May June 2017

First Meeting!

Sometimes we don’t have enough words to tell all that is in our hearts.  These past two months have been very full and busy. Ben, along with men from our mother church (Calvary Baptist Church, Isidro Casanova), and men from our new church have been working tirelessly to get the new church building up and ready. Of course, there were many things happening last minute to bring it all together. Our core group helped hand out invitations, and then we waited to see who the Lord would bring through our doors. Iglesia Bautista Redención (Redemption Baptist Church) was finally inaugurated on June 11th, 2017!!!

Many from our mother church came to support us on the first Sunday. So, they, along with our core group, and visitors totaled 85-90! We were thrilled to have that many come to our first servie. We had one profession of faith on that first night, with others interested and asking questions.

Many of those present during the first Sunday.

First Weeks

The following weeks have leveled out and we have consistently been running around 40 each Sunday, with one more profession of faith! We’ve had followup visits with all the first time visitors, and many have expressed interest in continuing to come. Two families, and a couple of kids have been coming faithfully, and  we are excited for their interest in God and His Word, and the change God is working in their lives.

We are very excited to now be ministering in Iglesia Bautista Redencion.

More Firsts

Please be in prayer for upcoming events and plans for the new church plant. We are already discipling multiple individuals, and Ben has begun to disciple a new couple, David and Roxana. Roxana has not made a profession of faith yet, but has many questions. Also, we began planning for our first Childrens’ Day event. Childrens’ Day is a major holiday here and a great time to open our doors to the community for evangelistic purposes. We are very excited for all the involvement of our core group, and even some of the new attendees to make this a success! We praise God for this new congregation!

The fathers present our first Father’s Day.

Click for printable prayer letter: Prayer Letter- 2017- May June

 

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March April 2017

Construction Underway

After many hiccups in paperwork and government red tape, we finally were able to get electricity at our new church building so we could begin with construction and repairs. Basically, we rented two large connected buildings that were pretty much empty. So, along with repairs we needed to add a second bathroom, and entrance, classrooms, and many other things. We are hoping to begin cleaning and painting on the auditorium side sometime next week, and have everything up and ready so we can start canvasing the neighborhood with flyers the last week of May/first week of June. We are praying to have our opening service on June 11th! Our team is very excited to begin soon. Sometimes the process is much longer than we’d like, but God’s timing is perfect, and we have been using this time to grow closer as a church plant team and closer to the Lord.

The church building coming along.

Some of the workers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discipleship

We are still staying strong discipling some of those who are part of our startup team, but also helping them begin to disciple someone also! Please pray for Ben, who is personally discipling three men and Rachelle who is personally discipling three women, and hopefully a fourth soon. We truly believe that lives are changed when we “each one, reach one”. This includes discipleship so that a new convert (or in some cases, not so new) can grow to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and effectively impact their world with the good news of Jesus Christ!

Our group enjoying a day togetrher with a few invited guests.

School Days

March saw us begin a new year of school- with Ben teaching in the Bible college again during at least one evening each week, Natalie in 7th grade, Lucas in 5th grade, and Alenna in 3rd grade. Nico is still our homeschool mascot, or general distraction, since he is almost two  and constantly getting into everything as we try to study. Along with a new school year, Lucas also began taking Taekwondo and the girls are wanting to start art or music lessons. These activities will not only help the kids physically, but also help us reach out to the community. Over all it’s a wonderful life with our crazy family in a new crazy school year.

Our new 3rd, 5th, and 7th graders!

For a printable prayer letter, please click the link: Prayer Letter- 2017- March April

 

 

 

 

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January February 2017

Visitors!

It had been a while since we had any visitors from out of the country come to see us. As a result, we were very excited to not only have one but two sets of visitors come! We, along with our best friends from the United States, the Adams, surprised our children with a long-awaited visit. It was a wonderful surprise, since our children hadn’t seen their best friends since we left the US 2 1/2 years ago! We enjoyed a wonderful ten days together right during the New Year’s celebration, and showed them around the Capital. Now we all have memories together in our adopted country! The next week we welcomed two of our former students from our days in the youth ministry at our sending Church. Michaela and Angelica came down to not only visit us, but also to help out during the camp season. We thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them at our home, and also at camp. We thank God for all these wonderful friends who used their time and hard-earned money to come and refresh us with their presence.

Our friends, the Adams family, came to visit during the New Year celebration.

Michaela and Angelica came to help out with the youth and kids camps.

Camp Time

January is always camp time, and we had another wonderful camp season. Ben helped out in two of the three weeks of camp, and our whole family packed our bags and headed there for the last week. As usual we were blessed to be a part of the time with the campers and other leaders and counselors. We thank God for this ministry, and for the many decisions that were made during these weeks!

