Growing in Grace
March 08, 2013
Daniel and Alicia Hurtado started Grace Mission of Argentina in their native Argentina in 1989 as a pioneer church-planting ministry. Their hearts were burdened by the lack of an evangelical Christian witness in many communities throughout the country. Although the general population is regarded as religious, the Hurtados envisioned a revival in their culture – one in which empty traditions are replaced by a genuine faith walk with Jesus Christ.
The couple planted their first church in the town of Recreo in 1990. That congregation has grown to over 100 people. With the help of more than a dozen full-time workers, several more churches have been planted in the region.
Encouraged by the spiritual harvest, the Hurtados´ goal is to plant one church for every two unreached towns in Argentina. They are working toward the fulfillment of this goal by combining evangelistic outreach and missionary training with practical mercy ministries.
One of the churches was planted in Arroyito, a community of 20,000 people in the province of Córdoba. The congregation has experienced growth in the attendance at established Bible study cell groups as well as the birth of new groups. One of these groups serves as an outreach to kindergarten teachers, and several teachers have received Christ as a result. The cell group for women has grown so much that it spawned a second Bible study group. There are also cell groups geared toward teenagers and adult men.
Lisandro is a 35-year-old husband and father, who started attending the men´s Bible study. He noticed the change in his wife, who had been involved in the women´s group for one year. Unbeknownst to him, she had asked the other ladies to pray for his salvation and healing of their broken marriage.
Their relationship had been rocky for years. Lisandro knew he had not been a good husband. His struggles with drug addiction and unfaithfulness had plunged them to the point of divorce. Lisandro´s wife and others encouraged him to attend the men´s ministry group.
Lisandro (right) and Mariano
At last Lisandro agreed to attend a meeting. Perhaps the gospel was presented in a way that he had not heard before, or maybe his heart was open for the first time. But through the message Lisandro´s heart was convicted, and he prayed to receive Jesus as his Savior.
"Our local pastor started to have personal counseling and follow-up with Lisandro, and now the Lord has delivered him from the drug addiction. He is restoring Lisandro´s marriage," Hurtado said. "One year after his decision to follow Jesus, Lisandro continues attending our congregation meetings with all his family."
A close friend named Mariano marveled at the remarkable change in Lisandro´s life. He also came to receive Jesus Christ and shared the good news with his own family members. They later gave their hearts to Christ, too. Both families are very active in the church and they will be baptized soon.
The church´s outreach ministry to children is also thriving. Every Saturday morning boys and girls gather to sing praise songs, study Bible stories, and memorize verses. Some of the children come from poor families, so church workers provide a meal for them during the program.
Meeting practical needs is an important aspect of the ministry of all of the churches planted by Grace Mission of Argentina. At Arroyito, the congregation´s praise and worship group recently teamed up with other musical bands to raise funds for a very poor boy who needed treatments for leukemia. They are also providing food supplies and clothing to needy families.
The Lord has greatly blessed the congregation at Arroyito, and a multi-use meeting hall is currently under construction to accommodate that growth. Pray that God will move hearts to provide the estimated $40,000 needed to complete the building and add furnishings.
- For believers to grow in love, faith, and their knowledge of God´s Word through cell groups started by local churches
- For Grace Mission of Argentina´s evangelistic crusades and gospel films to draw many people to Christ and lead to the planting of more churches
- For funds to finish construction of the multi-use meeting hall for the congregation in Arroyito
- For the ministry´s feeding program to provide physical and spiritual nourishment to impoverished children