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The last day of August was the 165th day of quarantine here in Argentina. We have now been in quarantine longer than there are days left to Christmas. However what at the beginning seemed such an inconvenience to our original plans for the year, we are now able to look back and see how the Lord was working through it all. So many things that we have started and focused on during this time of social distancing and isolating, as they call it here, we would have not done otherwise.
Just in the month of August we not only continued to send out daily audio messages and weekly YouTube livestreams, we also started podcasting around the middle of the month and our listening audience has grown.
Our Children’s Education
We’ve also been able to work with the kids on their homeschool lessons which with the additional time this year they’ve been able to go further than they might have if their attention had been divided with extracurricular activities. They are focusing on getting ahead in their lessons so that when the country starts opening again it will be easier to keep up when things get back to a new normal.
Family Devotionals in Spanish
While on the subject of kids’ education, this month we added presenting our evening family devotionals in Spanish every other week. We already had each of us taking turns giving devotionals in English to help our children prepare for one day possibly being Sunday School teachers but we also want them to be equally prepared to minister here should they ever be asked to teach or speak in Spanish.
LAMB Seminary in Columbia
Scott was blessed with the invitation to bring a few virtual lessons through Zoom for the Latin America Missionary Baptist Seminary in Columbia. We are thankful for the opportunity and are looking forward to seeing what doors the Lord may open in the future.
Please pray for our Stateside children. We are so glad that we are able to stay in touch with them through all the craziness they have had to face in the new normal of 2020. It’s hard being so far away through the transitions that the year has thrown at them. However God has been faithful and they are doing well. When you pray for us please lift Joshua and Ruth up as well. It’s hard parenting from a distance but we know God’s grace can lead and guide them even better than we can during these times.
Today is Day 133 of Quarantine
By the title of this report, you would think that it came from a Science fiction book. Here in Argentina we had just begun the 12 phase reopening process. Most people don’t actually know what phase we are actually in. I believe that we are somewhere between phase 3 and 4 but now several places in the country have returned back to phase 1 and they are discussing it here in our city.
Here in Argentina, their Independence Day is the 9th of July. On the fourth I baked a US flag cake with a full 50 piles of coconut sprinkles for the stars! I sent out the pictures of our cake and family celebration with my daily audio message.
We had a very good reaction from the Argentine people. They really appreciated us sharing some of our culture with them. They were really excited when I made an Argentina flag cake on the 9th and sent the pictures with my sermon. I used an egg for the sun in the middle of the flag. Please pray for us as we continue to build relationships even during lockdown.
Don’t go near the grass!
Last weekend, we took the kids out for a walk hoping to let them have some time to run around a little bit. We walked 8 blocks (the furthest that we had walked from the house in over 4 months!) to a grassy area. When we arrived, there were police guarding the grassy, vacant, open area and playground. The area was deemed off limits by the authorities.
Live Streaming and Increasing the Quality of the Videos going out
Before last month we were sending out a daily audio message and at least two prerecorded videos. This last month we began live streaming and using a green screen. Recording videos and audios have never felt like a natural thing for us to do.
It has been said that to become a master at any given thing, that it takes about 10,000 hours of practise. We are well on our way with over 800 hours of “Practice” over the last 4 months. We have put a lot of work this last month into learning to put together good quality videos. Please continue to pray for us that we are able to streamline the whole process as we plan to continue putting out audios and videos after the quarantine lifts and that we are able to have in-person meetings as well.
We are praying for you all!
Our hearts are saddend whenever we hear about friends in the US who are struggling hard with infection. We are continuing to keep you all in prayer and are so thankful for your love and prayers for us and for the work being done in Argentina.
Today is day 103 of Mandatory Quarantine
As of writing this report we have passed 100 days of quarantine. People here like to change the name in Spanish from “cuarentena” to “cuareterna”, basically saying that the quarantine seems “eternal”. We know that eventually this chapter will end and the Lord will open the doors to meet in person again.
“Thank you for the daily messages!”
We have been thankful to be able to send out a daily message by Whatsapp each day. Thankfully each month we are able to add more individuals to our list to receive a daily message. We don’t get feedback from everyone on the list, but there are three or four that regularly send back a message thanking us for sending out the messages. Like all things in our lives, we may not realize our full impact from our preaching until we are in glory. Pray for us as we continue to send out daily!
The children take turns bringing the nightly devotionals each week. Every night before bed we have a family devotional and prayer time.
