Are We Allowed to Have This Much Fun on a Mission Trip?

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Encouraging Progress – Reflections on the July 2012 Trip

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A little over 5 years ago, I led a team from NRHBC on a vision trip to consider working in Buenos Aires with missionaries from the International Mission Board (IMB).  Randy Whittall, the head of the IMB team in Buenos Aires, encouraged our church to adopt barrio(s) in Buenos Aires and focus our work in these neighborhoods.  We accepted the challenge and began to work in two barrios – Villa Ortuzar and Chacarita.

Since May of 2007, NRHBC sent 25 teams to Buenos Aires.  This July marked our penultimate trip with one more planned in November of this year.  The end of this year will conclude our partnership in Buenos Aires and thankfully this trip, perhaps more than any other, demonstrated that encouraging progress is occurring.

At the beginning of the partnership, my goal was to follow a strategy in which NRHBC works herself out of a job and it is looking more and more like this strategy is succeeding due to the work of Iglesia Bautista Villa Crespo (Villa Crespo Baptist Church) and her pastor, Guillermo Otero, who is pictured above holding the plates of cookies.

On previous trips we showed movies with mediocre success with probably, at most, 20 people attending.  This trip we had 60+ on two nights, 50+ one night and 40+ as our “low” attendance night.  At the end of each movie, two members of our team shared their faith story.  Thankfully, Keelan and Aidan Lindsey who are 13 and 11 respectively, were on the trip as the kids at the movies were most attentive while the Lindsey boys shared their faith stories.

Monday through Thursday our teams followed up with new and previous contacts.  Progress was made in the fact that Villa Crespo has reach a point in which they could send out members to go with us as we made our visits.  At least one member went with our team a day – another point of progress as NRHBC hands off “our barrios” to the Villa Crespo church.

The NRHBC team did great – Jake Kuylen, Trent Voyles, Kevin, Sabrina, Keelan and Aidan Lindsey, and Ashlie Duncan went about their tasks with vigor and were faithful in sharing the gospel. 

I look forward to going to Buenos Aires for the last time, at least for the time being, and seeing further evidence of God at work through the Villa Crespo church.

 

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Visiting Long Time Friends

We started the day at the Villa Crespo church where we prayed, discussed the day and reflected on yesterday. I think everyone is enjoying the trip.

I went with Kevin & Lindsey and Diego, one of our translators. We took a subway to Villa Ortuzar to make our appointment with Irma, a Christian lady our church met on our very first trip. We then visited with her for an hour and a half. Recently, she had a fire in her house and still had some smoke damage. No one was hurt and for that she is thankful to God, as are we.

Her son, who was a few years ago in jail for drugs, is doing well. He has two businesses and employs both Irma and Irma’s daughter/his sister. But Irma thinks he is not a
Christian and asked us to pray for him.

We shared mate’ and visited about the Villa Crespo church. She would like to have a place to serve as her current church is too far away for her be actively involved during the week. We invited Irma to the church to meet Guillermo and some other church members that afternoon, which she did. I was very encouraged.

After leaving Irma’s we stopped at a park to invite people to the move. Keelan did a good job using his Spanish to invite kiddos.

It was already time to meet at the church – the morning really flew by.

Each group had a list of visitors to the movies to follow up with. Sounds like the other groups actually made the visits today while my group didn’t visit any because we were blessed by spending the time with Irma. But as Kevin pointed out, our visit paid off by Irma visit the church!

The movie went well – we had over 65 people there – not including us or the Villa Crespo volunteers. Ashlie Duncan shared her faith story in Spanish and Aidan shared about the wordless color book thing. Both did well.

Nestor, who has served as a translator on previous trips, and his fiancé Barbara showed up at the church after the movie. At that point, we headed back to the hotel and then to dinner. Nestor and Barbara went with us. They marry in less than a month. We had a great visit.

Please pray:

Today is our last day of ministry, please pray for our team to overcome weariness and to boldly share the gospel.

Please pray for the last movie today, that many will come and be receptive to the gospel.

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Choripan!

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Today I went with Trent, Ashlie, Estefan and Erica, a member of Barrio Norte.

Our first priority has been to follow up with people from the most recent evangelistic trip which was in November of last year. We tried a few from my list with no luck and so we started to walk towards Villa Ortuzar, another barrio that is NRHBC’s responsibility to reach.

On our way, we stopped at a restaurant to use their restroom. We had a snack and the owner was chatty so Trent shared his faith story with him. The restaurant owner was initially closed until he discerned that we aren’t crazy nor JWs or Mormons. While Trent was talking through the tract, a patron entered the restaurant giving the owner an out. Thankfully, seeds were planted.

We next stopped at Iker’s house. He wasnt home but a friend of his told us to call the house and arrange a time to meet with Iker.

We next tried a home with several squatters with some luck. While Ashlie, Estefan and Erica visited there, Trent and I walked around the corner to Irma’s house. Sabrina’s team were being led there by Gabriela and so I arranged to see Irma tomorrow. Irma is a godly woman who lives in Villa Ortuzar who we met on very first trip to Buenos Aires.

