Wednesday nights are really rich. That’s when our Global Prayer Group meets, and when we pray ‘round the world for Grace Brethren missionaries and mission spots.
Last night, because of the SALT (Strategic Alliance Leadership Training) course which Tom Julien is conducting this week here in Winona Lake, we had several guests with us to give firsthand reports.
Walter Testa, an Argentine who pastored in Argentina for a number of years before moving to Mexico City about four years ago, is a good example of those now being sent by the Argentine church. Grace Brethren have been in Argentina for more than 90 years, and Argentine churches are sending their own missionaries—some to Mexico, to Chile, to Brazil, and to Chad—as well as some 70-80 who are ministering in Argentine churches.
Walter told a thrilling story of how his four groups of believers—totalling about 90—is growing. He told a particularly gripping story about one Jose, who answered his door drunk when the missionaries came to his door for their regular Bible-reading session with him. Insisting that they enter anyway, Jose showed a real readiness to commit his life to Christ.
Not believing he was in sufficient shape to respond properly, Walter and his friend left after several hours. But Jose followed them in his car, to the house of the other missionary. Ultimately, Jose gave his heart to Christ that night…several weeks later his wife did also…now several of his children have…and he is growing and maturing in Christ, according to Testa.
Edit, a lovely young physics teacher from Porto, Portugal, reported on the national church there. They have a core group of about 20 believers, and are especially working to reach young adults—the 20s and 30s crowd. A public Bible reading program in Lisbon is attracting media attention, and is enabling the church in Porto to give out Bibles with much more effectiveness.
Another young Argentine, Eduardo, also reported on his work. He is also a teacher (chemistry) in addition to his pastoring and discipleship work. Our resident Hispanic, Dan Pacheco, translated for Walter and Eduardo, who spoke in Spanish.
These are among the 30 who have come from five countries to participate in the SALT training. Next week will be a SALT Summit, when leaders from all around the globe get together to assess effectiveness, to strategize, and to share encouragement and help.
God is working through Grace Brethren around the world and it is a special thrill to hear these first-hand reports of what God is doing. We often pray not knowing how our prayers are answered—what an encouragement to keep praying!
An encouraging note was the news that Jenny Kessler, who had been hospitalized with malaria in Kenya, is now out of the hospital and recovering. Apparently she contracted it on a recent trip to Uganda.
Gordon Austin, who led last night’s meeting, circulated photos of the biker short-term team that is currently motorcycling around Germany, seeking to build relationships and share the Gospel. One biker, according to reports this noon, is VERY near to yielding his heart to Christ.
Our members Tom and Donna Miller, who have been with Larry and Vicky DeArmey in Madrid on a special prayer team, are scheduled to return to the US this weekend. We look forward to hearing from them, as well as from Israel-specialist Randy Smith, from Sebring, Florida, who will be teaching Adult ABFs and giving a Sunday-evening seminar at Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church.