by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz
One of the unique aspects of an LBC missions trip to Argentina is the opportunity for the team members to share the gospel by going door-to-door in the different neighborhoods in Tucuman. In a culture that is very receptive towards family, friends, and visitors entering into homes, Iglesia Biblica Misionera (Missionary Bible Church) has taken advantage of this great opportunity to get a foot in the door, literally, to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to all who would hear. We have been blessed to be able to partner with IBM to declare the saving truth of Christ to children, youth, university students, mothers, fathers, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics, blue-collar and white-collar workers.
When a team of LBC members travel to Tucuman, Pastor Jorge Ahualle, along with the leadership, plan an evangelistic campaign composed of members of IBM, LBC, and translators, who will be sent to a neighborhood for the purpose of going door to door and evangelizing the people there. Past trips have been such an ordeal, that half the team would go to one neighborhood, while the other half will visit a different one. Every neighborhood has a home base, of which one of the members of the church will open their home to prepare for the day’s schedule. Any tracts that are to be passed out, meeting with the entire group for fellowship and prayer, and instructions on where to go happen every day. Each LBC team member will have a translator and a member from IBM to give more details about the regular events at IBM.
As we go out, each small group would walk around the block, clapping our hands to get the attention of the residents, and ask if they have a few moments to spare. Sometimes they come out to the gate to hear what we have to say, other times they invite us in and even provide mate (tea leaves steeped in hot water) to share with one another. Even in the midst of family life, many are willing and eager to listen to what people from America have come all the way to say. While we tell them what Christ has done here on earth to deal with our sins, many nod in agreement, as if they understand or are familiar with what we are telling them. This can seem encouraging, but many times, it is part of the culture to not offend strangers who enter their homes.
Upon returning to the church, we usually eat and spend time with one another for a brief period of time, then spend some time back at our hotel for a nap. This is to prepare for the evening program where we return to the same neighborhood to invite the people to. We will have music, a skit for the children to watch, and a gospel presentation to the crowd. We then stay and try to speak with those who have come and continue the conversation. Any questions they may have, we seek to answer with the Scriptures, which has promised to be sufficient for every good work.
Some of you may wonder what effect these door-to-door evangelism campaigns have on the people of Tucuman. The first is the fact that every year, more and more people in these neighborhoods hear the gospel of God’s amazing grace, some for the very first time. Second, many grew up going to the Catholic church, yet never understood why Christ came to die on the cross. They were completely mystified as to the need for a perfect sacrifice, and what that means for everyone today. Parents and children are exposed to where in Scripture God calls all men everywhere to repent, how the death of Christ provides a way of escape from sin and God’s wrath, and how they can have a new way of life in Christ.
Third, LBC and IBM members work side-by-side in the fellowship of the gospel. This has solidified some of the friendships between churches, as we have come to be gripped by the same gospel that saved each of us, and now we unite together to proclaim that same truth to others. We embolden one another to call people to lay aside their sin, and to lay hold of Christ as the One who is worth living and dying for. As we continue this partnership, spiritual conversations concerning the day’s events, as well as what we are learning and growing in come to the fore. It becomes easier to talk of spiritual matters when engaged in ministry together.
We pray that as we return to Argentina this summer, the Lord would see fit to use His Word to bring about the salvation of many to Christ. We pray that He will use our feeble efforts to make us faithful to the task of making disciples, primarily by supporting Pastor Jorge Ahualle and his family. We also ask to be faithful in the task by working with those who are there full-time to make disciples of Christ in their respective neighborhoods, whether amongst their own neighbors, or within their own families. We have much to look forward to, and hope you will be with us in prayer! To God be the glory!