Thursday, December 30

Year-End Thankfulness

We were waiting to get some pictures before publishing the news, but they did not arrive in time, thus we publish the news even without the photos. In sequence of the closing events of 2010, about which we have been writing, we have to express our great joy and deep thankfulness to God for our children Nicole and André.
Once again, their effort during the school year of 2010 was recognized and honored by Colegio del Pilar, where they attend school, at the school's prize giving. Nicole got the prize for "Best Academic Performance" (prize that she received together with two other schoolmates), and André received the prize for "Best Student" of his class.
We are very proud of our children and continue to pray that God will continue to lead them in their academical journey. God has really blessed a lot with our children.

Friday, December 17

Sunday School Closure

DSCN2777Last Sunday we had another closure activity. This time it was the celebration of Sunday School's closure. That's true!!! Here Sunday School follows the school calendar. Thus, since schools are now entering Summer vacations, Sunday School is also going on vacation. This means, that until February of next year, we will not have Sunday School.
This celebration service organized by Sunday School is a time to recognize the effort of teachers, support team, and of the students who come Sunday after Sunday.
Each class recognizes those students who developed their character the most during the year and their commitment to the tasks of the class. These students have the privilege of carrying the flag.
Also, each class celebrates the graduation of those who completed their cycle of studies for their age-group and that are passing to the next age-group level. The pre-teens graduated six students who will now pass next year to the Teens class. We congratulate the graduates!
After recognizing the work of the Sunday School leaders, there was a sermon especially dedicated to our reflection about the type of investment that, as parents, we want to do in our children, and that the best decision that we can make, is to bring them to Jesus and not hinder their way to get to Him.
At the end we celebrated with a delicious cake that everyone was able to enjoy.

See more pictures here.

Tuesday, December 14

Impacted Women in Paraguay

From December 2 through 8, Liliana was in Paraguay for a Women's Congress organized by the Coordinator of Lady's Ministry of the Central Field (Paraguay e Bolivia).
It was great to get to Paraguay and join efforts once again with the Lynch and Vargas families, missionaries currently serving in Paraguay, but with whom we had the privilege to serve together in Argentina. DSCN2626
From the beginning to the end, it was a time marked by God's presence and His blessings. We were 6 women traveling from Argentina, each one of us had a special topic to share, according to our expertise. In my case, my session was about the role of women in our society, and how she can use each of her roles in society to present Christ to those who live without hope.
With all the topics presented, it was beautiful to see the women present responding to the call to a victorious life with God and to make an impact in their society. The actress Lonna Vopat, who was Maria Magdalene in the evangelistic film called "Mary Magdalena: Released from Shame", was present with a small team from their ministerial organization called "Grace Ministries".
A climatic point of our visit to Paraguay was the visit to the Women's prison, where we were able to see how these women were thirsty for the Word of God. It was a tremendous time, while Lonna shared her testimony, we could see women being touched and disturbed by the Holy Spirit. When Lonna asked the most important question, of who wanted to receive a new life with God, we saw almost every one of them responding to the call, and we saw their interest in getting close to us to know more about God, and asking that we prayed with them.
Besides these activities it was also a time to meet new sisters in Christ, and enjoy the blessing of sharing these days together.

See more pictures of the event here.

Friday, November 26

Year Closing time

As we approach December, so we approach all the activities related to the closing of another year. A year of work, year of school, year at the seminary, year at the church (Sunday School), etc.
This year we started a little earlier. In November we had two activities anticipated. The first was the special dinner with all the workers and missionaries of the Regional Office, Cono Sur Field Office, and Seminary.
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This was a time of fellowship and celebration of what God is doing throughout the Region. We heard that this year we will probably pass the mark of the 200,000 full members. We gave thanks to God for the work and dedication of our pastors and district superintendents in each of the 77 districts of the SAM Region. The dinner was formal, but some were able to get by with the informal dressing anyway. :-)

