SAMS Prayer line

Today Bishop Greg Venables travels to the Diocese of Northern Argentina for meetings of the Diocesan Council tomorrow and the AGM of the diocesan legal body on Friday. Pray that the proceedings will run smoothly, that the Lord will inspire, unity will prevail and the right people end up with the right responsibilities.

This Sunday a presidential election is held.in neighbouring Paraguay, with current president Duarte Frutos barred by the Constitution from running for re-election. The candidates include the current Minister of Education, a former Roman Catholic priest and a former disgraced army general. Please pray for this nation in its desperate need for a just and trustworthy government which strives for the welfare of the people and against corruption.

Ian & Siméa Meldrum in Olinda, Brazil, have said how important our prayers are against the violence, drug dealers and the dangers of the area; so please keep in your prayers these issues, as well as the staff and 11 boys aged 6-14 being cared for at My Father’s House (safe house). Among these are two drug addicts put there temporarily for their own safety by the court as they are being hunted by gangs. They are causing disruption in the house and affecting the other boys who have recently come off drugs and glue-sniffing and had been making good progress. So please pray.

Prayer Line

News from the SAMS GB prayer line:

This weekend the Diocese of Argentina holds its Synod in Buenos Aires, with visitors from its link Diocese of Sheffield. Pray for Bishop Greg Venables in the chair and for the worship, Bible study and discussions on future planning in the light of a severe shortage of clergy.

Far to the north in the midst of the Argentine Chaco Pastor Tuqui Ayala will baptise on Saturday seven new believers among the settlers of the small town of Laguna Yema. Pray God will bless this event and encourage them in their new life with Christ.

Over this weekend the young people of Espirito Santo church in Recife, Brazil, are going away to pray and study the Bible together. Pray for them and for their pastor, SAMS Latin Partner Josias de Souza and his wife Danielle.

From Monday to Thursday (14th-17th) the ‘Gospel in Spain’ conference is held at the SEUT seminary in El Escorial to highlight the vital work of its staff, in particular SAMS mission partners Jonathan & Hilary Rowe. Pray for this event and for its coordinator Tim Greenhalgh.

On Tuesday (15th) Tim Curtis returns to Paraguay after his UK ministry. Pray for his travel, his reunion with the Enxet Bible translation team and the continuing project.

Finally, Tuesday also sees the long-awaited conference on revival held in Santiago, Chile. Alf Cooper hopes for a turnout of 5000 pastors and leaders. Pray for this gathering.

News from Gayle Stevenson in Salta

Gayle StevensonOk I’m sorry I’m a few days late but Cecilia has only just got back and so everything has been quite busy. Where to start – the last month has been mostly filled with travelling, I’ve seen some absolutely breathtaking views and as well as that I’ve been becoming a bit of a Tour Guide in my spare time. So as most of you know I have to leave the country every 3 months/90 days to renew my Argentine Visa so off I went with Guada, Cecilia´s wee sis, to Puerto Iguazu on the borders of Brazil and Paraguay. Mode of transport – Bus (3 of them). Total Travelling Time – 30 hrs. There are three main things you notice when you arrive in Puerto Iguazu – heat,humidity and bright red soil! As if that wasn’t exciting enough Puerto Iguazu is also home to one of Argentina’s most impressive sites, a set of waterfalls which separate Argentina and Brazil. We spent a whole day walking around the trail which was set up to show off these massive waterfalls, in awe of their beauty and size. If that wasn’t enough we went on a boat up the river and were so close to the Falls that you couldn’t breathe never mind keep your eyes open as the force was so great. We crossed the border of Brazil and Paraguay and spent a day just walking about their border cities to get the passport all stamped up ready for my last 3 months in Argentina. As we were only there for a short period of time I can’t tell you a whole lot about the places other than Brazil was much more built up with a few sky scrapers and I even spied a Pizza Hut – couldn´t believe it. Paraguay was really like Bolivia only bigger with a lot more buildings. On our last day in Puerto Iguazu we went on a big boat trip up the river that separates the 3 countries as the sun was setting. Meanwhile a few men performed folklore music on the boat to accompany the beautiful views and even got Guada and I up to dance in front of everyone. Ha, let’s just say I was fairly confident I would never see any of them again! I really loved my time there as it was great to be surrounded by so much water. I’ve really missed the sea as its a couple of days drive from Salta and so most of the people I know have never seen it. The next day we were back on the bus and on our way home exhausted, looking forward to Mum and Dad arriving a few days later. Unfortunately Mum and Dad missed their connecting flight from Buenos Aires to Salta and so we had to wait in suspense for yet another day. Anyways Mum and Dad arrived safe and sound-ish (you can ask them about that) and the next day we were up early to go for a day trip up into the Andes along the path of the Train to the Clouds, if anyone has heard about that. On the way we visited some villages, the Argentine Salt Flats and the Mountain of 7 colours. I somehow got roped into translating the whole thing for both Mum, Dad and an English couple who were also on the tour that day and so we all arrived home absolutely wrecked!! The following day was spent seeing the sites and sounds of my second home Salta City. We went up one of the “cerros”(we would call it a mountain but here it’s a hill) by cable car, dandered around the city and went to the famous Sunday markets. Up early again the next day and off to Buenos Aires only to be amazed yet again, only this time not by another one of God’s beautiful creations but by the size of the hotel room I was staying in. I suppose mentally I’ve down sized a bit and so to find my room was bigger than the house I’ve been living in for the past 7 months came as a bit of a surprise! The following few days were filled with delicious food ( Argentine Steaks and fish which I haven’t had seen I left home), site seeing and a tango show, after which we parted ways again as we flew home- Mum and Dad to Ireland and I to Salta. Some days later Cecilia arrived home from Ireland and so now the real work begins again. I can’t believe I’ll be home soon and so I’m determined to really make the most of my time left.

