Missionary in the Making

This trip has a high level of difficulty. The heat will be intense and bus rides on narrow mountainous roads. We will be eight to ten hours on these roads. There are very sharp curves and steep grades up and down. Many places on the road are one-lane gravel with a rock wall on one side and a 1000 foot drop off on the other. If you have any tendency for motion sickness or have trouble with heights, this trip is not for you. Two days of clinic will be conducted in each village with the possibility of large crowds. Bathrooms are primitive and there will be no hot water or air conditioning. This trip is not for the faint of heart or those who need modern comforts.

…and so reads the description of the second medical missions trip the Lord is leading our daughter, Lauren, to serve on this coming May. Below is a letter from her personally about this wonderful opportunity.

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Dear Prayer Supporters,

Please accept my deepest thanks for everything you have done for my family and me throughout the years. I especially want to thank you for your prayers and support last October as I traveled to Peru with Operation Renewed Hope to assist as a translator.  During that trip I was praying that God would confirm in my heart if medical missions is His will for my life.  He clearly answered that prayer and I am now positive that the field of medical missions is God’s calling for my life.  However, none of this would have been remotely possible without your help, financially and with your prayers.

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Before I left Peru last October, Mr. Jan Milton, the director of Operation Renewed Hope, personally invited me to return to work with them in Peru in May of this year.  Also, I received an invitation from the Whatley family in Cuzco, Peru and the Fitzgerald family in Puerto Maldonado, Peru, to return with the purpose of actually doing an internship with these two families in their respective cities.  After a few months of seeking godly counsel and the Lord’s will through prayer and Bible reading, I am confident the this is God’s will for me to do an internship with these two missionary families and also help out again with ORH. I am planning on spending one week in the “high jungle” of Pillcopata with the Whatleys, one week in that same area with ORH, one week in Cuzco with the Whatleys, and then finally two weeks with the Fitzgeralds in Puerto Maldonado.

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I cannot do this by myself, so now I humbly come before you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, asking if you would prayerfully consider giving toward this trip. If you can’t give financially, would you please pray?  This is going to be a trip where I hope to learn even more than before. As I begin nursing school at Maranatha Baptist University next year I hope to go in with a good viewpoint.  Knowing more about medical missions will help me gain a better perspective since I will know what differences there are between the traditional field of nursing and nursing on the mission field.

I calculate a total need of $1,200 for lodging, travel expenses, meals and airfare.  I have $300 saved toward the trip, so I will need $900. The easiest way to give is through my parents’ Paypal account. You could also send the funds through our sending church, marked “Lauren Greenwood, Peru trip.” Thank you for considering helping me with this huge opportunity.

In Christ,

Lauren Greenwood

MK in Argentina

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Renovation Realities

In our last update, we shared with you the huge answer to prayer regarding the property purchase. Thank you for all your replies via email and Facebook, showing your support and to let us know that you are praying. That is extremely encouraging!

Now that the waiting is over, it’s time to get to work! The church folks are putting in many hours renovating the existing structure, so we can begin holding services there on August 10.  So far, we have been able to knock down all necessary interior walls, replace the roof and do most of the landscaping. Over this next week, we hope to paint, clean and get set up for Sunday.

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You Don’t Have to be a Millionaire!

For our daily family devotions, we’ve been reading This Day in Baptist History II by David L. Cummins and E. Wayne Thompson.  Dr. Cummins is now in Heaven, but he was our BWM deputation director for many years.  So, even more reason this book has a special place in our heart.

Today’s devotion, July 6, was very timely.  It tells of a forgotten philanthropic hero, Robert Arthington of Leeds, England.  Mr. Arthington sacrificed his own creature comforts in order to give as much as possible to missions. He even underwrote the cost and upkeep of a steamship so that missionaries in Africa could reach the lost along the Congo River.  I can only imagine the profound joy in Mr. Arthington’s heart when he went to Heaven and met believers from African nations who came to Christ because messengers came on a steamship up the Congo to share the Good News!

