Category Archives: Missions

Missions Monday #12 – AR Testimonies

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz (and other contributors)

Over the years, many people from our church have been a part of the Argentina missions trips, and have been very appreciative of their time there. I personally have benefitted greatly from the multiple conversations I’ve had with Pastor Jorge Ahualle, Eduaro Buldain, and many of the leaders and members of IBM Tucuman. They have been a joy and a model of how to do ministry, wherever you are. Here are some other members from previous trips who have some experiences to share with you. We hope you enjoy them!

Hwa and Suzie Park (LBCSD)

I think Suzie and I were recently married when we went together to Tucuman to share the Gospel to the beautiful people of Argentina. Looking back it was an amazing experience we both shared that set the foundation for our marriage of what it means to make disciples of Christ. Going door to door, sharing matte with complete strangers all while avoiding wild dogs were both exciting and adventurous. We still talk about Tucuman  from time to time and would love the opportunity to go back one day for sweet fellowship with fellow brothers and sisters in Tucuman.

Ryan McAdams (LBCSD)

The Argentina Missions Trips have a very special place in the story of our family. My wife and I essentially met preparing for the 2007 trip, and after both also going on the 2008 trip, we returned on the 2011 trip for the first time as a married couple! We also took our baby daughter with us when we returned on the 2013 trip. Though we haven’t been able to return since then, the trips have still helped to shape the very core of our family, inside our home and out.

Every trip emphasizes the M of Lighthouse’s MVP statement, the fact that the Lord Jesus has called us to make disciples of all nations. Every trip demonstrates the difference between coercing an individual to answer Yes (or , as the case may be) to a series of questions and the implantation and germination of the seed of God’s word into a person’s very being, that making of a disciple that results in a true follower of Jesus Christ. While these truths drive our planning and execution of the mission trip, they also affect our family’s home life, even in the shepherding and development of our children. Rather than force an insincere confession of faith from them before they understand the truth, we want to trust God with the regeneration of their hearts, and will work to provide an environment that will present the truth of God to them in its fullness and majesty.

The trips have also reinforced the idea that missions doesn’t just take place overseas. Perhaps, by definition, missions happen somewhere else, but then the work of missions should not differ much, if at all, from the work of our own church. This idea has anchored our family as well, as we have sought to avoid compartmentalizing the church, and including it as a vital part of our family life instead. During our time in Tucumán, the church would have almost every meal together, and while they certainly meet together more often during our visitation, the principle of community as a platform for ministry drives our family’s willingness to spend time together with the rest of our church body. Even this serves the goal of disciple-making, since those among the family of God minister internally by helping each other grow further in obedience to all of God’s commands.

Even though we miss dearly our brothers and sisters in Tucumán because of our absence from them, God has used our times there to draw us closer to him individually and as a family even to the present.

Josue Ahualle (son of Pastor Jorge Ahualle, Iglesia Biblica Misionera)

Hello! I am pleased to be able to share with you some of my experience with the LBC visits to our church in Argentina.

The first time we visited I particularly was very small but I will never forget the joy and the unity that was produced in our congregation. It was beautiful to see how we struggled to communicate, the funny signs and gestures that harmonized an atmosphere of happiness and love between brothers and sisters. Each year we were able to make new friends and even though we do not share a lot of time together, each one of these brothers who came won a place in our hearts.

Today I can understand what it means to be part of a missions trip… Sacrifice, time, preparation… that’s why I give thanks to God for each and every one of you! Without a doubt God used you all greatly in our lives. It’s been a great encouragement and help each year you have visited us, many brothers and sisters who are attending today, are the result of the evangelistic campaigns that we have done together. There are many experiences that God has allowed us to enjoy together and I hope there are many more.

Once again I want you to know that I am very happy to have known you and I very much admire the love you have toward God and his work.

God bless you!

Missions Monday #11 – CZ Testimonies

by Hanka Rodgers (and other contributors)

I have been to so many English Camps by now that I can’t keep all the people and years straight. The only team I remember vividly is my first English Camp in 2001 that I went to as an unbeliever. Most of the people who were on that team are now not only married with children, but serving as leaders of the church. I still remember Patrick telling me about his desire to become a pastor (I guess he was trying to evangelize me?); being in awe of Brian Chan’s and Peter Park’s (now in San Jose) piano skills; Angella and Hansol Ahn being the cutest dating couple ever; Jin Lee getting a floss through his nose and mouth; and being completely confused about Jane Min dating Min Kim (I thought maybe when Asian people date, the girl takes the first name of her boyfriend as her last name?). In some ways, I am the perfect product of what Lighthouse believes missions is. The Camp of 2001 had a profound effect on how I thought about Christians and God, but it was the perseverance of the church members in Ostrava that God eventually used to save me. The LBC team did what they came to do – they shared the gospel clearly and made me think. Then they left and the local church took over. Add God’s grace and His sovereignty and you have a perfect salvation story.

Throughout the years, there were more stories of salvation, though perhaps not as many as we would all wish to see. But saving souls hasn’t been the only way that God has been using these missions trips. We have compiled a few testimonies from different people and asked them how they benefitted from the LBC Czech mission. Two of them are from the Czech church and the other two from San Diego. It’s obvious that these trips benefit the Czechs, but God also chooses to work in the lives of the team members. Even though our church doesn’t believe that the primary reason for going on mission should be to grow spiritually, I think it’s foolish to think that the team members only serve others and don’t learn anything from the trip. Jin Lee’s testimony below is (and should be) an exception, but missions often expose things we haven’t seen before and challenges us to grow in areas we need to grow in. Christian life in the Czech Republic is usually not as comfortable as it is here (especially when it comes to the number of Christians they get to fellowship with) and it’s often encouraging to see Czech Christians persevere.