Prayer points
For my time left that God will make the most of it and I will be open to him doing so. For a girl from my church who has been kicked out of her house by her family for being a Christian, she has no job as she is studying and is now staying with a family who already have a full house and little money as it is.?For the team coming out in July. For all next years volunteers. Thanks again for all your support and sorry that this email has arrived a bit late.

Hasta Luego y Dios Te Bendiga. Tu Hermana En Cristo. Cati ( Gayle Stevenson)

La Caldera, Salta Team Trip 2008

La Caldera 2008In July this year twelve young people from Down and Dromore Diocese will travel to La Caldera in Salta, Argentina for a three week Beyond the Norm trip. For some it will be their first mission experience, for everyone it will be an adventure.

Aims of the trip

  • To work in fellowship with Christians from the Diocese of Northern Argentina and experience the Kingdom of God at work in another culture.
  • To assist in the modernisation of La Caldera retreat centre – helping the Diocese become more financially independent. Read more in a recent post.
  • To deepen the links between the Church of Ireland and the Diocese of Northern Argentina – to share your faith, work hard, and be an ambassador for Christ and the Church in Ireland.

La Caldera TeamBackground to the Project
The retreat centre takes its name from the La Caldera village, where it is located. In early colonial times the area was a stop-over place for mule-caravans that travelled the trail connecting Buenos Aires with Lima, Peru. On the site of the village once operated a lead melting-plant that featured a enormous pot with clear water, hence the name ‘La Caldera’, Spanish for ‘boiler’ or ‘cooking-pot’. The documented use of the name ‘La Caldera’ can be traced back to late sixteenth century title-deeds.

The property that is now the retreat-centre was purchased by the Anglican diocese of Northern Argentina in the 1970s. Since then, the centre has served local Anglican parishes mainly through youth-retreats and children’s camps. These activities have always been co-ordinated by the diocesan department of Clergy and Lay Training and over the years, hundreds of young people have been reached through this ministry. Much of today’s leadership and membership are the fruit of these camps and retreats. Currently the centre can offer accommodation to around 70 people, has hot and cold running water and the majority of sleeping facilities are bunk-beds in dorms.

In June 2007 the diocese saw a change of authority and Archbishop Greg Venables became diocesan Bishop in Northern Argentina. The new Bishop and his staff quickly perceived the need for optimising the use of the La Caldera centre and the project for modernisation was conceived. One of the priorities of the diocese is to become less dependent on donations from abroad and to increase the percentage of ministry-budgets they can finance themselves. Modernising the La Caldera retreat centre is part of this priority.

Phase A:

  • Construction of low front-wall with columns in style, closed with welded iron fence; hinged double gates for main entrance and hinged single gate for delivery entrance;
  • Fencing off the grounds with wire mesh and concrete posts ?(50% of circumference, + 400 meters);
  • Remodelling of two dorms and the construction of new bathrooms;
  • Repairs to existing bathrooms, roofs, floors and walls;
  • Painting the main building.
  • For more details of the project read the project description, and the team blog.

