What is the presbytery meeting? It is a meeting of regional leadership to do the business of the church. Voting members of presbytery are composed of the teaching elders (pastors) who hold their credentials and membership in the presbytery as well as the ruling elders who are sent by their churches are representatives. At presbytery meeting “presbyters” (the participating elders) give and hear important reports relating the ministries of the presbytery and their churches, deal with church discipline, examine candidates for gospel ministry, and deal with other important matters. Many also gather for times of worship, prayer, and fellowship as part of the meetings.
Most Presbyterian denominations distinguish between teaching and ruling elders but would emphasize that they are both part of the same office: that of elder. In other words, there is a parity of authority that inheres in the office – both teaching and ruling elders exercise governance over a local church. In addition to parity, there is a plurality within the leadership of the church. Biblically speaking, a local church ought to have more than one elder (preferably several) forming a governing body called a session. The session gives oversight to the church, is nominated and elected by the members, and is responsible for shepherding and caring for the spiritual needs of the flock.
This newly released infographic explains the mission, vision, values, and norms of our missions agency, MTW (Mission to the World), which is the missions agency of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Please pray for the spread of the message of the gospel to every people group, tongue, tribe, and nation and that God will call many to salvation in Christ and that the Lord will build His Church for His glory!
Every Lord’s Day we have the privilege of going out to Orange Walk Town to worship the Lord with faithful saints from Faith Presbyterian Church! This is our second worship service of the day since we also serve another church in the morning.
Faith Presbyterian also has a school ministry which shares the same property. New Life Presbyterian School provides a quality, Christ-centered education for preschool and primary children in Orange Walk.
The musicians from our church in San Pablo graciously serve helping with music in both the morning there as well as helping to transport equipment and lead worship music in the afternoon in Orange Walk.
It is a blessing for Ray to be able to lead worship and to preach from God’s Word each Sunday at Faith Presbyterian Church! And God has opened doors for Michele to teach the children Bible lessons along with one of the women from our morning church. Please be praying for the congregation there. This is a church which has been around for a while but has had its ups and downs. God is doing a new work there as Christ is exalted and we are praying for church revitalization and for God to open the doors to reach out more to the surrounding community. There is a core of committed believers who desire to worship our Triune God and who wish to see a vibrant Reformed and Presbyterian church proclaiming the light of the Lord Jesus and baptizing and discipling men, women and children from all backgrounds (Matt. 28:18-20).
Does God answer prayer? Absolutely, yes, as both the Bible and our experience tells us. We know from history that serious prayer often or possibly always precedes great revivals. In the Old Testament Daniel was even led to pray and fast as he saw the date approaching for the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy–God had promised to bring the people of Israel back to their land after 70 years, and even this promised event was carried out on the prayers of faithful Daniel.
We are longing to see a great work of the Holy Spirit in our ministry and to that end, we believe that prayer is the vital ingredient. Ray and I first committed to praying together each morning back in 2011, when we came to the end of ourselves in the ministry. We saw experientially that we can accomplish nothing apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. But it wasn’t until 2018 that we actually developed a system for our intercessory prayer. Although we prayed with passion each morning, the reality was that some important matters slipped our minds, and other prayers became repetitive. Not only that, many answers to prayer that we received went unnoticed because we had forgotten what we had prayed for and in the process we lost the opportunity to thank God and strengthen our faith.
So we began using a system, and as we’ve used it these past two years, we would not want to go back. Our prayers are more focused and deeper and we love getting to write down the answers to many of them. I am going to describe what we do in this blog post, in hopes that it might inspire you, our reader, in your own prayer life.
The Call family spent most of the month of July packing up, getting things ready to ship to our new ministry in Belize, selling furniture, saying goodbye to friends, sightseeing, and doing ministry.
The first week was really sad because we will miss this great nation of Uruguay and it is always hard to say goodbye. But we threw ourselves into the work, while seeking the Lord at the same time. As the month went on, we learned how to give thanks to God for our time ministering there and for all the fruit that God produced through the ministry of the Word.
God gave Ray the opportunity to preach at our church plant in Montevideo – Iglesia Presbiteriana Salvos por Gracia. It was a blessing to gather together with God’s people there once again! Michele was able to spend time with friends and leaders not only in the Presbyterian churches, but in the evangelical churches at large – other godly women who love the Lord and are serving Him in various ways.
We were pleased to hear that God is raising up leadership for the church plant as they announced their first elder candidate. He and some other men in the church have begun an online radio program, which carries quality content as well as a radio show where they deal with important passages in the Bible. Ray was interviewed and also gave a short devotional.
This trip was also a temporary reuniting with our dog Canela! She is a Boxer and we have had her since she was a very small puppy about four years ago. It was a sad goodbye as we adopted her to a nice family living on a farm out in the country. We hope to see pictures and videos of her enjoying farm life!
As we said goodbye to friends and brothers and sisters in Christ, we
also said goodbye to the city. What a beautiful city it is. We spent a
whole day downtown – mostly in Plaza Independencia and the old part of
the city called Ciudad Vieja. Aside from visiting a museum, walking the
streets, and buying souvenirs, we had a delicious lunch at Mercado del
Puerto – plaza with several indoor and outdoor parillas (grilled meat restaurants). Most of the family ordered the Uruguayan national dish: chivito.
This is a dish with a cut of filet mignon usually piled with lettuce,
tomato, egg, bacon, ham, and possibly other ingredients! The two options
are usually on a plate or in sandwich form. Ray opted for the grilled
lamb – all meat is grilled over embers from an open wood fire.
the Lord bless this city and may its inhabitants, as well as all the
people of Uruguay! And may they all hear the Good News of the Lord Jesus
Christ and be reconciled to God by grace alone, through faith alone, in
What is it like to be a Christian missionary in the most secular country in the Americas? Uruguay is unusual in Latin America for its level of secularism, as the Pew Research Center explains here and here. It isn’t just the most secular country in Latin America, it is strikingly more secular than any other country in the region. Many think that is because Uruguay is following in the footsteps of Spain, but in fact as this article in Spanish describes, Uruguay has a much higher percentage of atheists and those who are religiously unaffiliated than Spain or many other European countries. And although Argentina is the close cousin culturally of Uruguay, the religious landscape between the two nations are quite distinct. Continue reading Baptism and New Membership in a Dry and Parched Land→