Our team had a chance to have dinner with David and Patricia Ibarra from Argentina and map out some of the finer details of our upcoming venture. Wow! Everyone was sensing the same awe as it become evident that not only was this trip really happening, but that God was continuing to broaden the scope of work He has planned to accomplish through us.
I (Mike) am studying Spanish to get ready for the trip. Although I'll still need a translator for main speaking events, I want to be able to at least get by in one-on-one conversations. The night before we all met I had a dream where I was preaching in Spanish to a room full of young Argentines about identity in Christ. I awoke and went, "Whoa, gotta lay off those Spanish CDs because now I'm dreaming in Spanish!" That night at the Carters' house we find out that during the first Friday/Saturday evening conferences I'll have a few hours where I'm not "on" to serve officially but there is need for a male speaker at a youth rally nearby - could I speak at a youth rally for young Argentines? It was a God moment.
Who knows what all God will orchestrate. We are planning multiple marriage conferences, some counseling sessions, presenting the Gospel to hundreds of people, a youth rally, a retreat for church planters and their wives to pour into them...but that's just what's on our radar of known events. We all are increasingly aware that God likes to color outside the lines and will undoubtedly reveal a splendid portrait of His love and healing power through the lives of the people as we submit to His leading.
It was so wonderful to see the heart of David and Patricia. Literally a couple who have had stones and bricks thrown at them for sharing the Gospel in "pueblos" of the ranchland region of Argentina. A man who God allowed to go nearly blind so he could go and help start a revival in Cuba before returning to his ministry work in Argentina. A couple who have planted over 40 churches in 10 years while leading a church of over 400 and raising a family. A couple who share that their marriage is "totally different" than those around them because it is build upon Christ and in troubles they go to Christ for all direction. I could see the heart of Christ's love beating in them. How exciting we get to partner in this Kingdom frontier!
As you can tell by this lengthy first posting - there's a lot of excitement!
Practical/Logistical Update: since planning the trip the airfare to Argentina shot up around $400/person, so a slow start to fundraising has been challenged even more. What's exciting is the prayers and support that is coming in and who from. Jacqui and I have raised just over $1,400 of the $5,400 for us to go. We also hope to raise funds to leave resources, materials and tools behind for the local churches to continue the course of discipleship. The funny thing is, we're not worried. God's leading, we're going and it's all good in the process. We're just waiting to see how God works it all out to His glory!