God’s call to us was progressive, slow and measured. Probably, in my case, it started when I was born to missionary parents who came from Scotland to Argentina. I was born here in the centre of this vast land. They had already been here 14 years, so I was brought up by an experienced couple, with my brother James, seven years older.
As a MK or ‘missionary kid’, we never felt that their work took them away from us, and we enjoyed the boat trips ‘home’ every six or seven years. We were then able to see our real Granny (my only surviving grandparent). Every several years we moved to other cities in Argentina, so I learned to adapt to new schools, new friends and new environments. Argentina is several countries in one, with great cultural differences.
Taking my own path
As life moved on, I did not fancy being a missionary, and wanted to make my own way in life. Seven years at university, far from home, allowed me to make a close evaluation of where I stood. These were difficult years, as there was a military junta in power, and to be a student of architecture was equivalent to rebellion (which in a sense I was).
It was there that the Lord touched me, (to put it mildly). God’s way of teaching sometimes pushes you to the limits! It was during this time that I was able to reorient my life, largely through the love of my father. He did not look at my outward appearance (it was the 70s, so long hair and shaggy jeans), but reached my heart with his unfeigned love. I began to reread my Bible. I found there men, women and children who, through experience, had discovered God. Some did not change, others a little, but what caught my attention were those who really went full time, guided by God. I then promised myself to research the Bible, study its characters, dig into its truths and find the golden nuggets!
A Useful Career
I became an architect. Architecture gave me the tools to look into ‘God’s Spaces and Places’ (a phrase given to me by David Wylie of Greenview Evangelical Church). An architect from a culture produces an object, an archaeologist, from an object, deduces a culture. So, the object and culture are intimately related. In Bible studies, I try and relate both of these to the text, to get a feel of what the text meant for the people to whom it was given. The Tabernacle and Temple are fascinating objects, because they were designed by God himself, who showed a model to Moses, and gave the drawing plans to David. (Exodus 24:8,9; 1 Chronicles 28:11, 12, 19). So, as we study these objects, and recreate models of them, we can read into God’s purpose for mankind.
Let God do His work in you, and you will be ready for Him to do His work through you
Part Time Commitment
Enter Isabel in 1980. Isabel and I were married. She is from Ukrainian origin, and evangelical background. Her grandfather was a very strong and healthy spiritual influence in her life. By 1985, when our daughter Debora was born, we committed ‘part time’ to mission work, selling our house, buying a Volkswagen minibus and moving to the pastoral home behind the church. This was to enable us to help build up the church, prepare the pre-teen group, and equip a set of possible elders.
Full Time Service in Mission
In 1991, with the support of Greenview Evangelical Church, we went into full time service for the Lord, here in South America. When a student, I had decided to excavate in God’s word until I was satisfied that that was it. I am still excavating!
Our Mission Strategy
Our mission work we call ‘Didaktos’ and there are three main lines of action: Bible Research and Teaching; Church Strengthening; and Missionary Vision in a Global World There in a long tradition of church planting here, and many involved in this, but we feel that our role is to help strengthen the church. We also encourage a missionary vision instead of a parochial attitude because Latin countries, which received so much in the past, should now venture out to share the Gospel.
We have a web site, written in Spanish, Didaktosonline, where all our studies, with illustrations, notes and PowerPoints are placed. Knowing Spanish has been a real bonus, as it puts us in contact with 450 million people who speak it. Not only have we been teaching in Argentina, but also in Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia.
At time of writing, we are in quarantine, so church activities have been suspended. This has given me time to follow on with preparations for talks on new subjects. I’m looking at ‘Post Exilic’ books, Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Being positive, I prefer to call them ‘Pre-Messianic’. The first three are finished and I am now working on Zechariah. Plenty gold nuggets there, especially uncovered in the New Testament!
No Fast Track
In our case there was no “Fast Track” in the mission call. We lived each stage as it came. In retrospect, we can see that God nudged us on to the right path. Let God do His work in you, and you will be ready for Him to do His work through you.