This update is from David and Patti West in Argentina:
6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. (NKJV) Acts 16:6-7
How frustrating this must have been for Paul and those who ministered with him. They had had such success in accessing various parts of Asia Minor. Their motive was pure: to preach the Gospel where Christ was unknown. Their efforts kept pushing them and encouraging them to move forward. Then they “hit a wall.” They were actually forbidden by the Spirit of God to continue this direction of advancing the gospel of salvation. I can only imagine the soul searching that took place in the heart of these men as they tried to ascertain the reason for this resistance. Well, it was no fault of their own, it was simply that the sovereign God had other plans and places for Paul to work. Verses 9 and 10 describe what was taking place,
9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:9-10
Once this mystery was resolved it was clear enough what was needed to be done; abandon for now this current ministry direction and pursue the direction indicated by the Lord. And off they went.
This is a vital principle for faithful servants of the Lord. Oft times our efforts to serve God meet with resistance or fruitlessness that defy explanation. We search our heart; we recheck all our motives and purposes to make sure we are on the right path. Then surprisingly another direction opens before us and we discern the Lord’s wise change of direction.
Such is the case for us. Our intention for coming to Argentina was, and continues to be, to train young men and women for full-time Christian ministry. The means to do so was to start a Bible college here in Chivilcoy where facilities exist out at our Camp and Conference Center. However, logistically, and practically, this situation was becoming something of a frustration. All the while, a need was arising in Buenos Aires with the Bible Institute that our National Fellowship (UCB) has operated for many years. The Institute is presently located two and a half hours east by car from our current home base.
The short tale is that the UCB leadership has asked me to be the new director in Temperley, BA. This new opportunity seemed at first to be a step back, but we see the Lord’s wisdom in giving us a new direction and a more advantageous means to start a college ministry. The facilities in Chivilcoy will be perfect for when we are ready to operate a campus-oriented ministry.
When will we start this new ministry? Like everything else, it all depends on how this pandemic continues to govern our lives. Argentina has one of the world’s longest standing lockdown situations. This affects our immigration process, our move, and our ministry. We have no certainty as to a time table for anything right now. We are praying that we might be able to take a mini-furlough this fall (our spring), move to Buenos Aires and then start the work at the institute in March. This is all in the Lord’s hands.
Thank you for your faithfulness in supporting us through prayer and financial giving. Humanly speaking we could not be here without you!
Christ’s Servants in Argentina,
Dave, Patti & Michael West
Editor’s note: A couple of weeks after this post was published, the Wests had to undertake a trip to the capital to retrieve an important immigration document–through several police checkpoints. The Lord provided through the entire trip and now their mandatory quarantine-upon-return has been completed.