Contemplating what life will be like after the quarantine
One of the first things that we will need to get taken care of after the quarantine lifts is renewing our visa paperwork. Please pray for us that all of this goes smoothly. While we don’t know what everything will be like after the quarantine lifts, we know that God has been at work throughout the quarantine and look forward to His plans going forward. The last that we heard from the government here was that the quarantine would extend at least until the middle of July as long as there are no more developments. We will take everything one day at a time.
Thoughts from Stacie
Hope of Beginning a New Normal: So far the number of Covid-19 cases here in Argentina have been very low and we’re beginning to see some hope of the quarantine ending. Many businesses have reopened this month and we have begun to see a little hope of a new normal.
Homeschool focus: One benefit to this time during quarantine is being able to focus fully on our children’s education without distractions.We would love to be able to interact more with the culture and become more involved in ministering together as a family and that will come again soon. But right now we can only focus on what God has currently in front of us. The children are growing and learning quickly.
Distance Parenting: It’s hard to have grown children what seems a whole world away from us. Joshua and Ruth are doing well but it’s easy as a parent to be a little concerned for them as we watch the news and see all the things happening back home in the United States. While I must focus on the children who are still at home, I find myself constantly thinking about our grown children as well. When you pray for us, please pray for our grown children also. We can’t be there with them but I know God is there and can watch over them better than I ever could.
70 Days so far in Mandatory Quarantine
As of the day of writing this report, we have completed 70 days of manditory quarantine. While we have been under quarantine, the kids have continued their homeschooling during the day. I have continued preparing and putting out materials and using technology to connect to individuals. We are allowed to leave the house for groceries and medical supplies. During those times we continue to have discussions with individuals.
“Thank You for the Bible!”
Was the response the next day after we had gifted a Bible to one of the people on our daily audio message list. You would be amazed how many homes that go to some type of church that do not own a Bible. Another person this month had requested 5 Bibles to read together with his family. Please pray for them. Before the quarantine I had felt led to buy several Bibles that were on sale downtown. I am so glad that we did, as we have been able to get out a lot of materials this month.
More People Added to the List to Receive a Daily Bible Message
At the beginning of the quarantine we began sending out an audio message each day to 5 individuals and three WhatsApp groups. As of right now we are sending out to the same three groups as well as 36 individuals. Please pray that the Lord will give me the right words to send out each day.
Video Messages on YouTube
|One of the problems that we have had on Wednesday nights is that several of the people that we normally meet with do not have good stable internet. That group is not able to receive the videos because of their internet. What we have been doing for Sunday and Wednesday is to record both video and audio. They have been enjoying the daily audio messages and the ones that can access the videos have been using those resources.|
Birthday in Quarantine
We had celebrated 2 birthdays in quarantine last month and had another one this month. At the end of the month our daughter Elisabeth turned eight years old. The kids have found many creative ways to make presents for their siblings.
Sharing Jesus with Delivery Drivers
Since we are not allowed to get out we have been bringing people to us. There were two delivery drivers about a week ago that both were given a book of Romans with the plan of Salvation. I mention them because of the positive reaction that they gave when I gave it to them. Not everyone receives the message as openly. Please pray for them!
Gospel of John with the Plan of Salvation
A little over a year ago I began a project to combine a beautiful presentation of the Gospel with the complete text of the Gospel of John with the next steps of discipleship included in the last third of the the book. It is freely available on our website. If you know any Spanish speaking people, please make sure that they get a copy. It is free! After the quarantine is lifted, we want to find a good price on mass printing of this book to be able to pass out. If there are any questions about the book or its contents, please email me.
Our Spanish Website
Thank you for your prayers and support!
Two Years in Argentina
Another Month in Mandatory Quarantine
So how do you write a report for a month that feels like a year. April saw us still in quarantine here in Argentina but we didn’t slow down we just changed our methods. Scott has continued to send out a daily message to our ever growing list of friends and followers here. Whenever he goes out to buy groceries he takes the opportunity to talk to the employees of the stores and let’s them know about the messages he sends out to a list of friends. So far the reception has been very positive.
Open Doors in Spite of Closed Doors
Open Doors in Spite of Closed Doors
One perfect example of an open door was when Scott went to one store that an agnostic friend owns. The daughter of the store owner was working that day when Scott told her about the encouraging messages he sends out daily. He asked her if he could talk to her father to see if he would like to be on the list of recipients. She was adamant that he would not want to listen to anything Christian since he’s agnostic. But Scott got his number anyway and told her he would still like to ask him. We were a little surprised but happy when he agreed whole heartedly that he would certainly like to receive the messages Scott sends out.
