Dear Friends and Family,
Our winter has come and gone, and I want to catch everyone up with what has been happening here in Argentina before I continue to highlight the specific ministries, so let me get right to it.
August and September were both wonderful and difficult months for us as a family. The car needed repair, more than once, and sometimes for the same problem. We were all ill, Vanesa and Zoe twice, and while none of the illnesses were particularly bad, it just felt as though we spent most of the winter suffering from one bug or another. The work schedule didn't help, since we had some additional responsibilities for Sara, my mother-in-law, who fell and broke her right wrist (yes, she is right-handed) at the beginning of July. Praise the Lord, she got her cast off recently and is regaining strength in the wrist, albeit slowly.
In addition to the illnesses, Vanesa had some pretty serious pain in her legs for over a month. Her endocrinologist and ob/gyn ran some tests, but everything seemed to point to lack of rest and a continued case of anemia due to her work load and her diabetes. She wasn't convinced, though, and scheduled an appointment with the phlebologist that her mom has been seeing, and the tests turned up some internal hemorrhages that could cause her problems down the line if not treated quickly. We made the decision to start her treatment the same day, and she seems to be responding well to the medication. She has a follow up appointment in early October, and your prayers are appreciated.
On the positive side, we were finally able to touch base with the people who make the furniture we want for the new house and got our order in for both the dining room and the living room. Again, we are looking at October, probably the end of the month, before we actually have anything in the new house, but we Praise the Lord that we were finally able to place the order!
The best news, though, concerns Zoe. As some of you may remember, she registered with the University of Buenos Aires' virtual program, and has been taking a course in Semiotics during the past 3 months. She did really well with all of the homework, and took her first university test, in person, on Sept. 28. She had a blast. Of course, we think she did well, and that is important, but we are extremely pleased that she enjoyed the experience, and we thank God for the opportunity.
The new group took a trip during September to Corrientes in order to play and minister at a wedding. The trip was a test case of sorts, both for the discipleship process and for some of the goals that the group has as a band with a ministry focus. They had a strong witness to a fairly large group of people (over 100), and were able to make the trip with no logistical issues! That last bit may not sound important, but that area routinely suffers from strikes as the farmers protest government policies, so just being able to use the roads is a blessing! Please pray that the Lord would open doors for future trips and, especially, for the opportunity to do follow-up ministry in the places they have already visited.
In other news, Vicente, the pastor I have mentioned who worked with me some years ago, contacted me and has asked for my input in developing a discipleship ministry for his congregation. His vision for the work is holistic, practical and visual since a large portion of his congregation has not finished high school. Our talks were helpful, and I am looking forward to seeing what God does through his ministry. I will say more about this in a later newsletter, but this kind of "reproduction" is exactly what I have been praying for since the ministry started, so praise the Lord that we get to see a little bit more of what He is doing here in Florencio Varela.
We continue to get requests to consider expanding, but without anyone volunteering to help actually produce the content or host the shows. So, while I am very pleased with the ministry, please pray that God would either provide us with additional people or with opportunities that will expand the ministry with our current resources. The most promising possibility currently is a station on the other side of Varela. We know a young man who has a program with this station, and not only do they reach a section of Varela with a stronger signal than we have with radio Zoe, they seem to be open to the possibility of using pre-recorded programs as the basis of the content for our time with them. If we can work this out, then I would be able to record the basic program with roughly the same time investment, but the increase in the number of people who could hear the program would be considerable.
Eyes on Jesus Congregation
The needs of the congregation have been tremendous over the past two or three months. We really miss the prayer warriors who passed away during the quarantines in 2020 and 2021, especially Elvira. I would ask those of you who have a heart for prayer that you spend some extra time interceding for the members of our congregation. A number of the folks are having marital problems. Some are having some pretty significant mental issues as a consequence of the stresses involved in returning to work. Depression is the most common, but anger issues are also frequent, particularly between members of extended families living on the same piece of property (which is true of almost all of the members of our congregation). We have seen some people start coming more regularly, which has been a blessing, but we are all concerned for so many of the people we know and love. Many of the people are members of Arturo's extended family, so he is feeling the weight of this both as a brother and as a pastor. Of course, the fact that people come and talk to him is a good sign, but it also highlights Elvira's absence in his life, so I would ask for special prayers for him during this time, and wisdom for all of us as we continue to minister to people suffering from grief, poverty and broken relationships.
A big thank you to all of you who have written during this time. We love hearing from each and every one of you. Those of you who took the time to respond to Vanesa's posts about Zoe's birthday and first university exam were especially thoughtful. Thank you.
And, of course, a big thank you to all of you who may not have written, but who uphold us in prayer and/or who support us financially. We feel your presence regularly, and there are no words to say how much we appreciate everything you do for us in the name of Jesus. Thank you all so very much, and God bless you.
Envoy Christian Mission
Florencio Varela, Argentina