A week later it was the time for the Cono Sur Nazarene Seminary graduation ceremony, where Fernando is a visiting professor. It was with great joy that we saw friends and previous students complete this stage of their studies. We had 22 graduates divided by three courses (Diploma, Bachelors and Licenciatura). We highlight some of the emotions that we felt in this day: first, it was with great emotion that we saw two sisters who some would probably classify as "too old", complete their diploma of studies and thus prepare themselves to serve in the ministry of their district - God does not put limitations of age to His calling for ministry. DSCN2610 He calls people of different ages and backgrounds; second, it was with joy that we saw the son and son-in-law of a family who is very dear and close to us to graduate, the former with the Bachelors, the latter with a Licenciatura - the former already a pastor of a small church that is being planted, and the latter looking for his first pastorate - both are a testimony of God's faithfulness; third, it was a very special moment to see a family that closely touched our hearts due to their African roots and their trajectory to arrive at the seminary here in Argentina from Equatorial Guinea, and are now finishing their bachelors studies together, are returning with two more kids who were born while they were completing their three years of studies, and are anxious to return to Equatorial Guinea and help in the development of the work in this African Country; lastly, but not least, it was with great joy and emotion that we saw one of Fernando's students finish his Licenciatura - a professor is always emotionally moved when he sees the life that he touches come to the end of this stage of studies. The day closed with a christian reggae concert by a band from a local church of the Argentina Central District.

See more pictures of these two events here.

More year closing events coming up soon.....

Wednesday, November 17

The Center of Blessing for Generation of Samuel


The theme for our church is "Blessed to be a blessing" based on the promise that God gave to Abraham: "I will bless you (...) And so you shall be a blessing." (Gen. 12:2)
Part of the church's growth strategy includes establishing small groups of evangelism and discipleship spread throughout the partido (similar to County) of Pilar, which is composed of 10 municipalities, not counting the neighborhoods that belong to them.
As you know, it has been now almost a year since the idea of a new ministry in our local church began to take shape as a discipleship project for pre-teens between 10-12 years old, to which we called generation of Samuel.
One of the promises that we made during our winter camp was that we would be starting our CB (Center of Blessing) for the pre-teens. A space for sharing experiences, extremely informal, for learning about God, do some games, and share prayer needs, it is also a space for sharing the gospel, since the kids can bring their friends who don't know Jesus yet as their savior.
The first meeting was on October 16, but it wasn't until the second meeting that I was able to take some pictures to share. These are from our last meeting in the month of October.
In November we already had another CB and the kids are responding well to the initiative and each time we are having new kids coming for the first time in contact with a church activity.
Please pray for this ministry with the pre-teens. There are many needs for support in all the senses.

More pictures here.

Saturday, October 23

Another birthday celebrated


It seems incredible but another year has gone by and our son André celebrated his seventh birthday together with his family and his little friends from school.

Unfortunately, we were not able to celebrate his birthday closer to his birth date, since he got chicken pox a few days before and had to be on quarantine for a couple of weeks along with his sister by doctor's orders. Thus, today we got together, we called a "pelotero" from whom we can rent the inflatable games and we rented a huge and beautiful inflatable and a foosball table.

Everyone had fun. The theme this year was "Treasure hunt". Therefore, we planned a treasure hunt (the "piñata") and all took good advantage of the inflatable and played foosball together. We expected more than 30 kids, thank God only half showed up. Thus, making it easier to control everyone.

This activity was an opportunity to get to know some of the parents of André's schoolmates, and of them knowing more closely the christian witness of a missionary life. We were able to begin to develop some friendship bonds, hoping that in the future, this will allow us to share with them about God and the different that He makes in our lives.



See more pictures here.

Friday, October 22

Misión Global SAM (Global Mission SAM)


I was reviewing some of the previous posts, and realized that I missed sharing an important piece of news for all of you who are regularly following us and want to know about our ministries in South America.

Starting on July 1st, I took the additional responsibility to lead the regional ministry Global Mission SAM. What does this mean? It's the ministry that deals with Discovering, Developing and Deploying Nazarene missionaries from South America to the rest of the world.

It's undoubtedly a huge task. We work together with a team of National Coordinators that was already in place in some of the Countries of the Region, to which some others will be joined after their appointment by the Field leaders for the Countries that are still missing.

The greatest challenge is the development of an integrated network of information that will allow us to locate people with a missionary call, so that we begin an immediate contact with them and start to direct their steps in the course of the training they need to go through in order to fulfill their call to Missions. While at the same time we make resources available for their training.

Those of you who can read Spanish you can follow the ministry's blog here: http://misionglobalsam.wordpress.com

Please pray for us in this new responsibility and that the Lord will guide us to the South American people He has called to be missionaries, that we may be instrumental throughout their training.

Monday, October 18

Holiness and Ministry Summit in Paraguay

Similarly to what happened in Bolivia, Paraguay also had its Holiness and Ministry Summit. These two Countries are part of the Central Field in the South America Region. Due to its geographical location, it could be said, that they are the heart of this big Continent.

