winter vacation: week one

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Mauricio explaining how to more effectively use the JESUS film in ministry

Winter vacation is upon us. Two weeks that schools shut down, government offices and many businesses slow or close, and people take off for somewhere. Not everyone is on vacation of course, but in general, it’s a lot more quiet around here. We don’t follow the school schedule here. We can’t; life’s too busy and unpredictable. We school when we can, and take breaks when we have to. Last week we plowed through a week of catch-up after all our illnesses, but this week I am letting the kids relax for a few days. I am taking advantage of a few paid camera jobs Tony got this week and the quiet around here, to post about our very blessed week last week.

Like I said, we had a great week with the Campus Crusade for Christ team from Mendoza. Tony spent the first few days running them around from here to there, introducing them to all the people that we know (churches, youth, pastors, and the ministries we do), and taking them back and forth to a Youth Congreso here in town. They were able to get connected with a lot of new people and students in the city. We prepared a few meals for them and thoroughly enjoyed catching up on the last 11 years that we haven’t seen them. Mauricio and his team brought encouragement, fellowship, laughs, and much needed training. They gave us some practical – and, quite frankly, fantastic – training in evangelism, missions, and ministry. To say they were a Godsend is an understatement. After one of the most difficult weeks we’ve had here yet, we had one of the best weeks. Tony and I both feel it was a pivotal week for us in many ways.

For those of you who are not familiar with Campus Crusade, it is an international ministry that focuses on reaching university students for Christ. The JESUS film project is a division of Campus Crusade for Christ – so any questions or needs we have regarding using the film we would direct in country to these guys. Which I find astounding, since they were the very group of believers God hooked me up with over a decade ago in Buenos Aires when I first became a Christian. Out of 40 million people, I just happen to know them. God is amazing.

Mauricio and his family moved three years ago from Buenos Aires to the city of Mendoza to begin a new ministry there with university students. He works full-time in evangelism, discipleship, and leadership training. He is also trained to train others in using the JESUS film. Awesomeness.

One afternoon after hosting them for lunch, we served up some tea, pulled out our copy of the JESUS film, and sat down to hear what Mauricio had to say. With 22 years of experience in ministry, he had come valuable wisdom to share. Some of the practical and myriad ways he told us we can use the film include: lending it out, gifting it, as a Bible study, in discipleship, in rural zones, in the city, in our neighborhood, and at events. The only way we had been using it up until now is at events. He also pointed out that it is not enough to just have an idea or a desire to do something – we need a plan. A specific plan that has a specific goal – something that we can actually implement and follow week by week, month by month – which includes short term, reachable goals. And prayer. Always covering everything in prayer. Because it is GOD that reaches people. The JESUS film, and everything else they taught us last week, are only tools. There are many ways to share the gospel, but it is God that does the work.

It is safe to say that Mauricio and our new friends blessed us beyond belief and did more to encourage us in one week than we have felt this entire year here. We have been giving and giving and giving and haven’t been receiving a whole lot. We were burning out but didn’t know what to do about it. God did, and he sent help by way of CCC. We didn’t want them to leave.

Tony has been trying to talk me into going to Mendoza for years. “It’s so lovely, it’s so beautiful, it’s so clean, it’s so green, it’s so amazing, etc., etc, etc.”. I have read about Mendoza in guide books, and hear about it on travel blogs, and read about it on other ex-pat writings online: how incredibly fantastic and amazing Mendoza is. It took CCC coming to town and inviting us to visit them to finally convince me that I might actually want to go to Mendoza.

We were thrilled with the way everything went for them here in town this past week, and immensely blessed in return. We know they will be coming back. We know that their visit was the start of a very good thing here in Patagonia; that God is doing something here. In the meantime, I think we have a trip to Mendoza pending.

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2 thoughts on “winter vacation: week one

  1. We traveled to Mendoza a couple years ago and loved it. Friendly people, cleaner than your average Argentine city, and beautiful scenery.
    I love how God sends encouragement just when you need it. I’ve been counting my blessings of the many, dear friendships He has given us.
    Glad to hear you’re feeling better.

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