Enjoy reading a few paragraphs about how God has used your financial support and prayers to work in people’s lives – often in ways that they themselves never imagined He would!

Meinolf Mellwig (church in Beroun)

I have the privilege of having seen about 15 lighthouse teams come to Czech to serve with our church.

There are many areas in which Lighthouse teams have been a huge blessing for me and for my family.

Through one of the first English camps, Jirka got saved who later became our son in law. Also in the life of Anna, our daughter in law, English camps have played a big role in bringing her to Christ. The same is true as least for one of our children. These have been very personal blessings for our family.

In addition, Lighthouse teams have played a fundamental role in shaping our church. This is true in terms of theology as well as practical issues on how to run and lead a church. The many books and commentaries that the teams have brought over the years have contributed and enforced this influence.

The teams have always been a testimony to our church members in terms of commitment, attitude and desire to serve the Lord and see people to get to know the Lord. They have been always very well prepared and their servant heart was clearly visible to everyone. Through their intensive ministry to the campers many hearts were touched and directed toward Christ. The ultimate fruit of their selfless ministry will be seen in eternity. In both churches, Ostrava and Beroun there are church members who got saved and added to the church because of the impact of English camps.

Another personal blessing has been the precious friendship with Patrick and John. Many hours of good, deep talks have helped me personally to grow and think through various spiritual areas concerning ministry and church as well as personal issues and family matters.

To wrap it up in just one sentence, for my personal life as well as for my whole family the connection to Lighthouse is one of the strongest and best influences in our spiritual walk with the Lord.

Pavla Nawratova (church in Beroun)

When I look back and remember all the times I had a pleasure to meet members of each team there is one thing that comes to my mind: astonishment. How big must be the love and passion to serve Christ that brings people who could spend this time according to their heart desires, to invest this time in other people and tell them about God. This is something that amazes me every year since the first time I met people from Lighthouse. This happened twelve years ago and I am so happy that I can look forward to the thirteenth one. Apart from these “spiritual” thoughts there are also fun memories of Hagoo times and also of those “The most smelly shoe and the longest armpit hair” contests. Also, when I was a kid I had no chance to meet Asian people. We all thought that they look same and are very serious. No way, they look totally different (some of them) and are really funny (most of them). Yeah and they think we all look the same too. So to close up, I would really, really, really!!!, like to thank all of you who are willing to come to this small strange country and serve. You are all very much needed.

Jin Lee (LBCSD)

Wow! What can I say. Our God is almighty and sovereign! I decided to go on the Czech Mission Trip in 2001 not to do missions but more to “Czech” out and travel around Europe. Almighty God was able to take my selfish motives and use the mission trip to confront me with a decision I had to make. At the fork in the road, God made it very clear that I could not call myself a Christian and continue to live in sin. Either I needed to stop calling myself a Christian and do what I wanted to do, or live my life as a Christian in total obedience. He allowed me to see how powerful the Gospel is with right living. God, rich in His mercy called me to submit my life to Him. God used the 2001 mission trip to save me. I can’t remember if we had anyone else come to know Christ in 2001 in Czech Republic but I came to know Christ for which I will forever be grateful.

Thank You Lord Jesus!

Kevin and Mabel Tse (LBCSD)

“Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more.” (John Piper)

Dear LBC family,

We wanted to share with you all how missions to the Czech Republic back in 2006 was a blessing to us, and how even today (over 10 years later) we continue to see the spiritual fruit being born out of that trip. The goal of missions is not necessarily to make “converts”, but rather to make disciples. As part of the call to make disciples (Matt 28:18-20), it is our belief that missions ought not to be done apart from the local church. That doesn’t just mean being sent out by a local church (with all the accountability, support and prayer that comes with that), but also partnering with a local church in the area that we send missionaries to. In the case of the Czech Republic, those local church planters are Meinolf and Martina Mellwig. The Mellwig’s warm friendship over the years has been an encouragement to us, even to this day. This same kindness and love is shown through the members of the church, who treated us like family from the moment we got off the plane. It’s an interesting idea when you think about how one Gospel and one Truth really tie all true believers together – so much so that complete strangers on the other side of the world can treat each other like best friends almost instantaneously. This too was an instant blessing for Mabel and me to experience, and still is an encouragement to us today as subsequent teams report the same experience year after year, without fail.

There is also the blessing of seeing people come to faith. The English camps have been used by God to bring about true, genuine salvation to the lives of many. When we were there in 2006, we met many people who had been ministered to by LBCSD team members from previous years, and by Meinolf’s church after we leave each year. Mabel and I recall feeling like we weren’t just part of the 2006 Czech missions team, but that we were also a part of a bigger “mission” – one that didn’t just span the two to three weeks we were there, but linked us to previous (and subsequent) missions teams that were sent to the Czech Republic.

In Heaven there will be no missions because there will be no need. In the meantime, we are called to make disciples of Christ. Whether that occurs locally/domestically or overseas, the goal is the same – to make disciples of Christ and to see Him being worshiped everywhere including places where true worship had previously not existed. Being able to be a part of the summer missions team to the Czech Republic has given us front row seats to the demonstration of His abounding love as He calls His sheep from around the world to come into the family of God.

Missions Monday #10 – AR Multimedia

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

You may be unaware of this, but there are a good number of resources related to our Argentina trips over the past 12 years. If you have ever wanted to become familiar with our missions trips to Argentina, especially what we do and what we’ve learned, then you’ve come to the right place! Please peruse what we have collected over the years. We hope it will be a blessing!

TEXT

  • Our articles related to Argentina missions give many details from various trips over the years, from many different team members, past and present. I even have a number of entries from 2012 on my personal blog, if anyone is interested.

