By: Matt Postiff
May 19, 2020
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life though Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6:23
For the last few months everything in the world has been pushed to the periphery. All is focused on the pandemic of Covid-19 and its prevention. Commerce and travel, the Global economy – postponed. My daily walks through the barrios of my city, greeting people with warm hugs, handshakes and kisses – postponed. Gathering with other humans, particularly for worship – postponed. Everything is about preventing the spread of the virus and the subsequent death toll arising from it. We are fixated on it, we struggle with it, we react to it in a variety of ways. And we track it. How many new cases? How many deaths? What does the graph look like now? As I write this note, the global total is 3.9 million cases and 270K deaths. It is serious and we should be concerned about it.
But Covid-19 is only one concern. For a variety of reasons, about 150, 000 people die every day. Every day. Some die of age-related issues. Some will die in a car accident or from a heart attack. Death is a part of part of our lives due to man’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden, “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin . . .” Every day 150,000 souls enter eternity. We do not typically track those stats. While some, by the grace of God, will enter into God’s presence, the vast majority of them will slip into an eternity separated from God.
We have taken drastic measures to counter the threat of the pandemic – and we certainly should – but do we, with the same focus and intensity, take measures (humanly speaking) to prevent a Christ-less death? Let us remember that every soul, every death is precious and that we should persist in our efforts to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the past two months we, here in Argentina, have been in a very strict quarantine. Our trips out the front door are short and utilitarian. We buy food, pay bills and, well, not much else. We have not gathered as a church for two months. Our car has not left the garage for two months. However, we have found many things to do at home. It has turned out to be a good time to reflect on our ministry to the Lord for Argentina. We are also learning to flex and utilize technology to stay in touch, have meetings and worship together – in a manner of speaking. Our immigration status is still in limbo. Due to governmental precautions, we cannot make use of commercial air travel until at least September 1st. This puts our plans to travel to the States on indefinite hold.
We thank the Lord that we are in good health. We have learned to be content with God’s will through all of this. We are thankful for your prayers and your support. While we are looking forward to our visit to the States when this is all over, we persevere in our ministry during these unusual times.
Your Servants in Christ,
Dave, Patti and Michael West
PRAISE the Lord
PRAY to the Lord:
Note: Please do not send packages to us in Argentina. We are unable to retrieve them.
By: Matt Postiff
April 28, 2020
Diane Steward reports on behalf of Curtis and herself from Chile:
In mid-March, when I did the preliminary layout for this newsletter, I had a completely different title and a somewhat different idea of where I’d head with the letter. Our Chilean summer was ending, and we were on a roll to start the year’s activities. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on ministry never even entered my mind. Today, desired or not, it’s front-and-center world news. After March 15, our church has pretty much functioned online and via our WhatsApp loops (like many of yours, no doubt).
Curt and the men of our leadership team had chosen the theme, “Don’t just go to church, BE the church” for this year. Little did anyone realize just how much we’d have to put this into immediate practice! A group of young couples had also just initiated a church multimedia ministry which quickly prepared to upload our prerecorded services to Facebook and YouTube. The Lord knew, though we didn’t, what we needed to have in place.
Some of you may remember our friend, Helen Prado, who suffered a
stroke on Christmas morning and went to home to heaven on New Year’s
Eve. I had the privilege of presenting her amazing life story at the memorial
service during our missionary conference in Argentina.
Editor’s note: UTSC stands for “Under the Southern Cross,” which is the title the Stewards give to their newsletter.
By: Matt Postiff
April 17, 2020
Do not be anxious…
There is no question in anyone’s mind that COVID-19 has greatly changed the way the world relates to one another. The uncertainty of how long it will last, what the long term effects will be, and if life will ever be the same again once the dust settles race through everyone’s minds.
Most social distancing measures have not largely affected our off-season months on camp. Work continues on many projects: the new camp chapel, finishing touches on staff housing, grounds work, etc. While the building materials last, we will keep working. Were it not for two canceled retreats this month, we could almost say all is normal.
The church ministry, on the other hand, has been greatly hampered. As many churches resort to live streaming their services, we have made do with texting a limited number of our church congregants. Many do not have access to reliable internet or even have the devices necessary for streaming. We aren’t quarantined, but visiting is frowned upon. Even the few times one bumps into a church member in town, they keep their distance and quickly move on. For those who are familiar with South American culture, this is not normal!
