Wests To Argentina – March 20, 2018

Dear Ministry Partners,

“Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

In my mind I am seeing two backpack and computer case burdened air passengers making their way to an overseas flight to which they are 30 minutes past boarding time. In fact, they are the last passengers to board and they are practically starting to taxi as they store their stuff away.  They were us as we made a late arrival in Atlanta on our way to Buenos Aires. That mad rush was a good picture of our time since graduation from language school.

This past month has been an absolute flurry of activity. We arrived in Iowa just before Christmas and were able to spend Christmas with all of our children (a first in a few years). A couple of days afterwards we were on our way to Uruguay to run the children’s program during the annual missionaries’ conference in Paysandú. We added another week or so in Chivilcoy, Argentina, before returning to Iowa. The day after we arrived in Des Moines, we were on our way to Minnesota to pick up our son Mike. Two days later we made another trip to Minnesota for the memorial service of the father of one of our colleagues. A week back in Iowa (including moving into and out of our temporary quarters in Ankeny) and we headed to Arizona to begin our west coast farewell tour (more about that later). When we return to Iowa in February, we will square things away in our storage unit, and travel to Wisconsin for, Lord willing, a commissioning service.  A week or so later we will be making our last long drive in our van to Florida where we will stay before we move to Argentina. Tickets have been purchased and we three are scheduled to leave Miami on March 20, to begin our first term as missionaries to Argentina.

In the midst of all this hustle and bustle, we constantly remind ourselves that we are doing this as part of our service to the Lord. It is so easy to leave that important factor out of the mix as we make plans, fill out forms, load and unload our earthly possessions, print maps, make calls, etc. But we remind ourselves that we do all for the glory of God and do it all in a way that brings glory to God. The flurry of activities is simply a part of the process and, in our case, that process will end with our ministry of training young men and women for ministry in South America. How exciting is that? And, how exciting for you! Because of your prayer and financial support, we finally have a departure day on the calendar, and you have had a huge part in all of this. We thank the Lord for you and we look forward to sharing with you the great things the Lord has in store for us.

Pray with us to the Lord about our needs regarding what is called “outfit and passage” to Argentina. There are a lot of things needed to get to the field for ministry. We are praying that the Lord will help us finish here…so we can begin there!

Thank you for your partnership in this valuable ministry,
Dave, Patti and Michael West
2 Timothy 2:2


Family Camp in Pirque, Chile

This week is family camp at Pirque, near Santiago, Chile. Here are a few pictures.

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Summer Camping Season

General director Tom Gibbons writes about the summer camp ministry:

As many of you who are in the US, Canada and the UK huddle near a cozy fire to ward off the winter chill, in the Southern Cone of South America January and February mean summer camping season is in full swing!

I wonder if some of you point back to a specific camp you attended that ended up being a “watershed” experience in your spiritual life. Would you take a moment to pray for over a thousand people of all ages who will hear God’s Word at camp during the South American summer? Remember those who will hear the gospel for the first time, others who will be convicted about something specific in their life, and some who will be challenged to surrender to full-time Christian service. Pray for the GMSA missionaries and National brethren who are serving side by side during this camping season in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

Argentina, in Chivilcoy, Buenos Aires
Youth Camp February 5-10

Uruguay, in Paysandu
Family Camp February 5-10

Chile, in Pirque, near Santiago
Kid’s camp January 23-27
Family camp January 29-31 and February 1-3
Teen camp February 5-10

Chile, in Lican Ray, near Villa Rica
Family camps
January 22-27
February 5-10
February 12-17

Youth camps
January 29-February 3 (13-17-year-olds)
February 19-24(18-25-year-olds)


Potential Property for Bible Institute

GMSA missionaries and national church fellowship leaders hope to purchase a property next Wednesday for a new Bible Institute in Temuco, Chile. It has great potential with good drainage, multilevel landscape and some forest with a small creek in the bottom lined on both sides with second growth robles (a type of oak tree), plus a double access off the county road less than a kilometer in from the I-5 Pan-American highway into Temuco.

Please pray for this project to move forward so that the Bible institute can continue to carry out its mission, namely to train Christians to be the next generation of leaders in the South American churches.

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Annual Convention in Chile

This past Tuesday through Thursday Chilean pastors, church leaders and Chile Field GMSA missionaries gathered in Lican Ray, Chile for the Fellowship’s annual convention.  Nine pastors, pictured below, received recognition for completing over thirty years, and in some cases many more, in the ministry.  Please remember these servants as many labor well into their “retirement” years, and join us in praying “the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth (more) labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38).