We praise the Lord for all those who are willing to hear the Word of God and we pray that each one that hears will come to know the Lord as their personal Savior through the preaching of His word.
Online Bible Meetings
Besides these daily messages we also have been continuing the Wednesday night Bible Study with the group that normally meets at Marcelo’s house. Only now we’ve been having to experiment with ways to meet electronically. So far we’ve tried WhatsApp and Zoom. You can view those recorded meetings on our YouTube channel “Profundizando En La Palabra.”
If you want to see a list of all the Bible Studies audio and video that we’ve been sharing during this time you can view the list on our Spanish Website at profundizandoenlapalabra.org.
The above pictures are of the various online Bible Studies we’ve had and the last picture is of the Pastors’ Monthly Prayer Meeting which we originally planned to host in our home this month. We plan to invite them to our home again at some point when the quarantine has lifted.
Good News from a Friend
Another praise is our friend, Hugo, that Scott had been having Bible studies with before the quarantine, called Scott through his mother’s phone. That truly was a blessing to our hearts as we had no way to communicate with him before his call and no way to know how he and his family were doing. They are well but as with many the quarantine has hurt their business financially.
• Also during the month we continue to work on our language learning with 4 hours of classes through Zoom each week.
• Elisabeth and I continue taking violin lessons through WhatsApp.
• We as a family have also finished reading through the book of John together out loud in Spanish. We are now setting out to finish Matthew by the middle of May.
• Not getting to go outside has been hard but we try to make up for it with activities at home which we would probably not have started on what would have been our schedule this year. You can see pictures of some of those activities included in this report.
• Also this past month Hannah started back offering guitar lessons for her friend. Since they couldn’t meet in person for their lessons Hannah offered to teach her online. Hannah did a video for her which can be seen on her YouTube channel.
• Jonathan has also been working on digital music recording and we’ve been posting his videos on YouTube as well. Here are some links to our various YouTube channels:
Our Spanish YouTube Channel – Profundizando en la Palabra: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL1srJ8XWa1QVzKXu9Q5clA
Scott Maness’ YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/psalm34vs3
Anastacia Maness’ YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/asmile4ever
Hannah Maness’ YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNUDyDxWM0mOy4DcGinkNUQ
So during this time of mandatory staying at home we are still keeping busy and reaching out in every way possible. We can only imagine the doors the Lord will open as soon as the quarantine ends. Please pray for those we are in communication with that the doors will continue to open.
Our annual family Easter Pictures. Our annual family Easter Pictures. This year we used our phones to include Joshua and Ruth in the pictures.
A month ago when we wrote our February report we had no idea how different our lives would look in March. At the beginning of March schools were starting back after summer break. There were long lines of parents taking their children to their first day of school.
The hospital ministry had just started back up and Scott went with another brother to preach at the hospital. Scott also attended the monthly pastors’ prayer meeting. We were still having Bible Study at Marcelo’s house and Scott still met with Hugo at the plaza for their weekly Bible Study.
We were still going to language school and discussing world events. We were still house hunting. Basically we were all living life as usual. At that point the pandemic seemed far away on the other side of the planet from us.
Many of the area churches announced they were canceling services until further notice because of the worldwide pandemic and the call for social distancing.
We still met at Marcelo’s for our weekly Wednesday night Bible Study and we tried out a new schedule giving an extra hour at the beginning of the normal Bible Study for me to teach the children’s Bible lesson. Everything went well and even with the extra precautions we took to not spread germs everyone had a wonderful time.
The very next day, March 19th, was Elijah’s Birthday and the government announced a nationwide mandatory quarantine starting at midnight. Scott and I went out and bought necessary supplies for the next couple of weeks. We never imagined this happening.
So how are we doing with the current change of plans?
Honestly we are doing pretty well. Probably one of the hardest parts is watching from a distance as our friends and family there in the United States are affected in harder ways than we are. (At least we still have toilet paper in the stores here.)
We are continuing to meet online with our language instructor each week to keep up our Spanish progress. Elisabeth and I are also having our violin class virtually. The other children’s music and band classes were canceled but they are practicing at home.
We homeschool anyway so the kids are continuing in their education. We try to take breaks. We don’t have a yard but we do have a walled in section on our roof where the kids can play and get fresh air. We also have a small balcony where Scott and I can retreat for a little break from kids.
