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.