THE STORY OF MIGUEL, MIRTA AND LARA
Mirta and I have been married for 28 years. God blessed us with three talented and beautiful daughters: Sharon, Karen and Lara. We decided early to prepare our daughters to serve people in need as missionaries abroad. But we never imagined that God would call us first!
Since I was a little boy, I had a strong desire to be a pilot, and God led me to read many stories of aviation medical missionary work. We are certain that God was leading us through many places, preparing us for what His purpose was.
In August, 2014, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at the International Pathfinder Camporee, God offered us the mission field through Gospel Ministries International (GMI). After speaking with Pastor David Gates in one of the Oshkosh hangars, we offered ourselves as volunteers. We didn’t expect that he would say, “I need you now in Bolivia”.
We didn’t expect this so fast, but we were sure it was the answer to our prayers. When we finished the chat in the hangar, I was speechless for a moment, thinking, “What can I say to my wife standing beside me?” I was at a 90% yes I want to go, but what about my wife and our girls? I just shot a prayer saying, “I won’t open my mouth trying to convince Mirta that we should go.” Immediately she asked, “What do you think?” I said: “Well, I think we should go but you… I don’t know about what you think.” The Lord impressed her as well and her answer was, “Well… let’s go”. God answered amazingly!
This decision was very painful for Mirta, because this involved leaving our two oldest daughters studying in the US, Sharon (19) and Karen (17). Lara was 13 and so she came with us.
That Friday night, Mirta ask God for a sign of confirmation. Together we asked in prayer that if we could find Pastor David and his wife Becky in the middle of 50,000 young people at Sabbath morning in the big convention and talk with them, it would be the sign. So we went with our group of pathfinders, 20 people with our folding chairs to the field were all the pathfinders club meet together. Mirta decided to go around with the Argentinian flag. And I sat down in my chair. An American man stopped beside me and asked me in perfect Spanish if I was from Argentina. In our conversation I asked him, where he had learned the perfect Spanish and he said “Bolivia”. Oh I said, “Maybe you know Pastor David?”, and he replied, “Yes he is my brother-in-law and he is sitting there,” two rows behind us! God clearly showed us that Bolivia was our next destination! This was the first miracle and they continued.
In February 2015, we arrived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia at the Red ADvenir Channel. We had challenges one after another. We lived in a very poor neighborhood for the first three months next to the campus because the campus didn’t have enough lodging. We had to walk 1.25 miles(2 kilometers) every day to work at the channel and sometimes we were very tired.
At the beginning, being volunteers without any salary was difficult. I remember one day we only had 12 bolivianos and we needed to get the last 100 dollars from an ATM for our food and basics. I went with Lara to the city’s ATM to do a withdrawal. I put the Card in it and the transaction was made but the machine didn’t give us the money. I got very frustrated and angry! I called Mirta and explained what happened and asked her to please check the bank account to see if they took the money. She was very nervous, the internet was very slow but it worked and she saw that the money had been taken out of the bank which means we lost all the money.
While she was trying to get online into the bank account someone had knocked at the door. Mirta was so upset at the time that she thought, “I’m not going to answer the door.” She was sitting on the floor in the living room with the computer on her lap because we didn’t have any furniture and the person continued knocking for nearly 8 minutes. Finally, Mirta heard the man’s voice calling and recognized that it was another missionary named Miguel.She felt ashamed because she acted in that way and she went to answer the door. Miguel said, “I have something for you” and he gave Mirta 300 bolivianos ($44 dollars). Mirta was amazed at how God was taking care of us. That money was a week’s worth of food for the three of us.
This happened so many times. One time we didn’t have anything in our refrigerator and no money. That evening we asked God for help, knowing that He will answer our prayer somehow.That night we found two bags of food at our door. God is a God of perfect timing! He sent“Angels” to help us. In Ephesians 3:20 Paul says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…” We are learning to depend on God. We know that if we leave things to God’s control, it will turn out a lot better that we expect.