Monday, February 28, 2011

Last day

So it's been two months since my last post, and it's been a crazy two months. My team has been all over the place ministering, preaching, evangelizing, leading worship, performing skits, and doing everything else under the sun to make his name known. We went through Sierre Grande, Rio Colorado, Choelle Choell, Lamarque, Viedma, Dolovan, Playa Union, and Rawson. We also spent two weeks at the base in Puerta Madryn working with teenagers from all over the country, helping them to deepen their relationships with God. But these past two months have been incredible. I've experienced an amazing amount of growth in so many areas, in my relationship with God, in my relationship with my team, with my Spanish, with my knowledge of the bible. I've stepped out of my comfort zone so many times that I'm not even sure what my comfort zone is anymore. I've learned a ton about this people and this culture and I've grown to love them so much.

So I'm just going to cover a few highlights of the outreach. I was really excited because I got to preach three times, and lead two work shops which was awesome for me. I had to use a translator because even though I can speak in Spanish, I really sound like a five year old when I talk, but even so I had a lot of opportunities in evangelism to talk to people one on one and we were really able to go deep. On one occasion there was a drunk man who claimed that me and my team were the dwarfs of God and insisted that he saw us when he was working in the mines. We still aren't sure what he meant. But he was definitely not the only drunk we ran into, we had encounters with them so frequently that Philip once said to me "Matthew, why is that people can always find us when they're drunk like this, it's like they know where we are."

On a few occasions I was called a Yankee (pronounced shankee in the Argentine accent). I found that there are a good number of people who do not like Americans, and insist that we should not call ourselves Americans because Argentinians are Americans too since they live in South America. I had to stand and listen to a lot of people talk about why my country is terrible, and I couldn't fight back since I was really there to try and present the Gospel to them, so God worked a lot on my patience.

For the first time in my life I was able to preach to a very firm Muslim. He was a man from Sinagal, of which there are many who come here to sell merchandise on the beaches. So we talked to him and let him talk to us about his faith and beliefs and we asked him a lot of questions and by the end of the conversation we could tell that he was thinking a lot about what we were saying, but experienced missionaries have said for a long time that the only way to convert true Muslims for them to see the way you live your life. But it was an incredible experience and a completely different way of evangelizing.

Truthfully there are too many stories to try and talk about all of them here but finally the time has come for me to go home and share what I've learned with my church an the people in my city. I'm two days journey away from my family and friends and it's exciting but sad. I know that I'm going to come back to this place because God has so much work for me to do, but I'll miss it while I'm gone.

                                                                                                                  Mark 16:15   
                                                                                                                 -Matt Hursh

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Roots and the Foundation

So this week  has been really good for growth. Our classes were about service and pride, which I felt like I was fairly strong in both of those areas seeing as I love to serve, and I have a lot of pride, and then they taught me that pride is not a good thing so now my life is flipped upside down. But honestly I felt like I was handling my pride pretty well until I talked to one of my disciplers, Gabby, on Tuesday night about an issue that I had had with another student. After talking it over he told me how I need to pray about no keeping things to myself and when I have issues with some one I need to find a constructive way to talk it over with them, but if I keep it inside I'll end up being extremely critical of the person. So I took his advice and that night as I was going to sleep I prayed for God to test me in this area of pride. His response was immediate.

So the next morning we all knew that we were going to the work site all day to help build the base and pour the foundation for the directors house. Originally we had planned on everyone waking up at 6:30 instead of 7:00 so that we'd be ready on time, but the leaders decided to just have everyone wake up at 7:00 instead, and they told everyone, or so we thought. But at 6:30 in the morning one of the leaders Dawelky woke us up at 6:30, so I told him what the other leaders had said, but he was sure that I was wrong because no one had told him, so after that he went to the kitchen to finish making breakfast. So my friend David asked if we were really supposed to get up or not and I responded "No, he's wrong, he always gets confused, just go back to sleep." Within a few minutes I started realizing that that might be a little prideful, so I decided to get up and go talk to him again in the kitchen. So after I re-explained myself he still thought I was wrong, so I said "fine" and I went back in the room and got everyone else up.

Now at 7:00 David and I went to the kitchen to get breakfast and when we did Dawelky apologized and explained to us that we had been right but when the leaders decided to change the time he had been in town and they forgot to inform him. So we accepted his apology and at the end of the ay we only really lost twenty minutes of sleep anyway.

