Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Uttermost… Best Lamb Chops… and “Chance” Meeting

[Photo left: Magellan Straits Ferry plus teeter totter and slide]

I have been privileged to minister in different places almost every day of the week except when driving great distances. At the close of each service, almost the entire church has spent a long time kneeling in earnest prayer, usually ending around 11:30 PM or midnight. When closing I have recently been asking the folks to gather around me, lay hands on me and send me out with a fresh touch of heaven on my life. Some have promised to continue praying for me. The result is that I have an ever increasing number of intercessors standing with me, both you in the USA and many in Argentina.

[Photo below: Tierra del Fuego Mountain Pass in Summer]
Last Saturday I drove south to the Magellan Straits and took the ferry across to Tierra del Fuego.
You can’t get any more uttermost than this! The city of Ushuaia, if you’re reaching out from Jerusalem, is possibly the farthest populated point on the earth. Jesus said, “… You will be my witnesses… unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) What a move of God we enjoyed there last night! I want you to know I can’t take credit for this. It is a God thing.Sunday morning I ministered in Rio Grande, then drove the mountain pass across to the southern tip of the island to minister in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world (see photo, left). In both those services God just swept us away with His deep work in our hearts. What glory! Little kids, youth and old timers alike were on their knees doing business with God for an extended time. After every evening service I have been getting back to the hotel around 2 AM. It is late summer here near the Antarctic and the days are long with the sun setting around 10:30 PM.

On my way back across the pass I stopped at the quaint little mountain town of Tolhuin. I had previously arranged to meet with Juan and Maria Malvicino, friends from long ago. They used to live in Buenos Aires and now have purchased a little rustic cabin and moved here to escape the big city. They served me the best tasting lamb chops I have ever had as we recounted past experiences. They tell me that the snow gets pretty deep here in winter. Frances and I have been in this area years ago when it even snowed in the summer time.

Then this afternoon I drove on to Rio Grande to find a hotel for the night. I got out of my car and a man on the sidewalk looked hard at me and said. “You are Rafael!” “It is true,” I replied. It was Jesus Rubio who was drawn to Christ during our 20 month long tent crusade in Merlo on the outskirts of Buenos Aires 33 years ago! Now here over 1,500 miles from Merlo, we meet again “by chance” on the street! I don’t think so. God is in it. We had a prayer meeting right there and then on the sidewalk. I invited him to bring his wife and daughter for dinner in a restaurant this evening at 9 PM. We enjoyed a wonderful time of reminiscing and rejoicing.

[Below: Magellan Straits Lighthouse]
Tomorrow I’ll take the ferry back across the Magellan Straits. It is a tiring trip since the ferry crossing is in Chile and one has to wait in long lines to go though immigration and customs going out of Argentina, then again going into Chile, then drive for hours on a rough gravel road, cross on the ferry and, then go through the whole process again going out of Chile into Argentina… up to a possible total of three hours of waiting in lines, etc… plus hard driving conditions. So far the angels of the Lord have been watching over me every kilometer of the way. I am scheduled to preach in another church in Rio Gallegos on Wednesday night. This coming weekend, Lord willing, I’ll be ministering near what may be the most spectacular glacier in the world, the Perito Moreno.

Thanks for your prayers on my behalf. They really make a difference.

Buenas noches!

Ralph (Rafael) Hiatt

Monday, February 14, 2011

Am I having fun yet?

Here is just a short run-down of what the Lord has been doing this past week. Last Thursday I ministered in a relatively new church in the little “Welsh” town of Gaiman. I call it a “Welsh” town because it, like all the cities in this small valley, was originally established by Welsh Christians that came to the “new world” back in the 1800s and early 1900s for a fresh start. Now their Christian influence has faded and many non-Welsh live in this pretty valley. The Welsh created beautiful orchards where once there was desert by using irrigation canals powered by the river current. Several years ago the Assemblies of God purchased a 20 acre apple orchard and has built the Patagonian Bible Institute (PBI)… our southernmost Bible Institute in the world. We had a great service in the new little Gaiman church. The pastors are graduates of PBI.

Then Friday I drove 300 more miles south to Comodoro Rivadavia a windy city on the Atlantic coast. Saturday night I ministered at one of our several AG churches here. At about 11 PM after a powerful time of prayer with many youth on the floor seeking God’s will, I had packed up all my gear and was ready to leave for my hotel. But a small group of young people had formed a circle of chairs and begged me to share with them about how God had called me into ministry. I couldn’t turn that down and enjoyed another hour of ministry and prayer with these beautiful young servants of God. They were so sweet and receptive and full of questions! Finally I asked them to let me take their picture for my friends back in the USA. They ran and got the Argentine flag and… behold… there we are!

