“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
1 Timothy 2:5
As we look back on our ministry here in Uruguay, we recognize the power of “One” as the way that the Lord has often answered our prayers. Laura and I learned this lesson of ‘one” even before we arrived in Uruguay in the fall of 2003. After having served 3 years in Bolivia, the decision was made to move the missionaries out of the country. We found ourselves on home assignment in the states praying for God’s direction concerning our next ministry. At the end of that year, a missionary colleague contacted us and asked us if we would consider coming to Uruguay to teach in the Bible Institute. Laura and I began to pray about this opportunity. As time went on, we did not have peace to accept this ministry as we did not see ourselves gifted for teaching on a Seminary level. In the end we said “no “to this opportunity realizing that this might be our only option to continue serving as missionaries.
However, in the same conversation, I felt lead to ask if there would be any opportunity to serve in Uruguay in church ministries. Several days went by and we finally received a call asking us to consider serving in an Alliance church in a small town on the border with Brazil. After praying we accepted this ministry…thankful to the Lord for this “one” open door to serve Him in Uruguay.
Any IW (International Worker) that arrives in a new country for the first time has to go about looking for 2 things to help them get settled and those are: housing and a vehicle. As we arrived in Chuy, Uruguay, the Lord once again showed Himself faithful to provide “one” clear answer to each of our prayers and needs. At this time our 4 children (who are now adults) were living with us and we needed a home with at least 3 Bedrooms. As we began to inquire, we soon found out that most homes available only had 2 BR and were quite small. So, we prayed, and the Lord heard our prayers. One day, one of the elders at our church mentioned that he remembered another house that “might be bigger.” The very next day we were able to see the home….4 Bedrooms…and available for rent!! We praise the Lord for His perfect provision of this “one” Home.
Soon afterwards Peter began the search for a vehicle. Before leaving Bolivia, we had sold our small Suzuki Van for $ 4,000. When we arrived in Uruguay, not only did we realize the price of gas to be much higher but also the price of vehicles in comparison to the money we had.
One day Laura and I were sitting in a town park, looking at the classified ads and I saw a listing for the same make of van that we had owned in Bolivia. The ad said the van was a year newer than our previous, and the price was $ 4,000! This all happened on a Sunday, the dealership was closed, and I was 6 hours north of the capital city Montevideo where the van was located. That evening, I boarded an all-night bus to Montevideo and arrived at the dealership in the morning to find the van still parked out front.
I was excited as the dealer talked with me about the van, but my heart sank when he told me that there was another very interested buyer before me. I left the place discouraged and tried to locate another car option at other dealerships in the city. Later on that day, I realized that the only car option for our family was this van that I had seen. I returned to my hotel room prayed most of the night. I returned to the dealership in the morning and told the dealer that I was very interested in buying the van. The dealer listened and finally told me that the only way he could consider selling me the van was if I could pay him in cash that very same day. It was in that moment that I took the $4,000 that we had brought with us from Bolivia and put it on the table. At the end of the day…we had the van…the “one” vehicle that we could afford and was a fit for our family!!
After finishing our first term in Uruguay we shared with the Uruguayan National Church our desire to help plant a new church in the country. Our hope was to work with another Uruguayan couple to minister together in a new city. Several pastors and I began to search and pray about which city would be the place to begin. We began to visit 3 cities looking at the different possibilities. It was in “one’ of the cities Maldonaldo that we met with a lady who had come several years ago to Maldonaldo for her work. She had formerly attended an Alliance church where she used to live. As we talked with her, she shared how she had been praying for several years for the Lord to send workers to Maldonaldo to start an Alliance church. As our group prayed, we felt the Lord leading us to choose Maldonaldo as the place for the new church plant; the “one” city where God had already been working to prepare the hearts for a new church body.
In 2018 we returned to Uruguay for our final term of ministry. This time it was the Uruguayan National church that asked us to help pastor an Alliance church in the north of the country as it transitioned from its present pastor to the new pastoral couple. I was asked to be the interim pastor while the transition took place.
As Laura and I arrived back in the city of Salto we had anticipated that this transition would start within the first 6 months after our arrival. As the weeks turned into months and then years, at times we were very discouraged at the “lack” of progress and our only hope was to pray for the Lord’s direction and patience. Finally, after 2 years of waiting, the Uruguayan National church shared with us that they had chosen the new pastoral couple for the Alliance church in Salto. In August 2020, Robert and Yiovanna and their daughter Kami began to visit the church and moved to Salto in February 2021. In the beginning months of getting to know them and now a year later of working with them we are amazed at how the Lord provided just the “one” perfect couple for this ministry at our church. For Robert and Yiovanna this is their first pastorate and Robert is still studying at the institute “online”. They have shared with us how the Lord began to call them into ministry this past year, how God has financially provided for them and given them peace to leave their hometown and family for the first time in order to serve Him here in Salto.
Even though we had to wait 2 years, the Lord answered our prayers and His choice of a pastoral couple was the perfect “one.”
One of my favorite authors, F. W. Boreham also writes about God’s power in “One” reflecting on the message in Timothy 2:5. He writes:
“For most of us the issue is clarified by the fact that there is but one Name given under heaven among men, whereby we must be saved. While it would be an unspeakable calamity if there were no God and no Mediator, it is a source of adoring gratification that there is but one. The difference between no God and one God, between no Savior and one Savior, is a difference so amazing that all the infinities of the universe rest within it.”
As we finish our ministry here in Uruguay, we continue to pray for salvation for many people that we know…sometimes “one’ at a time. We pray for this “one” great Nation that the Lord would break through the stronghold of secular thought and practices.
Ephesians 6:18 says… pray with all kinds of prayers and requests. Our experience during our ministry in Uruguay has been praying for “one” ministry opportunity, “one” home, “one” car, “one” city to plant a church and “one” pastoral couple. We praise Him for His faithfulness and His answers to prayer…One at a time.
Excerpts from My Christmas Book, by F.W. Boreham, 1953.