So as I prayed about everything God had been doing in that half hour of the morning he started revealing to me that if I had decided to be prideful and not listen to my leader it would have just caused trouble for me and we wouldn't have figured out what the real problem was, but since I had decided to walk in obedience and talk to my leader we found the real source of the issue which was just a lack of communication. And when I thought bout all of this I realized I was ready to rebel against my leader just to get twenty minutes of sleep, so then I began to wonder what have been my other twenty minutes of sleep in life. God dug deep and didn't just show me my pride, but he began to show me the root of it, and I'm extremely thankful.

Aside from this lesson, this week was pretty tough because Lucas, volunteer from Michigan left to go home. So we spent half the we all spent half the week hanging out eating fracturas and joking around, and then on Thursday the base threw him a little going away party. But right before the party Lucas got me and the other two Americans to come outside where he had a box of sweets (including peanut butter), some gifts, and a letter for each of us. So again we sat around eating fracturas, and telling jokes, but then we reminisced about the three months here. At the end of the night Lucas gave me his Spanish/English bible to help me learn more Spanish, and I was blown away.

It was crazy how close we had all gotten in just three months, especially since Lucas wasn't even in the classes with us, but it became clear to me that it wasn't about how much time we'd all had together, but what was more important was the quality of time. We ate together, prayed together, talked about God, our families, our homes, and we even had a thirty minute conversation about how chic-fil-a  is the greatest fast food restaurant in America. I'm realizing that I'm going to end up missing all of these guys a lot, especially in a week when we split up and go on outreach. It's kind of hard because we've all left our own families, but we've found that we have a much bigger family, and when I'm done here I'' be able to say I have family all over the world. It's kind of insane.

So this will probably be my last update from Puerta Madryn and I don't know what the internet situation will be like during my outreach. But I'll constantly be praying for everyone at home, I'll especially be praying for fellowship and unity in the body of Christ. God bless.  

                                                                                                -Prov. 27:17
                                                                                                -Matt Hursh

Sunday, December 12, 2010


As some of you may remember in my last blog I posted about a three day fast that we had about a month ago, well guess what... we had another one! Two people in the base received words from God about another three day fast and it was announced without them even talking to each other. And the focus of this fast was about renewal and faith. For the first few days we focused all on renewal of our minds and on putting off everything that was hindering us from going deeper in our spiritual walk with God, and putting on the things of God (Ephesians 4:22-24), but the last day was all about praying with expectancy. We focused on the scripture in 1 Kings 14:42-44 and we split into seven groups each to pray for a specific thing that we feel God has in store for us in the next year and we prayed seven times throughout the day believing the God is faithful to his people and that he will provide. It was a really good time for deeping my own prayer life and sharing in the community of my brothers and sisters.

In addition to all of that this week has been a lot of fun with us starting to decorate the base for Christmas, celebrating the 17th anniversary of our directors, and I got to be on the student lead worship team on Saturday, which made me realize how much I miss playing my bass. We also had Wednesday off because our base was sponsoring the womens day of faith in Puerta Madryn  in which 80 women attended. It was a day for Prayer, Workshops, and Fellowship, for most, but for David, Miguel, Paul, and Myself, it was a day of digging a giant whole at our new property. My hands are torn up but we had a lot of fun and we were able to dig a hole for the bathrooms of the future staff houses about 1 meter deep and 2 meters wide.

Aside from all the work and all the fasting all of us students have been preparing for our outreach and I'm getting extremely excited. Preaching the Gospel all day everyday sounds extremely good to me. We'll be leaving the day after Christmas and returning at the end of February. So, I just can't wait.

                                                                               Hebrews 11:1
                                                                                -Matt Hursh 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Three days fast

So it's been about three weeks since I've last posted but they've been pretty good. We had a really intense class called inner healing and the plumb line. This class was all about looking into ourselves and our own personalities and trying to clean out all of the junk and sins that we've been carrying around for years, needless to say it was a lot of work for everyone. To help us in the class the entire base had a three day fast which I was kind of dreading, but after we started  God did a ton of work in my life, and destroyed a lot of barriers that I had and at the end of the three days he spoke clearly to me and confirmed the work that he has for me.

