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A Change: Tarija

Changes are hard. Often they are hard because it means a letting go of something in exchange for something else. They are hard because change usually implies some unknown and that brings fear. Change can mean letting certain people down and maybe pulling others into hard times with you. Change is also necessary to a full life since true living means growth and growth requires change. Change, because of its hardship, can push us into God’s arms and strengthen our faith as we depend on Him to bring us into a more stable place.

The past two years have been full of changes and we are entering a new one now. Argentina still remains closed. We have peace that we have tried, we have been patient, we have fasted and prayed, but the doors remain closed. We have a team ready to go. We have the funding to go. There are places we can go to now (even with the on-going pandemic) where there is not currently a Church of Christ and where people need to hear about God’s grace. With sadness, we are saying good-bye to Argentina. And with excitement and hope we are heading to Tarija, Bolivia.

I do not believe God waste time or that steps taken in faith and with a heart to serve Him are ever in vain. God has done much in us and through us the last couple of years and even in this last year of upheaval. Working towards going to Argentina pushed us emotionally, spiritually and in the way we think and view things. That culture is so different in Buenos Aires than the one we were coming from that we had to confront a lot of things. Things that have made us study and question and enter into dialog about. Things that have made us seek God and trust His Spirit more and more. We have been able to encourage people around us and people far away through zoom. Now that we are going to Bolivia, I can only say with confidence that we are better prepared and ready to go back to Bolivia.

We will be, God willing, going to Tarija a city of about 240,000 people. It is close to the Argentine border and has universities and industries. Often people have thought that the next mission team going to Bolivia should consider Tarija since it is one of the country’s main cities. While in Sucre many of the team went to Tarija to encourage those we knew and to see about the idea of a church plant. Angela and her daughter will be going on February 16th and the Cabrera family will be arriving on the 24th of February. The Torres will be arriving in May after they finish things in Manta, Ecuador where they are currently missionaries.

Sadly, Vanessa Chura and her daughter will not be going with us but will continue working with the churches in Buenos Aires where we know God will continue using her to reach that country that is so in need of workers for the Kingdom. Our prayers and focus on Hurlingham has already started to bear fruit as Vanessa has been able to start making connections there and is having really good conversations with people. It’s amazing to see how the Spirit works through the power of prayer.

We ask for your prayers concerning:

- Hearts of the people we will meet and be around

- Continue praying for the Franques family in Nixon, Tx and Vanessa in Buenos Aires and Hurlingham as they work in God’s Kingdom.

- That we can be a light of God’s Good News and His love.

- That we keep our eyes on Christ with humility and compassion.

- Our kids as they are put through another big change. This is hard on them and we need to give them a lot of attention and patience during this time so that they feel loved, safe and supported during this transition.

- Flights and that Bolivia continues to stay open.

- Health- Bolivia is a third world country and health care can be… at best sketchy. The pandemic has been hard and most hospitals are at full capacity.

- Housing

- School for the kids

- Saftey

- A place to rent to open another “El Camino” (a coffee-house like place where people can connect and the Bible is studied). This worked really well in Sucre and we would like to do it in Tarija.

Things are moving fast, there is a list of things that have to happen in the next two weeks and I am not great at technology, so be patient with me, but I will be making changes to the blog so that it reflects all these changes and the new information pertaining to these changes.

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Mike Winegardner
Mike Winegardner
Feb 01, 2021

God bless you Angela and Pilar and the rest of the Team! We know the decision was a hard one. We will continue to pray and even more the next 2 weeks as you head to Tarija.

-Mike & Rita

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