As a missionary in Argentina, the opportunities to share the gospel are endless. Even those that claim Catholicism are in such need of hope and restoration. During my time in Mendoza, God really grew my heart for the hopeless. I saw many people begging, stealing, lying, and trying to find jobs; the people are desperate. The crime rate is very high in Argentina, much of which is theft and violence. The violence in Argentina is on the rise and children as young as 8 years old are getting involved in gangs, violent behavior and even murder. Some people say it’s a dangerous place to live and be a missionary, but I know that if God is for me, who can be against me. We must walk in wisdom and discernment but not be limited by danger. sonrisas kids camp, argentina2
For example, one of my favorite experiences from my time in Argentina was a time where more than 30 of us missionaries went street evangelizing together. We divided up into groups of 3 or 4 and walked along the streets asking God to show us specific people to talk to. I was partnered with a woman from Panama and a young man from Virginia. We were walking along and noticed a gypsy girl sitting on the street begging with her daughter. Normally we were advised to stay away from gypsies because they can be dangerous. However, we really sensed God drawing us to her and decided that we would go talk to her. So, as we approached this gypsy I began to pray silently asking the Lord for wisdom and discernment!
We sat down on the dirty sidewalk with her and introduced ourselves. She told us her and her daughter’s names and told us that they were there begging. She didn’t have a job and didn’t have enough money to pay rent. We told her about Jesus and how he loved her and wanted to provide for her; Jesus saw her every need and wanted her to lean on him. She was very excited and wanted to know more about Jesus. A moment later I had the privilege of praying with her to receive Jesus! It was an amazing moment; almost as if time froze, I saw tourists and Argentinians alike, hustling by, not taking a moment to know the needs of those around them. They saw us sitting there on the sidewalk with a poor gypsy girl and her child and gave us strange looks as if to say that we were crazy. But I knew that Jesus was rejoicing in Heaven because one of his precious daughters had come to him! I had the great opportunity to be a blessing to someone.
We, as Christians should be focused on Jesus and His heart for the lost. Not out of obligation but out of devotion for Christ. Philippians 3:12, 14 says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” God has gripped my heart and in doing so has called me to reach the lost.
So how has God gripped your heart? and in what ways can you look to bless, encourage and touch the hearts of those around you?
by Carissa Diacogiannis, BGU student