Bridges to Over There
28 Jan 2008
See that villa over there? It is the most dangerous in the area. DO NOT drive through here at night! Not even the edge like we are now. I sometimes hesitate to go through in the daytime. If you dont live there, you must stay away.
High-rise offices and apartment buildings, fast moving traffic, busy people a description of many places throughout the world and so it is in the capital city of Argentina.
But, in metropolitan Buenos Aires, in the shadow of indifference to religious teachings, a new movement is underway. In some of the districts known as villas that make up a large part of this mega city of 13 million, people are discovering Hay Vida en Jesϊs, There is Life in Jesus.
Each of the 47 villas that form the patchwork quilt of identities making up Buenos Aires has its own character. Some are the home of the rich and famous while others are part of an industrial district or consist of retail outlets. Some have a soccer stadium others have cobblestone pavements. Some live in beautiful homes or apartments others live in squalor. The contrast between the economic levels of those who reside in these communities is evident throughout the city. It is commonplace to see a very poor district in the midst of affluent high-rise apartments. Residents from the poor villas are easily seen as they scavenge through the throwaways in these affluent areas. Horse carts share the same streets as automobiles and busses.
Many of these villas pose no unusual concern for personal safety. Others are very dangerous. Visitors entering these areas risk not only robbery their lives are at risk as well. Gangs of young people patrol the streets providing some measure of protection for the residents but they will not hesitate to steal from visitors. Kidnappings are common. Police seldom enter the area.
In their struggle to survive, people from outside metropolitan Buenos Aires have come here in the hopes of finding employment. Immigrants from other countries also come here. Some of these villas are located within walking distance of large churches but, for the most part, little evangelical presence can be found.
The inhabitants are fiercely loyal and protective of one another and outsiders are not welcome. Those who are already accepted and known by the local residents are key to sharing the Gospel. They are the only ones who are allowed access to the people who live behind the barriers of suspicion, hatred, and fear. They are the ones that must serve as bridges to over there.
Pastor Pablo, leader of the congregation in Villa Celina is one of the bridges to over there. He knows the Villa Lugano district well. Even though the church building is located in a relatively safe area of the villas, an ever-present reminder of poverty and danger is only a short distance from their door. Pastor Pablos vision is that some day a church will be located in the heart of the perilous area of Villa Lugano and these people will come to know that there is a new life in Jesus for them too.
In the midst of poverty that can be seen and felt, the residents of Villa Lugano have the same cares and concerns as those living elsewhere. For better or worse, the family unit remains a very real presence in areas like Villa Lugano. The problems stemming from alcohol and drug abuse eat away at the very core of the family structure. Through apathy and hopelessness, kids are often allowed to roam without limits.
The older children can be found at an improvised soccer field. The soccer field is a common meeting place for all and provides a momentary escape from the harsh realities of Villa Lugano. Homemade soccer fields can be found in just about every free space of land or vacant lot.
Out of desperation to improve their economic position, many residents of Lugano as well as thousands of other residents of the mega city of Buenos Aires play the national lottery. In addition to the lottery, many put their faith and money into a variety of superstitious beliefs with the hope that by some strange twist of fate their problems and desperation will be solved.
On the way out of Buenos Aires, the high-rise buildings melt away, clean, shiny cars disappear, people wait patiently for a bus ride to the big city, shopping centers have lost their glitter and streets have turned to mud.
There are no high-rise apartments here in Villa La Ferrere. Instead, the homes are small, masonry buildings. Most have a water tank perched on the roof.
The bars on the doors and windows provide some security for the residents. The school is protected by high walls and guarded steel doors. Inside the school compound the children and teachers are safe to play and study. They are also eager to pose for the camera..
Bridges to La Ferrere and other similar neighborhoods are under construction. Pastor Tito and the Tapiales church, along with the Metro Team, are actively training leaders to reach these communities with the Gospel and to eventually plant churches.
In the back of the church auditorium at Tapiales, a large poster depicts their mission outreach program, a chart highlights the cell group progress, and another chart lists the cell group leadership. The emphasis of the congregation is hearing studying and doing the will of God.
Aurora Mendoza, a leader in the Tapiales church, meets weekly with a group committed to this church planting process. Aurora explains what needs to be done to start a new work.
(Overlay: Go and Share)
(On camera Aurora)
First we go to them and share our testimony with them.
(Overlay: Cell Groups)
She goes on to say If they want to know more, we ask them to visit a small group a cell group meeting in a home.
The hosts of the cell group will also invite their friends and neighbors to attend.
These small groups are where we can build relationships. This is important because we want to win souls to Jesus. In this friendly atmosphere, we can study the Bible together.
As the cell groups grow, and have 40-50 attending regularly, it is then time to form a new church.
****Pause here in narration
(Overlay: New Church)
This group is in the process of locating a place to rent as they form a new church.
Workers are needed to help evangelize these basically unreached areas.
(Overlay: Be a Bridge Builder)
You can be a part of the Bridge Building process.
(Overlay: Pray for Safety)
You can pray for the safety of those that go over there.
(Overlay: Bible Distribution)
You can help with Bible Distribution projects.
(Overlay: Childrens Ministries)
You can be involved in Childrens Ministries.
If you are interested in the construction project of building bridges to over there, contact the Metro Team for more information at
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