By Esteban Toloza
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.
To start, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this report. And I thank you even more for taking the time to pray for us! I hope that as you read this summary of the things that have taken place this past month you will be encouraged to pray for the Lord’s cause in Rosario.
This month we saw once again the power of the glorious Gospel that has been entrusted to us! Let me tell you about some of the testimonies that magnify the power of our God!
One of the testimonies has to do with a woman named Sonia, who has been attending our church for several months. She came to us from an extreme charismatic group because she had seen our teaching on our website. Shortly after she began attending the services, she began to be discipled by my wife Maqui, and during that time, she was converted and professed faith in Christ as a new creation.
As is normal, the discipleship process continued with the purpose of leading her to a biblical assurance of salvation and, eventually, toward baptism and membership. During one of the times when she was meeting with my wife, Sonia confessed that in past years she had repeatedly stolen money from her current job. She also said that she had mentioned her crimes to her former church leaders and that they had told her that “she was already forgiven.” They told her that she did not need to go and confess her crime before her bosses since they were governed by Satan, and she did not need to go and “bow before the devil.”
In contrast to this unbiblical opinion, my wife and I explained to Sonia that restitution is a biblical responsibility and that, even though her sins are forgiven, she must still go and face the consequences of her sin. What we were asking of her was not easy, as she is a single woman with two teenage children, and she earns minimum wage. To go and confess that she had stolen from her employer would expose her to immediate dismissal from her job and could possibly lead to time in jail.
In spite of the possible consequences, it was a joy to see how Sonia received the Word of God and was willing to obey without concern for what might happen. On the first day of the work week (we had spoken with her on Saturday), she told her boss that she needed to speak with her, and they met halfway through the week. She told her boss that Christ had saved her, and she confessed her crime in detail.
Now, this is the miracle! When we had met Sonia, she was exceedingly fearful of people, very easily embarrassed, and incapable of confronting someone with anything controversial. But now, after the Gospel entered her life, she sat before her boss and confessed both Christ and her sin! Is there any explanation for this other than that the Gospel truly does transform people? Still, the miracle does not end there! After Sonia had confessed her wrong to her boss, her boss forgave her of all her debt! And not only that, but she also allowed Sonia to explain the Gospel to her!
This is only one of the testimonies of the grace of God this month. Throughout the month, several people have come to our church, and it seems that the Lord is working in some of them, including a couple that moved to the city of Rosario from a different state, just to be in the church. I hope, Lord willing, to be able to tell you more details in coming months.
As I tell you in almost every report, all of this puts a great responsibility upon our shoulders. The Lord is responding to our prayers. He is gathering His children and is placing many of them under our oversight. Who is sufficient for these things? Please, pray for us.
1) Pray that the Lord would send more laborers into the harvest. We need more brothers and sisters who are mature and capable of working with us in the work of the ministry.
2) Pray for Nicolás and me and for our families. Pray that we would be kept near to Christ in the midst of the trials and temptations that the ministry presents and that we would be faithful in the work that has been entrusted to us.
3) Pray for Family of Grace Church's ministry through the internet.