A promotional video for Red Box 2008 is now in the multimedia section of the SAMS Ireland web site.
SAMS GB Chairman Patrick Coghlan returns tomorrow from the consultations in Buenos Aires with the bishops of the Southern Cone. In his absence his wife Gill has suffered a broken pelvis in a fall and his father is suffering from laboured breathing. Both are in hospital. Please remember them in your prayers, and Patrick as he returns.
Also unwell is Pancha Barratt, wife of Terry, who has had chest and arm pains during and after a visit to the Pehuenche churches of southern Chile. No heart problem has been diagnosed, but please keep Pancha in prayer.
John Sutton of SAMS GB has been at the meetings in Buenos Aires and tomorrow (15th) he moves to Salta in Northern Argentina to meet with mission and Latin partners. Pray for these days to be rewarding for them and for John prior to his return to the UK next week.
John arrives next Wednesday (21st) and goes straight to a meeting of the SAMS Trustees at which the issue of a possible merger with CMS will be discussed in the light of responses from UK supporters and folk working in South America. Please pray for this very important meeting.
On Friday (16th) Chris Somervell returns to Asunción to be reunited with her children and begin preparations for the family’s final return to the UK in July. Tony joins them next month. Pray for Chris’s travel, and for them all as they face huge change after nearly 20 years in Paraguay.
Pamela Gomez is a Latin Partner working in Annaghmore Parish for the last six months. Here are a few of her impressions of her time so far.
What have you been doing in the Parish?
I have been working especially with children in the Parish, helping with the Sunday School and youth activities during the week. Recently I joined the worship team and for Pentecost Sunday sang for them in Spanish. I’ve also been giving Spanish lessons for those going out on BTN teams this coming year.
What has been the best thing of the last six months?
The best thing has been working for God over the last six months. Working with the people in the Parish has been very special and I have grown as a Christian as a result. I have learnt that I can spend a lot of time working, even in Christian work, but my priority has to be my relationship with God. Spending time reading the Bible and praying has really helped me.
What do you think of us Northern Irish?
The people are lovely. They are always asking me if everything is ok. The people of Annaghmore are really my big family. I have so many friends there, and Dorothy, the Rector, is a real support and absolutely lovely.
It’s very important to me that SAMS is working in my home town in Argentina, it is a real honour that people here want to help the church grow in Salta. I really appreciate that.
Pamela is here until 13th of July, please pray for her as she prepares to return to Argentina.
The SAMS Prayer Line for the week commencing Tuesday 6 May.
Pentecost weekend sees a number of special events:
In Asunción, Paraguay, another Marriage Encounter takes place coordinated by Pastor Jorge & Rebeca Arévalos. Please pray for God to work through them and the team of leaders to strengthen, heal and renew marriages.
In Spain, the Diocesan Women’s retreat is held in Zaragoza, organised by the ladies of Sue Woodcock’s church in Sabadell under the theme of Living Water. Pray for God to refresh and encourage all who attend.
The congregations of the indigenous Toba people of Northern Argentina gather for a conference, with retired bishop David Leake one of the speakers. Pray this event will strengthen the Toba churches in discipleship.
On Friday (9th) Latin Partner Josias de Souza and a colleague begin a ten-day visit to the USA to attend a ‘Purpose Driven Church’ conference in Virginia. Pray for their travel, the impact of the event on them and subsequently on their church in Recife, Brazil.
Last but by no means least, key meetings take place next Tuesday and Wednesday (13-14) in Buenos Aires between the bishops of the Southern Cone and representatives of SAMS and CMS. The SAMS representatives are John Sutton, already in South America, and Chairman Patrick Coghlan who flies out on Thursday (8th). Pray for these highly significant talks which will consider the future direction of SAMS.
Please remember in prayer the Irene family, Latin Partners in La Paz, Bolivia. Ronny is concerned for the safety of Nicky and the children in the area where they live, especially in the unstable political climate. He has asked us to pray for God to help them find a new home, bearing in mind the high cost of renting in other parts of the city. A further cause of tension in Bolivia is a referendum on regional autonomy called by the prosperous Santa Cruz region on Sunday (4th).
On Monday (5th) John Sutton of SAMS flies to South America for a two-week visit to Paraguay and Northern Argentina. Pray for John’s travel, his meetings with mission and Latin partners, and his preparations for key meetings in Buenos Aires on 12th and 13th May with bishops of the Southern Cone and representatives of CMS.
A former primate of the Southern Cone, retired bishop David Leake, continues his 3-month spell in Northern Argentina helping in the closing phase of the Toba New Testament translation project. Pray for that work, and also keep David and Rachel in prayer in all the travelling they are doing.
Finally, a huge change has taken place at government level in Paraguay with the departure from power of the Colorado Party after 61 years and the election as president of the independent Fernando Lugo, a former Roman Catholic bishop. Pray for him and the elected government in the huge challenges afforded by poverty, corruption, land reform, unemployment, health and educational needs.
Dear brothers and sisters,
With these lines I want to send you some news regarding the work of the Anglican Church in Northern Argentina…
This year we have had a lot of rain in this region and unfortunately, as has happened in the past, it caused the rivers Pilcomayo and Bermejo to flood. As a result of this, various communities suffered from flooding, some even having to leave their homes so as to move to other places. The communities that were flooded in the Province of Formosa are: el Quebracho, Pescado Negro, Las Lagunitas, Pocitos and Pozo Yacaré (in the Bermejo region); our brethren in El Churcal are isolated, they can only be reached by canoe (this is in the Pilcomayo area). While in the Province of Salta the affected communities were Bajo Grande, Las Vertientes, Las Juntas, Pozo Mulato, Alto de la Sierra and Pozo las Chivas (in the Pilcomayo area).
