversational English classes and music lessons. They will give sacred concerts in at least 8 area churches as well. We are excited to take this team to Pilar for three of the days to pass out literature. This will be our first public presentation in Pilar. Please pray that our “first impression” will make a positive impact.

One of our contacts in Pilar is setting up an appointment with the mayor of Pilar. This is an important prayer request! We will introduce ourselves and look into the possibility of using a city building to meet in. One of the things we have been praying about regarding our support level is that if God does not provide 100% of our support, then He would provide in other ways, especially for a meeting place. (You can understand that this is a large chunk of our ministry budget.)


God’s Blessings
– Safe arrival in Buenos Aires
– God’s daily protection on our lives
– 2001 Hyundai H-1 van — exactly what we prayed for!

Prayer Requests
– Possible meeting with the Mayor of Pilar
– Current support – 93%
– A home in Pilar to rent
– Open doors to present the Gospel with the college ministry team
– Future ministry in Pilar

Upcoming Events
5/4 – 5/24 – help with ministry team from Maranatha Baptist Bible College
5/16 – 10th wedding anniversary

By His grace alone,
James and Amy

March Prayer Letter

Dear Praying Friends,

“God’s work, done God’s way, will never lack God’s supply.” As we are on the home stretch, only a month away from our departure date, we are reminded that God does keep His promises. He called us to serve Him in Argentina. He called us to start a church in the city of Pilar. He will meet our needs as He sees fit in His timing. He will provide our support, a house, a meeting facility, and the people to fill it as we continue to do His work in His way. Pray with us for the remaining 10% of our support, and we will be sure to give God the glory!

We shared with you how Benjamin, the director of the local BBN radio station in Pilar, has been compiling a list of those who are seeking to be part of a fundamental Baptist church there. Praise the Lord that there are at least 20 families on that list. However, the local office recently closed, and we no longer have the radio station as an advertising tool. Benjamin must look for other work, although he and his wife are committed to full-time ministry. Please pray that the Lord will clearly guide them, especially concerning their level of involvement with the new church we will be starting.

Stateside Ministry – The Lord has given us terrific meetings during this furlough. God’s people have displayed tenderness to His Word and a willingness to do His will. Many have even expressed an interest in coming to Argentina on a mission team. Pray that the busyness of life will not distract them from the Great Commission. Also, Amy will be speaking to two classes of high school girls at a Christian school this month. Pray that God will give her the words to minister grace and He will soften the hearts of the girls.

3…2…1…Blastoff! The very first time we left for the field there was so much excitement mixed with fear of the unknown. This time there is no more fear, just excitement! Sure, we will miss our family and friends greatly; however, God is already doing great things, and we want to get started in His work!

Upcoming Events
3/1 – 3/5 – Oakwood Baptist Church, Anderson, SC
3/6 – Amy’s birthday
3/9 – Fellowship Baptist Church, Anderson, SC
3/12 – Faith Baptist Church, Palmhurst, TX
3/16 – 3/19 – Iglesia Bautista del Valle, Mission, TX
3/23 – Easter Sunday
3/28 – Jaden’s 9th birthday
4/3 – Return to Argentina!

What a mighty God we serve,
James & Amy
Jaden, Lauren, & Josiah Greenwood

February 2008 Prayer Letter

Dear Praying Friends,

It is exciting to see a ministry that has a passion for God. When a missionary or guest speaker visits a church and sees the Holy Spirit work, it is often the result of much prayer beforehand on the part of the church people and their pastor. We witnessed such an event in Panama City this past month. James preached a message on having compassion for souls from Matthew 9:36-38, and many folks came forward. As one young girl approached the altar, Amy pulled her aside and asked her what she wanted to pray about. She replied, “I want to tell Jesus that I’ll be a missionary if He wants me to.” Amy prayed for her, and then the girl prayed, consecrating her life to God in her own child-like way. We report this particular case with unspeakable joy since this little girl is our daughter, Lauren! Pray that God will keep her pure and devoted to His calling and that we will have wisdom in training her to be a servant of the King.

On the Home Front For some time now, we have sought God’s will in the matter of relocating to Pilar. Although all the doors are not shut yet, we sense that God wants us to wait on buying a house. We looked for a house to rent before coming back to the States and recently on the Internet. We have not yet been able to find a house suitable for our family in the price range that we need. We still have our home in Escobar to go back to, but we need to establish ourselves in Pilar as soon as possible. Pray that God will provide a home in the next few months.

Support Increases Praise God for His faithfulness! Our support now stands at 89%. Since we’ve been home, three new churches and one individual have partnered with us to bring our support back up. We will be in a few new churches in our remaining two months in the States. Pray that we will see new support come in through these meetings.

Upcoming Events
2/3 – Hillsdale Baptist Church, Tampa, FL (Godly Heritage Sunday)
2/10 – Mikado Baptist Church, Macon, GA
2/17 – Kennerly Road Baptist Church, Irmo, SC
2/24 – Hendrix Road Baptist Church, Florence, AL
2/27 – 3/1 – Grace Baptist Church, Wilmington, NC (missions conference)

Serving the King of Kings,
James, Amy,
Jaden, Lauren, and Josiah Greenwood

January 2008 Prayer Letter

Dear Faithful Prayer Partners,

Thank You! We continue to see God’s hand at work in our lives through the generosity His people. Thank you for the Christmas gifts many of you sent. They have been a big help to us! The Lord also has increased our support to 86%. Please pray that God will continue to provide for our needs in this area.

Christmas Highlights – After being in Argentina for the past two years, we were delighted to spend the holidays with family and friends this year. James even got to do what he enjoys most – put in a set of stairs at his parents’ house. The icing on the cake for Lauren and Josiah might be when they got to meet “Patch the Pirate” for the first time while we were in Greenville.

Jaden has begun new curriculum specifically designed for children with dyslexia – thanks to two friends who are knowledgeable in this area pointing us in the right direction. It’s been difficult to keep up with home schooling as much as we would like with our traveling schedule. Maybe this is a strange request, but please pray we can stay on course as we begin traveling again.

More Missions Teams – We have an exciting opportunity this month at Clearwater Christian College. We will present our ministry, and James will preach in chapel. This is in hopes of the College taking a missions trip to help us next year. Pray that God will work in the details and in the hearts of the college students. Maybe one of these students will be a coworker one day!

Upcoming Events
1/16 – Scenic Bay Baptist Church, Pensacola, FL
1/20 – Grace Baptist Church, Panama City, FL
1/24 – Clearwater Christian College chapel
1/27 – Calvary Baptist Church, Loganville, GA
1/27 – Pine Grove Baptist Church, Stockbridge, GA

Serving the King of Kings,
James, Amy, Jaden, Lauren, and Josiah Greenwood