On top of all of that stuff we've been gearing up for our outreach. We've been divided into two teams: Team Peru, and Team Argentina. I'm on Team Argentina with Moises and Genesis from Ecuador, Philip and Selina from Ghana, Lillian from Brazil, and Carol and Gabby from Argentina. I will be the only American and the only person with English as a first language so it will be a lot of time fore spiritual and linguistic growth. We'll be doing a lot of work in northern Argentina with a lot of different churches and cities and for two weeks we'll come back to Puerta Madryn to help with Movida Madryn, which is an effort to get the youth in this city to think of Christianity outside of the church and start putting their faith into action.I'm really excited for this time.

In the midst of all of this me and the other Americans, Charlie and David, and our Venezuelan friend Pablo, got to the base pretty late one night so our consequence was that we couldn't leave the base on the next weekend which happened to be right after thanksgiving. So we decided the only thing we could do was to have a Thanksgiving dinner at the base while everyone else was in town. And I must say Pablo didn't know much about thanksgiving before but he loves it now. We were able to have 2 kilos of fried potatoes, bread with dolce con leche, a cake, and a big chicken leg for each of us with juice for about $10 US dollars all together. A lot of food, not a lot of money, and a lot of fellowship spent cooking, eating and, cleaning together, I think we turned our consequence into a pretty good day.

I'm looking forward to the outreach, but I'm also looking forward to coming home afterward and doing more work with the churches in Norwood. I would love to see the city be on fire with the Holy Spirit, and I feel like God is giving me a lot of ideas, but as our volunteer from Michigan, Lucas says "We have to stop talking about what we're going to do and start doing it." I think I'm ready to take that challenge. 

                                                                            Ephesians 4:22-24
                                                                              -Matt Hursh

Sunday, November 14, 2010

All About The Gospel

So this week has been really cool for the sole fact that all the classes have been all about evangelism and The Gospel. We started off the week by having our director George teach all about false philosophies and the different atheist, agnostic, and deist principles. The class described their arguments and mentalities and then measured up what they were saying against the Bible. The class also discussed the importance of Truth and the different qualities of Truth, and the two qualities that stuck out to me where that Truth is simple, and it's practical.

Our next class was taught by Richard the British man who has a University background and years of mission experience and it was all about The Gospel, and his method of teaching was to read through Romans one verse at a time and talk about what Paul was talking to the Romans about. We hit on the topic of God's wrath and how if we can't accept that our God has wrath then we can't really accept that he's a God of grace, because his grace is shown in that while we were deserving of his wrath He provided his son as an offering, to take on our sins and suffer his wrath so that we could be absolved in his grace. I had never thought much about the wrathful aspect of God before, but I have to agree that for Christ to be our Savior he has to be saving us from something. He then went on to talk about how to truly have faith in Jesus as our Savior there is one thing we have to believe, and that is the resurrection, the ultimate sign from God that Jesus was his son. Richard explained how the entire Gospel hangs on this fact and then we talked about how to share this Gospel with others.

And as if that weren't enough God decided to throw in another great teaching of his own. As Gabby, David, and I were doing our evangelism in the seis treinta, which we do every week and so far I hadn't personally seen much interest in any of the people I'd talked to, we walked past three people sitting on some steps talking and Gabby asked if we should talk to them even though they weren't really on our route and we decided that the route didn't really matter so we went over and started to talk to them. Now our goal this month has been to raise awareness about the No Violence Against Women Month that is currently happening, the whole point is to talk about domestic violence which is abundant in the neighborhood where we're working, so we told them who we were and told them what we were doing and they didn't really seem to care very much, but they were friendly enough and one left but two of them, a guy and a pregnant girl, stayed and Gabby asked them if they believed in God and they said no they believed in destiny.

So right away the classes from that week clicked in my head that they fit the bill of what George called apathetic agnostics, people who believe in a superior reality but don't feel like there is any real way to connect to it. So we opened up more about what we believe and gave the general evangelist talk about how we believe in a God that created everything and loves everyone and showed that love through Christ, but they still didn't seem to interested and the girl talked about how she grew up catholic and went through all the rights and stuff but never felt God or saw him. So I explained how I was in the church for six years never really experiencing God but that when I really started to truly look for him and not for peoples approval or simple ritualistic prayers that he revealed himself to me. At this point I could tell that they were a little interested in the conversation but there was a lot of emphasis on the word little.