    Short term mission trips 2008

    During the coming months several SAMS Ireland teams are heading to South America. Each of them will be doing a variety of work to server the Anglican church in their outreach and ministries. The teams are:

    • Lisburn Cathederal – Salta; Red Box Project, from 28th June to 19th July. Team leader – Jonny Best.
    • Down & DromoreLa Caldera 2008, Northern Argentina; from 4th July to 25th July. Team leader – Stephen Trew.
    • Dungannon / Fivemiletown – Salta; Red Box Project, from 24th July to 15th August. Team Leader Jo Hamilton
    • Love For Life – Paraguay; From 1st August to 17th August. Team Leader Hannah Collins. Following up the Love for Life Paraguay 2007 trip (report).
    • Eglinton / AhoghillMission Paraguay 2008; From 1st August to 23rd August. Team Leader David Orritt.

    Prayer news

    From the SAMS GB Prayer line:

    Retired Bishop David and Rachel Leake travel to Argentina tomorrow for a 3-month visit. They will be based in Salta in the northern diocese with son Andrew, his wife María and their family. Pray for their journey and adjustment, their ministry of encouragement to Andrew and María in their work on environmental issues, and for David’s main work of assisting Michael Browne in the Toba New Testament translation project.

    Next Monday (7th) in the same diocese a regional conference of Indian pastors and lay leaders is held in Saucelito in the Chaco area. Please pray for this gathering.

    Two events in northeast Spain this weekend also merit our prayers. St George’s Church, Barcelona, hold their weekend away in a nearby rural area, under the title ‘Play and Pray’. And the Church of Christ in Sabadell has a special outreach event on Saturday. Pray for these events and continue to remember the churches’ leaders Peter & Barbara Jordan and Sue Woodcock.

    Finally, Ruth Hollingdale and husband Efraim in Brazil ask prayer for an event in the favela (or slum) in Recife where they work. A group of young people from Espirito Santo church nearby are starting a special youth evangelistic impact in the favela community with monthly Saturday night events; the first one is held this Saturday, 5th.

    Baptisms in Northern Argentina

    Barr JohnstonsThe Barr Johnstons in Northern Argentina write with news of 26 people baptised after coming to faith.

    There continues to be more evangelistic outreach in the Juarez area than in Salta. In Juarez, 10 new believers were baptized on Sunday 27th February… Please pray for them all, that they may grow in their faith and witness to others, and that the Lord may bring many of these friends’ relatives and workmates to know Him. Vicar Narciso is also evangelising and teaching evangelism, and is already thinking of preparing more possible baptism candidates. Pray for him in all this.

    In Yema Vicar Tuqui is preparing 8 new believers for baptism, and in Quemado Vicar Juan is preparing another 8. These are the first 8 to be baptised in Quemado, though many more there have made a profession of faith in Jesus, and each Saturday they come regularly to meetings lead by Vicar Juan. The problem is that it is the first baptism, and many are fearful of it, which is not surprising, as this isolated village was full of superstition when we started regular meetings in about June 2001. The village is the centre for many who live in isolated houses where they look after their cattle. Some of these have also come to know the Lord. Please pray for Juan and the team he takes with him, which includes Sylvio and Juan’s son Cristian.

    Read the full letter.

    Gayle Stevenson update – Feb 08

    Cati (Gayle) is back in Salta and along with her return comes the next edition of ‘The Argentine News’.

    I’ve spent the last month helping at and attending summer camps both here in Salta and Jujuy another of Argentina’s northern provinces. After saying our final goodbyes to Cecilia and Pamela we got into a remis (taxi) and headed for the bus terminal and onto Jujuy for our first taste of summer camp Argentina style. The camp Lozano in Jujuy is run by an American missionary couple and is up in the mountains meaning it was a lot colder and a lot greener (I almost thought I was home again). Anyways for the first camp we were campers, it rained and was freezing for the whole week (not good when you end up having to wear the same clothes everyday for a week as you desperately try to keep warm ha ha).Now I’m going to be honest with you all here so you better appreciate it…I absolutely hated the first few days there…because I was scared (don’t tell anyone), to find myself in a new place, not knowing a single person there never mind not speaking the same language ( at least not confident in it) it was absolutely terrifying. So basically I arrived, took a major panic attack and then started to think like someone who actually believed in God and handed the situation over to Him…the week ended up being absolutely brilliant! The guys in my group were amazing and through all the activities i.e drama sketches, writing and performing a song, sports, quizzes, a cross country race thing, worship and sermons I learnt so much. So after a week of very little sleep and a lot of fun on we went to the next camp.

