What are you waiting for?

While I was in high school, my father was sent by his work to Australia for several months. While he was there my mother and I went to visit him. After a 17 or 18 hour flight from the US to Sydney our plane was hit by birds as we landed causing massive delays. We were meant to continue on this same plane to Melbourne, but now the 300+/- passengers had to be slotted into free seats on other flights. We almost a full day waiting in the Sydney airport for an update and a flight out to be able to meet with my father. Iv’e had many lay-overs during my travels, but I think the longest I’ve ever had was that unplanned wait in Sydney.

Some periods in life feel like layovers, often there is a time or date that is our goal, we only have to wait until then to be able to continue our journey. And then sometimes we have interruptions, birds in an engine, and we feel stuck. We can watch the rest of the world rush by on their way to their next step while we’re just waiting for an opening to be able to move.

These past months have felt like that unplanned layover for me. I’ve set goals and dates and have watched them float by, and I end up sitting there waiting for my flight out.

The Lord has without a doubt been incredibly faithful in his provision to this point, it has been exciting to see how He has provided almost all of my needed monthly support. At the same time however, I still have no clear date for my return to Argentina. There are many parts in play here and I wanted to explain the situation that I am currently in.

  1. Argentina is currently closed to Tourism and non-essential travel into the country. This includes education, and religious travel. Every couple of weeks they make announcements giving updates as to the state of their travel policy. I don’t have any legal status right now in Argentina as my residence expired back in 2018 when I returned to study here in the States. The definition of “essential” travel is really up to the whim of those that are working in Immigration on a given day. I have been in contact with the Argentine Consulate in NYC, but there are no possibilities to do anything on this side until we can get a permission from Immigration in Argentina. Our team in Argentina has been unable to speak with anyone in Immigration. So, there are really no answers on the visa side of things.
  2. Paperwork here in the States is not super accessible either. To apply for my visa I will need my Federal Background Check with an Apostille seal for international use. The processing time for the seal is 10 to 12 weeks or more. The problem is that the background check is only valid for 3 months. (For example, on the one I have currently the background check is dated from the end of August and my Apostille is dated from the beginning of January). I have my second one in process now, but I will probably have to run another one if I am delayed more.
  3. We had thought about the chance of applying for a student visa to be able to travel, but it seems like that may not be possible because of the visas that I’ve had in the past.

Moving forward what are the takeaways for these months? Like me, you may be in a similar position of uncertainty and waiting I would encourage you to continue to focus on what God IS doing, don’t lose sight of Him in the middle of the wait. Don’t miss the opportunities that you have in the waiting.

It is first and foremost a time to grow your faith and your patience. There are many opportunites where you are now, God has opened doors to continue to be involved with local churches and with the ministry in Argentina. It is easy to overlook these opportunities because we can get distracted by the wait. These verses have been special for me during this time:

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

1 Samuel 7:12

 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Mark 9:24

Thank you for your prayers and support I am very grateful for all who have been part of this journey. I look forward to what God will do next and to see what doors He will open.

What does our ministry look like in 2020?

By now you may or may not have realized that a lot (all) of what we as Gospel Productions do in Argentina either involves traveling teams or events held on campus. So the question is what has that looked like this year since neither of those things could happen?

Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

This year we (Word of Life Argentina) could not have any students on campus, therefore, we could not have any student ministries, nor could we travel without special permission from the government to travel.

Needless to say this disrupted our plans for this year completely. But even as all of our normal doors closed to us God was opening up new opportunities to minister and share His message!

In April the Bible Institute began fully online. As the year progressed we began to develop new programs to reach out to different demographics.

Charlemos

“Charlemos” or “Let’s talk” was a program directed towards students, alumni, and other adult audiences. It brought many guests that shared their testimonies and then discussed different issues relevant to today’s audience.

Reencuentros de Comunidad Joven

“Comunidad Joven” or “Young People’s Community” is a Word of Life ministry for college and career aged young people. These “Reencuentros” (reunions) brought a variety of things to the audience, sharing music, recipes and home tips for quarantine, and a message from the Word. Designed to encourage and involve the young people viewing the program these reunions took place once a month.