This Sunday morning I preached in another AG church in this big seacoast city. Again at the close of that service the entire front of the church was wall to wall with mostly youth pouring out their hearts to the Lord.

Then I called and invited Roberto and Veronica, young pioneer pastors on neighboring Laprida, to join me for Sunday dinner at a classy restaurant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Roberto and Veronica had sold their only car in order to pay down on a lot for their new church and then sacrificed everything to get the walls up. But there is no roof and cold winter is coming in May and June. So this afternoon I surprised them with a $4,000 US dollar donation from our generous Share Holders.** They could hardly believe it! That will complete the roof for them! Last night I preached to their new “baby church” in an ugly rented hall. With God’s help they’ll soon have their own building!

Am I having fun yet? You better believe it! Tomorrow I head 50 miles south on the coast to visit another pastor couple in Caleta Olivia, then on 200 more miles to San Julian where I am scheduled to preach on Tuesday. Make a note of it! I am not preaching Monday. I am taking a day for “rest” (and about 300 miles of travel...ha!).
(Left: Small PK storing the chairs after church)

Ralph Hiatt

**Our “Share Holders” are not monthly supporters. They are people who have committed to send an offering, small or large, to our AGWM missionary account for approved missions projects… and also to pray for the success of that project. My agreement is to never send out more than four “Share Calls” per year. If you should wish to become one of the Hiatt ministry “Share Holders” just send me your request along with your mailing address.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Just Taking It Easy

I am just taking it easy… trying to not preach more than once per day. I must keep my voice this time around.

Monday morning, Feb 7, I ministered to a group of about 40 King's Castle teenagers that have dedicated themselves to serve God above anything else. What a privilege to see them seek the Lord for a long time after the preaching! I am so thrilled with Kim and Shari Babcock, the missionary couple that is leading these kids and hundreds of others into a life of walking in the Spirit, hearing from God and being obedient to His voice.

Last night, Tuesday, I was invited to minister in another city to a group of about 14 couples who are what we call "pioneers" here. There are many more of them who will be arriving at this retreat later this week. But this small group is composed of the newest ones that are stepping out to start new churches. These first days are their "boot camp". The others already have been through "boot camp" and have started their churches. We met at the Nazarene Seminary campus where each year they rent the facilities for this retreat.

Once again last night the Lord moved in power and all of them sought His face for an extended time. At the close, nearing midnight, they presented me with a nice plaque which thanks me for being "Pioneer of the Pioneers in Argentina.” That title would be more appropriate for Rocco Ditrolio, the national leader of church planting. Then just before leaving I had them gather to take their picture (Rocco on right).

New Pioneers

These are choice servants of God. Most of these couples already have a group of converts gathering somewhere. I am hoping that sometime within the next 10 years I’ll be able to minister in each and every one of their new churches that are scattered all over this vast country. Ha! You thought I was slowing down. No way! I’ve got my feet on the blocks just waiting for the starting pistol shot.

This evening I fly two hours south to the city of Trelew in la Patagonia where I’ll borrow Missionary Eddie Echevarria’s car and once again have some wheels to hit the road. Running all over in taxi gets expensive… but yesterday one driver, Jorge Gonzales, was ready and ended up accepting Jesus as His Lord and Savior. That made it worth the 18 bucks… ha.


Small Pioneers

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where Is Home?

Today a good friend asked me, “Where is home?”

They say, “Home is where your heart is.” At this moment my heart is right here in Argentina where I just arrived at noon today, Saturday. I have settled into a nice little apartment, quite like the proverbial “prophet’s chamber,” that the Martinez church has so generously offered me. It is on the third floor right under the huge water tank. I do not plan to stay here even one full week, Lord willing. I want to get back down south to La Patagonia, pick up my borrowed car and hit the road. I have deliberately kept tomorrow (Sunday) open, not accepting an invitation to minister. I need to rest up after the exhausting 24 hour trip.

On Monday morning at 10 AM, however, I meet with about 40 (King’s Castle) teenagers for their morning devotional. The King’s Castle ministry, headed up by missionaries Kim and Shari Babcock, is setting hundreds of youth on fire for Jesus. Babcocks inspire them and then train them and send them back to their local churches to do evangelism through music, mime and drama in the parks and on the streets, visits to hospitals and homes for the aged, cleaning up the street trash in a neighborhood and much more. I’m asking God for a special word for them. So quickly… ever so quickly some of these teenagers will become our pastors, evangelists, missionaries and spiritual leaders. God is giving me the awesome opportunity to speak into their lives.

I invite you to take a moment to join me in prayer for something good to happen in their hearts.

Ralph (known here in Argentina as “Hermano Rafael”)