Psalm 121:1-2 – “I will lift up my eyes to the hills- from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
The purpose for writing this devotional is two-fold: to proclaim truth about God, and to encourage you with that truth. One of the attributes of God is that He is our ‘Helper’. In the book of Psalms, David often referred to God as his ‘Helper,’ using the Hebrew word that described a military help or a ‘call for aid in time of need’, something that David experienced on many occasions in his life. The simple truth here is that God is my Helper, my Aid, my Strength! And as if that truth doesn’t quite sink in deep enough, Psalm 121:2 adds that He is the One ‘who made heaven and earth.’ God, the Creator, is your Help, and He will be there to strengthen you and help you in whatever situation you are in!
Now, many of you who are reading this may not feel like you need help right now, and I’m sure there are some who are truly desperate for help, but in either case, the simple knowledge of God being our Help will transform our perspectives, create a dependence on Him, and strengthen us through those difficult situations in life. Just read the stories of these Bible examples: Joshua (Joshua 8:1-35), Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:1-18), Gideon (Judges 7:1-25), etc. You are in the hands of God, you are subject to His promises (that never fail), you are loved and cared for by God, you belong to Him, and you must depend on Him! Listen, there is no one more reliable than God! So, as you encounter life’s difficulties and desperately need help and assistance, look not to the right or to the left, look not to your own self, but look up to the mountains to see the Creator, because He promises to be your Helper!
Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support! It has now been slightly over one month that we have been living in Argentina, and you all have been a huge part in helping us get to this point. We praise God for each of you, not only for the unity we have and enjoy as believers, but also for the blessing you have been to us throughout our missionary journey, primarily through your prayers, encouragement, and financial support! As you read this newsletter, we hope that you are spiritually encouraged and motivated to follow after Jesus Christ with your life, wherever God has you and whatever situation you might find yourself in.
Praise God for…
• His Strength: we praise God for giving us the strength to make this big transition to life in Argentina. Although it has often times been difficult and uncomfortable, God continues to give us encouragement and strength when we need it the most.
• His Answered Prayers: we praise God for the improved health in our daughter Eliana, for the smooth and safe arrival into Argentina, and for the ministry opportunities we are already involved in.
Please pray for…
• Our Paperwork: we would appreciate your prayers for the next and final step of our paperwork process, in order to obtain our ‘DNI’ cards, or permanent residency. We will be taking all of our documents to Immigrations soon, so please pray that this appointment will go smoothly and we would receive the approval of all documents.
• Our Ministries: please continue praying for our ministry opportunities here, primarily that people would respond in their hearts to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. For our sports ministries (basketball, volleyball, etc), preaching at church, Bible studies, and physical work in the camp and church properties.
The month of April was one of the quickest months of our lives. From our last-minute church visits, packing and organizing our belongings, and spending every possible ‘free time’ with family and friends, the word ‘time’ simply vanished away. During the first three weeks of April, we did however have the opportunity to visit Faith Baptist Church of Sellersville, PA, where we had the opportunity to share about our ministry to Argentina and become better acquainted with the church family. We very much appreciated the love and support that we received from such a beautiful church family! It was also a blessing for us to spend our last two Sundays (in the USA) at our home church, High Point Baptist Chapel. Many people do not realize the impact they had on our lives, especially as we neared our departure date for Argentina. We would like to say a special ‘thank you’ to our home church family, for their hospitality and care for us, for their prayers and support, for the many wonderful friendships we enjoy with them, and for their Godly testimony and example in our lives. Honestly, we love and miss you all, and look forward to the next time we get to see you.
After three rigorous weeks of organizing, packing, and cleaning, our departure date quickly arrived. On April 24th, we flew out of JFK airport to Buenos Aires, where we arrived safely the following morning. It was a long, emotional, exhausting trip, but we praise God for giving us the strength through it all. Our little family of three, along with our 25 totes and suitcases, successfully made it through airport customs and were warmly welcomed into Argentina by one of our co-workers, Tom Gibbons. After a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the airport, we finally arrived at the Gibbons’ home, where we are currently residing (in a small apartment connected to their house), in the city of Chivilcoy. It has been quite the adjustment living here, especially concerning the daily lifestyle and language differences. Yet, although these have been good challenges for us, we have truly enjoyed integrating ourselves into the Argentine culture, into the church family here, and into the constant use of Spanish. We praise God for the training we have received prior to our arrival, for Tom and Debbie Gibbons (our mentors and co-missionaries here in Chivilcoy), and for all of your prayers on our behalf.
In the month of May, we have primarily spent most of our time adjusting to the new cultural lifestyle, preparing Spanish messages to preach (Dathan’s job), working on our documents for our permanent residency, and slowly getting more involved with various activities here in the community and church. Allison has been attending a semi-weekly women’s Bible study at church, which has been a huge encouragement to her, both spiritually and in growing in the language. Apart from spending most of her time as a Mommy to Eliana (well, I guess that’s all the time haha), she also loves to go on daily walks to the local food markets and to the plazas (parks) to strike up conversation with people, she enjoys her daily tutor hour to learn more Spanish, and she is always expanding her Argentine cooking recipes! Dathan has had the opportunity to preach in Spanish on several occasions already at church, and has had the privilege of practicing basketball with one of the city’s semi-professional teams, in hopes to continue building relationships with people here in the city. He also enjoys going on walks or bike rides, spending time conversing with some of the young men at church, and trying to perfect the art of grilling an ‘asado’ (Argentine barbecue). The both of us truly have enjoyed getting to know the Argentine people and culture better, yet our hearts often times still miss ‘home’ in Pennsylvania. But through all of these changes and challenges, we trust in the One who deserves our complete dependence, because He has a great plan for us, one that He will help us accomplish!
At the end of the month of May, our local church and camp here in Chivilcoy held a ‘Retiro de Hombres’ (Men’s Retreat), which was the first ever event held on the camp property. It was not only exciting to have around 88 men in attendance, but it was also an incredible testimony to God’s faithfulness over years of building the camp. The retreat included Bible teaching, great fellowship, soccer games, and some delicious meals. We praise God for such a special weekend to spend with brothers in Christ, and for the opportunity to meet many more co-workers in Argentina! Well, for those of you who are wondering about Eliana, she is doing very well. Her doctor here has been awesome, her health has been improving greatly, her giggles have been contagious, her toes and hands have been chewed on (by herself), and she absolutely loves being outside and going on walks! Thank you to all of you who have been praying for her.
We hope that you have gained a better understanding of what God has been doing in and through our lives here in Argentina. It has been such a blessing to finally live in the country that God has put on our hearts to reach with the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Your prayers and support are very much appreciated, as we seek to continue building relationships, seek a new church plant location, and seek to proclaim God’s Word to the people. May God bless each of you in your own lives and ministries, as you depend on Him for His help and His strength!
Dathan, Allison, and Eliana Marshall
If you would like to view our photos from the past 2 months, please visit our blog at marshallmissions.blogspot.com or visit our Facebook page Marshalls to Argentina
Editor’s note: Please excuse the lateness of this post. We are in the midst of a website upgrade!