Buen Axis

Designed as a tool for Bible Clubs in the local churches, “Buen Axis” involved games, ice-breakers, concerts, and a devotional. These were also done once a month.

Conferences

This year we had an opportunity for many virtual conferences. Individuals and church groups could view these programs and enjoy the teaching from guest speakers, concerts, and encouragement to continue to grow in thier faith. We hosted a Men’s Conference, a Women’s Conference, and a Missions Conference at the end of the year.

Campa Sudamerica

The South American Camp was a joint effort including the teams of Word of Life Argentina, Word of Life Ecuador, and Word of Life Chile. With campers joining from all of South America and Central America there were around 1,200 people connected for the meetings that were streamed over YouTube.

The campers were able to participate as part of a virtual cabin, having a devotional time in a group call with their counselor and other cabin-mates. After the morning meeting they had a time called the “Apologetics Café” where the students had the opportunity to ask questions on how to defend their faith and answer some of the difficult questions we face today. Joining us for this portion of the camp were representatives from RZIM in Spain. We also had concerts every evening including the Peruvian group TWICE, and our own music team.

What does it look like?

Our team in Argentina put in countless hours rehearsing and recording to bring the best material we could offer.

For me, it has been many hours in front of a screen at my desk in Maine, designing and programming. Working together with the team in Argentina we were able to adjust the programs and run them for the recordings.

We have spent a lot of hours in video calls, throwing ideas back and forth and writing up scripts and guides for these programs.

Through all of this effort though, it is clear that it has all been worth it. We have received feedback from all over the world thanking the team for the encouragement and the resources. We have seen many come to Salvation and many more continuing to grow and seek the Lord.

We thank God for these opportunities and the tools to be able to adapt to the circumstances and bring new resources to believers around the globe.

Thank you for your prayers, please continue to pray for new opportunities and the outreach in Argentina and around the world.

More than I ask or think!

On the 2nd of August I flew down to Florida to participate in week of training (Missionary In Training) with Word of Life (WOL). During that week I had interviews with WOL staff members as well as with the Board of Directors. Following the Board review I was accepted as a full-time missionary with WOL! I’m very thankful for this opportunity and very excited to see what these next couple of months will bring.

Now as I step into my pre-field ministry I’ve no doubt that I have a lot to learn still, but God has been faithful until now and I trust that He will continue to provide. My Goal is still to return to Argentina by the end of September ~ Oct. 1st.

God is opening doors for ministry while I’m here as well. Sunday 16th we had the opportunity to start a Spanish service at my local church. It was a joy to participate in that and worship with brothers and sisters in Spanish! It was also a great opportunity to meet some members of our Hispanic community in the area. I look forward to future opportunities with that ministry.

Saturday 22nd I will be teaching for a young adults group in Mexico and am very expectant to see how God uses that!

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)

It’s Official

Confirmation of completion of my degree through Liberty.

Class of 2020

On Friday I was video calling with some friends in Argentina when I received an email confirming my degree conferral, Praise the Lord. It’s nice to get a little bit of closure on this stage in my life as it roles into the next!

I’ve mentioned it before but it’s still amazing for me to see how God has provided and guided me through these past two years to bring me to this point and I am nothing but grateful to Him for it.

All In

Now I move onto the next step. I’m sure many are familiar with the story of Hernando Cortes when he arrived to Mexico with his army. Upon their arrival to the Mexican shore, Cortes sent a few men back to the ships and the entire army watched from the shore as those men lit torches and burned down their ships, they had no option but to push forward to victory, there was no way back.

This next step is a ship burning phase for me, last Wednesday was my final day of work (a job that I am very grateful for). Now it’s only forward into this next step until finally returning to Argentina.

I am currently in Florida with Word of Life for the Missionary in Training to program for some training and a series of interviews with missionaries and the Board of Directors. After this week I will be returning to Maine and into full-time support raising. I am praying for open doors (and borders) to be able to return to Argentina fully supported by this fall.

