Friday, November 19, 2010

This retirement thing is great!

Hey! This retirement thing is super. I don’t have to wait for a weekend to roll around. I get to preach every day of the week to packed churches! It’s great therapy for me after my darling Frances slipped away into the arms of Jesus.

[Photo left: Lake Buenos Aires at Chilean Border]

I’m writing this from deep in the southern part of Patagonia, Argentina. Missionary Eddie Echevarria, who is on furlough has loaned me his car… bless him Jesus! I have been traveling from city to city ministering in each. These towns and cities are similar to Nevada in the sense that they are separated by many miles of endless desert. Yesterday I left the little town of Los Antiguos 250 miles inland from the Atlantic coast, nestled alongside a large beautiful lake with backdrop of the most rugged snow covered mountain peaks you could ever imagine. The beauty of the Andes and the many shades of crystalline blue in the lake left me almost breathless. The new little AG church in that town (photo, left) received me with great joy. It’s the same story over and over. I am ministering every day of the week while traveling during the day. When I let these pastors know a week or so in advance they manage to gather a record setting crowd any day of the week. Some really beautiful people are coming to Jesus. Last night in another city, Pico Truncado, a precious young couple responded. The young father had only been in the church on Mother’s Day previously. This time he opened his heart to Jesus with a sincerity that would bring you tears. They both look like future leadership material with hearts open to being discipled.

Several years ago I had sent a Share Call and purchased the roof for this church. It had sat for over a year with walls but no roof for lack of funds. Today it is a beautiful building, praise God! A few years ago we saw great potential in Ariel, the kid who is now the pastor and paid his way (and his wife) through Bible School. They are both top of the line, intelligent, talented and super dedicated!

This afternoon I will drive only about 100 miles to a seacoast fishing town called Puerto Deseado (Desire Port, left) where we helped a young single pastor start his church in the mid nineties. From the place we camped with our mobile home you can watch the colony of penguins, hundreds of them just across the bay. Pastor Mario Canizares has recently been married. Mario wouldn’t win any “handsome” contest, but has a heart of gold. He’s the kind of a guy that gets better looking the more you know him… ha. I am anxious to meet his wife and see the progress of this work. I hear rumors that it is, like the others, growing into a solid, powerful church.

Sorry to bore you with all this. My problem is that I am having so much fun I can hardly keep it to myself. Nothing thrills me more than to see that my little Felipe gives people an excuse to invite new families to church. Many of these are now serving Jesus in ministry around the country or even overseas. It is truly interesting. Many, maybe most people here come to church the first time with heavy problems, like sicknesses and broken lives. However Felipe seems to attract solid, well educated people with no visible hang-ups. They come to be entertained and behold… God’s Spirit convicts them as they hear the message and some more names are recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life! Who knows what lies just ahead? Only God!

I plan to be back in the USA just in time for the sectional Christmas banquet in Modesto… arriving Sunday the day before. I have a feeling that I will be back in Argentina again in the not to distant future if God so leads.

If you happen to think about it, please pray for my voice. I have kind of preached it away, but I think it is coming back with the help of the touch of Jesus’ hand.

Love you guys big time!

Ralph Hiatt