AUDIO

PHOTO

  • Check out all our photos from previous trips: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 (days 1-2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, final), 2012, and 2016.
  • Pastor Jorge, his wife Norma, and son Josue came to visit us in 2010, in lieu of a missions trip that year. We had a very special night welcoming them to our church family, and a potluck before their departure.

Missions Monday #9 – CZ Multimedia

by Stephen Rodgers

Back when I studied creative writing, I remember being on the receiving end of the literary admonition to “show, don’t tell.” So, in the spirit of getting out of the way of the story of missions, here’s a rather wide-ranging variety of links that you might enjoy related to CZ missions!

TEXT

  • It casts a rather wide net, but we have a category of articles here on the Beacon devoted to the topic of missions.

AUDIO

PHOTO

WEBSITES

  • KSB and KSOP are the churches in the Czech Republic that we’ve worked with over the years.

Missions Monday #8 – Door to Door Evangelism

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!

Missions Monday #7 – English Camp

by Hanka Rodgers

Ever since LBC started going on missions to the Czech Republic, the main focus of the summer trips has been week-long English Camps. It seemed then that the best way to share the gospel with the Czechs would be to offer to teach them English and share the gospel while doing so. That’s because he Czech Republic has about 10.5 million people, and that’s about how many people in the world speak Czech! That’s why every Czech needs to learn a foreign language, which is often English due to its universality. All kids have to take foreign language classes in elementary as well as high school and often even in college.

Sixteen years after this initial decision, not much has changed. Czechs are still very aware of the need to speak at least some English and are often willing to spend time and money working on their skills. English teachers in Czech schools are usually Czechs and even though today’s young people watch a lot of American TV shows (that’s also why they might think everybody in southern California surfs and looks good), personal interaction with native speakers is usually rare and for the most part is in demand.

That’s why a big part of the day at the Camp is spent learning English and interacting with the team. There are four hours of English classes in the morning and one hour of optional English conversation in the afternoons. Team members are assigned a class level to teach and all the campers are divided into classes depending on their English level. Seeing the same group of campers every day for at least four hours really helps not only with teaching English, but also with building closer relationships.

However, when Czechs are invited to these English Camps, it’s clearly stated that they are organized by a Christian church and there will be evening programs with Christian themes. When I was first invited to the first LBC English Camp in 2000 as an unbeliever, this was enough to deter my sister and me from going. We liked English just fine, but we wanted nothing to do with Christians. That’s how I missed the first year of the American and Czech church partnership. In 2001, due to some circumstances that year, I decided last minute that I would go to the Camp despite it being run by Christians. Thankfully, God often brings people that wouldn’t otherwise be interested in attending a church-organized event.

The Czech Republic is sometimes ranked as one of the most atheistic countries in the world. I think that in general, people dislike religion and the church more than they dislike the idea of God or a “higher being.” Whatever it is, most Czechs grow up in a worldview that the Christian God is not real and that the idea of a Christian God is an irrational crutch for people who are weak and uneducated. Even though some people think about God more than others and have a different level of understanding of the Bible, people generally don’t rush to repentance and don’t run to churches right after hearing the gospel. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I was 16 when I first heard the gospel clearly and even decided it might make sense, but becoming a Christian still felt like too much of a change compared to what I had believed the first 15 years of my life. It took months before God softened my heart completely and I repented being willing to deal with all the implications of my decision. The Czech Republic is definitely not one of those countries where people are eager to hear the gospel and believe in Christ.

This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to come to these English Camps ready to genuinely love the people God places in our lives. Even though we want all unbelievers to be saved more than we want anything else, they are not a project we get to work on. They need to know, see, and experience that thanks to God’s love for us, we can love others like ourselves. We want to show them that we care about them, not just about having another tally on our “evangelism list” and we want to share with them that life with God is better than the life they are used to.

As you can tell, this is no easy task. Please join us in prayer for God to soften hearts this summer and for unbelievers to be miraculously saved. Please pray for the team as a group of naturally selfish people is trying to share God’s truth in love with unsaved people. We are working hard to prepare, but we are ultimately so grateful to know that it’s by God’s grace that lives are saved, not by our own doing. Let’s plead with our Father that He saves Czech souls this summer.

Missions Monday #6 – How Can The Church Help?

by Pastor Patrick Cho

If you have been following this Missions Monday series, you know that Lighthouse San Diego is going to be sending two teams out this summer to do gospel ministry in the Czech Republic and Argentina. You have been walked through the missions philosophy of the church. You also know that the Czech team also includes members from the Lighthouse churches in Los Angeles and San Jose. You have been introduced to each of the team members, and you ought to know at least some of the details of each trip.

One thing to keep in mind is that in the Bible, the work of missions is not seen as the responsibility of a chosen few. It is meant to involve a whole church effort. The ministry of the Apostle Paul helps to demonstrate this. While he was the one who was sent out to go from city to city to spread the message of the gospel to the ends of the earth, he and his partners in ministry were sent out by the church in Antioch (Acts 14:1-3). It is important to note that Paul and his companions were not self-appointed. The Spirit of God worked through the people of the church to set them apart and to send them out.

Not only was the church a big part in sending out the “missions team,” Paul also relied upon the support of the churches to continue his ministry. There are passages in the epistles where he thanks various churches for their generosity and support. He informs the church at Corinth about his intent to stay with them and seeks not only their hospitality and but also their support to carry on his work (1 Cor. 16:5-6). He recognizes the Philippians’ gracious giving to support his ministry during a time when other churches shared with him (Phil. 4:15-16). On numerous occasions, he also expresses thanksgiving for individuals from the various churches who cared for him along the way.