Kids camp group.

Church Plant

 

We have now been meeting with our core group for the new church plant for 3 months, and things are moving along, although sometimes not as fast as we’d like of course! We began renting a property in February, hoping to begin renovations on it right away, but we have been delayed by some municipal red tape. Paperwork and processes here are very different than in the US unfortunately! However, during this time we have been ironing out several wrinkles with our group, and one was deciding on a church name. We voted and decided on the name Iglesia Bautista Redención (Redemption Baptist Church) once we are a formally organized church!

Weekly meetings with our core group as we prepare to launch the church.

Prayer Requests

  1. Salvation for our new neighbors.
  2. The new building would be up, running, and finished so we can open the doors!
  3. Personal discipleships, and group discipling will continue strong.

Praises

  1. We have a building for the new church plant!
  2. Salvation of Mikaela, a teen in our area.
  3. 3 were baptized at t he church in Isidro Casanova.

Click for Printable Prayer Letter- Jan Feb 2017

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2016 Year in Review

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Top 5 Note-worthy happenings this year:

1. We started off the year with youth camps, where many decisions were made. Then Ben preached at a family camp during Easter week in Uruguay.

2. Halfway through the year we led the church while veteran missionaries, Barry and Diane Courts were on furlough for two months. It was an instructive time for us in which God helped us counsel a few families through some hard issues.
3. Looking towards the future, we moved to Gonzalez Catan, which is half an hour from the area we are currently serving.
4. In relation to #3, we began weekly meetings with our core group for the new church we are planning to start in 2017! It is exciting and challenging at the same time. and we have seen God open so many doors and bring many people together for the start of this new ministry.
5. As of December 29, we are celebrating 15 years of marriage! We are so thankful to God for giving us to each other for these wonderful 15 years.

Kids Update

Natalie

This was a big year for Natalie. She got braces, turned twelve, started in the youth group, and finished 6th grade! She’s a beautiful young lady, inside and out, helping in whatever is needed, and growing in her relationship with God!

Lucas

Lucas turned 10 this year, completed 4th grade, and is finally bilingual. He loves hanging out with all his friends,  and entertains us with his creative, funny mind.  We pray he channels all his creativity and energy  towards serving God!

Alenna

Our precious Alenna was 7 for most of the year and in 2nd grade. This year she took off with her reading in English and in Spanish, and she loves to play with her baby brother Nico, play with toys, and do crafts.

Nicolás

Nicolás turned one half way through the year and he went from crawling to walking, to running and climbing. He’s a hilarious little guy, and we are so thankful God saw fit to bless our family with him.
Click for a Printable prayer letter: 2016-year-in-review-prayer-letter
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September October 2016

Conference Time

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The pastors who attended the Bible Conference.

The second week of October we had the opportunity to participate in a three-day Bible conference here in Buenos Aires. We came together to  motivate each other to collaborate toward accomplishing the task of the Great Commission in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Paraguay. There were 12 different speakers (including Ben), each dealing with a different aspect of unity. It truly was a blessing and a great encouragement. One of the highlights was the pastors’ meeting on the last day, where the need for more churches in Argentina was stressed. We also committed to pray for and help each other, and the church planters going out of our churches in a much bigger way. Since then, we have already seen an increase in communication and specific needs being met among the pastors and churches. There is a huge amount of work to be done among the churches here. Please pray for this. God does amazing things when His people pray for what is always close to His heart: REACHING THE LOST!”

Mother’s Day Happenings

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Mother{s Day theme in Moreno, Buenos Aires “Redeeming the Time”.

We not only had our own Mothers’ Day event at our church, but Rachelle was also asked to speak at a mother/daughter tea at another church in the Greater Buenos Aires area. The theme was “Redeeming the Time”, and the women had spent much time in advance preparation for this event including inviting unsaved friends and family! Rachelle was very excited when one of the women there, Fiorella, gave her life to Christ after the devotional that Rachelle gave! What a blessing and answered prayer, because the church family had been praying for Fiorella’s salvation for eight years!! It is wonderful to be used by God!

Coming Up

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Any study, meeting, or fellowship can be accompanied by the traditional drink: máte

We are thrilled that plans are moving forward for the upcoming church plant. November 13th we begin weekly meetings with our “team”. This team is made up of members from our current church (which will become our new church plants’ mother church) who all live in Gonzalez Catan. During these weekly meetings we will be studying the marks of a healthy church, our goals, and fine-tuning details for when we start holding services. We still plan on helping at the church in Isidro Casanova, even after we officially begin the new church plant.

