At the end of Jan, I had the chance to travel to Cachi, Argentina to participate in some ministry with our local church in Cordoba. Here are some of my reflections that I wrote a blog for that was originally posted on
https://thecrecerfoundation.org. This is a wonderful organization that is working to develop and plant Biblicaly healthy churches in Argentina.
The pueblo of Cachi, Argentina would be a difficult place for most North Americans to live in permanently, and probably difficult for most Argentines also. Its dirt roads, slow pace of life, relatively few things to do for families, and isolation from other bigger cities make it a difficult and hard place for most people. The only way in and out is on a dirt road, and this road winds through the mountains.
However, in this small town in Northern Argentina, there exists a small but extremely important church, “Iglesia Biblica de Cachi,” pastored by Marcelo Brondo. This church was planted about ten years ago by our local church in Córdoba, Iglesia Biblica Bautista Crecer.
At the end of January, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit this church with a small group from our church in Córdoba and the local seminary. It was a very fruitful trip that opened my eyes to understanding the varying challenges that exist there, the work that God has done already, and the ongoing work that needs to continue in the region.
After one week in Cachi, here are four observations about the ministry that I was encouraged in:
1.Ministry takes patience.
In general, life in Cachi seems to exist at a much slower pace than anything I have experienced before. The idea of time does not exist in the way that a typical North American would understand it. For example, one of our ministries in Cachi was running a “teen camp.” The events officially started at 10:00 AM each day. And at 12:30 PM we usually only had 3 teens who had come. But by 1:00 PM we had about 13 different teenagers at our camp, which was the number we were hoping for. Showing up 3 hours after the start time was pretty normal for them.
Our team talked with Pastor Brondo several times about the slow, but fruitful growth of the church. The church is a small church that consists of about 15 precious believers in Jesus Christ in a very dark area. And these believers are working hard to shine the light of Jesus Christ in their personal areas of influence.
It is common for churches in North America to grow, but one factor that contributes to this is something called “transfer growth.” That is to say, many new people come, but they come from different churches. However, in reality, the only type of growth that exists in Cachi is conversion growth. In other words, people that are coming to know the saving power of the gospel for the first time. Through the faithful work of Iglesia Biblica de Cachi, people are being baptized, are being exposed to truth, and people are coming to know the saving power of Jesus.
It is these experiences of time delay and slow church growth which show real-life examples of the immense patience it takes to minister faithfully. I am grateful for Pastor Brondo and his family and their faithful work at this “slower” pace.
2.Ministry is simple.
One thing that I really appreciated about the ministry in Cachi was the simplicity of ministry. The community does not have a lot in terms of resources and neither does the church. Sunday nights they have one service with some basic music and the preaching of God’s word. On Thursday nights they have a prayer meeting with some readings from Scripture. Furthermore, our youth camp consisted of 6 different teaching times, playing card games, and the students swimming in a pool. It was great, but it was not full of blobs, water skiing, sledding, and the like (which I also enjoy).
It was simple.
Often times, we can have a tendency to try to “WOW” people with different stuff, awesome events, and the like. But in Cachi, there is just is not access to much of anything. But really, I was encouraged to rest simply in the power of the proclaimed word and prayer. Instead of programs and cool ploys, we wanted to “WOW” people with the power of God’s word. The ministry is simple. In general, the ministry in Cachi is counsel with the word of God, preach the word of God, and depend on the power of God through prayer.
3.Ministry is needed.
Ministry in Cachi is hard. The majority of people in Cachi are Catholics, many of whom practice a form of syncretism, and their understanding of the gospel is faulty. In other words, there is a tremendous need for a strong gospel presence in this community. While I was there, we had the chance to visit with many folks, in far out communities and in isolated homes in the hills. We had the chance to share the gospel with them and talk about their understanding of God, grace, Jesus Christ, salvation, and more.
I’m thankful for the gospel presence of Iglesia Biblica de Cachi. Over the last ten years, it has been a strong presence of gospel light in a very dark area of Argentina. There is so much need for the gospel in this town and region.
4.Ministry is exciting.
During my time in Cachi, I had the opportunity to witness the growing ministry. One neat opportunity that I had was to join Pastor Marcelo at a local radio station that he speaks for on a regular basis. Pastor Marcelo was asked several questions about the nature of sin on live radio. He was able to share the truth of the gospel plainly.
In fact, there are two radio stations that Pastor Marcelo has the chance to speak on. One day, our group was inviting several teenagers in the community to our teen camp. During one conversation, one teenager mentioned that she was listening to the radio the night before and had heard “the pastor” talk about our group that was visiting from Córdoba. This was exciting because it was proof that teenagers were listening to the radio and listening to Pastor Marcelo talk about the nature of sin and the need for Jesus in their life.
I am thankful for the efforts of The Crecer Foundation and Iglesia Crecer in Córdoba to plant a church in Cachi. It is exciting to watch a church be birthed through so many people’s lives being touched by this gospel. And through the glorious means of His Church, God is orchestrating together a group of people in Cachi who are part of the body of Christ. I look forward to being with these believers for eternity