Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Happenings on the Homefront

IBP - Our home away from home

Our "home" so to speak, the Patagonian Bible Institute, had a great 2015.  As we mentioned earlier, the completion of the last building, IBP's new library, was a dream come true.  Here is a picture of the library from the outside being used at its busiest time of day, late afternoon, after classes.

After another great year we were present for another graduation.  Nineteen (19) awesome students launched into the next phase of their journey, stepping out in 
faith into the path on which God is leading them.

Also, it was around this time that some research was done tracking our alumni and we were 
encouraged to find that of the 222 students that have graduated from IBP since its beginning in March 1990, 153 of them are currently active in ministry, either pastoring or pioneering a church, serving in leadership in a church, doing the work of evangelism, or serving as a missionary in another country.  That is almost 70% of our graduates that are active in some form of ministry.  For that, we . . . Praise the Lord!

Our little church with the new beginning

When we began leading that small group of abandoned believers in June of this year, three things topped our corporate prayer list.  First, we prayed for healing, as so many had truly broken hearts as a result of this sudden loss of their pastor and their church home.  Second, we prayed for a place to meet.  The house meetings were great but there was literally no room for growth.  Thirdly, we prayed for a pastor who would truly love them and help them to grow; who would "equip his people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up..." to reach "...unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."  We all knew our time with them was only temporary.  Starting in the (Argentine) spring (Sept.-Dec.), our time would be limited when classes started up again at IBP and then we would be returning to the states for our time of stateside ministry.

The healing and expectation of great things to come happened almost immediately.  We still recall that first home church  meeting where tears flowed freely yet there was a sweet spirit of joy in the midst of this storm as God comforted and began the healing process that day.

After only five weeks, God opened the door for the use of a Community Center, free of charge for Sunday use.  It was great to see the members begin to come together offering their talents and abilities to see the church function as a unified body.

Our third prayer request was also being answered as God was working behind the scenes, even before this crisis, preparing the couple who would become the pastors of this group.  A young man by the name of Hugo had been among the first group of Bible school students we met when we arrived in the Patagonia nearly twenty years ago.  

He had since married and moved to another city where he, his wife, and their daughter were involved in ministry in their church.  More recently, he had been on staff with another IBP alum in a large church.  Coming back to Trelew to pastor this new church was actually coming home for Hugo.  Best of all, we felt that we were placing this new "life" or "body" in the hands of a very capable and loving leader.  Praise God for his answers to our prayers!

Icing on the Cake

In December, just before returning to the the states, the new pastor invited Eddie to join him in baptizing seven believers, some older and some younger in the faith, who had never taken this step in their walk with God.  It was a beautiful "icing on the cake" time together as they also gave us a lovely send off.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

So Far in 2015 . . .

Because it has been a while since I've posted an entry, this one may be longer than usual.  So much to share.

IBP  Changes - Library news

We are glad to tell you the latest news with our Library.  There was much work to be done before the new school year began.  All hands were needed on deck to meet a very important goal. . . to have the library open for use by the students by the beginning of the bimester.
After much coordinated effort our goal was reached and the library was open for business.

A HUGE THANK YOU to all who had a part in making this dream a reality.  And most of all, THANKS to the Lord for supplying every need   -   from the people who prayed and worked, to the materials to put it all together.  He is faithful!

IBP Changes - More goodbyes and hellos

As with any educational institution, there is constant change with new students coming every year and those completing their studies, moving on to the next chapter of their lives. 

In addition to these expected changes, there are others who leave us from time to time.  This year during the break, we said goodbye to our cook, Emilce Montes and to our bookkeeper, Adriana Griffiths. 

Emi (right), a very gifted and talented young woman and previous alum of IBP, is stepping out in faith to  do what God has laid on her heart and prepared her to do.  She is planting a church in a city, Lincoln, where she feels God has called her.  Pray for Emi as she obediently steps into this project as a single woman.

