All posts by Ray Call

Ray works with Mission to the World and the Uruguay Mission of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The Rise in Crime

What do grocery stores, armored cars, ATM machines and my back patio all have in common? Theft.

Over the course of 2018 we have seen a rise in crime. There were at least three attacks by gangs of armed criminals on armored vehicles transporting money. That is quite an undertaking as each armored truck has two armed men with a car full of armed men following behind. Unfortunately, they were taken by surprise and some of the guards were shot. If my memory serves me well, I do believe that the men recovered, though I imagine that there must be lingering effects from their wounds. Two of the robberies were within five blocks of our home. The first was at a bank on the corner and another took place in the parking lot at the mall – both within broad daylight. Even more striking, the third robbery took place very close to the Uruguayan seat of government – the Palacio Legislativo (Legisltative Palace)!

One of the most tragic crimes took place at a grocery store a few miles away where two men entered a supermarket, robbed it and then shot and killed one of the employees on the way out. The victim was a young mother. Later, the shooter was found by police which ended up in him being shot and killed. A friend of mine had met this young man years ago – an example of what a small world Uruguay can be at times.

Very recently, I have been seeing news of ATM machines being blown to bits so that criminals can steal the cash. Some ATM’s are even equipped with an anti-theft ink system which sprays the money with ink so that it will be recognized – making it hard to spend. Sadly, sometimes the ATM machine is the only one in a small town and it can be difficult for the retired folks living there to withdraw money if the banks decide not to install a new one.

One day last month I woke up and went to the kitchen like normal to turn on the burner so that I could cook up some fried eggs. Eggs are my favorite breakfast. But to my surprise, the flame would not start. I thought that was odd and I eventually had the idea of checking the propane tank just outside the kitchen in the back patio. It was missing. Not only was it missing, but the valve and another empty propane tank were gone. Someone had climbed our roof, descended into our back patio and carried out two propane tanks! They are not easy to lift either! I filed a police report, but nothing much came of it.

As we heard news of these various crimes, we prayed – asking the Lord to be at work. Begging God to change the hearts of the criminals. Praying for healing, comfort and peace for the victims and Continue reading The Rise in Crime

Short Term Team Leads English Club!

God blessed our recent four day intensive English Club outreach here in Montevideo. We had over 26 adults come throughout the week as well as several children from our church and the community.

Each day there was a gospel presentation from the Scriptures and a call to trust in Christ during the break.

The team was composed of folks from Little Farms Chapel OPC (Michigan), Holy Trinity PCA (Tampa) and Spring Hills PCA (St. Louis) in Missouri. We are grateful the Lord Lord and to this team for blessing our church and the community with Continue reading Short Term Team Leads English Club!

On the way to the mechanic

Life in Uruguay can be different from my life as it was living in southern California or in St. Louis, Missouri. Take getting the car fixed for instance. In the U.S., if I needed the car fixed, I would leave it with my mechanic and ask my wife to pick me up. When it was done, she would drop me off and I would pick it up.

Here in Montevideo, we only have one car. The picture to the left is not our car, but I thought it was cool – so I put it here for you to enjoy. The cost of living in Uruguay is very high and the salaries are lower than in the U.S. Also, all vehicles are manufactured outside of Uruguay, which means there is no local Uruguayan car industry as far as I know. The government charges high import taxes, putting the value of even a used car at around double as it would cost in the U.S. Sometimes even more than that. Many people don’t even own one car, much less two. Thankfully Montevideo has a good public transportation system, including buses and taxis. For our first year here we had no access to a vehicle unless someone lent us one or we rented one. Thankfully, our second year we were able to borrow a car and our third year we were able to purchase one due to the generous contributions of several individuals.

But I diverge. What does all this have to do with the mechanic? Because we only have one car, when I take it to the mechanic I usually have to do a lot of walking to get to an appropriate bus stop – unless I want to spend more money and get a taxi. And when one walks, one sees more of the city.

A couple of weeks ago I was walking along and saw a beautiful Mormon building. It was made of bricks and had a great basketball court outside. I’m not sure what they call it. Is it a church? Is it a local meeting place for their ward? I’m not sure. What I do know is that their theology departs from the historic Christian faith. Their conception of God is very different and they deny the Trinity. They also adhere to a works oriented salvation, whereas the Bible teaches that we are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ – God incarnate, the Second Person of the Trinity (Eph. 2:8-9; John 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:1).

I have seen many Mormon missionaries and even ran into a whole slew of them while out hiking Pan de Azucar, a small mountain a couple of hours outside of Montevideo. Michele and I also had a couple of young ladies into our home to discuss the true meaning of the gospel. Needless to say they were trying to convert us and we were trying to convert them.

