BUENOS AIRES — Just a few
seconds into Mrs. Han’s flute solo, the ladies recognized the tune to the hymn
“Because He Lives.”
Across the room, North
Carolinians and Argentines began providing the vocal accompaniment to the
closing song of the evening.
Hearing ladies sing, each in
their heart language, of the glorious truth of a risen Savior is an experience
Ashley Allen, director of Embrace Women’s Missions and Ministries, will not forget.
Allen recently led a team of
10 to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the inaugural Embrace international mission
trip. The team worked alongside International Mission Board missionaries Mark
and Melissa Hobson (see related story).
A ladies tea concluded the
week of ministry.
Argentine women from
different churches invited women to the tea who were not believers in Jesus
Christ. Allen described the event as “very intentionally evangelistic.” Three
team members, including Allen, testified how they came to know Jesus Christ as
their personal Lord and Savior.
Allen shared that as a sixth
grader she realized she was a sinner and needed Jesus Christ to save her.
At the time Allen served as
secretary of the youth group and was embarrassed to admit she was not saved.
Allen read from Ephesians
2:8-9 and shared with the ladies how the Lord used His word to convict her
heart of sin and her need for a Savior.
Although the ladies sitting
around the tables spoke different languages and represented different parts of
the world, some things, like the joy of talking about family and friends, are
universal. Allen was encouraged to see the North Carolina team “turn those
conversations around to focus on the Lord.”
Turning conversations around
was a priority from the trip’s inception.
From language schools to an
orphanage, the team took advantage of opportunities to share the gospel of
“If we’re not sharing that
message, we’re not doing missions as biblically defined,” Allen
Allen’s three-fold prayer
for the trip came from Matthew 9:36-38. She asked the Lord to grant the team
compassion, that they might see nonbelievers as He sees them — as sheep without
She prayed for the Lord to
use the team in a way that brought Him much glory, and “I prayed that the Lord
would break our hearts for the nations,” Allen said.
“Only when our hearts are
broken for the lost will we reach the 5.5 million lost in North Carolina.”
The Embrace team, which
included ladies ranging in age from early 20s to late 50s, is the first team
the Hobsons have hosted since they arrived in Buenos Aires as career
missionaries. Allen worked with the Hobsons to plan mission projects that fit
into the Hobson’s overall strategy for reaching the Argentine people.
For example, Mark is working
to start neighborhood Bible studies, and by team members leading classes in
various language schools they were in a position to invite people to the Bible
The team prayer walked
neighborhoods where the Hobsons hope to start Bible studies. Later this year
two more teams will work with the Hobsons and will build on the work done by
the North Carolina team.
During their time in
Argentina Allen saw God work not only among the team, but in her own heart. She
was reminded that God has a heart for the nations and is using national
believers to spread the gospel.
“Their passion to do
whatever it takes to share the gospel is very humbling,” she said. “The
nationals are very bold in their witness and a deep joy permeates their lives.”
Some of the national
believers working alongside the Hobsons live in poverty and some live as one of
the only believers in their family and among their friends. To them, it doesn’t
matter. What matters is faithfulness to the gospel and willingness to serve however
the Lord commands. “We were faithful to plant seeds,” Allen said. “The reaper
can’t reap unless the sower has sown.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Lilley is a
researcher and writer for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)