By: Matt Postiff
November 17, 2017
For most people, the Atacama Desert is known only as the most arid region on the planet. Growing up in rural Ontario, it was once about as foreign a place as I could imagine. I first traveled to Chile with a work team in March 2016 and returned the following January to serve at a summer camp in the south. When I heard of GMSA’s ministry in Alto Hospicio, a community in the Atacama near Chile’s northern border, I almost immediately dismissed the possibility of ever being involved. I was serving my three-month term in the beautiful, green south and returning to Canada. No deserts. Towards the end of March, however, I learned that Sharon Bisbee was still unable to find someone to serve in Alto Hospicio in her place during her six-month furlough to the States. God had been at work in my heart, and after a whirlwind trip north and a divine convergence of circumstances, I knew that He was leading me to move to Alto Hospicio in May 2017.
For the past six months, I have had the privilege of serving alongside a Chilean pastor and his family in a church plant in one of the poorest communities in Chile. The land on which the church building sits is situated between two large government housing developments, both of which are filled with children. On some Sunday mornings, over half of the congregation is under the age of sixteen. There is a Bible Club ministry every Friday, week-long programs during the winter and summer vacations, and special events as often as possible. In addition to serving with the children, I was also a part of the music ministry and the young adults group. In July, I had the unique opportunity to travel with a Chilean friend on a ministry trip to the Chiloé Islands. The cold, rainy weather in the south was a marked change from the Atacama, but the seascapes were incredible. Along with a group from Santiago, we visited in homes, sharing the gospel, and prepared a one-day event for the children on the island of Lin Lin.
There were certainly days when I wondered how on earth I ended up in a desert nearly 7500 kilometres from home. When I first arrived, my Spanish was basic, and I often found it frustrating to have even normal conversations, let alone the spiritually meaningful ones that I had hoped for. I had often prayed that God would use my abilities for His glory, but I also learned to pray that He would use my inabilities as well, and not just the linguistic ones. I thank God that the work of His Spirit is not constrained by my Spanish fluency or my ministry experience, and I praise Him for all that He accomplished both in me and through me over the past six months.
Although I am back in Canada for now, I trust that I will one day return to serve in Latin America. In His perfect timing, our sovereign God will reveal when and where and how.
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work”. (2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV)
By: Matt Postiff
November 7, 2017
Dathan and Allison Marshall reporting from Chivilcoy, Argentina:
Joel 3:10b – “… let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’”
The apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, where he says, “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” There is a truth here that is very difficult to accept and obey. In order for you and I to be strong, to be successful, to be called ‘great’, we must first become weak. It is like an athlete who first submits themselves to the difficult, rigorous training of their body (being made weak), before they compete in their perspective sports with a durable, well-trained body (then made strong).
Unlike these illustrations, Paul is referring here to an inward humility, a change of heart and perspective, a recognition of one’s weaknesses and inabilities. After all, are we really strong at all? Just take one look around at humanity (especially in comparison to all of creation) and you’ll quickly see how weak, how fragile, how foolish, and how incapable we truly are. Do you want to know how to become strong? The answer is not to first begin an exercise program, or eat healthier, or anything physical, emotional, or social. We must first ‘take pleasure’ in our weaknesses, which means to ‘think good about’ or ‘to be well-pleased with’. You and I (whether we admit it or not) are weak, and often times, our weaknesses are made quite evident by the struggles of life. But, Paul is boasting about his weaknesses, because the strength of the Lord, the power of God, is revealed and made known through weakness. You see, when we are without strength and are in the middle of a ‘difficult training exercise’ in life, God provides us with His strength and power to overcome, which would bring praise to the only One who deserves it. Identify your weaknesses. Take pleasure in them. Rely on God’s strength and grace (v. 9). Give praise to God for what He has done. Then, as Joel 3:10 says, “… let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’”
Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you. Thank you for your prayers, for your support, for your encouragement, and for your testimony for Jesus Christ! We thank God for each of you, and for your faithful and generous part in our ministry. As you read through our newsletter, we hope you are truly encouraged and uplifted by what God has been doing through our lives, and we would ask you to please continue praying for our family, our ministry in Argentina, and these other prayer requests:
Please pray for…
Praise God for…
The months of August and September, which are the last months of winter here in Argentina (unfortunately, no snow), were highlighted with a young adults conference in Uruguay, and Dathan’s parents visited us for 10 days.
October has been an extra busy month, with a Pastors Conference, Ladies Retreat, and work teams that have come from the USA to help work at the camp. In the first week of October, about 90 ministry leaders came to the camp in Chivilcoy from Chile, Uruguay, and other parts of Argentina, for a 3-day Pastor’s Conference. What a blessing it was to meet so many faithful, hard-working men who have devoted their lives to full-time ministry!The camp also hosted its first ever Ladies Retreat, where about 80 women gathered from churches in Argentina and enjoyed time of fellowship, worship, and studying God’s Word. In between these two big events, a work team from the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey came down to help prepare the camp property for the Ladies Retreat, and ultimately, for summer camp in February 2018. Pastor Bill Park and his wife, Betty Jean, led this group, which included two others (Herman and Heidi). In their short, yet productive time here, they were able to clean all of the buildings, cut all the grass of the 25-acre property, and make big advancements on the second cabin building. We are very thankful for their ministry to us here in Chivilcoy, and we always look forward to seeing them again and spending time with them on their next annual work trip.
