By: Matt Postiff
February 9, 2018
General Director Tom Gibbons writes about a good problem to have:
For David and Kristi Flinck, diminishing space due to church growth has become an encouraging problem in Antofagasta, northern Chile, where they have served for seven years. Content just to find affordable housing in this prosperous mining city of 400,000, they rented a 10th floor apartment for their family of six in May of 2011. After two months, they began holding Wednesday night Bible studies in their apartment, and then the following month Sunday meetings. Before long, they were praying for a house with more space! Through God’s provision, such a home was able to be purchased thirteen months after their arrival. Today their living room is bursting at the seams. Why? Because the primary focus of their church planting ministry is people.
While compelled by the goal of God’s glory, our primary focus in church planting is never buildings, but people. Buildings become necessary tools for ministry, but when Jesus saw the multitudes (Mt. 9:36), He didn’t worry about where they would meet, dream about the facility he would build some day, or obsess over how he would ever pay for it. He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Missionaries who engage in church planting rarely do so because they’ve been promised the necessary financial resources to buy or build a facility. They do so because they have passion for the lost as Christ has passion for the lost.
The focus of church planting must always be people: their salvation and transformation. When the servants of God sow the Gospel seed, the Spirit of God works, and the Son of God builds His Church. Making disciples (rightly called the planting of the Lord) inevitably results in spiritual growth and numerical multiplication, which creates an encouraging problem: where to physically put the planting of the Lord for three or four hours a week, so they can be kept watered and growing. Having personally witnessed the process of establishing a church from birth to young adulthood over a span of 18 years, we marvel at how God took care of this practical need through every stage of growth, with perfect timing and always debt free.
Missionaries will usually choose a home in their host city with a large enough garage or living room to begin holding meetings. As Christ builds His Church, that space will grow cramped. In the summer it may be hot and stuffy, but the acoustics will make the neighbors think that hundreds are tucked away inside when they sing! What a thrill to “suffer” through this encouraging problem in the miraculous birthing process of a Christ-built church.
Were it not for Christ’s motivating passion for lost people, one might have reasoned that Antofagasta was too far north and way too expensive to make a go of planting a church there. However, we’re not called to “make a go of it” or “give it a whirl.” We’re called to go and make disciples. Christ has promised to build His Church…and in Antofagasta, Chile, His Church is storming the gates of hell.
The Biblical church-planting focus of reaching people for Christ has produced spiritual growth and numerical multiplication to the point where there’s no more room in the Flinck house. That’s a problem that encourages. Join us in praying for a strategic, God-tailored location where this young ministry will have space to keep growing. We know God is able.
If you would like to learn more about the challenge, contact David and Kristi Flinck. Please remember the Flincks, National Pastor Andrés and Cecilia Maluenda, and new missionaries Mark and Bekkah Perry, in their team effort to establish the church in Antofagasta.
By: Matt Postiff
February 1, 2018
Dear Ministry Partners,
“Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
In my mind I am seeing two backpack and computer case burdened air passengers making their way to an overseas flight to which they are 30 minutes past boarding time. In fact, they are the last passengers to board and they are practically starting to taxi as they store their stuff away. They were us as we made a late arrival in Atlanta on our way to Buenos Aires. That mad rush was a good picture of our time since graduation from language school.
This past month has been an absolute flurry of activity. We arrived in Iowa just before Christmas and were able to spend Christmas with all of our children (a first in a few years). A couple of days afterwards we were on our way to Uruguay to run the children’s program during the annual missionaries’ conference in Paysandú. We added another week or so in Chivilcoy, Argentina, before returning to Iowa. The day after we arrived in Des Moines, we were on our way to Minnesota to pick up our son Mike. Two days later we made another trip to Minnesota for the memorial service of the father of one of our colleagues. A week back in Iowa (including moving into and out of our temporary quarters in Ankeny) and we headed to Arizona to begin our west coast farewell tour (more about that later). When we return to Iowa in February, we will square things away in our storage unit, and travel to Wisconsin for, Lord willing, a commissioning service. A week or so later we will be making our last long drive in our van to Florida where we will stay before we move to Argentina. Tickets have been purchased and we three are scheduled to leave Miami on March 20, to begin our first term as missionaries to Argentina.
In the midst of all this hustle and bustle, we constantly remind ourselves that we are doing this as part of our service to the Lord. It is so easy to leave that important factor out of the mix as we make plans, fill out forms, load and unload our earthly possessions, print maps, make calls, etc. But we remind ourselves that we do all for the glory of God and do it all in a way that brings glory to God. The flurry of activities is simply a part of the process and, in our case, that process will end with our ministry of training young men and women for ministry in South America. How exciting is that? And, how exciting for you! Because of your prayer and financial support, we finally have a departure day on the calendar, and you have had a huge part in all of this. We thank the Lord for you and we look forward to sharing with you the great things the Lord has in store for us.
Pray with us to the Lord about our needs regarding what is called “outfit and passage” to Argentina. There are a lot of things needed to get to the field for ministry. We are praying that the Lord will help us finish here…so we can begin there!
Thank you for your partnership in this valuable ministry,
Dave, Patti and Michael West
2 Timothy 2:2
By: Matt Postiff
January 30, 2018
This week is family camp at Pirque, near Santiago, Chile. Here are a few pictures.
By: Matt Postiff
January 22, 2018
General director Tom Gibbons writes about the summer camp ministry:
As many of you who are in the US, Canada and the UK huddle near a cozy fire to ward off the winter chill, in the Southern Cone of South America January and February mean summer camping season is in full swing!
I wonder if some of you point back to a specific camp you attended that ended up being a “watershed” experience in your spiritual life. Would you take a moment to pray for over a thousand people of all ages who will hear God’s Word at camp during the South American summer? Remember those who will hear the gospel for the first time, others who will be convicted about something specific in their life, and some who will be challenged to surrender to full-time Christian service. Pray for the GMSA missionaries and National brethren who are serving side by side during this camping season in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.
Argentina, in Chivilcoy, Buenos Aires
Youth Camp February 5-10
Uruguay, in Paysandu
Family Camp February 5-10
Chile, in Pirque, near Santiago
Kid’s camp January 23-27
Family camp January 29-31 and February 1-3
Teen camp February 5-10
Chile, in Lican Ray, near Villa Rica
January 29-February 3 (13-17-year-olds)
By: Matt Postiff
January 18, 2018
GMSA missionaries and national church fellowship leaders hope to purchase a property next Wednesday for a new Bible Institute in Temuco, Chile. It has great potential with good drainage, multilevel landscape and some forest with a small creek in the bottom lined on both sides with second growth robles (a type of oak tree), plus a double access off the county road less than a kilometer in from the I-5 Pan-American highway into Temuco.
Please pray for this project to move forward so that the Bible institute can continue to carry out its mission, namely to train Christians to be the next generation of leaders in the South American churches.