In July 2014, HeartCry began supporting missionary Esteban Toloza. Several years ago, together with HeartCry missionary Nicolás Serrano, Esteban helped plant Family of Grace Church in Rosario, Argentina, where they now co-pastor the growing congregation. In addition to this, the Lord has opened the door for Nicolás and Esteban to train and assist pastors of new church plants throughout Argentina.
This month, we celebrated the baptism of four new believers. It was a day filled with great joy, and it was also an opportunity to evangelize family members and relatives that had been invited by those who were to be baptized. Each person who was baptized boldly shared his or her testimony of faith in Christ. It was edifying to talk with some of their family members and hear from them the testimony that those who were being baptized “are no longer the same as before.” The wife of one of the men who was baptized, a man who had been a professing Christian for many years but had never experienced true conversion, told us, “He always went to church, but there was never anything different in him; he was always the same person. But for some time now, he is not the same any longer; he is not the same person that I once knew.” The only possible explanation for this is the power of the Gospel!
In an earlier report, I mentioned a young lady who appeared to have been converted. Thanks to the Lord, what appeared to be small signs of new life have become even more apparent, and it seems that she really is a tree planted by streams of living water, which yields its fruit in its season. Each day, the hand of the Almighty upon her is more and more evident. She has never before been in an Evangelical context, and she came to our church from a family background in which there was great hostility toward Christianity.
Shortly after her profession of faith, she encountered great difficulties with the members of her family who are given over to the occult. They felt deeply disappointed when a member of their own family declared herself to be a follower of Jesus. There was such a commotion within her family as a result of her conversion that her parents and one of her sisters came one Sunday morning to speak with Nicolás and me. They wanted us to explain to them what had happened to their daughter. They did not understand why she did not live the same life that she lived before. She no longer went out to “have fun,” but instead spent her time reading the Bible, praying, and seeking to know more about Jesus. Thanks to the Lord, even though they were very angry, we were given the ability to speak with kindness and wisdom, and the Lord brought the conversation to a good end. They even allowed us to explain the Gospel to them, and they listened quietly! Truly, the Lord still shuts the mouths of the lions!
This young lady’s boyfriend is now coming to the church. It appears that he also has been saved by the Lord! When he arrived, it seemed like he did not understand anything that we were saying to him, and he did not understand what had happened to his girlfriend. Aside from two or three youth group meetings in an extremely charismatic context, he had never been inside a church, and even these experiences had left him without even the slightest interest in the things of God. However, through personal conversation with one of the brothers in our church, who spoke to him clearly about the Gospel, he was confronted with the reality of his own soul, and he clung to the arms of Christ.
Something that surprised us was that after having made a profession of faith, both he and the young lady were convinced that they should put their relationship to the side and seek to grow as a man and woman of God. After that, if it was the will of God, they would begin to consider marriage. It truly was pleasantly surprising to hear of their decision, as we had not even talked to them about their relationship yet, and we had not counseled them in any way to come to that decision. How can we explain this, except as the result of the power of God? All praise and glory to Him!