A bold voice in Buenos Aires
    June 14 2010 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

    BUENOS AIRES — Just a few seconds into Mrs. Han’s flute solo, the ladies recognized the tune to the hymn “Because He Lives.”

    Across the room, North Carolinians and Argentines began providing the vocal accompaniment to the closing song of the evening.

    Hearing ladies sing, each in their heart language, of the glorious truth of a risen Savior is an experience Ashley Allen, director of Embrace Women’s Missions and Ministries, will not forget.

    Allen recently led a team of 10 to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the inaugural Embrace international mission trip. The team worked alongside International Mission Board missionaries Mark and Melissa Hobson (see related story).

    A ladies tea concluded the week of ministry.

    BSC photo by Melissa Lilley

    Linda Gray, of Carmel Baptist Church in Concord, spends time with an orphan in Argentina as part of the first mission trip with Embrace, the Baptist State Convention’s women’s ministry.

    Argentine women from different churches invited women to the tea who were not believers in Jesus Christ. Allen described the event as “very intentionally evangelistic.” Three team members, including Allen, testified how they came to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

    Allen shared that as a sixth grader she realized she was a sinner and needed Jesus Christ to save her.

    At the time Allen served as secretary of the youth group and was embarrassed to admit she was not saved.

    Allen read from Ephesians 2:8-9 and shared with the ladies how the Lord used His word to convict her heart of sin and her need for a Savior.

    Although the ladies sitting around the tables spoke different languages and represented different parts of the world, some things, like the joy of talking about family and friends, are universal. Allen was encouraged to see the North Carolina team “turn those conversations around to focus on the Lord.”

    Turning conversations around was a priority from the trip’s inception.

    From language schools to an orphanage, the team took advantage of opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    “If we’re not sharing that message, we’re not doing missions as biblically defined,” Allen said.   

    Allen’s three-fold prayer for the trip came from Matthew 9:36-38. She asked the Lord to grant the team compassion, that they might see nonbelievers as He sees them — as sheep without a shepherd.

    She prayed for the Lord to use the team in a way that brought Him much glory, and “I prayed that the Lord would break our hearts for the nations,” Allen said.

    “Only when our hearts are broken for the lost will we reach the 5.5 million lost in North Carolina.”

    The Embrace team, which included ladies ranging in age from early 20s to late 50s, is the first team the Hobsons have hosted since they arrived in Buenos Aires as career missionaries. Allen worked with the Hobsons to plan mission projects that fit into the Hobson’s overall strategy for reaching the Argentine people.

    For example, Mark is working to start neighborhood Bible studies, and by team members leading classes in various language schools they were in a position to invite people to the Bible studies.

    The team prayer walked neighborhoods where the Hobsons hope to start Bible studies. Later this year two more teams will work with the Hobsons and will build on the work done by the North Carolina team.

    During their time in Argentina Allen saw God work not only among the team, but in her own heart. She was reminded that God has a heart for the nations and is using national believers to spread the gospel.

    “Their passion to do whatever it takes to share the gospel is very humbling,” she said. “The nationals are very bold in their witness and a deep joy permeates their lives.”

    Some of the national believers working alongside the Hobsons live in poverty and some live as one of the only believers in their family and among their friends. To them, it doesn’t matter. What matters is faithfulness to the gospel and willingness to serve however the Lord commands. “We were faithful to plant seeds,” Allen said. “The reaper can’t reap unless the sower has sown.

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Lilley is a researcher and writer for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)

    Related story
    Little victories add up for Hobsons
    6/14/2010 7:43:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

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