The reason I bring this up is to bring up two points: commitment to evangelism and the need for the true gospel. The Mormons have an army of missionaries. While the evangelical church has a number of workers in Uruguay and the Reformed churches have sent four full time missionary families, the Mormons have dozens and dozens on the ground right now. This is not to mention their continuing cycle of sending more after their terms are up. There is true commitment. We should be asking ourselves this question: How committed are we to working toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations, teaching them all that Christ has commanded and baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:18-20)?

The other point has to do with the truth. We believe that the Mormons don’t have it right. They have departed from the Bible and have created a false system of worship. When Jesus said to make disciples of all nations, He said that we should be teaching everything He commanded. That implies the full counsel of God. The whole Bible. In Uruguay and throughout the world today there is a great need for men and women to bring the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. The nations need the truth of the gospel, and what they need even more is the Person who is the Truth – Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).

So next time you are walking to the mechanic or driving or however you get there, be sure and pray that God will raise up an army of laborers that will be committed to declaring the gospel to the ends of the earth. And pray that God will use you and other Christians to share that message of truth and the Lordship of Christ to all who will listen. Who knows, maybe God could be calling you to be more involved in World Evangelization!

Praying for IPEM

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
– 1Th 5:16-18 ESV

We give thanks for what our gracious and sovereign Lord is doing. He has called us to plant churches in Uruguay and we are laboring in our first church plant in the capital of Montevideo. IPEM (Iglesia Presbiteriana Evangélica de Montevideo) has been in existence as a mission church (that is what we Presbyterians call a church which is not yet self governing) for a little over a year now.

Praise the Lord that we are meeting weekly on the Lord’s Day each Sunday evening for our public worship service. I have been preaching through the Gospel of John, which is a great message for our church. At the end of 2016 we started a membership class called “Los fundamentos de la iglesia” each week before service, though we took a few weeks off during the holiday season. There are currently 7 individuals attending the class and we are praying that each one will desire to become a member and join with us in laboring for the glory of God through this church plant.

Please be praying for IPEM and for how God might use this church as a lighthouse, leading travelers through the darkness and fog to the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Pray for the effective preaching of the Word of God; pray that the Holy Spirit will attend the proclamation of the truth with power.
  • Pray for our membership class: that the Lord will grant wisdom to Pastor Mark and me to lead and teach these classes and that the people will learn and grow in the faith.
  • Pray that God will use this church and our mission to be a beacon of light; ask that we will have boldness as we ought to have.
  • Give thanks to God for His faithfulness, grace, mercy and power.

Prayer Meeting

From the beginning, we have sought to make prayer the foundation of our church plant. We have no illusions that we bring something new, unique or flashy to this very secular nation, something that would allow us to succeed where other missionaries have failed.

We, along with many other missionaries, have a treasure that is contained in jars of clay. The Gospel is living and powerful and capable of changing lives. But it is only through the power of God that eyes will be opened and people will bow before the Savior. For this reason, our church plant has met every Thursday night for prayer.

Sometimes visitors come. Sometimes church members come. Often it is just the two missionary families. But we come together to pray before our King, that He would be merciful on us, and on the people of Uruguay. There is a spiritual battle, and we feel it each Thursday as we prepare to attend.

Please pray that we would be faithful in making prayer the foundation of our ministry AND please pray that the Lord would soften hearts in Uruguay.

Vehicle Update

Recently, a fellow missionary approached us with a 12 passenger used van that he is selling. It is more economical than a newer model, and it will both be big enough for our family, and big enough to use for a variety of ministry purposes. We have been doing a “Go Fund Me” campaign to raise the funds, since MTW no longer receives contributions for personal needs of this nature.

We rejoice to report that God has provided the necessary funds to purchase this van!

We want to give a hearty thanks to all those who contributed and ask that you would continue to pray for the details in purchasing it and obtaining the proper documentation in Uruguay.

English Outreach

Our missionary teammate, Rev. Markus Jeromin, has been focusing on English outreach, among other things. He started an English Bible study on Wednesday nights, and two English classes on Saturday afternoons. Both of these outreaches have proven to be effective as a way to show love in the community and as a way to develop relationships.

If you remember from past prayer letters, the Jeromin family signed up to come in 2016 to help our mission while our other teammates, the Richline family, have been on furlough. They have settled in well here, and have developed some good relationships in the community. Although they originally planned to be here just one year, they are hoping to be able to stay with our mission for the next three years, through our next furlough. We need more laborers. They were willing to drop what they were doing in their lives in the U.S. and bring their 4 young children to answer the call to serve here. God has blessed their work abundantly and has blessed us with their friendship.