    Lapen was a camp for kids and it was back in Salta at the orphanage/soup kitchen where I normally work. Here we were “helpers” and I was one of the cooks. The week was busy but pretty quiet and a real blessing too, as I wasn’t a leader I was able to be a friend to the kids there and not have to tell them off or keep them under control and the time we had playing, messing about and talking about silly things was something I will never forget.

    The last camp was back in Jujuy for teenagers and again we were working in the kitchen. Over the course of the week we made some great friends, learnt a lot and for me one of the highlights was the worship, the songs were amazing, praising God in another language is just unreal.
    We returned to Salta absolutely exhausted and spent the next few days running here there and everywhere as Hannah (from Richill) said her goodbyes before returning to sunny Northern Ireland last week. Since then I have been trying to catch up on a lot of missed sleep, tidying up the house and starting back to work with the church.

    That’s pretty much me for the month of February so if you have a free minute send me an email and let me know how everything is going at home (I feel very out of touch)and stick a prayer list at the bottom. So for now I will love you and leave you with some prayer requests…? ?For “El Redentor” my church, for unity and growth.?For my safety and the safety of the house as I live alone until Cecilia’s return from Northern Ireland.
    That God will use me to do His work in my last 3 months here.?That I will learn to seek God more and hear His voice more clearly.?For Cecilia and Pamela’s work in Ireland.?For Hannah as she returns home and for missionary opportunities when she goes to Australia.? ?Thanks so much for your support, you’re all in my prayers.?Dios te bendigo
    Gayle/Cati/Caterine

    e-mail me at: [email protected]

    Carly Mills’s reflections on Argentina

    Carly Mills

    Carly Mills spent three months in Argentina. Here are her reflections.

    When I decided to take a gap year, I knew I wanted to spend at least part of it working within a mission setting. I was seriously considering South America as it was such a vast and unknown country, so when an opportunity to go away with SAMS appeared, I felt God was calling me to go. I was to be placed in the city of Salta, Argentina, along with a guy my own age form Lurgan, and we would be living with one of the SAMS workers, Cecilia Valdiviezo.

    This all sounded lovely on paper, but I had no idea what to expect from the experience itself. I left in September 07, for a short term mission of just three months, and after two planes and a very long bus journey, we arrived in Salta.

    The country itself is so…indescribable! Diverse, sunny, busy, poor, everything just seemed so DIFFERENT!!! It took us a while to get our bearings, but thanks to Cecilia we soon got used to our surroundings.

    My activities in Salta were varied. On Mondays I was working in a Christian bookshop, Tuesdays and Thursdays saw me teaching English to kids in a school. At first I found this hard going but I soon discovered that kids are the best to learn Spanish from. If you didn’t catch it the first time, they say it ten times faster the second, just to make sure you’re completely lost! On Wednesdays I was looking after babies in a crèche, I loved them because they didn’t care what language I spoke! On Saturdays I worked with kids in a poor area of the city, sharing with them Bible stories and playing games. Perhaps my favourite activity however was Church on Sunday, which is odd as I rarely understood much of it! I was based in the local Church which was great as it was in easy walking distance. From my first Sunday there, everybody in the Church embraced me like I was family. The people there just seemed to radiate God’s love, they all worked together to make the Church an amazing place to worship. The young people in the Church welcomed me into their group, looking after me from day one and ever patient with my struggling Spanish, and I found wonderful friends in all of them.

    My heart was torn when three months later I had to say goodbye. I had grown so accustomed to the heat of the summer sun, the food, the relaxed lifestyle, how could I return to Northern Ireland? The hardest of all was of course to say goodbye to my lovely friends, they had given me so much support while I was there, I couldn’t imagine not seeing them everyday.
    I learnt so much from my time in Salta. The people there have so little so they depend on God for everything. I learnt the value of prayer, for others and indeed for myself when things were tough. I learnt to appreciate what I have, and that while language is important, actions speak a lot louder than words. I know that no one can understand my experiences just by reading about them, but for the numerous SAMS supporters who pray and give please be assured that I experienced something very significant during my time in Argentina. Be encouraged, be really encouraged.

    Thank you
    Carly

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