So why go to Argentina?
Through talks with Merge Ministries and Serve Globally (our Covenant missions office); it was suggested that there is a real need for servants in the southern cone: Argentina, Chile, Uruguay. At the time of this writing, we will be the only ECC Missionaries in the southern cone. Argentina is a large country 2.8 million square kilometres! The Iglesia del Pacto Evangélico Argentina is made up of six churches. While Argentina isn’t as big a country as Canada, the six churches are spread out like us, posing a logistical challenge. We won’t be going in blind; our first 3 month tour was a fact-finding mission. We had some fantastic conversations with each of
the pastors and spent some quality time with the President of the conference. It will be exciting to see some of the ideas we talked about come together. We have been receiving frequent updates from them about plans for us; they are very eager for us to return.
So how will we be serving there?
We will be working under the direction of the President of the IPEA utilizing the Covenant’s Pathway to Vitality, available in both Spanish and English, as well as other ECC materials from the US and other Latin America countries. We will be serving as support for the pastors by assisting with developing stronger congregations through leader development and discipleship training. We will dovetail our efforts with quarterly general meetings where courses will be introduced and taught. Afterwards, our time will be divided between the six churches, participating in workshops and advancing the subjects with local context.
This is a real legitimate need. Often there is no seminary or little formal pastoral training. As with many Latin American countries, pastoring isn’t a paid vocation; so in addition to their biblical studies, pastoral duties, weekly meetings, home visitation and everything else the “boss” of the church does, they are often employed outside the church to make ends meet.
Secondly, every one of the six churches has their own specific ministry in which we have been asked to serve. This represents a full range of opportunities including:
• evangelism in hospitals, care facilities, schools and in the street
• children’s ministry
• outreach to victims of drug, alcohol and domestic abuse
• community development
• agriculture development
• church planting
• and of course there’s always some sort of construction
The list continues to grow; it’s already quite an extensive task we will be stepping into. One thing we learned about Latin America is that things don’t move fast but they can change fast so you have to be flexible and adaptable and very patient.
Thirdly, we will be forwarding information to Serve Globally and Merge about how they can come along side the churches to serve them in the most holistic and practical way possible. We’d be ecstatic if some of the objectives just mentioned line up with your local vision; inspiring a partnership with a church in Argentina.
Fourth but not lastly we have a vision of hosting any individual, couple or family that wants to join us in service and cultural immersion in Argentina.
So what effect will we have while we’re there?
That is entirely in God’s hands. Ideally, the IPEA will be a more relevant and active, with the ability to “make more disciples among more people in a more just and caring world.” If you’ve read something here that peaks your interest and you’d like to know more; please, we encourage you to contact us. We would love to get a chance to pray with our church families about possibilities of partnering with us, and what that might look like in the near future.
Thank you and God bless