MARCH came in quietly but busily. We had no clue what was in store for us as we prepared for the beginning of the school year, an evangelistic event and a missions team! However, amidst the preparation for the event and the missions team arriving we heard whispers about a virus that was making its way through many regions of the world. We did not put much stock in it and were genuinely saddened when the missions team had to cancel their trip just days before coming down, and then the news exploded with possible ramifications due to this virus and we knew something bigger was beginning to occur. Praise God, we were able to have our event on Saturday, March 14th! Our church family turned out as a collective unit to serve our community through handing out school supplies and providing discounted physical exams. Amidst all of this we all shared the Gospel to dozens of neighbors. What a privilege to not only serve their physical needs, but also their most basic spiritual need of all: their need for a Savior. Many were interested and said they would come to visit our services, and one young mom, Daniela, accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior! We Praise God for this decision!
That very next week, the government set a quarantine for the country, shutting down everything except the most basic services like food stores and hospitals. As a result, we have not been able to visit those who indicated they wanted a church visit from us, and also have discontinued church services and meetings. The quarantine began officially on March 20th and has continued through now, supposedly until May 27th. That might change however, as it has been continued to be pushed back every two weeks. As a result APRIL was a learning curve- figuring out how to meet our people’s needs virtually. This has included facebook live Sunday services, Wednesday night Zoom meetings, online ladies’ Bible studies, and discipleship and counseling sessions through Whatsapp video calls. Thankfully Both Ben and Rachelle now have religious ministry permits to do visiting, but we long for the day when we can once again meet as usual with our church family.
CAMP SEASON is finished and we are thankful for a full January, and part of February with different camps and retreats to keep us running besides the regular ministry. Ben was a counselor for 2 of the 3 weeks of youth camp. There were over 80 older teens and more than 60 kids , which was a high attendance, so we praise God for that! We especially praise God for all the decisions made for Christ during those weeks of camp. We thoroughly enjoy ministering during camp season, because so many life-changing decisions are made during those weeks. Ben also spoke at a camp that is over 2 hours from here, and was thankful for the opportunity to serve there. Please pray that the decisions made during these weeks will be long-lasting.
We also enjoyed a MISSIONARY & PASTORS’ RETREAT in February, which had helpful teaching, and great companionship with other ministry families. Also, we took eight couples (including Ben and I) from our church to the annual MARRIAGE RETREAT. The attendance was over double last year‘s attendance from 20 to 46 couples! We praise the Lord that there are so many couples in the area churches wanting to strengthen their marriages. Please pray for these marriages to be healthy and God-honoring so as to have spiritually healthy families in our churches here in Argentina. As far as our church’s couples, please pray specifically for Martin and Carolina, and Gabriel and Celeste. Both marriages have many obstacles to overcome.
The rest of February has been spent planning for the following events coming in MARCH:
* The beginning of the kids’ homeschool year
* The beginning of the seminary school year (for Ben)
* A large evangelistic event our church held on March 14th.
UPDATE: Since this prayer letter is being released after the community evangelistic event, we ask you to pray for the soul saved, and the many visitors who listened to the Gospel and showed a desire to know more. More details will be given in the next prayer leter. Also, Please pray our church will be a light in the community around us through this trying pandemic that is sweeping the world..
After being back in Argentina for a month, we realize we have experienced some CULTURE SHOCK once again after coming back, even if we were only gone for 3 months! Living in a different country and culture rewires your brain in what to expect on a day by day basis, and going back to your “motherland” changes it all up. Then, just as you were getting comfortable and used to the many diferences (such as having a hundred varieties of cereal to choose from, shopping at a store where everything is available and even just the courteous and organized way people drive in the U.S.) you move back to the country God has called you to, and are shocked all over again at the lack of cleanliness, the chaos and disorder, and the other many differences in the cultures. No wonder missionaries have to be hardy, resilient people! However, we believe we are adjusting, and trying to guide the children through all the changes once again. Please PRAY that we will continue to adjust well so we can be most effective here as a family.
DECEMBER was spent unpacking, readjusting, getting ready for Christmas , but also dealing with some situations that had arisen while we were gone, encouraging the believers, and planning for this coming year. As it is in the United States, December is extremely busy, and flies by quickly.