We are allowed to leave the house for groceries and Scott takes care of that for us. Scott also records a daily devotional in Spanish which you can find on his Spanish website profundizandoenlapalabra.org
Our big Birthday party plans for Hannah’s 15th Birthday had to be changed. Hannah’s heart had been set on a big birthday party sharing a little bit of Texas culture with all her friends here in Argentina. We weren’t able to do that party as originally planned due to the quarantine but she enjoyed all the videos and phone calls from so many of her friends here and in the United States. Thank you to all our friends that took time out of your day to wish Hannah a Happy Birthday.
The kids played hymns before the Children’s Bible Lesson the last Wednesday Night before the quarantine was announced.
One on One Discipleship
Each Tuesday evening Hugo and I have met for coffee and Bible discussion. We have been spending about two and a half hours together answering questions and discussing current life struggles and God’s solutions. Each time we open the Bible God’s simple plan of salvation is presented. The book of Matthew has been our guide for basic discipleship with a current focus on the Sermon on the mount.
Asked to Teach for Three Days on Marriage and Family
We had been asked to help with a three day camp meeting and teach. We were asked to teach each morning on marriage and family. When we arrived, we found ourselves teaching not married adults but single kids. We adapted each lesson for their personal needs and everything went very well. It was a great blessing to be able to have several discussions throughout the weekend. I brought the morning lessons and brother Oscar brought the evening lessons. There was a lot of time put into the lessons before the camp preparing materials to help a troubled marriage, which the Lord has been using not only at the camp with the adapted lessons but with a few individuals that we know and talk to that have major problems in their marriages. Please pray for the many people that we have opportunities to speak with on a daily basis.
Stacie has begun teaching a Bible Story in Spanish before the sermon each Wednesday!
The Lord put on Stacie’s heart to offer something for all of the kids that have been coming on Wednesday evening to the Bible study at Marcelo’s house. She has been printing off a Bible story and taking it to her language coach for suggestions on grammar and usage. She has been doing an amazing job sharing with the kids!
Looking for a House to Rent Closer to the Plaza
Our rental agreement will end at the end of May so we have been diligently looking for a place to rent that would be big enough for our family and also to have Bible studies.
Planning a Party
One part of the Argentine culture is the quinceañera. Picture planning a wedding. Hannah will turn 15 next month and we are planning on having a party for her in this tradition without breaking ourselves or the bank. We are planning on having a party with a Texas theme and sharing the Gospel with all that come. Please pray for us.
Thoughts from Stacie
Tranquilo: That’s my word for the year. It translates as “Tranquil, Peaceful, Calm, Quiet, Relaxed…” Basically my goal for this year is to keep the stress levels down. Any time I realize stress is building I go back to that word, “Tranquilo.” Usually I pick words based on what I know I will need during a given year for me one word is so much easier to remember than lists of goals.
Teaching: As Scott mentioned I started teaching a childen’s Bible Lesson each week to the children that come the the Bible Study on Wednesday nights. I noticed that sometimes children from the neighborhood would just pop in to see what was going on and then leave. They weren’t getting much from the preaching as they would typically leave shortly after the song service ended. This month I started reading a short Bible Story after the singing and I share the gospel with them at the end of each lesson. We also pass out coloring pages from the story for them to take home. These lessons help me gain experience teaching in Spanish and introduces the children to God’s Word at the same time.
Homeschool: Also this month as our schedules change from the summer break we decided to revamp our homeschooling. The month of February I had the kids testing for the Alpha-Omega Homeschool Curriculum. This new curriculum looks like it will be a good fit for us. Please pray for us as we try to adjust to these transitions “tranquilly.”
Above are Photos of Hymnals that Scott prepared for Praise and Worship Services.
Translated the cover reads:
“Hymnal of Praise”
“Thou art worthy, O Lord,
to receive glory and honor and power:
for thou hast created all things,
and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Monday, February 19, 2018 our children presented the program for the Hopewell Association Youth Rally hosted by Mt. Sylvia Missionary Baptist Church. Below is the video of them playing music and answering questions from the audience.
Many of the friends we have made while on deputation we got to see again at our association of churches messenger meeting.
There were a lot of sweet babies at the meeting this year. I wish I thought to take a picture of all the strollers lined up by the wall where we sat.
We spent most of our time at the meeting attending our booth. The bracelets we passed out were a big hit.
It truly was a week!