The guy started telling me how they had tons of people come to their door to tell them about a new God or a new faith especially the Mormons( They apparently were not big fans of the Mormons and told us that the Mormons stopped coming after they played them in a game of soccer and beat them pretty badly, and got their suits a little dirty), but they never saw too much to it. So I decided that being brutally honest was the only way we could get on level ground with these guys so I told them anyone can come up to you and tell you about a new God or new religion and explain why there religion is the only right one and that they have proof, but you'd be an idiot just to take their word for it. I continued to tell them that we didn't want them to take our word for it that Christ is king and that there is a God that loves them. I told them that we just want them to look at the possibility and ask God themselves if he's real and that we knew that if they looked for him they'd find him. At this point they were very interested and we kept talking. At one point we talked to them about the conscience and asked them what they think it is or where it comes from and we listened to their answers and we could identify that they believe every person has a conscience, animals do not, some people's conscience has been screwed up by things that have happened to them or where they grew up, but nevertheless everyone has one. So I told them that I think if you find the source of the conscience you'll find God. And we began to describe the Holy Spirit and they agreed that that sounded perfectly reasonable.

After that they both opened up a lot about their lives and we found out that they did not consider themselves to be a couple, but they were really good friends, and that they were having the baby together and that they lived together. They told us how they met and how they both lost all of their friends because they started choosing not to do drugs and not to drink because of their conscience, and now a lot of those friends are in jail, some are dead but they felt that their conscience protected them from that, so I made the connection that if this conscience does come from God isn't that proof that he loves you since he protected you from that pain and they agreed. We talked for a long time, probably close to an hour and as we talked I really was able to stop looking at them as poor kids from a terrible neighborhood but instead as children of God who are just lost. I remember at one point the guy said to us in spanish "You guys are different, everyone else just talks and talks, but you guys actually listen" and my response was "It's because we believe fully in a God of love, and we know that the Bible says that God created man in his own image, so that means you are created in the image of God, as much as I think we have to teach you I think you have just as much to teach us." He really seemed to like that part, these teenagers who were used to people talking to them all the time time and never talking with them found a lot of comfort in three strangers who thought they had something valuable to offer.

This experience left me with a lot of new views. I saw that in teaching The Gospel to non-believers that the turning point in the conversation is when we listened to what they had to say and found out where God was hiding in their lives underneath all the garbage of the world, underneath the years of rejection, and underneath all the lies of the enemy, and by seeing that we knew what God was doing in them already and what God wanted us to say to them at that point. They had God in their lives already, they just didn't know it was him. I also learned that anyone can make a good argument about anything and try and convince others to believe them, but it takes a lot of faith and courage to say this is what I know is true and I don't want you to take my word for it, but I  want you to look into the same questions and ask wit an open heart looking for the absolute Truth and I'm confident that you'll come to the same conclusion.  So after we prayed with them about their family and their baby that's due very soon we left those stairs with a brand new concept of evangelism, and an invitation to stop by their apartment anytime we're in the area. They didn't accept Jesus into their lives right there, but they accepted us and if we're doing our job right that means that Jesus is just a few steps away.

The Gospel is simple, and it's very practical God made us with the intent to live with us in a paradise he created, then we kicked him out of our lives, not the other way around, and we continued to kick him out of our lives but as our guilt increased and our just God's wrath built up he sent us his Son for two reasons, so we could see the true character of God, and so that God could poor out his wrath on his Son and pardon us from our own sin. And now he invites us to reconnect with him to live in him and let him live in us first here on Earth and then finally in heaven. It doesn't get any simpler than this.

                                                                        Romans 5:1-5
                                                                         -Matt Hursh

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Okay, it's been three weeks since my last post, but I promise it's because life here's been crazy busy. Since my last update we had a good week of classes about the Holy Spirit and about having a committed life to Christ. The classes were great, but what happened the next week was even better.

Two Saturdays ago our entire base left for Buenos Aires for the national YWAM Conference. When we arrived on Sunday we were met by about 500 other missionaries in YWAM. And this conference was meant to serve two purposes. 1: We celebrated 50 years of God working through YWAM to further his kingdom and 2: We wanted to discuss what work God still has for us to do in Argentina and what he's already doing through us. The conference was an incredible experience, we got to hear from the founders of YWAM, Loren and Darlene Cunningham, and we got to hear from a lot of other speakers who have spent their lives in missions and in relationship with God. I have to admit I was a  little put off at the beginning of the week, but by the end of the week God was teaching me things i hadn't even started to think about before the conference. I came home ready to hear more from God and he didn't disappoint me.