Lastly, Dathan was finally approved to play in his basketball league in the Local games, yet still has to wait for further paperwork to play in the Provincial level. Having played in two games so far, there is already a big difference in the interest, acceptance, and curiosity of why we are here and what we believe in. We praise God for these open doors to share the truth of God’s Word and about Jesus Christ, which stands out above any other religion or other belief. With Allison practicing and engaging with her volleyball team on a weekly basis, and with Dathan practicing and playing games with his basketball team, God is using this ‘common interest’ with those in the world, to be able to reach them with the Gospel. It is our prayer that these opportunities would not only change individual lives, but also supplement the growth of the local church.
Again, we would like to say a big ‘thank you’ for your prayers and support! Just as God is working and producing fruit here in Argentina, we hope and pray that His work is being accomplished where you are as well. Despite our physical distance from you, as the body of Christ, we have been brought together by the same reason (grace) by and for the same person (God) to accomplish the same mission (glorify Him). Romans 11:36 – “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” May God bless you as you serve Him with your whole heart!
Dathan, Allison, and Eliana Marshall
By: Matt Postiff
November 6, 2017
Yesterday, Mark and Rebekah Perry were commissioned in Ohio for their upcoming missionary service in Chile. See the attached photo showing the GMSA representatives who were present: missionaries Kristi and David Flinck, U.S. board member Matt Vanderwarker, U.S. board chairman Bill Hixson and his wife Linda. Please pray for the Perrys as they head out to the field of Chile! (Photo courtesy of David Flinck).
By: Matt Postiff
November 6, 2017
Thank you for you’re prayers. We finally started the bathroom project here at Camp Pirque. The idea is to transform the existing missionary storage building into bathroom, reception office and nurses station (for the downstairs) and an office and rooms (for the new second level).
We had a very productive work team from Pennsylvania, led by Pastor Bill Park. The team came down to do some roof demolition for us. In order to start redoing first floor, we needed to take the roof off. We were very impressed with the quality of roof that we found. The wood rescued from the demolition will be recycled in other projects around the camp.
Here are some pictures that show the process of the taking off of the roof. We had to empty the maintenance building first (no small task), take off a side roof and then proceed to take off the metal sheets, and finally the trusses. We praise the Lord for safety during this process.
Thank you once again for keeping us in you’re prayers.
Continue to pray for safety during this process.
More pictures to follow as we progress.
Editor’s Note: The GMSA family wants to express thanks to the Lord for a generous donation that was received for the Pirque Camp, shortly after this post was originally published. God is good and we thank Him for entrusting some more resources to us for His work.
By: Matt Postiff
November 3, 2017
November 2, 2017
Fil 1:6 estando persuadido de esto, que el que comenzó en vosotros la buena obra, la perfeccionará hasta el día de Jesucristo;(RV 1960)
Phil 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;(NKJV)
Paul wrote to the Philippians and spoke of his gratitude for the work that the Lord was doing in them. For Paul it meant encouragement that the Philippians were a good work in progress. For the Philippians it was assurance that what God was doing would continue and that it would come to a delightful end. The Lord was doing something wonderful in them and it would continue until it was completed; in this case the work would continue until the return of Christ.
As well, everything in life has a beginning, some duration and, eventually, an end. Every day, every week, every month, every task, every project, every phase in life has a beginning, a process and an end.
Right now we are in the process of learning Spanish. It is a good work, but it is a WORK. In December, Lord willing, we will receive our certificate of completion and bring to a close our time here at RGBI. (The process of learning Spanish, however, will continue until the end of our days I am afraid!) As we hit the midpoint of the semester we are amazed that we have made it this far. Learning a language is a challenging and often humbling process. But it is a process that will have an end (a qualified end), and we have the assurance that the Lord will see us through. This is true for the homework we do today, graduation in December and the establishment of a Bible College in Argentina in years to come.
We are so thankful for those of you who pray for us regularly. Many of you not only keep us before the Lord in prayer, but you also invest in us materially through financial support. Without you all, we would never have made it to this point, and going on would be pointless. What a blessing you are. Patti and I continue to work hard to learn our lessons and complete our tasks. Our son Mike keeps himself busy with work at the Koinonia coffee shop here on campus, and with frequent walks around campus. The next three or four weeks will be particularly challenging as we face deadlines for some important projects. The second semester language school students will also be doing the chapel service in Spanish next week on November 9 (very scary!).
We praise the Lord for His sustaining us through this arduous task of language learning. We praise Him for the grace that encourages us to keep plowing. He has taken care of all our material needs of food and raiment, and then some.