However, the work of the Church of the Nazarene in these two Countries has gone through different difficulties and development stages so much so that these are now the Countries that need the most investment in prayer and human resources to help the development of the church.
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It was a weekend of surprises. First, everyone talks about the famous days of "unbearable heat" in Paraguay, we experienced a little of this upon arrival in Asunción, but not for long. During the night it started to cool off and it even rained. The two days that followed had rather pleasant temperatures and some occasional rain. Thus, God favored us with the weather that we needed for these days of the summit. Second, we were surprised with the prices, we realized we could eat for US$8,00 a good asado (barbecue) with several side choices (salad, black beans, rice, etc.) while in Argentina not even in our dreams we can think of such relation food/cost in a restaurant, granted that the meat in Argentina has much better quality. Third, during the event we had approximately an average attendance of about 30 people, but in the last day, the pastors organized themselves with their local churches, rented buses, and more than 100 people came for a united service of all the churches near Asunción (including participants that arrived from other parts of the Country).

I shared for the first time the joined workshop developed together with the NMI Coordinator for the initial "Disciples in Ministry" training. I came to the conclusion that I needed to do several adjustments to make the content fit the time. But it was a good experience which generated some good reactions from the pastors and lay leaders that were present.

It was a time for spiritual renewal, and for enlarging the ministerial vision. Let's continue to prayer for the Nazarene brothers and sisters in this Country and that the Lord will use them to glorify His name in Paraguay.

Monday, August 30

Holiness and Ministry Summit in Bolivia

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WOW! August was really full of activities. After closing the meetings of the Regional Advisory Council, which always mean lost of administrative work in preparing, during and after the meetings, I was privileged to attend to an invitation to be one of the speakers at the Holiness and Ministry Summit in Bolivia.

This summit took place in the city of La Paz, and that meant that I was for the first time at 11.942 feet of altitude. But if you think this is high, imagine getting in at 13,123 feet of altitude in the city of El Alto, which is where the airport is located to get to La Paz. As soon as I stepped out of the plane I started to feel a little dizzy , and this was enough to realize that I could not walk at the same rhythm that I usually do when I am at "sea level". I had to make an adjustment to my steps and breathe deeply a few times to compensate for the different density in the oxygen. After leaving the airport, 20 minutes were enough to come down to about 10,000 feet, since the location of the summit was at the Nazarene Seminary in Bolivia and that is located in a lower location of the city.

It was a tremendous weekend. We could see God's moving in the response of consecration of the Bolivian Church to the successive appeals made in each holiness sermon. It was encouraging to see a good worship team formed by young people from different churches, but that played and sang together as if they were doing this every week.

The themes that I had to share, besides talking about the "Disciples in Ministry" initiative (especially as it relates to the Global Mission Ministry) were: "Holiness in Ministry" and "Spiritual Gifts Maximized". In the first topic we tried to deal with the biblical and theological framework for the practical life of holiness in ministry; and we also confronted some of the temptations most common among leaders involved in ministry. In the second topic we tried to deal in a practical way with the context base for the gifts and ministries in the local church.

It was also a time when we were able to make contact with some people that are looking for ways to get involved in missions and don't know how. We were able to clarify the steps involved in the process and the role of the material developed for "Disciples in Ministry" to help equip them for missionary work.

Wednesday, August 25

Lady's Ministry

One of the ministries that is tremendously being developed is the Lady's ministry. This time the ministry leaders of Cono Sur (Argentina, Uruguay, Chile) got together, and leaders from Paraguay joined them. It was an opportunity to share experiences and challenges that they are facing in this ministry in different local churches and districts. There was also the opportunity to share some relevant themes for women.
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Liliana had the privilege to share a theme related to the role of women in the different social contexts she is a part of and how from these contexts she can have a lead role in redeeming society. Her background in Sociology helped her to unite the conclusions presented by several sociologists to explain relationships in society, with God's redeeming message presented by Scripture.

There was no time for questions, since it was a very intense time with different seminars about different topics. But the reactions were very positive and encouraging. God was real and present in these meetings.

Sunday, August 15

Another Children's day celebrated in Argentina

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Today we celebrated once again Children's Day in Argentina. This is always a special time for children no matter where you are from, though it's being celebrated in a date that we're not used to, but it was a time for singing, games, lessons, gifts, etc. The day for us started the day before. This year the pre-teens' ministry, Generation of Samuel, was in charge of the church decorations for the event. Thus, yesterday, we spent the whole afternoon preparing and hanging up balloons, colorful flowers and ribbons to give the welcome to the children on their day.
In the following day, and since this was an evangelistic activity when many non-christian children come for the first time to church with their parents, Generation of Samuel had the lead role of doing the reception of the people when they arrived at the church. Three of our boys dressed up as clowns - and this made the joy of the little ones.
The program continued with the presentation of several skits, songs with choreography, and a short lesson, all of these offered by a christian drama group who was invited to the festivity to work with the children.
At the end, all was prepared for giving away presents to the children, but due to lack of time, it was decided to postpone this for a week thus extending this celebration for another week.
It was a day of fun, and a day of salvation, since many did the sinners' prayer for salvation for the first time in this day.