I have burned my ships, there is no way back now except to go forward with everything I can. I have my Ebenezers that I can look back on and see how God has been faithful until now and I am confident that he can take me through this next step.

Now What?

Three months ago I was in my room in Lynchburg, VA reading the email that I had been waiting for. Campus was shutting down and classes were moving online which meant that work study positions would also be let go. This prompted a question in my mind, “now what?” this certainly was not the plan I had for my last semester at university.

Now three months later I can look back and I see two words clear as day: JEHOVA JIREH. The Lord will provide. Thousands of years ago Abraham and Isaac were climbing a mountain and Isaac asked a similar question, “now what” they had brought wood and fire but they were missing something very important for the sacrifice, a lamb. Abraham simply stated that God would provide the lamb. Jehova Jireh. And He did! He did then and He did now.

The same day I received that email, I received a two job offers from the two Walmarts near my parents house. So the next step was laid out. I returned home and, as some of you know, the next day on my way home from my first day at work I went off the road in a snowstorm and hit a telephone pole. Again, “now what” popped into my mind, but God took care of everything, my insurance paid for every cent of the repairs and the car has never looked better.

The semester at Liberty ended the first week of May, but I still had two Gen-Eds that I had to take care of to finish off my degree. I was looking around to see where I was going to do them when a friend posted a link about an online program that was offering free courses during these months due to the pandemic. This week I completely finished my degree without having to pay anything!

When I came back to the states in 2018 I thought it was crazy to think about finishing in two years but with God’s help it happened. Another crazy dream I had was to finish without any debt, which is increasingly more difficult in higher education. Today I submitted a final payment on my student loan, paying off the balance and I am now completely debt free.

All I can say is Jehovah Jireh.

I am so thankful for so many people that God used to help me get here, and I am excited to see how God helps me in this next “now what.”

If you want to know more about what’s next click here.

If you would like to know how you can be involved click here.

Spring Break Update

“Spring”

“It’s going to be an uneventful rest of the semester”

Said a naive college student (me) two weeks ago. I wasn’t sure what I could write an update about but now I have all sorts of fun things to write about, as I’m sure all of you do as well.

These past few weeks have been anything but uneventful for me. At the beginning of last week we were told that all of our residential classes would be moved to an online format, after that it was just a waiting game to see what the decision would be for work study students. We were informed Saturday morning that non-essential workers would be released. So without that income I decided that it would be better to return to Maine.

My parents said mostly in jest, that I should try to get a job at walmart as they are one of the only places right now that is busy. So I did, I filled out an application Saturday morning and by 11 o’clock I was already in a phone interview with the Hiring Manager at the Auburn Walmart near my home here in Maine. With a job secured I drove home on Sunday arriving to my parent’s new home that night. I had never been to this house as they just purchased it a few weeks ago, so it took a bit of searching to find the house with the right cars in the driveway.

Yesterday (Monday), I began my training with Online Grocery Delivery. I was hired on as a temp because of all the craziness going on right now, but I can work 40 hours a week. This is a HUGE blessing for me and a great reminder that our God is Jehovah Jireh, He is the LORD my provider. We just got news today from the university that we will continue to be paid as student workers through the end of the semester, another HUGE blessing!

My plans are still moving forward for graduation at the beginning of May, and MIT with Word of Life in June. Now with this income from two jobs I hope to pay off the loan that I took out for school this year. Yay!

There is however, as always good news and not good news. Last night on my way home from my first day at work, I slid off the road and hit a telephone pole. Bummer. So now I am going through all the insurance stuff to get that fixed so I can get my car back on the road.

In summary, please continue to pray for me (check out my prayer wall)! Even in the middle of all of this uncertainty we know that God is in control and He continues to provide in unexpected ways. I hope you are all well, stay safe and healthy!

God bless you all.