Click for the printable prayer letter: prayer-letter-2016-sep-oct

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The Move, Marriage and Management in Ministry- July August 2016

Moved Out and In

We were down to the wire and hadn’t been able to find any rentals that would fit our needs in the area we were moving to. Then, God provided a house that, while not perfect, is in a great location (in the center of the town we want to begin a work in), and has most of what we were looking for. So, we were able to sign on the house and we are now renting in Gonzalez Catan! We have been adjusting during the month of August, and are pretty well settled. This is one step closer to where God has been leading, and we have already begun developing relationships with the neighbors here. Please pray for us as we soon will begin meeting weekly with our “team” that will be assisting us in planting the new church. We are excited!

kids-moving

 

Holding Down the Fort

We have been heavily involved with the ministries of Iglesia Bautista Calvario, and the seminary these past two years. As a result, when Barry and Diane Courts (Rachelle’s parents and pastor of the church) needed to go on furlough, Ben was one of the ones left in charge. We truly love this church family and so many of them have pitched in to keep everything running smoothly. However, Satan has been attacking the families of the church, and we have had to begin counseling multiple couples through some difficult times. Please pray as we continue counseling: that hearts will open to God’s work and that these marriages will be saved and their families will thrive.

Special service before the Courts left on furlough.

Special service before the Courts left on furlough.

Family Happenings

We don’t always update about family happenings, but there have been a few these past two months that we wanted to mention: Lucas turned 10 on July 3rd, Nicolas began his journey walking, climbing, and getting into everything; and Natalie turned 12 on August 27th and joined the youth group! The children have been wonderful helpers through this move to our new house which is half an hour from our current church. They have a couple of friends in this area, but pray that God will provide more friends for them in our new city.

Our wonderful blessings!

Our wonderful blessings!

Click for our printable prayer letter: Prayer Letter July August 2016

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May June 2016

Happy Anniversary!

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The church’s 27th anniversary!!

Iglesia Bautista Calvario is the church we have been serving in since we arrived in Argentina. It is a blessing to be in this church: helping them reach out to the community, teaching, and discipling the Chrstians there. The beginning of June marked its 27th anniversary, and we praise God for all the people who are a part of this church family. They are truly a missions-minded church. Pretty soon they will be sending out a second young man that was trained there to pastor a nearby sister church. This is such an exciting thing to see! There is a great need for willing and able men of God to plant and lead churches to reach Argentina for Christ. Pray for these men and our opportunities to train them for this great task through the seminary here and individual discipleship and training programs

Father’s Day

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The fathers of our church.

Father’s Day here in Argentina is on the same date as in the United States. We celebrated the fathers in our church with a special gift. We thank God for the many fathers the church has, since strong, Godly, leaders are few in our Latin American culture. Please pray that these men will continue to be faithful to God and to their families.

Parenting

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Some of the young mothers in our class.

Because most moms are stay at home moms here, biblical parenting can be an overwhelming challenge, when moms and dads have not grown up in church with sound biblical advice. As a result, Rachelle and Diane Courts (Rachelle’s mom and pastor’s wife) set out to have a “moms’ class”. For the past 3 months they have co-taught on subjects of parenting, such as godly discipline and discipleship of our children. Many of the moms have said they have been implementing what they have learned and are excited! Please pray as we continue with a new series of lessons in August.

Prayer Requests and Praises

*Salvation for Pablo and Lorena, our landlords, and Fabricio.

*Pablo Yedro (who recently was saved!) and Mariela’s marriage.

*We will find the right house for us before our contract is up.

*The church and seminary as we and other leaders take over while the Courts are on furlough.

*Our baby, Nicolas, turned 1 June 3rd! He is such a blessing from God!

Click the following link for a printable prayer letter: Prayer Letter- 2016- May June

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March April 2016

Calling ALL Students!

March is the beginning of fall here in the southern hemisphere and it brings school with it! We had a wonderful summer filled with Christmas events and camps. Now, back to school schedules for all of us! Rachelle homeschools the children, and this year they are in 6th, 4th, and 2nd grades. We jokingly made Nicolas the school mascot. He obviously had no clue, but the older kids thought it was hilarious (see photo). As we adapt to our school routine, Ben is teaching in the Bible Seminary again and, starting in the middle of May, will also be making a weekly trip to downtown Buenos Aires to teach a preaching class to a group of men in a church there.

New school year, new grades!

New school year, new grades!

Nicolas is the School mascot.

Nicolas is the School mascot.

Easter Family Retreat

Most people have the week or weekend before Easter off from school and work for a religious holiday. We headed northeast to Uruguay to participate in a church Easter retreat. Ben was the guest speaker. We enjoyed meeting several people and spending time with good friends and fellow missionaries. It was a wonderful week remembering Christ’s sacrifice for us, His resurrection power and our victorious walk in Him!