In these last months the rains have not stopped; even last night it rained all night and it’s still raining this morning; this has made the situation even worse as those who left their villages are living very precariously and the roads have become unusable so that it’s almost impossible to reach them. We ask for your prayers for these brethren who are in great need; thanks be to God that the government has been helping them (by air) with food and some shelter. But as has happened previously, I think that when the waters recede and the people establish themselves in their new places they are most likely going to need a new church and they will certainly ask for help from the Diocese for this.
Because of all I’ve mentioned above, we had to cancel the youth meeting which was due to take place during Holy Week in Juarez, as it was impossible for many to travel out from their villages. We also had to postpone a zonal conference in Sauzalito (Chaco Province) for the same reason; this was due to take place on April 5th and 6th but has been postponed till August.
As regards ministry in the criollo (“white”) church, in February we had a Young People’s camp in La Caldera (Salta), with about 70 young people taking part, including 35 from Juarez, Laguna Yema and Chiriguanos [towns in the Chaco]. There we had workshops to learn about theatre, music, puppets, clowns and plastic arts, in order to offer the young folk tools to use in evangelism. The young people returned home from the camp both challenged and encouraged, to such a point that in Juarez we organised an open-air event in the little town square where they put into practice what they had learned. This happened on Good Friday: there was a massive crowd, whole families came to the place, lots of children along with their parents; it was a really great opportunity to present the Gospel; as a result of this the numbers coming to the church meetings have grown, especially in the Youth Group and the Sunday School. We ask for your prayers for the central criollo church in Juarez and especially for the two young pastors who lead it: one is Narciso Sanchez (unmarried) and the other is Juan Maldonado (married with 7 children).
In July the youth of the Criollo church in Juarez want to organise their First Youth Camp; after taking part in the Camp at La Caldera they came home with that expectation. It will be a great blessing for them to be able to carry it out; there would be participants from the nearby towns and including some from the capital city of Salta. We don’t have the infrastructure required to do this, but in faith we believe it’s possible. Please pray
for this too.
Also in July, as is our custom we shall have our Youth Camp in Misión Chaqueña which will embrace all the youth from the rural ministry; usually there are about 100-120 young people from different congregations in the region. We are counting on your prayers for this.
As for family news, we give thanks to God for Marina’s recovery although it is not yet complete; she is still physically quite poorly, she has to take care not to get a cold or flu, and she still has to continue the treatment to improve her natural immunity. She is still very susceptible to anything which concerns the respiratory system or the lungs. Many thanks for your prayers; we are sure that you are still supporting us in prayer for Marina. On the other hand, Marcos and Sarai have begun their school year really well. Sarai who is 13 is in the 3rd year of secondary while Marcos (only 11) is doing 7th grade (last year of primary school). They are both very healthy and growing taller than their parents, I think very soon they will be looking down on us!
Well, that’s all the news that I have to tell you for now, hoping and praying that our Almighty God will continue to bless you richly, both physically as well as spiritually.
Your brother in Christ,
Cecilia sent us this email about the economic problems developing in Argentina.
The intention of this email is to share with you the present situation here in Argentina. I’m convinced that together united in prayer, our Lord will deliver us and guide the government to find a solution to the current crisis.
I came back from Ireland almost four weeks ago; I had left a country which was trying hard to improve its economical and social problems. Since 2001, because of the crisis, the whole population has had to learn to live differently to what we were used to, it took some time but after a while the changes became more manageable.
For the last two months the government has faced some difficult situations with the farmers, the government wants to increase some taxes and the farmers are refusing to pay the new amount. After some attempts to solve the dilemma and without any positive response, the farmers decided to start a strike and as part of their strategy they blocked the motorways and many of the main roads. Because of this the people who deliver goods all around the country couldn’t do their job and for almost three weeks they were living in their lorries waiting for a solution.
As a result the whole country suffered a sad consequence; little by little we started running out of food. Every time you went to the supermarket you were allow to take only a certain amount of things, in the hope that by introducing rationing there would be enough food for everyone and to make this unfortunate situation worse many business´ took advantage of the crisis by pushing the prices up on almost all of their merchandise .
Meanwhile the government chose not to reconsider the situation so the people who were affected most by the strike started supporting the farmers and asking the government to do something about it. After some meetings they decided to stop the strike for 40 days and after which they will meet the President again to see if a definite solution can be agreed upon.
The meeting will take place this week, if they don’t come to an agreement the problems of a few weeks ago will recommence, and once again we are going to suffer the cost.
On the other hand, the banks don’t trust the new government (It has been said they are afraid that there will be another crisis like the one in 2001) so they have changed some of their policies, instead of working with the people they are working against them. For example the maximum amount that can be withdrawn per transaction is equal to about 45 pounds sterling and as each transaction costs 1 pound this quickly adds up.
As you can imagine, this change also affects the church because everything we planned to spend this year for the new building as well as the soup kitchen has to be reconsidered due price increases.
In less than two months the entire economy has changed dramatically and returning home has been a real shock for me. There are some families in the church who are struggling with this reality as they are in great economical need. It breaks my heart to see them working so hard and not even being able to get a house of their own, to see them crying out for help because they feel completely lost and tired, very tired. But something that has astonished me is their way of praying, always thanking God for what they have (one family couldn’t even put food on their table for a week).
So this is the present situation in my lovely Argentina, we are all waiting to see what the government decide to do with this.
My prayer to God is that He will give wisdom to our President so she can help her people who trust her.
My friends, I just want to thank you for reading this and for praying for my people and also for me. May God be with us.