March 24, 2014
Between camp weeks, the Thompson’s took a little break “up the hill across the lake.” The view that afternoon was beautiful. The Lican Ray Camp is down below where the taller trees are located. They write:
After returning from Uruguay in January we had just one day to get everything ready for kid’s camp. In our absence, the camp had been used for a church rental so there was much cleanup to get ready for. Our theme this year for camp was a medieval one and so the salon was transformed into a castle (made out of Styrofoam). We had a very low attendance for kids camp this year but Pastor Marcelo Henriquez from Achao did an excellent job teaching with the aid of flannel graph. Our staff also did a great job caring for all the areas of camp (kitchen, service, maintenance and counseling).
Family camp followed. This camp was packed to the gills. All the cabins were in use as well as the new cabin. We were around 120 people total with families from as far north as Coquimbo to as far south as Puerto Montt. We enjoyed seeing some families return from previous years but many were new also. There were also 5 families that tented in the woods back by the soccer field. The cities represented were: Santiago, Coquimbo, Concepcion, Temuco, Puerto Montt, Miraflores, and Villa Regina (Argentina). Our speaker was Pastor Jacob Gonzales. We had the privilege of hosting him and his wife in our house. It was his first time speaking at camp and he left burdened for this ministry. We hope he can be an encouragement to Ivan and Nikol when they arrive at Pirque.
Teen camp was next. This year we hosted 53 teens. It was neat to see during registration those who had participated in previous years asking to be together in the same cabin because this is the only time they see each other. There was a very good atmosphere during that camp. Our speaker was Joel Solomon and his wife Wendy helped with some workshops for the girls. Counselors had their work cut out for them but did a great job. There were quite a few un-churched kids and they heard the gospel preached clearly. The spiritual theme for all the camps was overcoming trials and temptations.
Between teen camp and the college and career camp we took our staff up the hill for a special get together. From the hill across the lake from the camp you can see the whole lake, camp property and volcanoes (Lanin and Villarrica). It was a much needed time of rest and relaxation before our final week of camp. Many had been working already for a month straight and were tired. The last week we had around 50 also. Pastor Manuel Rivas came to speak. It was his first time to speak at camp and we would have him back in a heartbeat. He brought with him a young man from his church. Most of the young people do not have a pastor who takes interest in them and trains them for ministry. Many left challenged from the Word and also from the example given by these men.
That was camp in a nutshell. Of course there were many problems and our job was to be the peacemakers in many sticky situations. But we believe the Lord was glorified through conflict resolution and the love shown one to another during the camps. We had a few surprises also. One of those happened the first night of of teen camp when we heard sirens and saw police cars and lights on the beach. It was during a meeting, so later Danny went out to see what was going on. As many of you know at the back of camp (on the point) there are huge parties going on all summer. We have had problems with these young people coming onto camp to get firewood or to trespass for some other reason. The new fence took care of much of that. Anyway, we learned later that as a boat was going by the point they found a dead body in the lake. It had been in the water a few days. That’s why the police cars and boats were there that night. The firemen with their trucks came through camp to set up lighting for those doing the investigation. We found out later that he was a 25 year old who died of drowning. They think he was too drunk to swim. We have a message of hope and life for young people and that is what our campers received this summer but many more need to hear this message. What a sobering thing to happen right during camp! Thank you for your continued prayers for the ministry.
Stay in touch with Dan and Liz Thompson through their GMSA homepage.
March 24, 2014
Bruno and Audrey Couto sent an update about the end of summer camp season on Uruguay:
Eighty-five people came to family camp! It seems to be one of the favorites, especially for the counselors who get to be campers that week. It is one of the easier camps for us to run because of the more relaxed atmosphere, although having it back to back with children’s camp meant no recuperation time in between.
We are looking forward to visiting all of you whom we haven’t seen in almost 3 years. Our tickets have been purchased and we plan to be in the States for the second half of the year.
If you want to find out more or get regular updates from the Couto family, please contact them here.
March 13, 2014
The apostle Paul came to Troas, not knowing where the Lord of the harvest would have him to go next. Just recently, the Holy Spirit had directed Paul not to minister in the province of Asia, and then again He forbid the team to go to Bithynia. These prohibitions may seem strange to those of us dedicated to carrying out the Great Commission today, given the international scope of that command and the need for the gospel in every place.
But God had prepared something else for Paul and his team. A night vision informed Paul that there was a great need across the Aegean Sea in Macedonia. He saw a man pleading for help, calling for the missionaries to come and preach Christ to the people of Europe. The team understood that God was calling them to evangelize the people there.
Except for the revelatory dream, the same situation has been repeated over the centuries of church history. People are still calling for help today.
March 11, 2014
Last year at this time, we worked alongside a team from the US rebuilding the camp’s fence. Out went the chain link with wooden post, and in went the galvanized welded mesh with metal posts. As winter set in we thought ahead of what our summer would be like with no more unwanted visitors. We felt a sense of security knowing this new fence would take care of some of the summertime stress and worry.
As summer approached, we began realizing that maybe our confidence wasn’t well founded. Were we as safe as we thought? Within the first week of summer, our sense of security was shattered when we realized people could still come in. As we grumbled about the fact that our new fence wasn’t as perfect as we had thought, the Lord impressed on our hearts and minds our utter lack of trust in His protection. Our confidence rests not in our efforts, but in our Great God.