Summer camp

January 2020

God is amazing and provides in the most unexpected ways. Last January I was supposed to travel to Argentina to help with summer camps for ten days, however on the day I was supposed to travel I realized I didn’t have my passport. After a very stressful and disappointing day I was holding tickets to travel to Argentina that may and a travel voucher. Fast forward to November and I was using that travel voucher to buy my ticket for this January to finally get to be in at PDV (Word of Life Argentina) for summer camps.

It was an absolute whirlwind of a trip, I arrived on new years day and was able to spend a couple of days with some dear friends at my local church in Laferrere, Buenos Aires. On the 4th my close friend and boss Marcelo picked me up and we returned to Monte to begin our work. I spent the following days pouring over the lights that had been set up over December, I won’t bore you with the details but it was a TON of work. As the students and volunteer staff started to arrive I had others to help me which was a big blessing and also an opportunity to teach them and learn from them.

“Vestuario” is the name we use for the area of Gospel Productions, and I don’t know of a place I would rather be than right there in our little workshop getting ready for camp. The fans are on, the tereré (and herbal drink served with water or fruit juice and ice) is cold and we are thrilled to be there. As the summer season goes by the group truly becomes a family as they work together sometimes 12 or 16 hours a day. While many of the group was rehearsing and learning the choreography for the program on opening night, I was working with a couple other young men to try and make these lights work.

Morning Chapel with the speaker of the week.

Monday night rolled around and everything was plugged in and I finally had control of all of our fixtures. The opening night was underway, campers cheered as the team did their choreography with their spins and flips. They sang, testimonies were shared and finally the Gospel was presented. For many campers it was the first time that they had heard the Gospel, and many of them chose to accept the gift of Salvation! What a thrill to be part of it!

The rest of the week I spent catching up on some administrative work to help Marcelo, and we worked on the other programs for summer camp. Thursday night is Missions night, this year we talked about Africa and the ministries there. We had a presentation involving all sorts of puppet animals many songs challenging campers and staff alike to consider their part in missions. We also showed videos of missionaries that are currently serving in Africa with Word of Life and their testimonies. To wrap up the night there was a message brought to challenge the audience to consider offering their lives to God to use in ministry whatever that may be.

Unfortunately I had to travel back to the US Thursday night and couldn’t be there for the program but I got a mini missions night in the airport; I ended up traveling with another friend who is moving with his family from Argentina to Florida where they will be serving with an international church working with the immigrant population there. A few of his friends came to see him off and we got to share a really special time together talking about the ministry and what the future might hold.

Airplanes are always a lot of fun because you’ll never know what might be waiting for you. I love sharing what I do with people traveling on the plane with me because nobody understands it. Who would want to spend their college vacation working? But it’s an awesome opportunity to explain why and what I do, which sometimes will lead to an opportunity to share the Gospel. Also I am 98% percent sure I sat across from Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz on my flight back to NJ. But I didn’t ask him… hindsight says I definitely should have but hey, you live and learn.

To wrap it up, I want to thank all of you for praying for me on this trip and at school, and for those who have been so generous to support me on these trips as well. You are all such a blessing, THANK YOU!

To find out more about my upcoming plans check here.

What is Happening?

Where it all begins

This is the beginning of a new journey and I’m thrilled that you want to be part of it! If you’re wondering how I got to this point check out my testimony page for a quick summary of my trip to this point.

What is the plan?

I am so glad you asked! Plans have changed, as I am sure they have for many but that won’t stop me!

  • I have finished my studies at Liberty University with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies with cognates in Fine Arts and Religion.
  • I am currently taking part in MIT (the missionary training program with Word of Life) at the WOL campus in Florida.
  • My goal is still to return to Argentina to stay full-time by the end of September 2020 which will include being at full support.

It sounds crazy to write it out, but I truly believe that this is where God is leading me right now. There is a verse that has really stuck out to me over these past couple of years and it is 1 Samuel 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” This verse has been key in the moments of “what on earth am I doing?” and “how will I be able to do this?” God has been with me until now, he has done everything that was necessary and will continue to do so I am confident. Therefore I can boldly say: The Lord is my helper!

I wrote the above in February, so much has happened since then, but I still believe it’s true!

To find out how you can get involved click here.