Please pray that the Jeromin family may be able to continue serving in Uruguay longer, if the Lord wills. Please also ask the Lord to bless the English outreaches.

Mold, Screens and Insects – Recent Life in Uruguay

Life in Montevideo can be challenging at times. We have had a big struggle with mold in our house during the cold and wet winter. It grows on many of our walls and ceiling – probably half or more of the walls were covered in mold. We were considering the cost of getting it cleaned and painted, when one day the owner came by with a painter and they agreed to wash and paint all the moldy areas.

Praise God that the walls have been painted, and please pray for long term mold solutions.

As  winter in the Southern Hemisphere ends, the mold problem subsides – but we start to deal with mosquitoes and flies. This year there is concern that the mosquitoes may be carrying dengue fever and Zika virus. For our last two summers, we have not successfully been able to cover our doors with screens, and it is essential to keep them open for air flow. We have ordered some magnetic screens that tape on the door frame.

Please pray that we can keep the mosquitoes out of our house this upcoming Southern Hemisphere summer.

Vehicle Fund

hyundai h100
12 Passenger Van

It all started with the question: “Where are you from?” The young man who works at the pizza place wanted to know why I am here in Uruguay. When I explained who we are and why we have come, the conversation turned to the things of God. From his questions, I gather that he is fairly skeptical of the Church in general and of the Bible in particular. His first concern was what we thought of the latest Pope’s favorable pronouncements on homosexuals, but then he quickly called into question the authority of the Bible by pointing out that it had been written by men. This in turn opened a door to talk a little with him, but then mostly to his co-worker – a young woman who says she believes that God is a force and who says that she can’t believe that the account of a talking serpent in the book of Genesis could be historical. At the end it all, I believe we were able to raise some good points and share a short synopsis of the gospel message. What a wonderful opportunity from the Lord. It is because people like these young folks that we have come to Uruguay – so that many may be called to believe on the Name of Jesus!

While we are blessed to be able to serve here in Uruguay, it does come with its own challenges. One challenge we face is in purchasing a vehicle. Until now we have functioned via buses and taxis, but that has proved challenging, especially as we become more integrated into life here. After much prayer and consideration, we have decided to pursue purchasing a used vehicle. Autos here sell for more than 2 or 3 times the cost than they do in the U.S. Because of that, we will need to raise additional funds. We have found a van we are interested in and are hoping to purchase it or another of similar size. We are asking the Lord to provide a total of $17,000 toward costs. Would you consider a special contribution toward this need?

Since this is a personal need, Mission to the World cannot process contributions toward it. Also, the contribution would NOT be tax deductible.

A gift may be entered online by visiting our GoFundMe campaign at this link: gofundme.com/2m98h7g.

Thank you for considering this need. We thank our Lord for your continued prayer and financial partnership in reaching Uruguay with the Gospel!

In Christ,

Ray and Michele Call

God and the Problem of Evil

Picture of a cross in MontevideoOur missionary teammates departed for furlough and left us their car to use until they return in 11 months. After having lived 13 months without a car, this gives us a chance to see what life is like for those in Uruguay who have a car. It also adds certain responsibilities like driving safely in a place where the rules seem crazy at times as well as taking care of regular maintenance like purchasing new tires. This was the task that I set out to do, not realizing at first that I would once again be in a taxi talking with the driver about the things of God.

It was a crazy morning. I had to arrive at the garage early to drop off the car, catch a taxi back home, pick up Michele, take her in a taxi to the hospital for a pregnancy checkup and then drop Michele home via taxi and take same taxi to the garage to pick up the car! Thankfully everything worked out smoothly and now we have four new tires and assurance that our baby’s heart continues to beat normally!

One unexpected encounter was with the first taxi driver, though God is sovereign and nothing is a surprise for him. As usually happens around here, people want to know why we are living as foreigners in a foreign land. I told him that I am a pastor and we are working here with the Church. This is the point where I get to share about what kind of church it is and where and when we meet (in case the driver wants to visit). After sharing that, I asked him if he went to church. His answer was not surprising, knowing that Uruguay is the most secular nation in the Americas: he does not attend church and has no interest in doing so.

“Really?” I said, “Do you believe in God?” That started a conversation which lasted all the way home about God and what is historically known as the problem of evil. The problem is usually put two ways: Continue reading God and the Problem of Evil