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Gospel Mission of South America!

GMSA exists to glorify God by helping sending churches and their missionaries to establish reproducing churches in South America. We work to accomplish this goal through evangelism, discipleship, and leadership development.

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Wests in Argentina: One Year and Counting!

Dear Friends,

One year ago yesterday (March 21) we were preparing to board a plane that would take us to Argentina for our first term as new missionaries. While we were very excited, I must admit that there was a certain amount of fear in my soul. We were not flying to Argentina for a quick visit or a conference or survey. We were moving. Permanently. We would be gone for a couple of years. We were leaving our kids, our culture and our comforts. We left our books, our bikes and the majority of our keepsakes collected over fifty years. We were a little nervous, yes. But at the same time, we were excited to see how the Lord would use us in this new ministry. It was a new chapter in our lives, and we were eager to see how it was going to work out.

Now, a year later, we can look back and see the good hand of the Lord upon us. We have made it through the first step of the immigration process, Patti has merged into the role of field treasurer, we have had speaking and music participation opportunities, we have formed the committee for the school. Progress is being made on the development of the school program, the core curriculum, and the content of some of the first semester classes. Mike has found his ministry of helping out at the camp cutting the grass and serving as an ambassador of good will by showing up with his mate (a tea-like infusion). Our Spanish improves at a snail’s pace but it is improving!

In our home, which is the Mission House in Chivilcoy, we have had the privilege of hosting, in the guest apartment, a missionary family, our pastor’s family upon arrival from Chile, and a short-term worker. We also had the joy of hosting a young man from one of our supporting churches as he helped James Morrell out at the camp for a few weeks. We have had friends and families from the church into our home for fellowship.

We have travelled several times to Buenos Aires (by car, me driving!), Gualeguaychú, and Lican Ray, Chile. Our fascination and love for Chivilcoy and the people who live here grows continually. It is normal for us to still feel like foreigners, but we are feeling much more at home here in Argentina.

We are so thankful for your support and prayers for us this past year. Often, when the pressure and strangeness of living here worked against us, we reminded ourselves that we had you as our support group, knowing that you had our backs and that you regularly brought us before the Lord. We cannot thank you enough for the comfort and strength that gave (and continues to give) us.

We have a challenging year ahead of us. We have another step to take in the immigration process near the middle of the year. I will begin promoting the new school in the churches in the second half of the year. There is still much work to be done planning and organizing for the start of the first semester. And, of course, we will continue to work hard at making progress with our Spanish. Please continue to pray for us as we tackle this next year. God has been so good to us – our list of praises is long. We look forward to seeing what He has in store for the next year. Pray for us and drop us a line sometime.

Blessings in Christ,
Dave, Patti and Michael West

Summer and Fall Work Trips to South America

Every year GMSA schedules trips from the US, UK, and Canada to Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. This year there is a trip scheduled to Chile from June 9-21 and to Argentina from October 17-31.

Please pray as you finish reading this note that God will raise up 20 workers to join us at each camp for those weeks.

If you want to come to lend some labor, skills, and muscle, you can find more details here.

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Workers from Canada and Appalachian Bible College: Thank You!

About 11 days ago, the team that worked at Camp Lican Ray returned home. We are grateful for all the hard work and projects accomplished at Camp Lican Ray.

We are also thankful for Luke Stevens (Appalachian Bible College) who spent his spring break assisting James Morrell with camp projects.

To This Point

Last weekend, Bekah had the opportunity along with Kristi and Cle to fellowship with some pastors’ wives from our area.

In 1 Samuel 7:12, we read that “Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.’” It’s always good to set up “monument stones” to help us remember all of God’s goodness to us. One of the things I like to remind myself every time we pray before a meal is that God has always provided for our needs and never once have we gone hungry. This month marks one year since we moved to Antofagasta. Thinking back over the past year, we’d like to enumerate some of God’s blessings.

We have both enjoyed great health over the past year. Besides the occasional colds and the aches associated with getting older, we have had no health issues.

The apartment we have rented has been a blessing. We have been safe and comfortable, we have been able to host visitors for meals and to stay overnight, and the location is ideal. Obviously we didn’t know a year ago that this would work out so well (but God did, and he was very kind to us).

Our church family has received us with open hearts and arms, showing great love and patience with us. They are not just our brothers and sisters, but our friends.

We have both made great strides in Spanish. It’s still our number one prayer request, but thinking back over the year, we have come a long way. Communication is essential in disciplemaking ministry.

Financially, God has met all of our needs through the faithful giving of his people and by allowing us to live more economically than I had anticipated.

God provided us with a reliable and very comfortable automobile when we needed it. Although we live in a city with good public transportation and outside of the city we generally have to fly, it has been a blessing, especially in helping others.

God has strengthened our marriage over the past year, because we get to spend a lot of time together and we have to depend on one another more. It’s a blessing to serve the Lord together.

God has taught us so much about Jesus’ beloved Bride, the Church. Getting to see Her a little more “in the rough” helps us appreciate her beauty even more. What an inestimable blessing we enjoy, Gentile sinners, brought into God’s family through his Son!

Thank God with us:

  • For his many blessings over the past year in our lives.
  • For his ongoing work making us more like his Son.
  • For the way Jesus is building his church here in Antofagasta.

Pray to God with us:

  • For his grace to give thanks in everything.
  • For his grace as our church pursues formal membership and considers another change in location.
  • For his grace to help us serve him and his church faithfully.
A reminder that we are fishers of men.

Editor’s note: Mark and Bekah post to Facebook and their own webpage quite frequently. We do not often post the same content here on the Southern Sentinel since we cross-post it on the GMSA Facebook page, but please do follow Mark and Bekah and pray for them!