As you all know, I have been out in the streets, at home and abroad, sharing Christ with hopeless sinners everywhere. The Lord has blessed me in my labors, and I rejoice to think about all of the time spent at college campuses, Asian markets, African villages, and downtown streets of countless towns in the United States, living out 2 Cor. 2:16 as life to few and death to many. You know, when I met Jesus Christ in the back room of a little Baptist Church in a town not listed on most maps, I had no idea concerning all that was ahead of me. One evening, shortly after Jesus called me out of darkness, I prayed a prayer that would really shape the rest of my life. I asked the Lord two things, “Just make me like Jesus, no matter what it takes, just mold me; and please, just let my image disappear, but let me always point anyone and everyone to Jesus whether they’re lost or saved.” I, of course, didn’t consider the cost and logistics of this plea to follow the Lord in every detail, but I had decided to forsake everything and follow the One. And the Holy One has become everything to me. I just came as a dumb sheep listening to the call of the Good Shepherd. I must say that this has not been a glamorous pilgrims progress! Surely, as the Scriptures say, He has sent us out as sheep among the wolves. To turn from the darkness and have light imputed makes life in a world of darkness quite difficult. The wolves are relentless in their attack. Here is what I have learned: The Lord is still a Good Shepherd. Just ask me and I’ll tell you story after story of how I have proved Him o’er and o’er! He lays down His own life for the sheep! Surely in your life you’ve seen the same and can testify of the work of God to others.
So now another chapter of my life has begun. I’ve set foot on my fourth continent and have preached Christ in twenty countries foreign to my own. Before I left the United States, I told you all about me being ordained to the Gospel ministry and officially joining Full Proof Gospel Ministries. For the past three years I have labored alongside FPGM on three different journeys. Being found faithful, FPGM has decided to take me on board officially. What an honor! Now, I have been sent out on my own. I have been given the privilege of joining some believers down here in Argentina in a joint effort of preaching Yeshua Ha-Meshiach, Jesus the Christ, to a hoard of Israeli travelers that come down to Argentina during the summer. The Lord has laid out for me three main objectives while I am here. This seems to be evidenced throughout Acts and something I would like the rest of my life to mirror. First and foremost, I will be serving the local church in any way it might need me. My love for my brother is on a whole other level compared to my love for the lost (see I Corinthians 12-14). Secondly, I will exhaust myself in an attempt to share Jesus with the Jew. And of course, the third thing on the agenda is sharing Christ with Gentiles like me. This will mean going door-to-door and into the streets, lifting up my voice like a trumpet to call the heathen into a right relationship with Almighty God.
A great deal of work has been done to bring together a team of young people down to South America for training in evangelism as missionaries. A dear Christian brother has made it possible for eight volunteers to come down for a summer to evangelize the Jew and Gentile, receive training in evangelism, and to be able to train others during this time. Much of my time will be redeemed if I am wise and if I walk circumspectly. I will be leading a few studies about the Gospel and salvation for the volunteers and in a few churches as God gives opportunity. And while out in the highways and hedges, I’ll be showing others how to clearly and purposefully make the Gospel of Jesus Christ an unavoidable issue all over the world. Many short term teams will make their way down here during the summer. Also, the local church has joyfully taken on efforts to reach out to the Jewish people and to be a light in their own community here. In fact, this whole week has been devoted to helping with a Bible camp for about fifty youth, conducted by the local church where I am currently serving. I have had many opportunities to challenge these young people to be bold for the Lamb and not to waste their time as Christians being entertained to death.
