When Ernie and Carol Mason left Cordoba, Argentina, in November 2019, they planned to be in the US for only a brief furlough. A young man, Luciano, was to lead their church during most of that time and then return to his seminary studies in Buenos Aires. However, when the borders shut to international travel, the Masons could not return until February 2021.
In the end, the experience affirmed Romans 8:28. Because Luciano could not return to in-person studies, he remained as the church’s pastor while taking his classes online. In August, the church called him as their senior pastor, and he will be ordained February 4, 2022. An excellent conclusion for the Masons, who retire in 2022.
For years, Repentance Baptist Church has met in the cramped rec room of the Park Hill Apartments in Staten Island, New York. The apartments are known as “Little Liberia,” because they house the largest population of Liberians outside of Liberia itself. Former Liberia missionaries Nate and Karol Watkins serve among this poor community that has sacrificially saved for years to buy their own church—a need that became urgent during coronavirus social distancing.
In March, an affordable building came on the market—the first under $500,000 that Nate and Karol found. By June, God provided the money for purchase, and the congregation closed on the building in September. The church is still raising remodeling funds, but Nate and Karol rejoice that they’ll have adequate room to reach their community through church services, youth activities, and their summer tutoring ministry.
Despite France’s tightening pandemic restrictions, Ed and Sylvia Christy have seen the Lord adding to the St. Médard church in a remarkable way. When their rented room became inadequate, Ed and two men from the church approached the restaurant owner on the floor below to ask if they could rent his restaurant, which is always closed on Sundays. He was so pleased, he let them name their own price.
To fill the additional space, the Lord has sent five new families and a single lady in the past year—all eager to serve the church. A middle-aged man was recently saved, and he and two others are preparing for baptism. The Christys hope to formally organize the congregation into a church sometime in the next year.
The church where Nathan and Rachel Waldock serve has faced many challenges this year, compounded by the return of pandemic lockdowns in late February. After three months of online church services, the Waldocks found a way to bring their congregation together again.
At the end of May, the church began holding services at a large road construction site that has become their community’s favorite picnic and hangout place. Services are held at sunset, late enough to avoid the oppressive tropical heat. Sitting in family groups on blankets, the church meets for singing, testimonies, and a devotional. Meeting in-person has been a tremendous encouragement to the church family.
In the past year, Kent and Belén Albright found that Spain’s extensive pandemic restrictions created an exceptional environment for many to reflect on spiritual things like never before.
In February, a young man named Pablo was saved through an internet ministry and found the Albrights’ church in Salamanca. He was baptized after Kent discipled him. A Peruvian woman in their city had been bitter toward Christianity because of her parents’ harshness. Yet she found Christ through a Salamanca church member and was discipled and baptized. Another man, newly released after 29 years in prison, started attending the church during his first week of freedom. Kent and Belén often hold more than a dozen discipleship classes each week.
The Albrights wrote, “The Lord has reminded us again that the Word of God is not bound at all by pandemic restrictions, prison walls, or language barriers. What a privilege to minister genuine spiritual freedom to people still bound by sin.”
Numerous health issues, visa challenges, and the pandemic have done nothing to slow the rapid growth of Herb and Janet Hunter’s church plant in South Africa. Up to 40 people come on Sunday mornings, creating a welcome challenge for the Hunters, who use their living room for services.
Since their arrival in South Africa in 2017, the Hunters have intentionally reached out to township people, who have lived in generational poverty. Through counseling, food distributions, grief support groups, and other ministries, Herb and Janet have deepened relationships with people, creating openness for the gospel. The Hunters have started a second Bible study group in a neighboring community with potential for a future church plant.
Churches graduated and launched in 2021 plus missionaries starting their first term of service
Your stewardship investment is reaching with the gospel those whom the world is discarding on a whim.