Thursday, April 14, 2016
As many of you know, the IMB (International Mission Board) has taken drastic measures to reduce the amount of personnel due to limited funds. After exploring all plausible options, they opted to lay out two phases that would allow personnel to voluntarily retire or resign. Our teammates took the early retirement option at the end of last year. In January, the IMB president, David Platt, presented "Phase Two" which included the "Hand Raising Opportunity" for any personnel that did not meet the age requirement for the retirement option.
David Platt has asked that ALL missionaries prayerfully consider whether or not they were to transition back to the USA or to another form of service. Our family was not only impacted by all these changes due to the loss of our team mates but also when we learned (February) that we would have to move to one of the selected mega cities the IMB would choose. There will no longer be room for rural/remote work unless it is directly working with unreached indigenous peoples. Even though we could have requested to move to Buenos Aires, we were also told that there was no guarantee that we would be able to live and serve there on a team. All the other missionaries serving in the interior of Argentina (and other south American countries) faced this same decision and the implications were pretty big. The hardest thing was trying to make a decision without any information on how things would be in the future. The "plan" was not yet decided on in terms of teams, roles, etc. So our decision was purely based on what we sensed the Lord leading us to do and not on information since there was a lack of details on which to base the decision.
The more we prayed about the situation at hand as well as the changes we were seeing unfold with the IMB, we felt it was the right time for us to transition back to the USA and resign from service with the IMB. We were appointed September, 2002 and have served in NAME as well as in South America. It has been a privilege and blessing and we are grateful for all we've learned and all we've been able to see the Lord doing. We knew that leaving would also allow for more people to serve with the IMB that might be better suited for the direction it is taking in the months to come.
God bless each of you for your faithfulness in praying for our family and reaching out to us through the years. Thank you for your giving toward missions. Thank you for your love and friendship.
Leaving Argentina was very hard for us but we are confident the Lord will continue His MIGHTY work in the Patagonia. We continue serving Him and are currently living in Palestine, TX. Eric is starting a part-time prison ministry work in several prisons close to Palestine. We look forward to how the Lord might choose to use our family here and thank you for your continued prayer for us.
God bless you!
Eric and Kristi Stanton
1) A second job for Eric to supplement the part time position working in the prison ministry. One of our neighbors, who happens to be a cabinet maker, mentioned the possibility of Eric working some with him. Those of you who know Eric, know how he loves carpentry work. He's excited about the possibility if this works out.
2) Smooth transitioning back to the US for our whole family. This was a BIG move in a SHORT time. We kind of feel the 'whip-lash' of the move now and are praying for God to help us settle.
3) For a home church. We're praying that God would lead our family to a fellowship where we can all be active and involved. We believe that once we find this, it will really help with the transition.
4) For God's name to continue to be glorified in Southern Argentina and beyond as individuals and families seek to live for Christ.
5) For a church to be planted in Dina Huapi, Rio Negro (Argentina)