J.C. and L.C. Quarles

After 20 years, masses of people in South America still seemed primarily unreached with the gospel. But brothers J.C. and L.C. Quarles had surrendered their lives to missions and did not intend to give up.

J.C. Quarles moved to Uruguay in 1911 and established the first Baptist work there. Just two years later, his brother, L.C., would join with his family. Working closely with Baptists in Argentina and Paraguay, the brothers served under discouraging circumstances and wrote newsletter articles often to encourage support of the work. J.C. wrote of the work: “The primary need, of course, is the plea of three nations as yet almost totally unevangelized. After 20 years of Baptist work, though we have made a very encouraging beginning, the masses of the people have hardly been touched.”

A primary need of the three nations — Paraguay, Uruguay and northern Argentina, which were collectively called the River Plate Region — was indigenous leaders. The brothers prayed for leaders to be called out from among the local people and focused their efforts on teaching and discipleship. By 1925, when L.C. wrote an article for the missions journal Home and Foreign Fields, they were seeing fruit of their efforts. “River Plate Baptists are growing rapidly,” wrote L.C. “There were 82 percent more baptisms in 1919 than in 1914 and 88 percent more in 1924 than in 1919.

“Our seminary recently graduated a most excellent group of young preachers,” L.C. continued. “Our native pastors are leading the churches forward.”

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