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– Perspective –
Time Not Wasted
By Roger Blevins & Justin Grinstead
Roger Blevins, South America Director for BIMI, interviewed first-term
missionary to Argentina Justin Grinstead. They explored the idea of the mission
call, deputation, language school, and cultural adaptation during the first term.
Roger: Justin, where are you from and when
were you saved?
Justin: I am from Chilhowie, Virginia, and I
accepted Christ as my Savior when I was five
Roger: You must have grown up in a Christian
home and attended church regularly, correct?
Justin: Yes, that is correct. Nearly all my family
are saved, and we all attended the same church.
My parents taught Children’s church.
Roger: When did you first feel the Lord
might be calling you to be a missionary?
Justin: My first mission trip, when I was 15
years old, was with my grandfather to Alaska,
where we helped build a church. That trip
was eye-opening because I saw the work of
missions up close. We stayed with a missionary
family who had two boys near my own age.
I returned home, thinking that I could do
something like that with my life and wanting to
do just that. The following year at church camp,
I answered the call to preach and surrendered
to be a missionary.
Roger: Where did you meet your wife, April,
and did she know from the beginning that
you were open to a call to the mission field?
Justin: I met April at The Crown Bible College.
April grew up as a missionary kid in Canada.
Early in our relationship, we spoke about our
love for missions, but neither of us felt the
specific call to missions at that time. Prior to that,
I had spent much time thinking about where
God might guide me someday and wanting to
know every detail about His plan. By the time
I met April, I had come to the realization that
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Number 1, 2020
God was going to lead me one step at a time, and
I had finally yielded to His timing.
Roger: When did you know for sure that the
Lord was calling you into missions and did
you know then that it was Argentina?
Justin: I had been the pastor of South Webster
Baptist Church in Ohio for six years when God
made his calling clear. At that time, Argentina
was the first and most fervent desire in my heart.
I prayerfully considered other countries and
continents, but God continually brought my
heart back to Argentina. Nearly a year before
that you came to our church and presented
a Bible project to Argentina. I remember the
shock of learning how few missionaries and
Bible-preaching churches were in a modern
place like Argentina. Little did I know that it
was just the beginning of God moving in my
heart. Roger: Deputation is a challenging time for
missionaries. How do you feel about your
time of deputation as you look back on it
from the field? What do you think was the
most important lesson you learned from
your deputation experience?
Justin: Deputation was a growing and a
separating process that exposed individual
strengths and weaknesses of which we were
previously unaware. If we had simply decided
to go to Argentina and skip deputation, we
would not have been prepared. Deputation
is similar to an incubator—by the time God
provides your support, you have matured
emotionally and spiritually and you have had
time to deal with the idea of leaving home and
family. The most important lesson I learned
from deputation was meeting face-to-face
with the Christians who give
sacrificially so we can serve God in
Argentina. This is very humbling.
If we simply received anonymous
support every month, it would be
easy to take for granted. It is also
encouraging to know that when I
send a prayer letter, the people I
shook hands with will be reading
it and praying for me.
Roger: Where did you go to
language school, how long were
you there, and do you feel that
your time in language school was
Justin: We went to The Spanish
Language Institute in San José,
Costa Rica, for one year. This
school is specifically designed to
teach Spanish to new missionaries.
Our time in language school was
definitely well spent. I could never
have imagined how much there
is to learn in another language.
You go into it with the mistaken
idea that you simply need to learn
Spanish vocabulary and substitute
Spanish words for English words.
Learning the language is difficult
but essential. Even after language
school and nearly two years on the
field, we are still learning.
Roger: We have heard that mis-
sionaries commit some “bloop-
ers” when they begin speaking
a new language. Share briefly
about one of yours.
Justin: Which one should I choose? There have been so
many! Once I was preaching and tried to say that Christians
are pilgrims. The word for pilgrim is peregrino, but instead, I
said that Christians are pinguinos or penguins!
Roger: How have your children adjusted to life in
Argentina? Justin: Our children are adjusting well. In many ways, they
are able to capture the hearts of the people better than we
can. The Lord has sent many different people into their lives
to play important roles: their friends, their music teachers,
and others. Our children are able to use their instruments
regularly in our church services. This has given each of them
a heart and a desire for the ministry.
Roger: Justin, would you please summarize your thoughts
as you reflect on having completed a year of language
school in Costa Rica and almost two years on the field in
Argentina? Justin: Nothing could have prepared me for the shock of life,
operating in a different language. Now that we are living in
our field of service, we are putting into practice
what we learned in language school. We are slowly
progressing and have spoken to each other often
how difficult it would
have been if we had not
prepared ourselves through
time spent on deputation
and in language school. If
time spent in preparation
is never wasted,
then it could be
argued that time