As we walk the street of Trulala, Tucumán, Argentina I have an eary feeling that if it wasn’t for Daniel guiding us that we would perhaps not leave the tiny village alive. Aggressive young men stared us down on the dirty streets as we are on our way to a newly planted church in the area.
Tucumán is the most densely populated, and the smallest by land area, of the provinces of Argentina. Argentina faces long-standing human rights problems that include police abuse, poor prison conditions, endemic violence against women, difficulty accessing reproductive services, and obstacles keeping indigenous people from enjoying the rights afforded to them by Argentine and international law. Tucuman is no exception. The city is under seige by drug abuse, violence and witchcraft.
A cry for new churches and discipleship in a troubled neighborhood reached us and we decided to help. Our strategy is to inflitrate difficult areas through evangelism and discipleship after which we immediately plant a relevant church in the area. After pastor Daniel heard our strategy he decided to plant a church with drug addicts in the area. Daniel was released from prison after having a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. He was convicted of a few murders and was sentenced for many years in jail. After his encounter with Jesus Christ he says: “Hermano (brother) everything has changed.” The jail wardens and even the judge commended him for excellent behaviour as he helped many inmates during his jail time. He was released early and in his own words he said: “Government has unsuccessfully tried to help our drug addiction problems in Tucumán. I realized quicly that only God – through the church – could help us.
Daniel & Nancy (his wife – also a convict) started a church in an old delapetated building with a few drug addicts. Through prayer, fasting and discipleship they quicly grew to just over 200 drug addicts seeking Jesus. As we trained Daniel in evangelism and discipleship strategies he could hardly contain his joy. His newly planted church quicly decided to start a day of fasting so that they could feed hungry people in the village. After church planting training they decided to plant another church in Trulala where abused women could be helped. We saw the true church as Jesus meant it to be, enfold infront of our eyes and realized that Daniel’s dream was becoming true: “The churches we plant will truly be the hope in a struggling world.” After we left 2 more churches were planted.
In the meantime we continued training with Daniel and another church where 93 church planters were equipped. As we sent them out into the city we found huge groups of young people sitting around. Within an hour we spoke to more than 400 young people of which more than 170 gave their lives to Christ. It was great placing them into some of the newly planted churches. Daniel hugged me and whispered into my ear with tears flowing: “Thank you that Harvesters has not forgotten us. You have not forgotten the importance of evangelism and discipleship. Never forget to love the church”. I left Tucumán with a glad heart and new that through the church God’s WILL will be done in Argentina too.