Dear Friends and Family,
This last part of 2023 has brought us many blessings, so I would like to share a few of them with you all and ask that you rejoice with us!
This has been a tremendous year for Zoe. She is practicing karate, continues to take online courses at the University of Buenos Aires to get a jump on her Public Translator degree, and took over the number one spot in her high school class, which earned her the right to carry Argentina’s flag at all school events! She regularly helps the other grades with the choreography for their folklore dances and in October proposed changes to the student government format at her high school. In November she was asked to participate in a meeting with the administration to talk about the implementation of those changes before the end of the school year! It has been a wonderful year for her, and it has been a joy for us to see!
Vanesa’s end of year experience has been more challenging. She has had to cover more hours at the bakery, while also dealing with the tumor on her ovary and the medical requirements for the SB1 visa that will permit her re-entry to the USA. She also continues studying for her Business Administration degree and was also one of the primary "representative mothers" who help the students and the administration communicate with the rest of the parents in the class, which in turn means more efficient fundraisers for all of the senior class activities. Vanesa not only raised money for the year end ceremony, she was able to help the students pay for a photographer and pay the cost for some of the favorite professors to attend the banquet afterwards (inviting the professors is traditional, but being able to pay their bill is a big plus)! Add that to the fact that she often dropped off extra bread and sweets from the bakery for the teachers and staff to share after a particularly hard week, she is now probably the most well-known mom at the school!
I have been enjoying driving our new car since September! A big thanks to all of you who made the purchase possible by donating to the car fund! It is much more reliable than our old one, and came at a good time, since Vanesa’s medical visits included several trips to the capital city and back. My ankle and back therapy are still on hold following my severe case of bronchitis this past winter (summer for you folks), but I am finally ready to start those rehab visits again, thanks to some great work by our local doctor, who is also a fellow believer! God does indeed work in more and better ways than we can imagine!
Eyes On Jesus Congregation
We are still without a building! Please keep us in your prayers regularly about the lack of a meeting location. We have started meeting in the home of the pastor, but attendance is very spotty. Please also keep Isaac, the pastor’s son, and Marcela, his wife in your prayers. Isaac has been having lung issues most of the winter, and his mom was recently injured in an accident at work (careless co-working playing with a heavy paper roll) and needs prayer. She had to go to the doctor and the dentist before all was said and done, and has the last scheduled appointment with the dentist to finish repairing the broken tooth his month (November).
The radio ministry continues to be a source of joy. The studies this year have focused on Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life. The idea has been to build on the studies of Jesus in the Gospel and identify concrete applications of His life and teachings for life here in Argentina. The series has been challenging as well as fun, and I am a little sad that the time to close it up is coming up so quickly. I will be wrapping the series up by the last week in December, and working with the discipleship group to develop the next unit for 2024.
Daniel and Vicente have both started multiple groups this past year. Vicente has discovered that the hardest part of doing discipleship in a congregation is sustaining people’s interest while the focus continues to be on the basics. Daniel’s three groups are going very well, and the group that includes the members of the band, Vinculo de Paz, has a new part-time member who will soon, Lord willing, be full-time. Mayra C., the newest vocalist for Vinculo de Paz, is also now Daniel’s fiancée! Vanesa and I have been doing pre-marital counseling with the couple as they decide where and when to perform the wedding ceremony, and who to ask to do it. Since both have been Christians for some time, there are several options, myself included. Whoever performs the ceremony, please pray with us that this couple continues to be committed to the Lord and to ministering in His name, and that they continue to produce fruitful disciples of Jesus Christ.
Attempts at creating another group or two this year from folks living locally, or in the nearby neighborhood of Mayol have so far been frustrated by emergencies and long illnesses in the families involved. Please pray that the potential members will decide to make the time commitment, and that the Lord will create the space in their agendas as well as in their hearts.
Figgins in the USA?
Let me close with an update on our travel situation. Vanesa’s medical application for the SB1 visa has been filed by the doctor and, apparently, accepted by the system. That allows us to move forward with the other paperwork and, once we have it all collected, present it all to the embassy and ask for the final appointment. Please pray that God will be working to facilitate everything that still needs to be done, and that we will be able to travel freely in 2024.
God bless you all for your prayers and support. We hope to see you in person relatively soon, but even if we cannot, know you are in our prayers and hearts.