We thank God for the hard work of our people while we were gone. They ministered to each other and also took care of visiting families, which have been coming faithfully, and were able to lead 2 people to the Lord! We praise God for the salvations of Martin and Ana Maria! PRAY they will both continue to grow in their walk with the Lord. Now we continue alongside our church people, building them up for the work of the ministry, and sharing the Gospel. Please PRAY that our church family will be rooted and grounded in the truth this year so as to better love each other and show Christ more effectively to the community around us. This is our desire.
Click the following link for a printable prayer letter:
FURLOUGH is what has kept us busy these past 3 months! We flew up to the U.S. at the end of August, and are looking forward to flying back this coming week on December 3rd. What has come in between has been a whirlwind of traveling through or to twenty states, reporting to almost twenty churches, and seeing many family and friends on the way! We enjoyed ourselves, tired ourselves out, and thoroughly appreciated being able to report about what God has been doing during the past five years in Argentina.
We were very thankful to have been able to see Rachelle’s grandparents while in the US, and spend the Thanksgiving holiday with all of Ben’s family.
It is a privilege to serve there, and to represent our supporters on the field of Argentina. THANK YOU all for your prayers and your financial support. We do not take lightly the sacrifices others make so we can live in Argentina and dedicate ourselves full time to sharing the Gospel and discipling the believers God has given to our care. While we were gone, we left many of our CHURCH FAMILY in charge of the different ministries at the church. We are very thankful for many of our church people, who have ministered faithfully to each other and to new attenders while we have been gone. We are also thankful for the help from our church’s mother church, Calvary Baptist church. It has been good to know our church is taken care of, but we have missed our people and the country God has called us to, and look forward to being back just in time for a women’s retreat and Christmas events. Please pray that God will be glorified through the end of this year in our ministry, and that our yearly church planning and camp season in January will go smoothly.
We praise God for all He is doing! JULY brought with it winter vacation, which is always busy! Our youth attended two conferences during these two weeks, which helped strengthen them and unite them more as a youth group. Many spiritual decisions were made through these conferences, and we thank God for that! AUGUST came in with a whirlwind of activity because we had last preparations to make before leaving for furlough. Our church people banded together to take on the tasks we usually do.
The Sunday before we left was CHILDREN’S DAY, with a special event to celebrate it. We had a wonderful day celebrating the children of our church, with many visitors, and one mother accepting Jesus Christ as her Savior!
As I write this update, we are in Springfield, MO on our first weeks of our FIRST FURLOUGH! We cannot believe that it has been 5 years since we set foot on Argentine soil as missionaries. So many things have taken place, but two things have been confirmed to us repeatedly: 1. God is in control, 2. He has led us to serve and minister to the people of Argentina.
Because of this, it is a bittersweet time for us to be here in the United States. On one hand we are happy to see family and friends that we have missed, but on the other hand we miss our church family and home in Argentina. PLEASE PRAY for us during these three months that we are away: for it to be a profitable, restful, and enjoyable time for our family, and also that our church people will be spiritually strong and faithful during our absence.
We rejoice in all that God has done these past two months! MAY brought many work days at the new church building, along with a couple of church family work/picnic days. We were very encouraged to see our church family work together to get the new building ready for the official opening on our church’s anniversary. Having this new location, and a larger property has been a blessing for our church people, and it is more accesible for many who before traveled an hour by bus!
JUNE arrived, and along with it Iglesia Bautista Redención’s 2nd anniversary! We were blessed to have a full house, with many from our mother church, and also visitors from the neighborhood joining us! It was exciting to see how God worked it all out. And since then, for the past month we have had 1 new family, plus a few individuals, and one returning family coming faithfully to every service. Please pray for continued growth for these families. Some have not been attending church anywhere for over a decade!
A MISSIONS TEAM from Faith Baptist Temple in Ohio joined us at the end of June to help with painting, a multitude of other odd jobs, and to help coordinate an evangelistic event. They tirelessly worked to help us get everything together, and were such a blessing to our family and our church! Many neighbors showed up at the event to recieve free eye checkups, clothing, and haircuts. One young lady recieved Christ as her Savior, and a few more visited our church the next day as a result of the hard work and prayers! Praise God!