The church sent Paul out on his missionary journeys, they supported him in his work, and they also held him accountable in the work. This is seen in his reporting to the church in Antioch at the end of his first missionary journey (Acts 14:26-27). He returned to his sending church to tell of all the amazing things God had done to include the Gentiles in the grace of the gospel. This was appropriate because Paul was not a lone Christian going about his ministry independently. He was send out and supported by the church such that his ministry was really the church’s ministry.

From the Apostle Paul’s ministry, then, we can conclude that missions is the work of the church. Whether the members of the church are actively going or sending, the entire church participates. This is mainly because every believer is called to be a witness for Christ. The command and call of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) applies to every follower of Jesus. Wherever you find yourself, you should consider how you can be part of the disciple making process of helping people come to the point of salvation and also helping them grow with respect to their salvation. Since God’s plan has always been to have a people for His own possession from the ends of the earth, the church’s goal should also be to take the gospel even to the ends of the earth (cf. Acts 1:8).

Our hope is that the members of Lighthouse at least desire to be involved in some way because they believe in what the teams to the Czech Republic and Argentina are doing. There is a great need for the support ministry of summer missions in both the areas of Beroun and Tucumán. It has been really encouraging throughout the years to see the support of the members of the church and their active participation to send the teams to the Czech Republic and Argentina. By God’s grace, we will continue to send teams to help fulfill the Great Commission by working with like-minded local churches to propagate the gospel. As a member of Lighthouse Bible Church, how does this apply to you? How can you be involved in the work of summer missions even if you are not part of the team that is going?

  1. Pray. We fully recognize that missions is God’s work. The Holy Spirit is the one who sets apart those who will go and works in the lives of the members of the church to make missions effective. God is gracious and desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). Independent of God, the team cannot be successful and nothing the team does will bring Him honor. Just as each team seeks to depend on the Lord in every step of the preparation and planning, in the travel, and in the trip itself, so the church should pray that God would mightily use the teams to bless the churches and leaders we work with and save many by His grace. Please commit to praying that God would be gracious to provide for the teams to go, that the time spent overseas would be profitable and a blessing, and that He would protect the team along the way.
  2. Support. Ever since we sent our first team in 2000 to the Czech Republic, we have been amazed by the generosity of the members of Lighthouse to send our teams on these summer missions. This demonstrates at least in part that the church understands its responsibility to help send those who are available to go. By now, the members of the Lighthouse churches should have received informational support letters for each team. Would you consider helping to send these teams through your giving?
  3. Participate. There are several opportunities to be involved with the team’s work even if you are not part of the groups going to the Czech Republic and Argentina. You can help plan and run a fundraiser, host a garage sale, and even promote the missions trips to those outside the church. Aside from fundraising, there may be opportunities to help in some of the logistics and planning. There are shirts that need to be designed and ordered, gifts that need to be purchased, etc. You can be involved with the planning to help the team best prepare to go.
  4. Encourage. Each year, when the teams return from their trips, there can be a sense of let down as they are excited to tell about all that took place. Sometimes it seems there is a lack of interest and enthusiasm to hear of all God did. This is somewhat understandable because only those that go on these trips will know about the blessings of the trips from experience. But one way you can be a blessing to the teams is to encourage the team members, hear about what the Lord was able to do, and demonstrate genuine interest in the work. This is tremendously encouraging to the team that the church at home keeps the trips in mind, actively seeks to support the work, and wants to hear testimonies of God’s grace from the teams’ time overseas. Some specific ways to encourage include writing notes of encouragement to the team members, writing notes of greeting to the people of the foreign churches that the teams can take with them, or grab a meal with a team member when they return to hear about the trip.
  5. Serve. While the teams are away, there will be a need for the church to fill some of the gaps in ministry that are left behind. Anytime a significant number of members are gone, the rest of the church may need to increase their participation and stretch themselves to see that the ministry at home continues healthily and effectively. While you can and should be praying for the teams that go, please do not forget to also pray for the church at home to continue to faithfully perform the work of ministry to the glory of God.
  6. Go. Considering all God has already accomplished through Lighthouse in Argentina and the Czech Republic, perhaps consider being a part of the teams that go in the years to come. By the will and grace of God, opportunities may arise to go to other parts of the world as well. People need to hear the gospel, and churches, pastors, and missionaries need our support. As God opens these doors to go and be part of the global work of the gospel, pray about whether you can viably be part of the teams that go.

As you can see, even though you might not be part of the “going team,” there is still a significant work to be done by the “sending team.” Prayerfully consider how you can be involved in the church-wide effort of summer missions. This is in line with the biblical idea that the entire church is the missions team. Think of ways you can apply these principles to be a faithful part of that team.

Missions Monday #5 – Introducing the Argentina Team

Josh Liu

Hi! I currently serve on pastoral staff at LBCSD, overseeing College Life. I have learned so much in my 10 years at LBCSD–coming in as a freshman at UCSD to now serving on pastoral staff. It’s been an incredible journey! Part of that journey has led me to participate in our short-term missions trips to Argentina, which has continued to develop my theology and passion for evangelism and global missions. This year will be my sixth trip to Argentina with LBCSD! I’ve had the opportunity to build deep relationships with many of the members and leaders at Iglesia Biblica Misionera Tucuman. I look forward to serving, equipping, and edifying IBM Tucuman, and to be a source of refreshment and encouragement to Pastor Jorge and the other leaders.

Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Hello, everyone! I am husband to Andrea, on staff with Sonlight Ministry and Youth Group Ministry, and am also a Math TA at a non-public middle and high school. I have been a member at LBCSD since 2006, and have grown in my understanding of the Word and its application ever since. I became involved with LBC missions upon hearing the work this church has done with IBM Tucuman, and thought I could be of service. I do speak Spanish, and have come to embrace LBC’s vision of missions to assist churches in helping fulfill the Great Commission. Growing up, I have always had a strong desire to assist thriving Spanish-speaking churches where the pastor preaches the Bible, and men and women grow in their understanding of the Word, in their Christlikeness, and in their boldness by getting the gospel out to those around them. This will be my seventh trip to Argentina with LBCSD, and I am truly excited to see what God has in store for this trip! My prayer has always been that God be glorified on every trip, that I do my part to serve those in leadership, and to always be ready to tell, expound, defend, and unashamedly proclaim the gospel to all who will hear. One interesting fact about me is I was on television once in high school as part of the Academic Decathlon team, where I gave a few incorrect answers, but did get one right answer during the competition.

Andrea Vigil-Ruiz

Hi, I’ve been a part of the Grace Life Ministry for about two and a half years now. I currently teach a high energy, but very sweet and kind, class of 31 fourth graders that keep me on my toes! Since becoming a member at Lighthouse back in 2009, I have heard Pastor John Kim describe short-term missions as “doing church somewhere else.” My first trip to Argentina in 2012 helped me understand what Pastor John meant by that. Since that trip, my love for missions and being able to actually physically be present to help other missionaries has continued to grow! I am so excited and thankful that I can be a part of the team this year! One interesting fact about me is usually I don’t like bright colors, especially when it comes to my wardrobe. My closet currently has mostly neutral tones of grey, black, navy blue, and beige, except for this one very bright yellow cardigan that my small group gave me for my birthday one year. The girls wanted to help me branch out!

Brian Wong

Hello church! I am currently a graduating senior at UCSD. There isn’t too much to explain or a complicated reason as to why I’m going on missions this summer. When thinking about our missions teams, I considered supporting through prayer and finances, but then it dawned on me; why don’t I just physically be a part of the team? And thus, since I’m physically able to and have the availability to do so, I will be going for the sake of making disciples of all nations.

One fun, unique, or interesting thing about me is I love potato chips, and have a habit of sometimes replacing meals with a family-sized bag of chips. It’s pretty bad.

Randy Sarmiento

Hello Church Family!!! For those of you who do not know me, I serve as one of the deacons here at Lighthouse Bible Church, San Diego. I was born and raised in Houston, TX for most of my life, but due to joining the military (US Navy) I was deployed and stationed in various parts of the world. Eventually, by God’s design, and definitely not mine, I was stationed here in San Diego where I found out about the church and have been a member since 2006. Again by God’s grace, in 2008 I met my amazing wife Elaine through the church and got married in December of 2009. We are overly blessed with 3 rambunctious, fun loving, and social little girls, Charlotte (6), Isabel (4), and Estella (2). Overall I am so thankful for God’s continual grace, and I am so very humbled, honored, and blessed to get to serve His church.

In going to Argentina, I greatly hope to faithfully serve the church there, invest in others, counsel, and present the Gospel to the lost. Just as many before me have passed on the torch of Christ and His Word to people around the world, I too hope to pass on the His greatness to those in Argentina. Secondarily, since I was formerly a medical logistics coordinator for the military, and truly have a heart for medical missions, I hope to make contact with local government officials and medical providers in hope to someday collaborate with them in serving the church and community with a medical missions team of our own. I truly look forward to meeting and encouraging the our fellow brothers and sisters in IBM Tucuman.

A fun fact about me: I love to barbecue … So I’m a master chef on the grill. Just ask my wife 😉

Wesley Wong

Hi, I’m a full time evangelist disguised as a Computer Science major at UCSD. My salvation with the Lord started since eternity past when God predestined me for adoption as his son, but it wasn’t until freshman year of high school that I responded to his saving call by faith and repentance. Since then, the Lord has been tremendously faithful to grow me. That being said, I’ve wanted to go on overseas missions for a while, but summer internships have kept me busy. As I transition into full time work, God slipped in a couple weeks of down time for me to go to Argentina. As for a fun fact, I tried street preaching at UCSD!

Kristen Chan

Hello, church family! I’m a student graduating this June. At first, I dismissed the idea of going on missions because I thought missions wasn’t for me. When Mr. Mellwig came and I heard his testimony of how people in the Czech Republic have never heard of Jesus, God softened my heart to consider going. The Holy Spirit convicted me of my sinful attitude in brushing off the call to obedience and putting it on others. God provided me with availability and no obligations for the summer, so I applied (late) to Argentina! I’m so thankful that God has placed this opportunity in my life as I have already been sanctified through the preparations. Please be praying for our team and that God would further his kingdom in Argentina!

Nathalie Paucar

Hello! I am a UCSD graduate, currently working as a Research Associate at a biotech company, and am a part of the Salt and Light Ministry here at Lighthouse.

For a while, since coming out to Lighthouse, and becoming a member, I’ve felt God has given me a desire to go to Argentina, since I am a Spanish-speaking native and have a desire to go on missions. Having interacted with Grace Alcaraz and Andrea Vigil-Ruiz, with their Spanish preparation last year for Argentina, it drew my heart to pray for the possibility of going when asked. So, when asked if I would go this year, God answered my prayer, by setting all things straight and perfectly that I may go on Summer Missions this year.

An interesting thing about me: I have visited more countries than I have states of the United States.

Missions Monday #4 – Introducing the Czech Team

Patrick Cho

I have served as the senior pastor of Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego since 2010. My wife Christine and I have been married for almost twelve years and have three beautiful children. I am thankful to have been involved with our summer missions trips to the Czech Republic since we first started going in 2000. Working with Meinolf Mellwig and the church there has been a wonderful blessing, and it is a tremendous joy and privilege to go back each year to build on the relationships we’ve established and to assist the Christian Church of Beroun in the work they’re doing to reach the Czech people. It is also exciting to work with this year’s team. I am looking forward to see how the Lord will use them and cause them to grow through our time together overseas. Some of my hobbies include singing, cooking, watching movies, and playing volleyball. One fun fact about me is that I smile a lot. Even when I honk at bad drivers (I’d like to think very, very rarely!), I do so with a smile.