Trent and I met back up with the rest of our team and went to Jumbo – a Target like store with inexpensive Argentine things that can serve as souvenirs.

We then took the subway back to meet the team. After a lunch of empanadas, we got ready for the movie.

45 or so showed up to watch Kung Fu Panda 2. During the movie Kevin Lindsey met with a guy and led him to the Lord as well as Trent Voyles!

After the movie we took the subway downtown to the Plaza del Mayo. We ate dinner and saw the Casa Rosada, Cathedral and Obelisk. All told it was a long good day.

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Blockbuster Movie!

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Today was again a really good day. We met Guillermo at the Villa Crespo church at 10 AM for a brief time of orientation before heading out. We had four teams and each team had a list of names to follow up with. We targeted the folks from the last trip as a priority and had about 3 hours for visiting.

I went with Keelan Lindsey and Guillermo Otero, the pastor of Villa Crespo church. The other teams were Jake Kuyle, Tiby (a translator from Romania) and Sabrina Lindsey; Kevin and Aidan Lindsey and Diego (a translator from Colombia); Ashlie Duncan, Trent Voyles and Estefan (a translator from Peru). As a reminder, our translators are students from the evangelical organization Word of Life.

My team went to four homes. 2 were not home, 1 was uninterested and the 4th was the mother of the previous contact. The mom, Maria, was curious and so I shared my faith story and the gospel. While Maria didn’t decide to accept Christ, I hope that she will be receptive to the Spirit’s work on her. Please pray with me towards that end.

We then headed back to the church and met the other teams. We ate pizza and empanadas for a late lunch and then prepared for the movie.

The audience for was very encouraging – about 62 people showed up including 16 or so moms. Repeatedly, we had to get more and more chairs to accomidat the growing crowd. We watched the movie, Megamind (Megamente in Spanish). After the movie Sabrina shared her testimony and the color flip book gospel and Trent shared his testimony. Both did a great job.

After the movie we hung out a bit, ate a bite and will all soon go to bed.

Please pray:

For those that heard the gospel today to be receptive to the Spirit’s work within them.

For more success tomorrow as we visit – for people to be home and receptive to the gospel.

For an open and attentive audience. We will show another movie tomorrow and hope for even more people and for even greater receptivity to the gospel.

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A quick update about Sunday

Today was a good day. We went to church this morning at the Barrio Norte church. I preached. It was about Jesus.

We had lunch at the Villa Crespo church aka the Casa de Amistad. The church – Guillermo, his wife Nadia and about 15 members – made an asado for us. Essentially an asado is a giant meal of grilled meats and fresh salad. It was delicious.

We then hung out for a bit after lunch and had church at about 6:30. Again, I preached. Again, I talked about Jesus.

Our translators, who are student missionaries with Word of Life, met us at the church during the service – two guys, one from Peru and the other from Colombia.

We had a light dinner at McDonalds where we talked about the week.

I am very excited – members of the Villa Crespo church are going with us this week for evangelism and discipleship. This is a significant positive development in this mission endeavor.

Please pray:

For people to be open to receiving our team and receptive to the gospel.

For the members of Villa Crespo church to be eager to connect with the community.

For us to be bold in the proclamation of the gospel.

Mark

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A Visit to Uruguay – Saturday’s update

This post requires a bit of explanation. For the first time that I have led a mission trip, we enjoyed our tourist day at the beggining rather than the end. I did this so that we could have the unique experience of going to Uruguay, which was essentially the same costs as an all day tour of Buenos Aires.

We had an early morning in order to catch a ferry across the Rio de la Plata to go to Colonia, Uruguay. We left the hotel at 6:15 in order to make our 7:45 ferry.

Colonia is a tourist town that was once a fort in the mid-1600s. There are many stores with souvenirs, a light house to climb with an excellent view, artesenal shops, antique stores and nice restaurants.

We arrived before any shops were open and had to walk around for about an hour and a half. We heard that there was a bullfighting ring and started to walk there. After waking an hour we were only about a third of the way there. So…we gave up and turned back around.

From that point we walked, shopped, ate. And then we still had 6 hours left in Colonia. So then we found a park, some rested and others (myself included) played soccer.

We then walked, shopped and ate ice cream. After 8 hours and with two more hours to go, Kevin had the itch to rent golf carts.  So Kevin paid $30 for two carts for an hour. We had a blast.

We rode out to the bullfighter ring and it was a huge disappointment. Essentially, the arena was a shell of itself.  

The best part of the golf carts was Kevin’s lack of knowledge regarding Uruguayan traffic laws and signs. So we drove the wrong way down one-way streets repeatedly.

At the end of the hour it was time to go to the ferry. We had an uneventful ride home and came back to the hotel.

Tomorrow morning I will post about the great day that we had on Sunday.

Mark

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