Pictured left to right are pastors who were recognized for 30 or more years of service in the fellowship: Celindo Marinao, Pedro Cabrera, José Pizarro, Victor Oñate, Cesar Sanhueza, Francisco Millanao, Ismael Vásquez, Miguel Mondaca, Alberto Gonzales.


2018 International Missions Conference

GMSA missionaries traveled overland and by air, from far and near, for the January 1-7 conference in Paysandú, Uruguay. At this writing some are still braving the Southern Cone highways and airports to make it back to their places of ministry.

“Thank you” hardly seems sufficient to express our gratitude to Dr. James Tillotson, President of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary, for graciously accepting the invitation to speak eleven times to the GMSA team. As the delivered Word meddled in our spiritual lives, marriages and ministries in very down-to-earth ways, at times the chapel was filled with laughter and at times the solemn silence of personal conviction.

A very significant part of our conference involves ministering to the “MKs” (missionary kids). GMSA missionaries, David and Patti West (appointees to Argentina) and adult “MKs,” Danny and Kristi Gibbons (brother and sister) invested hours each day in the spiritual lives of our children and youth through Bible teaching, competitions and just “hanging out and having fun.” Thank you, Dave, Patti, Danny & Kristi!

Laughter often prevailed as missionaries gathered for food and fellowship. Times of testimony and prayer brought encouragement to burdened hearts.

Though sometimes it is difficult to make the time, trip and investment, conference is a much-needed highlight of our year as a mission family!


Perrys Welcomed to South America

The GMSA is pleased to welcome Mark and Bekah Perry to Chile for their first term of service.  Mark and Bekah join David and Kristi Flinck in a church plant underway in the northern mining city of Antofagasta.  The Perrys arrived in Chile just in time for a trans-Andean flight to Montevideo, Uruguay, then a five-hour road trip north to attend their first GMSA International Missionary Conference as missionaries.  Welcome Mark and Bekah!  Your arrival is an answer to the prayers of many!

“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”  Matthew 9:38

Pray for the Perrys, Flincks, and a third couple, the Maluendas (from Santiago, Chile), as they labor together to facilitate Christ building His church in Antofagasta.

The photo shows Mark and Bekah sharing their testimonies at the missions conference last week.


Thanks to Terry and Carol Thompson

Terry Thompson recently stepped out of his role as General Director of the mission after 24 years, and has been named General Director Emeritus of the GMSA. This move makes way for a new general director, Tom Gibbons, and frees the Thompsons from administrative duties in order to once again be more involved in church planting work in South America.

GMSA missionaries together in Paysandú, Uruguay for our annual conference, honored Terry & Carol Thompson on January 2, 2018 for 24 years of ministry together for the Lord and for the GMSA in Terry’s role as General Director.

The Thompsons arrived in Chile in 1973 where they served in church planting in the Chiloe Islands as well as two summer camp seasons in Lican Ray. In 1983 Terry was elected Field Director, a ministry that took them to Chile’s capital, Santiago, the following year. During his eleven years as Field Director, Terry and Carol participated in establishing a local church in Santa Elena, on the south side of Santiago. In 1994 he was elected General Director, which necessitated their move to GMSA International Headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

The founder, and first General Director of the GMSA, William Strong, Sr., lived a passion for souls that has influenced the 95-year history of the Mission. In the 1940’s, Mr. Strong’s “Timothy”, and next General Director, George Black, led the Mission in taking a stand for Biblical fundamentalism. Those who knew Dr. Hudson P. Shedd, GMSA’s third General Director, would agree that his examples of servanthood, generosity and financial integrity added another layer of virtue to the defining character of the Mission.

This godly heritage of leadership continued when Terry & Carol arrived in Fort Lauderdale. Their integrity, humility, hospitality and generosity have touched all who know them. Terry’s administrative giftedness and vision for a “tight ship” has maintained a Mission that looks like it’s stated purpose, principles & practice, and that still embodies the core values that have made up our own unique DNA for decades.

The last 24 years have witnessed great change in the GMSA landscape. Many would retire in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and return to their homelands. New missionaries would be integrated into the team, among them numerous GMSA MKs. Our three fields (Chile, Uruguay and Argentina) would begin meeting annually for an International Conference for spiritual edification and Mission business, an event that has melted us into one team instead of three. The Mission would begin hosting a bi-annual retreat for National Fellowship pastors, GMSA missionaries and other church leaders, offering seminary level training and resulting in networking among our National colleagues in the Southern Cone.

The entire GMSA family (missionaries, retirees, MKs, council and board members in the USA, Canada and the UK, and volunteers) would like to say thank you to Terry & Carol for their faithful service. We love you!

Join the Thompsons in prayer as they embark on a new chapter of service for Christ that, Lord willing, will take them back to Chile later this year to continue serving in church planting.


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