Christine Cho

I am a stay-at-home mom to three adorable children. Eden is eight, Ezra is four, and Emma is currently four months. I’ve been married to Patrick for almost twelve amazing years! We have a lot of fun together as a family. Some of my interests include singing, playing / watching football, watching movies / shows with Patrick, and all things Disney. I also love fruit, animals, and bargain shopping. I have a Mary Kay business on the side but am a bit undisciplined with my own skincare. I think flowers are beautiful but don’t care to receive them. I don’t mind washing clothes but dislike folding and putting them away. I’m excited to go to the Czech Republic again to partner with the church in Beroun, see familiar faces, and meet new ones! Praying for the gospel to impact those who attend the English Camp!

Eden Cho

I am eight years old and currently in third grade. I enjoy riding my bike, going to the beach, doing coding on my school computer, taking taekwondo lessons, and watching Netflix. Some of my favorite shows are Pokemon, Ninjago, My Little Pony, Shopkins, and Home. I also love to read (especially spooky stories) and recently started reading the Harry Potter books. I love to eat carbs and dislike any kind of sauce. I have no problems singing and dancing in front of others, but acting gives me stage fright. I’m excited to go back to the Czech to see my friends and attend the English Camp!

Ezra Cho

I am four years old and currently attending Pre-K. I love going to school, playing with my friends, riding my Plasma Car, and playing ABC games. I know how to read but I’m not super interested in books. I’d much rather draw or write letters to people. My current obsession is whatever the latest movie I watched. I recently switched from a Moana obsession to Trolls. I love to eat fruit, sugary cereals, and noodles. I’m excited to be reunited with my friends in the Czech!

Emma Cho

I am four months old! I love to be held. I’m not the best daytime napper, but I make up for it by sleeping well at night. I enjoy making loud, high-pitched noises while Papa is trying to watch TV. I also enjoy sucking on my hands, playing with my toys, and recently discovered my feet! I haven’t tried solids yet, but my mommy is hoping I’ll enjoy it. I’m excited about my first plane ride and my first trip to the Czech Republic!

Stephen Rodgers

I currently work for a medical device company as a technical analyst and developer.  I’ve been a member at LBCSD for twelve years, and have been going on missions trips to the Czech Republic since 2008. I actually met the woman who would become my wife while on one of those trips, which was a bit of a surprise for both of us. God has used the Czech Republic and the church family there in profound ways in my life, and I always look forward to returning to work alongside them year after year.

Hana Rodgers

I have been a member at LBCSD for almost six years, but I have known the church and some of the church members since 2001 when I went to my first LBC English Camp in the Czech Republic as an unbeliever. In fact, I met some LBC members, whose children I have the privilege to teach in Sparklers now, when they were only dating! I am a third grade teacher at a Christian classical school, which is one of the many blessings God has graciously sent my way. I love the Czech Republic, the Czech people, and the Czech church and I am so grateful I have the opportunity to work alongside my Czech and American brothers and sisters to share the gospel there. I truly see it as a privilege and thank God for a church that considers missions important.

Curtis Yee

Hi! I am a graduating senior at UCSD studying both cognitive science and literature and I hope to find a career as a UX designer or journalist once I graduate (stark contrast, I know). I really enjoy photography and taking pictures with friends!

I’m extremely excited to serve in the Czech Republic with this year’s missions team. Recently I have been particularly convicted by the reality that the gospel is necessary for everyone, not only my friends and relatives and those in my social circles, but every single person on this earth. Truly caring for the lost means caring also for people whose lives and cultures and languages I had no connection with. This is why I chose to go on this missions trip, because even though I don’t know these people and may have little in common with them, we are all sinners in need of a savior.

Eugene Park

I’m currently a middle school math teacher in the San Diego Unified School District. It’s hard to believe, but this is my twentieth year teaching in the district. And I think I can honestly say I enjoy teaching more and more as each year goes by. One interesting thing about me is that I’m just about the most un-Korean Korean you’ll ever meet. I don’t like most Korean food, my Spanish is better than my Korean, and I don’t hang out on Convoy. This will be my fourth time going to the Czech Republic and one of the things I’m looking forward to seeing the people of the church again and hopefully support and encourage them in their ministry.

Hansol An

I am a husband to Angella and father of four boys, ranging in age from four to ten years old. I work for a professional services firm as a manager while also being active in business development. Though I don’t readily admit it, I used to be into comic books to the extent that in high school I contemplated becoming a comic book artist. God had other plans, and so did my very Korean mom who would never let that happen. In 2001 and 2003 I went to the Czech to serve as a member of the missions teams sent by LBC. Since that time, God has placed a strong desire in my heart to return but due to life circumstances I wasn’t able to until now. Now I’m looking forward to working with the Mellwigs again and the church in Beroun to reach the lost.

Richard Shin

An electrical engineer by trade, I currently work as a patent scientist for an intellectual property law firm, and I am planning to attend law school this fall. I have been at Lighthouse for almost eight years, and this is my second time going to the Czech Republic for missions. One fun fact about me is that I grew up in Korea for most of the 90s. So when people bring up a 90s pop culture reference, I usually smile and pretend like I know what they’re talking about, hoping they will move on. My cultural ineptitude notwithstanding, I am thrilled to go to the Czech Republic this summer because I get to partner with my Czech and German brothers and sisters in sharing the gospel to unbelievers. I am looking forward to reconnecting with the church in Beroun and enjoying our union in Christ!