Please continue to pray for us as we come to the most challenging part of the semester. We are also praying that God will bring some more churches to partners with us. In light of this, we could use wisdom to know exactly what to do when we leave RGBI.
Thank you for your ministry of prayer on our behalf,
Dave and Patti West
2 Timothy 2:2
“Trabajando, Orando, Mejorando”
(Working, Praying, Improving)
To keep even more current on our deputation ministry, please “like” our Wests to Argentina page on Facebook.
By: Matt Postiff
October 25, 2017
Editor’s note: This letter is from Dan and Becca Vallette. Due to technical and scheduling issues, we could not publish it until now.
Dear Friends and Family,
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement as we serve the Lord in the camp ministry in Chile. We count it a privilege to be able to serve the Lord here.
During mid July, Santiago experienced snow – about 4 inches in our area! It is highly unusual for it to snow in the city. Vanesa & Camila were attending the winter retreat at Camp Pirque. They enjoyed snowball fights, building snowmen and the breath-taking beauty.
Monthly soccer games began last March. One Saturday in the month, men meet together, have a time of Bible teaching, prayer and play soccer. Several visitors have attended. The last time they played soccer, there were enough men for three teams.
We are looking forward to have a short-termer from High Point come in September. Burton Taylor graduated this last June and will be spending three months with us helping with several projects around the camp. He came last year with the youth group.
Preliminary work on the transformation of the existing storage building to an updated bathroom-shower facility will begin soon! Please pray that things will run smoothly and the work will get done before summer (January 2018). Once this is done, renovation on the cabins can begin. “The List” as we call it, is extensive. “The List” includes small and large projects to improve existing areas of the camp as well as add new ones. Please pray for wisdom as we prioritize and administer resources.
The church we attend, Union de Centros Biblico Monteverde , is in the planning process of planting a church at camp. According to the 2012 Chile census, there was 8% growth in Santiago. In Pirque there was 32% growth. There is a need for a Bible-teaching church. A couple from our church will be heading up the church plant and we will be serving in a support role. It is exciting to see churches multiply and see the Chileans taking the lead.
We are looking forward to a work team coming from the states as well as a work team from Canada. There is always room for more to join.Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support!
Dan & Becca Vallette Keven, Bryan, Vanesa and Camillla.
By: Matt Postiff
October 25, 2017
Here is the October update from James and Donelle Morrell:
“Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.” Psalm 143:1 The Lord has indeed heard and answered our prayers! Since the completion of the first cabin complex (large enough for 60 people) and our inaugural men’s retreat in May, we are moving forward with plans to host other events as well. We are thankful for the Lord’s provision over the years of both finances to build and manpower to see it done. To God be the glory for great things He has done!
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2 From October 2-5 we will be hosting the Avance Pastoral in which we will receive 80-100 pastors, missionaries and church leaders from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. The purpose of the conference is to edify, encourage and provide training for the leadership of churches within our fellowship. Pastor Matt Postiff from Michigan and Pastor Alejandro Peluffo from Argentina will be bringing the messages during the conference. Please pray for safety as the men travel and that God would accomplish His work in the lives of each on in attendance.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20,21 We are planning on hosting our youth retreat on our facility for the first time in February 2018 which brings the need to have a pool completed to accommodate the hot climate. As we neared the completion of the first cabin it was very clear that we were not going to have enough funds to complete the second cabin let alone think about doing a pool. Yet as we sought the Lord in prayer, He has been faithful in providing funds to construct the major part of the pool and at least a portion of the second cabin. For now, we are focusing on the middle section of the cabin which with provide us with more bathroom facilities. The plan is to house the ladies in the first cabin and boys will sleep in the main building and use the new bathroom facilities presently under construction. Praise the Lord for His continued provision in ways and times that we least expect! Please pray that God would continue to provide the funds necessary to complete the pool area and second cabin.
By: Matt Postiff
October 25, 2017
Missionary Sergio Duarte writes about the ministry of the College of Biblical Studies of Uruguay:
From the beginning, FEBU’s main goal has been to equip its students for service. We place great effort into offering adequate training to those that, by the grace of God, are being prepared to serve the Lord. In order to better accomplish this objective, we believe it is essential to provide a place where students are not only receiving academic training, but are also being discipled and challenged in both character building and hands-on ministry. Classes are currently being held in a church building, for which we are grateful. However, we see the importance of having our own facilities for classroom space and dormitories.
Every semester we have 20 or more students enrolled. Some of them come from different parts of Uruguay and from other countries as well (currently from Argentina and Costa Rica). The lack of housing has been a road block for some potential students who would like to come but have no place to stay. Therefore, the Building Project is critical to achieve our main goal.
The blueprints above show the proposed new building which includes dorms, classrooms, bathrooms, a conference room, and a library. You can play an active role in this exciting project: praying faithfully to God for His provision and guidance, coming down to Uruguay and lending a helping hand, or however He may lead. Would you help us to see this burden become a reality?
For further information please feel free to contact Missionary Sergio Duarte at firstname.lastname@example.org and phone: 011 598 98811572.
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