As the summer wore on, a few people here and there snuck on camp to find firewood for their beach fires, but overall we had a quiet camping season thanks to our Great Protector. May our security be always in Him.
March 11, 2014
Below you can see the first faculty of the Bible College in Uruguay. It was taken at the opening service of FEBU, where classes started today. Praise the Lord that there are 10 full-time students enrolled and several other part-time students. One student is from the GMSA church plant in Chivilcoy, Argentina.
March 6, 2014
Here is a picture from family camp in Uruguay. We had close to 50 campers. We had a great camp season 2014. Pray with us for many more to be saved in years ahead, discipled, and trained for the work of the ministry in Uruguay.
February 28, 2014
Dan and Margaret Burkholder have recently joined the GMSA family as home missionaries in Canada. Pastor Burkholder and graciously answered a few of our questions so that we could get to know them better.
Q: How did you learn about GMSA?
A: My father-in-law (Pastor David Clarke), and friend (Pastor John Kenyon) were on the Canadian board of the mission and introduced us to GMSA. Subsequently, we served for a number of years on the Canadian board. A highlight was a visit to Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay in 2000 when we were able to experience GMSA firsthand. Over the years we have come to know the vision of the Mission and the passion of it’s Missionaries. And we like what we see!
Q: How will you be serving in the mission? How do you hope that God will minister through you as part of the GMSA family?
A: We will be serving as GMSA Home Missionaries, and Representative to Canadian churches, organizations and individuals. Our overall goal will be to challenge people to be informed, pray, go and give. Specifically, we are trusting the Lord to use us in preaching and teaching of the Word, encouraging folks to consider long- or short-term service on the field, promoting opportunities to participate in special mission projects, organizing prayer networks, and staying connected with friends and supporters of the ministry.
Q: Was there an important experience in your life that encouraged you into global missions work?
A: In 35 years of pastoral ministry, we have been actively exposed to missionary work. Those experiences have helped us to be mindful of needs across the street, and around the world. From 2008-2013 we were involved in highway evangelism (Transport For Christ), and so taking the gospel on to the road is a mission we are happy to do, and we pray that God might use us to help others take a trip that in the end leads them to South America.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your family?
A: My wife Margaret and I will celebrate 39 years of marriage in June of this year. We both are preachers kids (so heard lots of sermons), and as a result of the love, influence, and prayers of godly parents, we came to know the Lord early in life. Margaret is the musician on the team, and so we welcome all opportunities to sing and preach the Word. God has blessed us with four wonderful children. and three beautiful grandchildren. All of our kids are living for the Lord, active in the local church, and are missionaries in their own fields, seeking to bloom wherever God has planted them. Of all our support team, our children stand out as they pray and cheer us on.
Q: Is there anything else you think might be interesting for us to know?
A: We like to encourage others, and our testimony to the Lord is simply this. God is faithful, and He is able (Eph.3:20; 1 Thess.5:24)! What we give He takes. What He takes He uses. And what He uses, He blesses.
February 24, 2014
Editor’s note: I interviewed Helen Prado this evening. Helen and her husband John served the Lord with GMSA for many years in Chile. Listen in as I ask some questions and she responds:
How long did you minister in South America with GMSA?
John and I were in Chile over 40 years. We ministered some times a few months in one place or another to fill for furloughing missionaries, for example in Fray Bentos and in Gualeguaychu.
Where did you serve?
We lived in Temuco, Santiago, and Coquimbo, all in Chile. We started in 1978 in Temuco. In the early 1980s we were in Santiago at one church in the morning and another church in the evening. Then we moved up north, and then back to Temuco. Then we went back to La Serena and Coquimbo. We moved about 27 times. I couldn’t do that now!
But if I had to do it again, I would! I loved the work, even though we traveled a lot. I miss it. Meanwhile, I’m doing what I can while I’m here in Florida.
What was a very good memory of ministry?
In the Temuco area, John visited one of churches up in countryside. When he came home, I knew we were going to move. John told the men there that he would pay them to build instead of having men from the United States come to build for them. How we paid them all that money I do not know. I told John that I wondered if he had to rob a bank to do it! But in the end, the people then had their own church building which they built themselves. John felt the national believers could do the job. We didn’t want outside workers in order to help the men to appreciate their own labor.
John meant business! John just plowed in there to get the work done.
What would you say to someone considering to come to minister in South America?
I’d tell them to be sure that God calls you, and not man. Do what you are told to do. Don’t get attached to your plans, but rather let God lead you. We would plan one thing and then God would move us around. That takes a lot out of you, because we have our own plans that we want to follow through. But the more we do that God wants us to do, the better off we are. Be ready for change. God is the potter. Be clay in the hands of God!
And eat what they feed you!
Is there anything else you want to share?
I am so thankful for the support that I still receive. It is a gift of God’s grace! Someone told me that the churches are not supporting me because of what I am doing now, but because of what I did before. That is a blessing for me.
I ask prayer to keep up my enthusiasm! Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. Pray that I will keep my eyes focused on the Lord instead of the things around me.
One other thing: I can only get work done when the TV is turned off. So, when we have a storm and the television goes out for a day, I thank the Lord because I can get more work done!
Do you want to know more? Contact Helen and she would be happy to write or talk about her ministry and what she learned in the years of serving the King of kings.
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