View more photos here.

Monday, July 26

Generation of Samuel: Winter Camp 2010

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Winter vacation was the right timing for a short winter camp with the pre-teens. We didn't go very far, we stayed at the nazarene seminary right here in Pilar. It was a time for games, and a time to get closer to God. The theme was "Walking with God", which was very well developed by our special speaker during the services. Besides the services we also had two workshops, where we tried to present, in a rather creative way, how the pre-teens can feel and be part of the local church's life. In this way we presented the corporate context of the church as an essential element for the walk with God to which we were challenging them.

In the end, everyone was sorry that the camp was over, and were longing to repeat the experience in the Summer.

More photos here.

Saturday, July 17

And after Arequipa...

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After participating in the great kick off event for the strategic initiative of the SAM Region in Arequipa, Peru (please read about it here), we traveled as family to the city of Rosario, where we had the opportunity of participating in a training and presentation event on the initiative, to a group of pastors and key leaders of the Argentina Litoral District. It was one of the first steps taken towards bringing the initiative out to the practical field. With the cold we started with a smaller group, but the group kept on increasing throughout the day. We heard the first reactions from those who will be implementing the initiative in the most direct way - the Pastors. At the event I had the privilege of leading the "ministries' test", a set of 90 questions that help each member of the body of Christ to discover the ministry or ministries for which he/she will receive further equipping.
It was a blessed time, that also gave us the opportunity to know a bit more the city of Rosario.

More pictures of this day here

Wednesday, June 30

Iberoamerica 2010


In June, from all corners of the Region, leaders came to Arequipa, Peru, for a great event of motivation, strategy, consecration, and evangelism, known throughout the years as Iberoamerica.

It's a leadership conference, but usually some lay people also come for a time of training and inspiration.

This year it was a special time for launching the new Regional initiative - the DIM (Disciples in Ministry). This initiative focus on the discipleship of the more than 200,000 Nazarenes in South America in a ministry that serves the local church where they are members. We have 9 ministries in the Region with materials produced for training: Missions, Sunday School and Discipleship, Lay Pastors, Communications and Literature, Compassion, Youth, Evangelism, Women Ministries. But the issue is not only having the materials available, but to integrate them in a system that helps the laity in discovering, committing to, and receive training for an active ministry in the church.

This event closed with an evangelistic event over the weekend called "Love Extreme". In partnership with Extreme Nazarene Ministries, a mega evangelistic revival was planned in the city of Arequipa, Peru. More than 8,000 adults came to listen the evangelist Nick Vujicic, and the volunteers registered more than 1,000 decisions for Christ with all the contact information so that these new Christians could be visited the following week to consolidate their decision.

The icing on the cake of the event was the service where the new projects for Extreme were presented for the coming years. Several youth and adults, from South America and North America, responded to the call of involving themselves in these projects as volunteer missionaries.

See more pictures here.

Tuesday, May 25

Celebrating the 200th Anniversary


This year, Argentina celebrated its 200th Anniversary of the first national government. It was celebrated with all the importance required by the occasion. It was a long weekend with an additional holiday due to the celebrations.

The church was invited by the city hall in Derqui to have a booth in the city square to proclaim its ministry. It was an opportunity to share the gospel with those that were passing by, whether verbally, or offering some tracks and literature about the church.

Generation of Samuel was also present as one of the ministries of the church. We took advantage of the opportunity to sell some crafts to help raise funds for the pre-teens camp that is already around the corner.

See pictures here.

Saturday, May 1

Sharpening the "Tip of the Arrow"

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In 2006 several regional leaders were summoned to develop together a strategic vision for the Region. From this meeting an arrow came up to graphically illustrate the strategy developed, which has been used in leadership meetings throughout the Region. The tip of the arrow is the main point of the strategy - That each Nazarene in South American experiences a deep personal revival.

In May, we had the opportunity to be at the first Holiness Summit project at Regional level, but in which the Cono Sur Field was the host.