Ben preaching at the Easter retreat in Uruguay.

Ben preaching at the Easter retreat in Uruguay.

Planning

We continue seeking out where God will have us begin a new church. We are prayerfully exploring Gonzalez Catan, which is located half an hour from where we are now. It is one of the most populated areas of Buenos Aires, with very little Gospel witness. There are a couple of families from there who come every week to attend the church here in Isidro Casanova, and we are in the process of planning things with them so they will help us begin the work in their city. It is very exciting! However, we want to move to that area to be in a more central location and we are having a hard time finding a house to rent. Please pray we will find the right place, which God already has waiting for us.

The area in which we are praying to start a church.

The area in which we are praying to start a church.

Click for a printable prayer letter: Prayer Letter- 2016 Mar Apr

 

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January February 2016

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Camp Time!

Our second camp season here in Argentina has come and gone. Camp is always such a wonderful way to reach young hearts and turn them towards God. The camp we participate in has three weeks of camp for different age groups, and our church has children/teens in all of them. Ben was a counselor in the older teen camp, and had the opportunity to speak directly into the lives of the young men in his group. They are bombarded on every side with all the pleasures and perils of the sinful world in which we live. We woud ask that you pray specifically for one unsaved young man, Fabricio, who came to camp, recognized his condition before the Lord, but hardened his heart towards the Gospel, all because he did not want to change his life. He continues attending his church, but still needs to turn to Christ. We praise the Lord for several others who made decisions to turn from specific sins in their lives that were ensnaring their Christian walk, and follow the Lord more faithfully. What a blessing to see God work in their hearts! Since then we have also seen follow-up steps several have taken, such as being faithful in church, starting classes in the seminary and talking to their friends about their Savior!

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Our team at the 8-11 year-old camp, the blue team!

Investing in Families

We truly believe that in order to have a strong church there must be strong church families, and these begin with strong marriages. One of the ways our church invests in marriages is through couples’ meetings which usually include an evening off without the children, teaching on marriage, fellowship with other couples, and even fun things like a Valentine banquet once a year! It was very fun to organize the banquet this year, and there were eighteen couples present, some of them for the first time at church. Please pray for one of these couples, Pablo and Mariela, who have been attending church for a short while. They are going through counseling because of problems in their marriage, partly due to Pablo being unsaved. Please pray for his salvation and that their marriage will not only be saved, but  flourish.

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At the Valentine banquet. Pablo and Mariela are on the right.

Click for printable PDF: Prayer Letter January February 2016

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November December 2015

Ready to Teach… and Learn

God impressed on Rachelle’s heart to begin a childrens’ class on Wednesday evenings during the prayer meeting. So, in November she started a kids’ class and has had between 8-12 kids coming regularly to hear God’s Word and learn together. Of course it is a learning process for Rachelle also, since we have one year-olds through twelve year-olds all together! But, they are eager to learn! So far we have dealt with topics such as salvation, the Lords’ armor, and soon we will learn about prayer and how we can truly draw closer to God by praying effectively. Pray for us, that during this time these sweet children will draw closer to God.

We regularly have 8-12 kids on Wednesdays.

We regularly have 8-12 kids on Wednesdays.

Merry Christmas!!!

We have regular women’s meetings, but two of the biggest ones of the year are for Mother’s Day (in October) and Christmas. This year we had many of the women of the church involved in everything for the Christmas event. We also had 5 visitors who heard a clear Gospel message! Once again our landlady came and really enjoyed herself. She had some questions, also, but as of yet does not see her need for a Savior. Please pray that all of those who visited will be saved soon!  The Christmas program, which is also a large event, was held on December 20th. Our brother-in-law, Richard wrote the program, and it was a fresh way of presenting the Christmas story. We praise the Lord for the many visitors who heard a clear message of the Gospel!

Christmas family picture.

Christmas family picture.

We had many visitors for the Ladies' Christmas event.

We had many visitors for the Ladies’ Christmas event.

New Year… New Doors

Thank you so very much for your wonderful support both financially and prayerfully this past year, we cannot do it without you! We’re starting 2016 and excited for the new doors God will open. Up until now we have been blessed to be involved with the ministries of Iglesia Bautista Calvario here in Isidro Casanova, but we know God is leading us to start new churches in other areas. We ask you to pray for us, that we would see God’s guiding hand to the place He has for us. There are overwhelming needs and tremendous possibilities, but God is faithful to lead and strong to help.

The Christmas program's cast- Ben was the innkeeper.

The Christmas program’s cast- Ben was the innkeeper.

Click for Print: Prayer Letter- 2015- Nov Dec

 

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