Our first class back from the conference was taught by Richard, a Englishman who somehow joined our team at the conference. I believe he's been one of the pioneers of YWAM in Argentina helping to get a lot of the bases off the ground. Nevertheless he's an extremely intelligent man of God who who a deep commitment towards having a personal and intimate relationship with God so that's what he taught his class on, and as he taught I started to really feel a lot of conviction towards my own relationship with Christ and I realized how much I'd been treating Jesus as a business partner and not a true friend and my King. So that class ended that night and for the next few days we had a guest speaker from Atlanta, Georgia, and her name is Romona. She's been with YWAM since the first school and is one of the leaders in the ministry. And wouldn't you know it her class was all about how to develop an intimate relationship with Jesus, and she didn't know about the class that Richard taught. So during this past week I've had some breakthroughs in this area and I feel like I'm finally able to just relax and be comfortable with God instead of always asking for something or focusing on work, but now I can truly enjoy his presence.

And for the final class God decided to show me a stumbling stone in my life that I had no idea I had. Our last class this week was about renouncing things of this world that hinder us from God, such as materials, money, friendships, family, or even ministries. The class wasn't talking about abandoning all of these things but making sure we prioritize them right. So at the end of the class we were asked to go to our rooms and grab something that we felt was distracting us from God. So I grabbed my iPod and I thought we'd pray for God to help us let go and that would be it. So the teacher tol us we're going to pray, and We're going to see who God wants us to give this too, and my heart sank. But the second we started praying I knew exactly what God was doing and I knew that he was right. So many times in my intimacy time with God I would listen to Christian music to make me feel closer to God, and what that was saying to God is that I'd rather have Christians talk to me about God than to hear from God myself and I knew I needed to let go, but even more incredible than that the day before the class even started I felt like God wanted me to give my iPod to this certain person, but I thought that he meant at the end of the trip and in my heart I didn't want to. But after I gave over my prized possession the person told me about how they had earnestly prayed the week before for an iPod, and they hadn't told me that. So while God was answering someones prayer he was helping me to grow at the same time. I was able to give up my prize possession and praise God at the same time.

Also the DTS that was on there outreach came back and so we've been able to meet new missionaries and hear about all the work God did on their outreach. The two students from that class had their graduation last. They talked about how much growth they've experienced during their entire DTS and it's shown me that even though I feel I've come a long way I believe that the path ahead of me is far longer and I'm more excited to keep going.

So over these past weeks I've definitely felt called more by God, and I've felt closer him. I've felt his Spirit moving and I keep feeling more inspired by his Word. It's been great to have these classes, and late night talks about faith, love, sin, God and all the other things that everyone's been learning about. It's so evident in a place like this that God speaks to us all differently, so I'm able to see others ways of expressing their faith and at times just by hearing others speak from their hearts I've realized where I've been totally wrong in my faith. God's definitely at work here, and it's exciting. God bless everyone.

                                                                                        Matt. 25:21
                                                                                      -Matt Hursh

Monday, October 18, 2010

Crazy week

This week has been so intense, first off I have found a church that I love. It´s a small church with about ten people in it so we already know everyone and the best part is when we finish the service at 9:00 we all walk next door to the pastors house and she cooks us a meal and we all eat and talk for hours. It has a true family feeling and the people from the church are already asking me if I´ll come back to Puerta Madryn after I´m done with my DTS. So I can definitely feel the love.

But what was really intense about this week was the classes. The whole week has been on the topic of deliverance. A big part of deliverance is talking about demons and some of the stories that the director was telling were just insane, if it had been anyone else saying it I would of thought that they were either lying or crazy, but I definitely believe a lot more in the power of the spiritual world now. But what was great about the class was that it´s more about the freedom that comes from deliverance, which by the way deliverance is renouncing the power of sin in your life and allowing Christ to give you the freedom that comes from submitting only to him it sounds a lot like baptism but it involves a lot more steps. The class has helped me to forgive other people, and it´s helped me to forgive myself for a lot of the things that I´ve been carrying around with me for a while.

I have no idea what the classes will be this week but I know our schedule is going to be tight because we have to leave this Saturday to go to Buenas Aires for a YWAM conference with all of the YWAM bases in the Southern region of South America, and we´ll have the oppurtunity to hear from the YWAM founders themselves, so it should be alot of fun. I´ll try to send an update from Buenas Aires when we get there next weekened.

                                                                                                        Genesis 4:7
                                                                                                       -Matt Hursh