The Argentine Evangelical Missionary Foundation (Fema) trains those who wish to serve the Lord in Argentina.
‘Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest’ (Mt. 9:38). Patagonia is a vast Argentine territory that may seem deserted in comparison to other regions of the country. However, in recent times, there has been migration of people for work, family and other reasons to inland towns and cities in Patagonia, forming communities in some places with over 200,000 inhabitants. Stemming from a consultation with missionaries settled in different locations throughout Patagonia, the Patagonian Missionary Integration Plan was developed.
The aim of the Patagonian Missionary Integration Plan is to reach different areas with diverse needs, to share the message of salvation and disciple believers. This task is extensive but we thank the Lord for past and current missionaries, whose desire is that the Lord would raise up new labourers to continue, strengthen and expand the work that has already been undertaken. The plan is to work together in the development of strategies to reach places with the gospel where it has not yet been shared.
The Patagonia Region
Patagonia encompasses a diverse range of beautiful landscapes, including mountains, glaciers, fjords, lakes and grasslands, spanning around 400,000mi2. The region is bounded by the Andes Mountains to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Although it features beautiful national parks and the tourist attraction of the Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia’s climate can be extreme and unpredictable, featuring strong winds, cool summers and very cold winters. Many areas of Patagonia are remote, far from major cities and may have limited access to electricity, drinking water and reliable communication. People must travel long distances on unmaintained roads to access services like schools and healthcare. The economy in Patagonia is primarily based on tourism, agriculture and mining, and job opportunities are limited.
Patagonia is multicultural and home to a mix of religious beliefs with a strong presence of Catholicism alongside indigenous spiritual beliefs. People groups include the Mapuche communities, which are the largest indigenous group in Patagonia, and the Tehuelche nomadic people. There are also a significant number of people of European descent, including several Welsh settlements still maintaining their heritage.
Eduardo and Elisabeth Schuster, Cipolletti, Río Negro – When Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, missionary trips restarted around the region including a special trip to Puerto San Julián, Santa Cruz, supporting the work being done by the Ramírez family. Bible Educational Services (BES) are making Bible resources available for Sunday schools, outreach for children and in Christian schools in Argentina and neighbouring countries. Despite government and country restrictions, we rely on the Lord’s provision for printing material in Argentina. We continue with the Emmaus Bible School and tasks such as distribution, promotion and correction of both printed and digital Emmaus courses, encouraging people to study God’s Word. The Radio Biblica Independiente (Independent Bible Radio) broadcasts 24/7 on three FM stations in the cities of Cipolletti, Villa Regina and Choele Choel.
The aim of the Patagonian Missionary Integration Plan is to reach different areas with diverse needs, to share the message of salvation and disciple believers.
Fabián and Judith Lourenzo, Viedma, Río Negro – For six years, we have been working in Sierra Grande, a city located 320km from Viedma. By the Lord’s provision, a plot of land has been acquired where the construction of a Christian community centre with a missionary residence has started. We are trusting that God will raise up a couple to establish themselves in that area to care for the new believers. We felt called to reach an area known as Línea Sur, on the only road that connects the ocean with the mountains, a distance of 620km. Since February 2022, we have been travelling there every third weekend. For now, we are reaching the first three towns: Ramos Mexia, Sierra Colorad and Los Menucos, and passing through eight others along the Patagonian railway.
Andrés and Sonia Maldonado, Camarones, Chubut – The missionary work is continuing to expand from Camarones, where the local testimony continues. Currently, around 30 brothers and sisters gather and progress is being made. Projects include the construction of a multipurpose hall where brethren from different parts of the country have shared their time, offerings and efforts to make this much-needed space a reality for the growth of activities, especially among children and teenagers.
In the province of Santa Cruz, there are testimonies of faith being strengthened and of growth. In the town of Las Heras a group of over 20 brothers and sisters gather to share the Word and encourage each other. There is a need to have a meeting place to accommodate the increasing number of people attending. In the western part of the province, the town of Los Antiguos has been visited, as well as Gobernador Gregores in the central area, where a new testimony is being established with meetings already taking place. The construction of a building that will serve not only for gatherings but also as accommodation and a base from which a couple can serve is advancing.
Luis and Claudia Raigne, San Martín de los Andes, Neuquén – The project in San Martín de los Andes continues with training and sending out of missionaries. Currently, our church has four men studying at the Word of Life Bible Institute. Two of them will graduate this year and they are also serving as elders in the church. We want to pursue a higher level of biblical teaching with them, in order to help prepare capable workers to reach other places such as Dina Huapi, Comayo, Villa Traful and small isolated Mapuche communities.
For the past five years, we have been working in the city of San Carlos de Bariloche with the intention of consolidating the church in that city. We travel there weekly and stay until Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the needs that arise. On Sundays, we have the general worship meeting. On Mondays, we have a Bible study and prayer meeting. On Tuesdays, there is a fortnightly ladies’ meeting along with personal discipleship, visitation and music-group rehearsals. Our home is 200km away from San Carlos de Bariloche, so we rent a small apartment in that city, which serves not only as our residence but also as our workplace.
Juan Carlos and Graciela Plehm, El Maitén, Chubut – The immediate task is to extend the work to the surroundings of El Maitén where there are many communities that have not yet been reached with the gospel. We are praying for a young married couple to come and work with us as the youth would benefit from the influence of younger believers.
In January 2021, the expansion of the church building began with the main objective of supporting the activities with children and young people. We trust in the Lord’s provision of workers.
Pray for Patagonia and for all its people to hear the gospel and come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Although, over the years, assemblies have established some presence in larger cities, there is still a great need to further extend the missionary work and reach more people with the good news.
- for safety as missionaries travel long distances to reach small communities
- for the people involved in the Patagonian Missionary Integration Plan group to work together in unity
- for more Patagonian people groups to hear and believe the message of salvation
- for new missionaries to be established in Camarones and Chubut
- for married couples to serve in Gobernador Gregores and Santa Cruz
- for the development of local missionary support groups and the reinforcement of the existing ones.