Good News from Latin America
by: Stafford North | March 11, 2019
Great Beginnings – Great Expectations.
I think of 2019 as a milestone year in this mission ministry! This is my tenth year in this work -- developing healthy churches and biblical leaders in Latin American churches, developing strong evangelism and discipleship programs. It is my 15th year of writing regular mission reports and my 25th year of traveling regularly in Latin America. What God has accomplished over the past ten years is indeed amazing! Only eternity will tell of the tens of thousands who have come to Christ through the shared efforts of the many Latin American Christians whose hearts are set on expanding God’s kingdom in their own countries. If time permitted, I would write about new Christians, new churches, church leaders, and the awe-inspiring beauty of Latin American churches duplicating themselves as they establish more churches. Only eternity will reveal the whole story. I am praying that 2019 will be another banner year in this work, even as I consider the possibility of slowing down a bit.
Mission projects being funded in 2019.
An important part of this work is being able to answer when God opens doors, giving us opportunities to assist in short-term funding and to participate with national churches to help them toward their goals. This aspect of the work complements—and completes—the travels, seminars, and campaigns. The following projects are being funded in 2019.
- Bolivia. A work fund and building rental for a church planting team in La Paz. This is a Great Cities work that is being done by Latin Americans.
- Chile. Partial funding for a local evangelist; continued work with “Misión Chile;” assistance with funding for an international evangelist whose campaigns result in hundreds of people being brought to Christ every year.
- Colombia. Funding for an evangelist in southern Colombia. (The salary is funded by a deacon in Arkansas and an elder in Texas.) In 2018, funds were also provided for a portable baptistry for prison work (with a new church established in the prison), for a regional men’s leadership seminar, and for travel to a national preachers’ conference. In 2019, funding is in place to help a Colombian evangelist make a mission evaluation trip to visit a group of new churches, and for monthly travel to a church that recently began meeting in Putumayo.
- Colombia -- evangelism and church planting. This evangelistic work has focused on the possibility of establishing a new church in Puerto Gaitan, Colombia. The work has been overseen by the Los Angeles church in Bogota. The receptivity in Puerto Gaitan has been minimal, and in the next two to three months the Bogota church will make a decision whether to continue in Puerto Gaitan or to focus on a more populated departmental capital with greater receptivity.
- Dominican Republic -- evangelism and church planting. This effort is overseen by the elders in Neyba, Dominican Republic. Support in 2019 is increased to fund work with eight churches.
- Honduras, Baxter Institute. Funding supports the training national workers, plus assistance with a counseling program for women in the clinic nutrition program and for wives at Baxter to establish stronger marriages and families.
- Nicaragua. Funding for a half-salary of an evangelist-elder in Nicaragua. The local church provides the other half of the support. This one-year commitment anticipates that the local church in Nicaragua will pick up the entire support beginning in 2020.
- Peru -- evangelism and church planting. This work is under the oversight of the US board of Inter-American Bible Institute but the work is done by Peruvians to establish new churches in Peru. The funding assists with church planting work in four locations.
- Venezuela. Funds for relief efforts, evangelism, and preacher training are being provided.
- Spanish Literature Ministry. Funds to increase printing and distribution of evangelism lessons. This support will help send materials to many churches and mission points — in most of the Latin American countries and also to US churches.
Recent highlights from some of the mission projects being funded God continually opens doors for us to help others by sharing God’s word with them. Pedro Sanchez went to El Salvador to work with the Nueva Cuscutlán congregation to start the process of organizing the church and appointing elders. The national workers that have been trained traveled extensively throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean as well as to Hispanic locations in the US. The end-of-year report from Pablo in Chile tells of 42 baptisms last year through his work in various churches in Chile. The work around Ibarra, Ecuador continues to be quite productive. The work in Pilanqui has grown over seven years -- attendance on a recent Sunday morning was 165 plus 39 children. In 2018, we helped them build a larger building on the land they purchased (picture, above left). We helped with materials while they used local labor and the work of the members. There are now six congregations in the area, one with elders and deacons, and we are working with eight congregations in the coastal areas and one on the northern border (picture, above right, San Lorenzo). We have helped with the construction of buildings in northern Ecuador and southern Colombia. We are very concerned with the Venezuela political situation, the extreme poverty and the violence they are suffering. Our prayers are for the church in Venezuela. Amazingly, the churches continue to grow in spite of the massive exodus of families that are searching for a better place to provide for their children.
For more information, contact Bob Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.