Stateside Ministry

10-bwmIt is often difficult to share the effectiveness of one’s ministry when your time with a supporting church or church where you are presenting for new support is very brief. We thank the Lord that our visits have been met with overwhelming encouragement and support for what the Lord is doing in and through His church in Pilar, Argentina. Many leaders and lay people alike expressed a desire that their local church would have a renewed focus on evangelism and discipleship. Our prayer is that this desire be accompanied by a work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of individuals as they begin to look beyond themselves to the opportunity to minister to “one another” in ways that will result in reaching our generation for Christ and His glory.

We were privileged to attend Baptist World Mission’s annual meeting at our sending church this year. About every six years, we have the opportunity to catch up with missionary friends and meet with members of the mission board to report on ministry progress. The reports from the missionaries were encouraging and the opportunity to see new missionaries appointed to the board filled our hearts with joy as we see fellow laborers prepare to enter the harvest fields of the world.

Church Anniversary

Just as a mother never tires of bragging on her child or reminiscing on her child’s formative years, so we never tire of doing the same with our now eight-year-old church plant. We marvel at how God has worked in, through and all around us since even before we moved to Pilar. What began as a Bible study in 2008, developed into a church in 2010, and is now a maturing body of believers. The Lord continues to work to grow His people in His Word to transform them (us!) into disciple-making disciples of Christ.

We came to Argentina with the goal of planting independent, self-supporting, self-reproducing national Baptist churches. Praise the Lord, we are getting closer and closer to this church plant becoming the first one!

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Happy Resurrection Sunday from the Greenwood family!

You can see more pictures of our anniversary/Easter celebration here.

 

Disciple-Making Pastor’s Seminar

In March, James was privileged to travel to Monterrey, Mexico, to participate in a pastor’s seminar on disciple making. He was able to encourage other pastors in Latin America on how to implement a culture of disciple making in their churches. During the same trip, he traveled to Ohio to observe disciple making in action at a large, established church  (Grace Church of Mentor). Both of these destinations were profitable in helping us to grow as church-planting missionaries.

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2017 Ministry Report

The Need

We began 2017 in the States, at the end of our six-month furlough. As soon as we returned to the field in February, we eagerly commenced teaching, by word and example, how to implement a culture of disciple-making in our church. We saw the need to do this because there was little evangelistic vision and urgency in our life and ministry, our members were not being properly equipped as godly disciple-makers and we lacked the skill to plan and grow ministries around disciple-making.

The Plan

For the first time in our Christian walk, we began to sift every aspect of our lives and ministry through the filter of the Great Commission. Our theme for 2017 was, “Each one win one. Each one lead one. Each one follow one. Each one take one.” This simple plan reiterates our church’s purpose statement in a way that every member is challenged to accomplish his part. God’s chosen method for both conversion and growth of the saints is not just the responsibility of the pastor or missionary, but of all God’s people as they are trained and equipped to prayerfully speak God’s Word to others. This is now the central priority of our ministry.

Creating a New Culture

After teaching and preaching these concepts to our leaders and then to our people, many were excited and ready to begin a mentoring relationship with a more mature believer and/or mentor a believer newer in the faith. The shift in mindset toward each one shepherding the soul of another is phenomenal!  By God’s grace, there are currently 23 men and 39 women actively being discipled one-on-one.

After “preparing the nursery,” or equipping each willing disciple to be a disciple-maker, we began to encourage each one to intentionally evangelize at least one unsaved contact. Several folks are befriending their coworkers and neighbors for the purpose of evangelism and a few have begun reading the Bible together!

Both attendance and offerings have increased substantially this year, which is an indication of the growth of the Word taking place in each heart, mind and life.

Resounding Example

As the believers in Pilar became examples (1 Thessalonians 1:7), other pastors wanted to know how they could implement a similar disciple-making culture in their own church. The Lord enabled us to offer a Disciple-Making Conference in September, and we continue to provide ongoing support and teaching to those pastors. Other missionaries and national pastors are gradually embracing this Bible-centered, disciple-making vision, and expressing their commitment in both their personal lives and ministries. Our prayer is that we may be able to help plant new churches and to revitalize and grow existing churches through these efforts.

Vision for 2018

To God be the glory for all that He has done in 2017! Much has been accomplished, yet there is still much to be done. Although our church is bigger than most independent Baptist churches in this country, it still only represents .04% of the population of Pilar. This city needs at least five more churches planted (one church for every 50,000 inhabitants), and Argentina even more (740 churches)!

We long to continue to see the fruit of the Great Commission in our personal life, home and ministry. We desire to see our church folks intentionally and lovingly reach their neighbors and coworkers with  urgency, for the purpose of making disciples and then teaching them to obey all that Christ has commanded.

This is our vision because we believe it is God’s vision.

Missions Trip

2017 Viaje Misionero - Santiago del Estero

2017 Viaje Misionero – Santiago del Estero

Reaching beyond our Jerusalem and into our Judea and Samaria, 14 men from our church, along with a significant offering, went to Santiago del Estero, a province 12 hours away, to help with the construction for two church plants. God gave them safety, the Lord was glorified in every aspect of the project and worked in and through the men.

Last May, James was at a local pastors’ fellowship and met Pastor José Luis who told the other pastors at this meeting how he is ministering in an extremely poor area of the province of Santiago del Estero, how their building has a dirt floor with only three walls and some tin held down with blocks for a roof, but how his family loves this city and her people. After a strong wind storm, they have had to go gather the tin that blew away. However, James was so impressed with this man’s servant’s heart, that he assured him that our church in Pilar would come and help in some way. Unbeknownst to us, José Luis was dubious of this promise because Santiago del Estero hardly ever gets outside help and, according to its residents, “No one ever wants to come visit here!

Shortly thereafter, the Lord gifted one of our church men with a large reticulated metal structure. A company paid him to tear down a virtually new building and they said he could do whatever he wanted with the materials! We all knew right away that the Lord wanted to give us this building so that our church could be a channel of blessing to Pastor José Luis!

The Lord provided free transportation to take the materials up to the church as well as over $5,000 for other supplies. In just four days, 15 men were able to install a new roof, backfill and pour the floor, pour a second-story floor, stucco the inside of the building, install lighting and build a second bathroom.  See more pictures here.

With some of the surplus materials from the demolished metal structure, we were able to help a second church plant (about 50 miles from the first church) get the initial structure going for their new building. An 82-year-old church member had prayed that God would allow her to live to see their church have a building on their property. Her pastor teased her that she might get to see Jesus before the end of this year!

Praise God that we were able to give back part of all that we have been given and that our people were able to get a glimpse of missions in other areas of the country.

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

Missionary Training Conference

James was privileged to preach at a Brazilian missionary training conference last week. Praise the Lord for this amazing opportunity to minister to these missionaries serving in the city and jungles of Brasil as well as Mozambique Africa!

MBBF – Missão Batista Brasileira Fundamentalista

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