Monday, November 7, 2016

GPTS Alumnus Now Ministering in Uruguay

By Markus Jeromin

Having previously ministered for close to seven years in an Orthodox Presbyterian Church mission work in Manistee, Mich., we are rejoicing this year over being called to shine the light of Christ in the South American nation of Uruguay.
What is this mission field like? 
Challenging, when viewed from a human perspective! 
Uruguay is the most secular nation in South America. It is also the most heavily influenced by Europe, tracing all of its ancestry there. Not surprisingly, a godless and post-Christian culture prevails. Atheism, paganism and spiritualism created a spiritual vacuum which, sadly, several of the major North American cults, along with charlatan, health-and-wealth, prosperity-gospel pseudo-evangelical preachers and organizations, quickly filled. The evangelical presence is weak, and there are only four Reformed and Presbyterian congregations in this nation of 3.5 million. There are no other Reformed works that we know of.
About eight years ago our denomination responded to a challenge to “come over and help.” Today the OPC mission consists of an ecumenical team of two long-term missionary families — one from the OPC and one from the Presbyterian Church in Ameria (PCA), planting a word-focused, normal means-of-grace congregation in the capital city. They are also working on forming the nation’s first Presbyterian and Reformed denomination.
The brand-new “Iglesia Presbiteriana Evangélica de Montevideo” is situated in the capital city, where over half of the nation’s residents and nearly all its universities and intellectual centers reside. We have been assisting with this work in 2016 while the long-term OPC missionary family is on furlough.
The OPC’s first and former mission station, and the largest of the nation’s four Presbyterian congregations, is situated in Rivera, about halfway across Uruguay’s border with Brazil. A second, roughly 6-year-old church plant is also in Montevideo, slightly across town from our church plant. Pastored by a missionary from the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, it hosted Montevideo’s third annual Reformed theology conference this past October. This congregation cares for a daughter church in the city of Mercedes, which is situated on Uruguay’s border with Argentina. Praise God with us that another missionary from the Presbyterian Church of Brazil plans to move to Mercedes soon in order to help this group.
Montevideo is a modern city where all of the conveniences of life, even for the gluten-intolerant, can be obtained with some effort. The cost of living here is similar to that of the United States, except for manufactured and especially imported goods which are much more expensive.
Markus and Sharon Ruth Jeromin and their 'four angels'
Upon arriving here, we quickly became “the curio of the neighborhood,” as we live in an area that rarely sees foreigners move in, let alone folks who can barely speak Spanish! Our children have been dubbed “the four angels from heaven” because of their blond hair, and are given candy and other gifts by our retiree-neighbors. It has not been difficult to make friends, and we’ve developed some solid relationships with unbelievers, both in the neighborhood and through outreaches such as the free conversational English classes I have been offering to the public. 
Our son plays on a soccer team and our two older daughters are in a ballet group. If we stay longer we will enroll them in a Christian school where they will learn Spanish rapidly. We’ve all enjoyed weekly one-on-one Spanish tutoring, and I have been meeting with a neighborhood friend who serves as my language-exchange partner.
Another year-long furlough is on the horizon for this OPC mission. It is a bit more than a year and a half away, and this time it will be the other long-term family’s turn. The two families, the Mark Richline family (OPC) and the Ray Call family (PCA) strongly desire for us to stay on here. For these reasons we feel that God is calling us to try to continue on here as OPC Missionary Associates through the end of the Calls’ furlough, summer of 2019, pending approvals from our Presbytery and our denominational foreign missions committee.
We continue to be thankful for the opportunity to be involved in the spread of Christ’s kingdom, amazed that our Lord should use weak and broken vessels such as ourselves to spread His gospel!
If you would like to consider partnering with us through your faithful prayers and, where possible, financial support, please contact me. We anticipate still needing to raise about $50,000 for the coming year, and in a very short period of time. (We need to make our decision whether to continue here by December 15.) I would be very happy to spend some minutes with you by Skype, phone or email to give you a better idea of our vision and need. 

Contact: Email Phone 209-589-1810.