Each Sunday our family sings through favorite hymns, studies and discusses the Word, and prays together. We have encouraged the Church family to do the same, but have gotten little feedback. We look forward to the day when we once again can meet together for real body fellowship and service to one another. In the meantime, we keep looking and thinking of ways to encourage and edify the body from a distance. I think of the words of uncle George Black, former GMSA missionary now in glory, and I quote: “You can’t plant a church by remote control.” Pray with us that God would continue his work in the lives of the believers in Lican Ray and Challupen churches. May we be found faithful and obedient to serve His Church.
Throughout all the uncertainty and changes, Philippians 4:6 remains true and necessary “do not be anxious about anything.” We may counter with, “Well, Paul never lived through COVID-19!” To which his testimony quietly tells us how much greater his trials were than ours will ever be. Yet his reminder to not be anxious did not stem from a “head in the sand” mentality, but rather in the remainder of the verse directing our anxieties and cares to God’s throne of grace, not in a spirit of despair, but in one of thanksgiving!
Micah was heading to Idaho in May to work for the summer before starting Bible College at Appalachian Bible College in August. The airline canceled our May 6th flights. Our days are in the Lord’s hands and we trust Him to continue to lead us to make the right decisions.
Praise God with us for the work done on the new camp chapel. We thank him for great weather to work, and the strength and wisdom He daily provides.
Praise God with us for his grace during a time of uncertainty.
Pray for us and our co-workers on camp as we continue to work together to plan out our camp year, activities and projects.
We are privileged to partner with you in ministry. The Lord is faithful to call, enable, and sustain. We thank you for your prayers and financial support. We are humbled by your generous support to our family and ministry in Chile. in Christ,
Danny and Liz
Micah, Matthias, Morgan, and Madeline
By: Matt Postiff
April 15, 2020
We appreciate your ministry of prayer with us. Although we are all in our homes, God’s ministry of building His church continues. It has been said that the world will never be the same after the dust settles on this coronavirus, and that is probably true, but we can be comforted by the fact that God does not change! Our methods may shift to more use of social media, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, but our message does not change. God is still on the throne and He is still good!
“The silent killer” coronavirus has changed the face of our world and our ministries. We have watched as the epidemic has spread and taken over our daily lives. In Argentina we moved very quickly from limiting public gatherings to a nationwide quarantine in just a couple of weeks. Our church buildings are closed and yet the church continues to meet, worship and pray via social media. Please pray for our faithfulness to minister and for growth in the church.
We are reminded of another “silent killer” that invades the church and penetrates deep into the heart of man—our sin. It has been said that “idleness is the devil’s playground.” We pray especially for those who are on lockdown and can only go out for the essentials that we would use our time wisely for the building up of Christ’s church. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Eph. 6:12. Our ministry may have shifted to social media, but the most effective tool of our ministry has not changed. Prayer has always been and will always be God’s weapon of choice for His people. Please pray for believers and church attenders that they would not grow cold or be picked off by the wolves who would prey upon them but would use their time to grow.
This summer we had a missionary conference, family camp, two youth camps and a kid’s camp with a total of 458 people coming to camp. It is a blessing to see the growth of the ministry and to hear how God is working in the lives of the campers and staff. In talking with one pastor weeks after camp, he said there is something different this year in the teens from his church. The the effects of God working in the lives of the campers seems to have more of a lasting affect this year than others. Please pray for the campers and church leaders as they continue to disciple the youth in follow up after summer camp and that they would remain faithful to the decisions that they made!
We are presently hosting Luke Stevens, an intern, working with us for the year. Obviously; with no camps, retreats or even church services; this was not the type of ministry experience that he was looking for. Please pray for Luke especially during this time that God would give him wisdom for future ministry.
Thank you for loving us and joining us in the ministry here in Argentina!
Resting in Christ,
James and Donelle Morrell
By: Matt Postiff
March 26, 2020
Dan and Liz Thompson report from Lican Ray, Chile:
This summer, our facilities were full and our staff stretched in serving many campers, but God’s Word was preached and taught! Most of our weeks we had over 100 campers and with staff, the numbers were generally over 130! Many of the campers, both in youth camps and family camps, were new to the ministry. How wonderful to see new generations being ministered to by a new generation of camp staff as well!