Chelsea Preslar

Hi there, church family!  I am currently a full-time student and part time barista at my favorite San Diego coffee shop, Copa Vida.  Aside from my knack for pouring liquid art in the form of frothy caffeinated beverages, I love talking to strangers everywhere I go (sorry mom and dad).  Hearing about other people’s lives brings me tremendous curiosity and joy, and many opportunities to share about the life I have in Christ!

I am very excited to meet our church family in the Czech Republic, but more importantly, I’m looking forward to being a part of a team that works diligently to fulfill the Great Commission, to see lives turned over to God, and making our big church family just a little bit bigger!

Cindy Chu

During the day, I work as a business analyst at UCSF School of Medicine. At night, I am a mother to my fur-baby (dog). If you ever talk to a former roommate of mine, you will learn that I am an amazing storyteller…in my sleep. I am known for having one-sided conversations, telling jokes (while laughing), and giving instructions in my sleep. Unfortunately I have yet to remember any of my dreams. I am going on missions this year because I have a better story to tell (one that we cannot forget). This will be my fifth trip to the Czech Republic, but my reasons for going remain the same: proclaim the name of Jesus wherever I am (UCSF, LBCSJ, Beroun, etc.). In short, this is an opportunity to be faithful in another part of the world, continue building on relationships from past trips, and reflecting Christ through my life.

Joyce Kang

I teach second grade at a classical Christian school in Valencia and am also a graduate student at The Master’s University. One unique fact about me is that I am a health nut and yet I have a serious weakness for desserts, especially ice cream or anything with dark chocolate. This will be my fourth trip to the Czech Republic with LBC and my reason for returning is two-fold: I love Christ as well as the people there. The Lord has called us to make disciples wherever we are and summer missions is just another context in which we can practically live out this commandment. I’m excited for the opportunity to share the Good News with the people we’ll meet at the English Camp and for the time we’ll have to encourage the church there.

Joyce Tai

Hi! I’m currently a fourth-year at UCSD studying human biology. I’m planning to graduate this spring before starting to hopefully work as a nursing aid and stay in San Diego! One interesting fact about me is that I enjoy learning about coffee and tea brewing. For me, there wasn’t really any particular reason I wanted to do missions in specifically the Czech Republic, nor am I personally drawn to short term missions. As Joel James (Master’s seminary alumni) has said before, “Missions is your ecclesiology armed with a passport.” Likewise, I view this trip more as an extension, though different structure and location, of ministry here in San Diego, but I also have the specific vision of being an encouragement to LBC and the Mellwigs as we come alongside their church to support their work in making disciples of Christ throughout the nations. May our Lord’s name be proclaimed by all peoples.

Kara Kim

Hey y’all! My name is Kara Kim, and I just recently graduated from The Master’s University with a degree in Communications. I’ve been keeping busy with job hunting and wedding planning, and plan to get married in the spring of 2018. I have undying love for boba, white chocolate mochas, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, and the entire Harry Potter series. And even though I’ve been to the Czech Republic for summer mission trips more than a dozen times, I am returning this summer because I believe in the work Lighthouse and the church in Beroun are dedicating their time and energy toward. The precious relationship that’s developed over the past seventeen years is invaluable to me as I have grown up with the Mellwig family since I was four years old. I believe in the power of the Gospel, the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and the paramount importance of the church. As long as I have breath in me, I will share the good news of the Gospel with anyone who cares to listen, whether that is in the Czech Republic or any other country in the world.

Missions Monday #3 – Why Czech Republic and Argentina?

by Pastor John Kim

Introduction

When Lighthouse Bible Church San Diego was being planted, the commitment to have a worldwide view toward ministry was something that we wanted to see integrated into the life of the church from the very beginning. While we had little in terms of resources and manpower, I really wanted to see our church have a heart for the world and invest into a long-term relationship with another church in some other country.

Czech Republic

Having attended the Master’s Seminary, I had a good number of friends and classmates who had become missionaries and were serving in different countries all over the world. I emailed many of them inquiring if there were any opportunities for us to partner in some way. Initially it was quite discouraging as no one seemed to have time… or were too busy… or already had what they felt was adequate. It seemed as though no one really had the time to consider such a relationship.

But one friend from my days at Grace Community Church responded with interest. His name was Peter Smith and along with his wife Sonya, who was a classmate of mine at Los Angeles Baptist High School, had gone to a town called Kladno, just outside of Prague to do missions work. I was pretty excited because I knew Peter to be a very enthusiastic and dedicated Christian and had watched him serve at Grace Church. I was especially encouraged by his character and heart for people. I had a pretty discouraging experience with a short term mission trip while in college, and so the importance of Christian character in the lives of pastors and missionaries really stood out to me as a requirement. After some initial discussions, Peter then brought up the opportunity to possibly partner with a friend of his in a city called Ostrava, which was close to the border of Poland on the eastern side of the Czech Republic. He shared that he was already partners with some pretty big churches at the time and while he was open to partnering together, he asked if I would be open to considering Ostrava because not too many people were interested in going out to that part of the country. It was a coal-mining industry and a place where criminals and problematic people were sent during the communist era, so it was definitely not a tourist destination compared to Prague. But the most important thing was the character of the missionary, and after Peter assured me that this missionary was a solid man of God. I thought it would be good to go on a scouting trip to meet the missionary and his family and get a chance to see what it was like.

So in the spring of 2000, I went to the Czech Republic for the first time. I definitely did not know much about the Czech Republic, other than that they had surrendered pretty early in World War II to Nazi Germany, and so the city of Prague was not bombed like so many other cities in Europe. After arriving in Prague, I went to a train station where I took a train to Ostrava. The city of Ostrava was the third largest city in the Czech Republic and I found out that there was very little evangelical presence there. So it was with great anticipation that I looked forward to meeting the missionary and his family.

