This past May, I traveled to Argentina, to the city of Posadas, Missiones, as a student missionary. The church I was assigned to was in the city of Santa Ines.
Before the meetings began, the local pastor told me this church was known as one of the “dead” churches in the city. He said it had grown stale, and the members were not very active. That first Friday night, there were about 10 people. The next morning, about 25 people were at the worship service. At the end of my message, I made a very special call. I told everyone to invite their non-Christian friends to the meetings and asked anyone willing to invite a friend to stand. Everyone in the church rose to their feet! I initially thought people weren’t taking the call seriously. But that night at the meeting, attendance doubled—there were 50 people! Everyone, including the children, had invited a friend. The pastor later told me that he had never seen the members so alive and on fire for Jesus and outreach.
Santa Ines is located in a very rural area. Very few people have cars or even know how to drive, so most walk. The soil is rich in iron and clay, making it very muddy when it rains. It rained a lot, and I was surprised at how many people came to the meetings despite the mud; some had to walk for 20 minutes through the mud to make it to the church.
For one particular older couple who attended the meetings every night, this was their first experience with a church teaching beliefs other than Catholicism. Initially, they didn’t seem to respond to the calls; they never filled out any decision cards. I later found out that these two people, like many of the Santa Ines people, were not able to write, and were limited in their ability to read. At the end of the meetings, both of them came to the front in tears. They said the messages were the most beautiful thing they’d ever heard, and now they wanted to be baptized and follow Jesus. Then they gave me a paper on which they had tried their best to write a letter telling how appreciative they were of the messages. I am so excited to see them in heaven one day.
Being involved in international evangelism has given me a clearer picture of our mission here on earth far beyond what an entire year of school classes could ever do. By sharing our beliefs with others, I have come to better understand what I believe and want to spend the rest of my life telling people about Jesus.
Written by Chris Marshall
This student earned a Student Evangelist Scholarship through the Education Department. To qualify, students must attend a GCC academy or college and preach a 16- to 18-night evangelistic series.