Adriana, also one of our alumni, is pursuing her call to missions.  Her first step is to complete her studies in missions.  Here, it's the post grad fourth year focus in Bible School.  Since our school doesn't yet offer a fourth year, she is studying at our sister Bible school in Buenos Aires.   She's completed the first half and during this break (winter break here) she will be going on a mission trip to Peru, as part of her studies.  Adriana's future plans include going to Japan as a missionary.  Another faithful woman of God we ask you to remember in prayer.

These goodbyes meant more hellos.  Our staff has changed quite a bit.  We welcomed new staff in the kitchen, Susana and Marcela during classes and camps and such.  Susana's daughter, Jessica, is our new bookkeeper.  Rocio, another alumnus, helps us in a variety of areas. . . .  reception, event planning, purchasing, and even preparing meals for the staff between bimesters.  
Her husband, Jonhy (that’s how he spells it), serves as groundskeeper between bimesters and is one of our new students.  Jonhy and Rocio are also planting a church in the nearby coastal town, Playa Union.  Currently they are looking for a place to hold church meetings.  For about a year they have been meeting in a home but are now ready to move to a building.  Pray that God's provision would exceed their hopes and dreams.

This year we also celebrated IBP's 25th
 year anniversary.  Long time friend and veteran fellow missionary, Rocky Grams, came as our guest speaker.  Our newly formed choir gave quite the performance.  

Some of the belongings of Pastor Alicia Wood, the missionary woman who began the first Assemblies of God church in Argentina, were passed on to us and are displayed in our library.  A slide presentation was given honoring her life and legacy.

Something New For Us

Just over a month ago, there was a church split in one of our local churches here in Trelew.  The pastor decided he would pull out of the denomination taking over half of the congregation with him.  This announcement was made at an emergency church business meeting and came as a shock to many and those who stayed with the A/G were left feeling abandoned and betrayed.  To make matters worse, the pastor stayed with the building as it was rented in his name.

So many of us upon hearing this news, felt heartbroken for this group of people who were left with no pastor and no building.  We were especially saddened because we have come to know and love some of the members over the years.  Well, along with other pastors, we offered to help in any way we could to care for this group of grieving brothers and sisters.  Although at first, it appeared the church would be dissolved, in the days that followed, there began to be a hope that, just maybe, this would not be necessary.

Our denomination's leadership began to look to us to help this church not to disperse.  The people gathered to decide if they would like to stay together and start fresh.  They said yes and we also said yes.  Classes had just finished for the bimester when this all came down, so one week after that devastating blow, we were pastoring!  That very next Sunday following the Monday of the church split we were having church in one of the member's homes!  For now, we are glad to be used of God in this way to help "fill the gap."  

This Sunday we will begin to meet in a community center we were able to get for no cost for Sunday use!  Praise the Lord!  

We are due to leave Argentina in December for our year long stateside assignment, so our prayer is for a pastor with a huge heart to come and take care of this precious group of believers.  With adults and children, we are a group of about 50.  Pray with us?  Thanks!

Many Blessings to You,

Eddie and Diana  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Goodbye 2014 - Hello 2015

Another successful year end!

IBP ended it's second bimester with an emotional graduation ceremony of 15 students.

Fellow missionary and previous area director Don Exley was the invited guest speaker.

After bidding farewell to the first and second year students, Eddie led some of the graduates (3rd year) on a 12 day promotion and ministry trip to the southernmost city of the continent, visiting 12 towns and 14 churches.

It was also exciting to attend the wedding of two IBP alumni and recent grads, Javier Pino and Jessica Ibarra.  What a sweet way to bring this ministry trip to a close.

Then just a couple of days later our daughter, Felicia, arrived from the states to be with us for a couple of weeks during her Christmas vacation.  She encouraged us to get way as a family to  catch up and just be together.   So we headed south all the way to the Perito Moreno Glacier -  one of the natural wonders of the world.  It was so nice to be "four" again!

Needless to say, she thoroughly enjoyed her time being back in Argentina, the place she grew up.  Her friends were thrilled to see her again and she took advantage of every available moment.

We hope your holidays were pleasant, filled with special memories, and we wish you all the best that 2015 has in store.  
Many blessings to you for 2015!