I wasn’t too familiar with what the missionary looked like. He told me he would be wearing a beige jacket and had a beard. There were two stops that sounded very similar and so I was a bit confused. At the first stop I looked out the window and saw someone that seemed to fit the description, and so I stepped off the train and met Meinolf Mellwig for the very first time. I had been told that he was a German missionary who had come to the Czech Republic with his wife and children, and that they were in the same missions agency as my friend Peter. I anticipated meeting someone stoic and serious but hard-working and dedicated. My first interactions with Meinolf were very straightforward. I met his wife Martina who was very friendly and kind. They had a little girl, Anika who was almost two years old and they drove me around town to see the sights. They also had four other children who were in school – Katrin, Johannes, Matthias, and Lukas and lived in a three story home in a village called Polanka. I got to attend a church service which was held in a small room in some kind of building that they were renting. I found out it was a Brethren church, and that they had the Lord’s Supper every Sunday which was a little different since they used a common cup for everyone to share. Everyone seemed friendly and though I couldn’t understand anything they said, it was neat to meet them all for the first time and get a chance to fellowship with Czech believers.

So we decided that we would partner together in running an English camp that coming summer. It would be in the mountains at a hotel and we would plan to teach several levels of conversational English as well as plan sports and games. The evening meetings would be where we would sing Christian songs and then teach on different topics with an evangelistic purpose. Since it was the first time for both the Ostrava church and our church, it was looking to be a very interesting experience. Since both churches started around the same time in 1999, we figured that our churches were pretty much at the same stage of development so we would be able to grow together in this way.

The summer of 2000 provided the most incredible opportunity for our young church as a team of fifteen went to the Czech Republic for the first of what would turn out to be thirteen teams in seventeen years. We were introduced to a side of the Mellwig family that we would come to cherish, as they were not quite the stereotypical stoic German folks that we thought, but were quite funny and willing to pretty much do anything for the sake of ministry. The hotel was terrible, the service was horrible, but our time was memorable and we had numerous opportunities to share the gospel, build relationships, and truly enjoy a wonderful time partnering with the church in Ostrava.

In the years that followed, we were blessed by God to see a long-term relationship develop where the bond of the Holy Spirit was clearly seen as we grew in unity and like-mindedness in ministry. The dream of finding a long-term partnership came true and to this day we are blessed by the relationships that started back in 2000. The Mellwig family are some of the closest friends our family has, and they truly have become like family over the years as we stayed with them and they have come to visit us. The Mellwigs recently planted a new church in the city of Beroun in 2013, and we are now partnering with them there as they do the work of gospel ministry in that region.

Argentina

In 2004 I was given the opportunity to partner with some pastor friends at a conference in Argentina. Since I was the junior delegate in the party, I gave a couple of seminars but for the most part had the chance to observe and engage with the people I met. It was truly an enjoyable time as I was introduced to pastors from all over the country. One individual that was particularly interesting was a gentleman by the name of Eduardo Buldain. He was involved with a church-planting ministry that partnered with folks from the Word of Life Institute that was located just outside of Buenos Aires. After the conference I had a chance to talk with him about the opportunity to find another partner church where we could send short-term summer teams like we already were doing in the Czech Republic.

That was when we were introduced to Jorge Ahualle. It was quite a memorable trip in that Mike Chon (a fellow elder at Lighthouse San Diego and now at Lighthouse LA) and I went on a scouting trip to get to know the pastor and the church. Little did we know what an adventure it would be. We flew into Buenos Aires the spring of 2005 and upon arriving, we were met by Eduardo Buldain who informed me that I was to be speaking that evening as well as several times that weekend. I had not been told that I was preaching, and in an effort to travel light, I had not brought my laptop with me either. I thought he was kidding…he was not. We had another flight to take from Buenos Aires to Tucuman, which was the city where Pastor Jorge and the church were. They had planned a whole weekend of events including four preaching times. So I preached three times and Mike preached once. I recall in seminary that they had told us to always be ready to preach, and so I had memorized three sermons years earlier in case I ever needed them. That weekend I preached all three : one on the MVP of Lighthouse, another on the Peacemaker Pledge, and the last on the hand illustration from Fundamentals of the Faith regarding how to take in the Scriptures – hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating.

Pastor Jorge, his wife Norma, and son Josue welcomed us and we soon were embraced by the whole church. They showered us with love and food – this was the first time we had the famous empanadas (even in Argentina, Tucuman is known to make the best empanadas). We enjoyed Argentine beef and other meals with the church members, and I remember it was a joyous time as the people were very expressive and excited to see us. It was the first time that I was introduced to the Argentine custom of kissing each other on the cheek, and it was a pretty strange experience to have both men and women come at you and kiss you on the cheek. We also tried maté, the Argentine tea which would be passed around and shared from the same cup and metal straw. It was quite a contrast to our experiences in the Czech Republic, but at the same time it was such a blessing to know that we could be united in Christ even though we were from different cultures and spoke different languages.

The plan was for Lighthouse to send a team during the summer (which was their winter). They did street evangelism and they would go door to door and share the gospel as well as host events in the community where they would invite everyone to come and hear some presentations. We quickly realized as we set things up that there were challenges our work in the Czech Republic had not prepared us for.  Despite some initial issues (differences in doctrine, philosophy of ministry, and learning to work with translators), we were able to establish a very good relationship with the church in Tucuman and the first summer trip took place. While things were a bit crazy at times, the opportunity to partner with another young church provided great blessings in the coming years.

Conclusion

So that’s the story of how it happened. From our early desire to partner with like-minded churches around the world, the Lord providentially led us to two very different places: the Czech Republic and Argentina. And while our church has grown tremendously in terms of resources and manpower compared to those early days, one thing that has not changed is our longing to see all the LBC churches have a heart for the world that manifests as support for the local church…wherever that might happen to take us.