By: Matt Postiff
December 1, 2017
Missionary Dan Vallette provided these photos of the Canadian work team laboring to prepare a central bathroom complex for Camp Pirque with a second floor for the office and speaker lodging. We rejoice to see this progress and thank the Lord for His servants from the North Country.
We are grateful for your prayers on their behalf: for productive work, for safety, and for the Lord’s blessing.
By: Matt Postiff
December 1, 2017
The swimming pool construction is underway at the camp in Chivilcoy. It will provide another activity for campers and a way to be refreshed in the warm summer days. Stay tuned for more updates!
By: Matt Postiff
November 23, 2017
While Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay do not have Thanksgiving holiday today, GMSA missionaries have gathered in the three countries for a Thanksgiving celebration. Here are photos from each of those three countries, showing some of our missionaries and friends around the table. We thank God for His bountiful provision, and we thank Him for you who are partners with us in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to those in South America!
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.
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