This is what Dr. Cummins tells us of Mr. Arthington’s personal life in the 1870’s:

He deprived himself of all but the barest of necessities, wore the same coat for seventeen years, and even begrudged the use of candles, that he might devote the utmost farthing to world evangelization…[He,] a Cambridge graduate, lived in a single room, cooking his own meals; and he gave foreign missions five hundred thousand pounds on the condition that it was all to be spent on pioneer work within twenty-five years. He wrote these words: “Gladly would I make the floor my bed, a box my chair, and another box my table, rather than that men should perish for want of the knowledge of Christ.” (emphasis mine) 

In our day of materialism, how we need to examine our own giving to see whether it reflects our love of souls or our love of self. May God raise up, not a few millionaires to support the work of missions, but a host of men and women with the spiritual determination of Robert Arthington to sacrifice and to send forward the knowledge of Christ.

Fast forward to 2012 — I read in the papers that box office sales in the States are breaking records. The theme parks at Disney World have to close their doors as early as 10:30 am because they have already reached their maximum capacity.  Americans seem to have discretionary funds to spend. Meanwhile, missions giving is down in churches across the country.  Missionaries are taking longer than ever to raise the necessary support to leave for the field.  Veteran missionaries on the field are losing support. Churches are having to cut back on mission trips.  Why?  Have we lost sight of the eternal?  Would you be willing to follow Mr. Arthington’s example and make personal sacrifices in order to give more to world-wide evangelism?  Would you sacrifice the immediate pleasures in this world for the sake of  eternal rewards in Heaven?

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

2011 Ministry Summary

Summary of 2011

Stateside: We wrapped up a short furlough in February with basically a zero net support gain, maintaining approximately a 91% support average. We held 23 meetings in those 20 weeks, 4 of which were for new support.

Evangelism: We held special evangelistic meetings throughout the year for the church’s one year anniversary, a sacred music concert, monthly ladies’ meetings, monthly youth meetings, and our first missions conference. For evangelism training, we taught the Netcasters course on Wednesday nights. Several folks have made salvation decisions in these meetings and on visitation. Everyone who shows interest receives follow-up by either the pastor or a church member, but only a handful have shown lasting fruit so far.

Discipleship: Our discipleship program continues to be the church’s primary strength. We held two semesters of Sunday discipleship and Saturday youth discipleship as well as 10 weeks of one-on-one with various new believers. The church body has faced several difficulties from within and without. Praise God for wisdom and patience in dealing with these situations.

Training Nationals: There are three men in James’ Thursday night deacons’ training. They have studied three leadership books and have been involved in visitation and new believers’ discipleship. The church will vote on the deacon candidates in January. We are still praying for a pastoral candidate.

Church Building: In September we began a second service to accommodate for growth. Between the two services, the church is averaging 85 in attendance. The Argentines have given almost 50% of the total $20,000 raised for the purchase of property. We continue to search for land in the city center and are also talking with the owners of our current location about the possibility of buying.

Goals for 2012

Following God’s leading, our goals for 2012 are:

· Begin Saturday morning evangelism door-to-door within a 3 mile radius of the church

· Continue small group and one-on-one discipleship

· After the deacons are voted in, continue leadership training as well as visitation times

· Continue to raise funds for the purchase of church property.

Prayer Requests

· A national pastor to take over this church plant

· Wisdom and funds to purchase church property – our rental contract expires in June!

· Spiritual growth and unity within the church body

· Spiritual and physical protection of and provision for our family

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.

 

Special Speaker

Tonight we had a special speaker for our Wednesday evening service, Dr. Brian Carruthers. (I thought “Greenwood” was difficult to pronounce in Spanish, but try saying all those r’s in his last name!) Dr. Carruthers is Dean of the School of Education at our alma mater, Bob Jones University. He, along with his wife and two of his daughters, is in Buenos Aires to teach a seminary class at a sister church. He gave a very timely and necessary devotional, while James translated.

One burden that we were able to share with Dr. Carruthers is the need for single missionary teachers. We have continual requests for English as a Second Language classes, and cannot keep up with the demand. We would love for an education major to commit to one year to live here and teach ESL as an evangelistic tool as well as help Amy out with homeschooling the kids. If you or someone you know would be interested in this type of position, please contact us.