It was a weekend with 7 holiness sermons, and 7 opportunities for the Nazarene people to draw close to the Holy God. We had the presence of our General Superintendent Emeritus - Dr. James Diehl - who was anointed and used by God along with various other special speakers from the Cono Sur and the Region, and shared the message of holiness in these three days.

It was a time for renewal and victory for our God.

You can see more pictures here.

Friday, April 2

Easter = Evangelism


A lesson that we learned the first year we got to Argentina was that Easter Weekend is an evangelistic weekend.

This year we were invited by the S. Miguel church for a Holiness Revival weekend at the church. It was a great joy and pleasure to return to this church which we had not visited for some time.

Besides preaching, we had the opportunity to share a music in Portuguese with the church - "I know that a high price has been paid".

It was time for renewal, restoration and search for God for the church. God moved among us in a special way. He doesn't stop of surprising us!

Friday, March 19

Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard...

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As the verse says: "... Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.." (1 Cor. 2:9).

Little did we know what God had prepared for us when He put in our hearts the desire to minister to the pre-teens. As part of this new ministry, on March 7 Sunday School started, and to our biggest surprise, God brought in the first Sunday 40 students to minister to, and on the second Sunday we had 33. God knows how to raise ministries that respond to needs in each local church.

Tomorrow we will have our first activity with Generation of Samuel extra to sunday school. Several parents shared their appreciation and approval for this ministry, and several of the kids already made sure to let us know that they will be present.

I will leave with you the link to the pictures of Sunday School - later, we will publish the news about the Fall celebration that we will have tomorrow.

Monday, March 15

Generation of Samuel

Today a new ministry was launched at our church in Altos de Pilar. The title chosen for it was "Generation of Samuel". But why this title?

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A few months ago God began to put on our hearts the desire to minister to an age group that, like Samuel, can build their influence in society. This is the 10-12 years old group - or Pre-Teens. Samuel would have been approximately this same age when God spoke to him, and because he was willing to listen, as a result, God used him to bring changes to the religious, social and political structure of Israel. Samuel was a catalytic agent of change. We believe that the pre-teens can be the catalytic agents to transform the life of the church and of society in Argentina, as they enter the labor market with Christian ethical and moral values. If we can influence society, we need to invest in this generation that is getting ready for their second socialization.

Today we had a great launching service for this new ministry which, along with Samuel and Rocio (our two team members), we will be heading up for the upcoming years.

Please, pray that God will help us invest in these lives that He wants to put in our hands to mold His character in them.

See more picture of the service here.

Sunday, February 7

From Altos del Pilar to Haiti... with love!

One of the ministries we are really enjoying in our local church is children's church, with all the children up to 10/11 years old. With all the tragedy that struck the Island of Haiti, our children approached us and took the initiative of wanting to help. The first line of action was prayer. Thus, a special prayer requested was added, to the prayer book, for the children of Haiti.

But they did not restrict themselves to this - despite the economic difficulties of many of them, the group organized to take a special offering for Haiti, thus joining the efforts of our Region, as well as the whole denomination, to raise a special offering to help this Country. The short video below is a report of God's love in these children's heart for the suffering children in Haiti.



As our church's theme states, these children are "blessed to be a blessing".

Saturday, January 16

Meeting social needs with a CAUSE event


December and the first weeks of January was a time of storms that passed by Buenos Aires. One of the challenges caused by these storms were the floods caused by the increased stream of water of rivers.

San Antonio de Areco is a small town North of Pilar (yes, this is where we went for the district picnic a few months ago - see post here). Close to the city a river flooded its river banks way beyond the expected. Along the river banks small communities of people of very little income live. These communities saw the waters go up to 6.5 feet high, spoiling all their goods inside the houses. With this came the challenge to clean up everything, the risk of diseases (as sewer waters are dumped in the river), of mosquitos (including the one that causes the dengue fever), etc.

Responding to this appeal of needs, several churches of the district got together in a compassion project of taking cleaning and disinfecting materials to these people, and also take them a track with an invitation to listen to a message of hope.

It was an incredible outreach experience meeting the physical and spiritual needs of the people of Areco, in which Nicole (our daughter) and Debbie (our niece) participated.

Sunday, January 3

A New Year full of expectations...

At the start of the new year God gave us 4 challenges we wish to share with you from Colossians 4:2-6:

  • Perseverance in Prayer - only then we will be closer to God and recognize our full dependence of Him.
  • Prayer that God will bring fulfillment in all that He calls us to do.
  • Act with wisdom
  • Make good use of our words
These are our goals/best wishes for 2010.

Happy New Year to all!