Little victories add up for Hobsons
    June 14 2010 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

    BUENOS AIRES — Six-year-old Claire is a cute little blonde-headed girl who likes Barbie dolls and using the reclining chair at home to practice gymnastic moves. She is bashful at first, but it doesn’t take long before she is singing “First grade, first grade,” a song her kindergarten teacher wrote to the tune of “New York, New York” in honor of Claire’s class graduating and moving on to first grade.

    Big sister Olivia, 8, is a whiz at Wii games and her Spanish keeps improving. About a week ago Olivia was baptized in a swimming pool in her home during a service with members of the house church her parents started.

    Until two and a half years ago Claire and Olivia Hobson’s grandparents would never have dreamed of missing milestones such as baptism and kindergarten graduation. They saw their grandchildren all the time. That was when the Hobson family lived in Pine Bluff, Ark.

    BSC photo by Melissa Lilley

    One of the ways Mark Hobson serves the International Mission Board is through an afternoon langauge school in Martinez. He and his wife, Melissa, are with the International Mission Board.

    For Mark Hobson, telling his wife Melissa’s parents that the family was moving from the only place Melissa had ever known to Buenos Aires, Argentina, was one of the hardest things about transitioning into career missionaries with the International Mission Board. Yet, “it was exciting enough to me that we picked the family up and came down here,” Mark said.

    The Hobsons are adjusting from a small town of 55,000 to a city of nearly 14 million. They learned bus routes and subway routes, and how to drive in a city of one-way streets where three left turns equal a right.

    Mark and Melissa sold most of their belongings and in Argentina had to make a new house feel like a home.

    They attended language school for a year in Costa Rica before moving to Buenos Aires and from time to time still struggle with the language.

    Only about four percent of Buenos Aires people are believers in Jesus Christ, even though it is “a city full of religion.” 

    “They respect the Bible,” Mark said, “but they know little about it.”

    While most Argentines say they are Christian, they really mean they are Catholic, which translates into widespread worship of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Argentina is also home to the largest mosque and Jewish population in South America.

    A few years ago Mark would not have picked his family to be living in another country as career missionaries. Mark worked as an industrial electrician, Melissa as a nurse. Mark was a deacon and Sunday School teacher.

    In 1999, at Melissa’s insistence, they went on a mission trip to Romania. The next year they went to Brazil and before long Melissa started coordinating mission trips for their church and association.

    In the beginning Mark’s contribution to the trips consisted of being an extra pair of hands to haul supplies. Yet, the Lord began to burden his heart for the nations and Mark began understanding the need for missions and how his family fit into the global missions picture.

    The Hobsons work in an area of Buenos Aires that includes about one million people. Instead of focusing on the enormity of that figure, the Hobsons break that number down into smaller units. Argentina is divided into 23 provinces, Buenos Aires Province being the largest.

    Within the Buenos Aires Province are partidos, such as Vincente Lopez and San Isidro, where the Hobsons live. Both partidos include various suburbs, or neighborhoods, and the Hobsons are working to start a Bible study in each neighborhood.

    They already have a church of about 17 meeting in their home in Martinez. The goal is to raise up national believers to lead Bible studies in various locations. From there, house churches across the area will form and eventually these house churches will meet together once a month.

    The Hobsons have made contact with interested Argentines in at least four other neighborhoods and Bible studies are underway. In these Bible studies Mark shares the gospel and he shares what the Bible has to say about life issues, from dealing with guilt and shame to family problems.

    In just 18 months Argentina has become home. The Hobsons may be just as excited as the nationals over the World Cup. They can now say they know why Argentina is known for its beef, and instead of pointing through the glass at it in the supermarket Mark knows how to order exactly what he wants.

    Eighteen months ago the Hobsons were ordering furniture off Craig’s List and working on household repairs. Now they are building relationships and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now they are watching as the Lord uses a family from rural Arkansas to proclaim His name among those who have never heard before.

    Related story
    A bold voice in Buenos Aires
    6/14/2010 7:38:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

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