Most of the Israelis that come through here during the tourist season are young people that just finished serving in the military. There is an entire tourist circuit they follow. They call it the ‘Israeli Wave.’ Typically, an Israeli will go to Southeast Asia or South America as a backpacker to party hard and see the sights before going back to Israel to settle down and start their career. I spoke with a young woman recently who expounded to me concerning this phenomenon. She said her older brother had done the same thing. She feels a closer connection to the rest of her family by coming down here. It’s kind of like another passage or step in life that every Israeli takes. She even feels a stronger identity as an Israeli for having been everywhere else in the world and only wishing to be back in Israel. Argentina really is a prime location for reaching out to young Jewish people. They claim to be searching while they’re down here, and they are open to talk about things more than they would be if they were back in their own home towns. The young people are very secular and know little of the Bible, if anything. So, for the next several months I will be out in the Andes and walking the streets of tourist towns, giving out Gospel tracts in Hebrew and trying to strike up conversations with the ‘Jew first’ to show them the love of Jesus Christ and let them clearly see that the Holy Spirit is prophesying to them through Gentiles like me. Hopefully, this will cause jealousy and provoke the adulteress wife, Israel, to flee into the arms of Jehovah. A big part of the ministry here will just simply be sitting to eat with the travelers and call them to repentance. Hopefully, we can show them that the Christian really loves Israel. And, if at all possible, pass on to them the ‘Berithhadasha’ or New Testament. We have already met with several Israelis and have been able to share with them about the Savior. One young man came over the other night and sat for over two and a half hours, listening to the Gospel from the Old Testament. He asked question after question as the Scriptures were laid open before his eyes. After talking about the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the young man was curious to know if Jesus is going to come back some day. This is where sound eschatology comes into play AND all of those great prophecies about the Lion of Judah! What God is going to do with Israel is glorious! He had heard his father’s coworker tell his father about the Holy Spirit coming into him when he turned to Jesus. The young man was very intrigued to hear that I, a Gentile, had the exact same testimony about the power of Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. Honestly, I know I am young in the faith and this is very exciting to me, but I was floored to be able to address a host of issues that Paul and Peter addressed throughout the New Testament. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but Jesus wasn’t an American! He wasn’t even born in Europe! God’s Word is so beautifully Jewish and sharing with the Jewish people is a really fascinating ministry. Of course, this particular young man knew very little about the Old Testament, but the Father is clearly drawing him and opening his eyes the same way He opened your eyes when the Word started pounding on your heart of stone. Pray for these people. The Lord is still jealous for Israel!
As for going to the Gentiles, I am fully stocked and loaded with a mountain of tracts in about fifteen different languages. Many European and Asian tourists find their way down here as well, and I can’t imagine prejudicially sharing Christ with the Jew while ignoring all other souls that are clothed with differing structures of dust that form bodies of different races. Some missionaries get stuck working with only one “people group;” I just don’t see this as a New Testament model. We all need a Savior! I’ll tell you what happened in Pucon, Chile a few weeks ago while Jesse Boyd, my earthly “boss”, was still down here. As we were walking out of a local grocery store, a young man walked up dressed in the Mormon uniform. He was from Arizona and asked what we were doing down in Chile. Then, the battle began to rage. The young man started pulling several Scriptures out of context to justify his religion and himself. This young Mormon “elder” tried to use the Book of James just like the Catholics to claim that righteousness is earned by doing good. I had to point out to him that James is clearly talking about justification in the sight of men. Justification in the sight of God is clearly not earned. It is imputed. After 20 minutes of contending for the faith, I could see the young man was very troubled and strongly convicted. I told him that I would be praying for him, and he thanked me. He went to shake my hand, and with one last confrontation, I told him that I simply could not shake his hand. He was surprised, but I explained why and he understood. Why couldn’t I shake his hand if Jesus even went and ate with publicans and sinners? In this situation, the young man is a false teacher. You see, Jesus said that we ought to let the false teacher be accursed and that we cannot so much as bid such Godspeed. I told him that if he wasn’t spreading a perverted gospel then I would gladly shake his hand (see Galatians 1:7-8). He really took well to hearing the explanation and was grateful to have talked with us. Pray for nineteen-year-old Mr. Cowley. He has been lied to his whole life. This world is so homogenized. Everyone is from a different background but so clearly joined hand in hand with one purpose: to deny the LORD. I have also been working on my Spanish, but honestly, it’s still very poor. I’m meeting with a few people from Church soon that said they would be able to translate for me if we went out to preach in the streets. Praise God! That is just what I have been praying for. The Argentines are widely Catholic. Wide and not deep! Their commitment to Catholicism is very shallow and weak. Most of them are quite secular as well. So, nominally they are Catholic, but at heart, they are just like the rest of the world today. II Timothy 3 is such a vivid picture of mankind in every place. I marvel at the accuracy of God’s word. S, I’ll be out with a backpack full of tracts always ready to give someone the Good News of our dear Savior and of that glorious Gospel that is the key to redemption!
As usual I have left out many details, and thus, you are not able to read about all of the encounters I have had out here sharing the Gospel and training others to do the same. I wish I could show you all of the wonderful things the Lord is doing. I really wish I could hear more from you as well about what great things Jesus is doing through the work of your hands. The Lord knows it all though, and whatever is done must be done for His glory, not our own.
Keeping you all in prayer,