Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Lost" in Buenos Aires

How do you share Christ with an atheist?  This is the challenge we faced last weekend when our family went to a nearby "feria" (open-air weekend market).  After the lady commented on the number of children we had, she stated that she herself had nine kids.  We began to talk about how children are blessings from the Lord.  Immediately, her tone changed and she began to tell us how useless religion is, how prayer means nothing and how people who follow after "a god" are, well, foolish.  We began to ask her some questions and try to share about our faith in, and relationship with the Lord Jesus only to be interrupted, lectured, and laughed at.

Recoleta Cemetary - Buenos Aires (photo from Bing: '')
This isn't the first time this has happened since our arrival.  People simply seem to be...apathetic, un-interested in anything spiritual.  Well, except for the belief and faith in humanism, in self-actualization, in the environment, and in "causes" that worship mankind.  Does this sound familiar?

We still have a lot to learn about Argentina.   Is this a trend that has been in the making for many years?  Is this mainly characteristic of the larger urban settings?  The fact of the matter is we are here to help train and mobilize the local Argentine church to reach their people.  This task is like 'waking the spiritually dead.'  How will they do it?  What will it take?

Undoubtedly, this is a huge task!  However, we serve an awesome God.  In the coming weeks and months, as we meet and visit with local pastors and national believers, pray that we would have listening ears and learning hearts as we dialogue with them about the huge task before us.

As many of you know, we are coming from having been in a Muslim culture where every conversation was peppered with religious speech and where faith was at the center of their culture.  Somehow, since we've been here, it has reminded us of Europe where the general populous is totally indifferent to religion and faith.  We would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on how to more effectively share Christ with a post-modern, godless person.  Is your church planted among this kind of culture?  How is your church reaching the community?  Please share what God lays on your heart.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Happy Birthday Kristi!! March 10th

We have had a couple of semi-busy days filled with getting groceries (meaning multiple trips by foot to little local grocers and stores), getting our cell phones set up, un-packing (which isn't even half done), and meeting with new (and old) friends.  We can't seem to go out of our apartment without meeting someone who remembers Eric's parents or Kristi's parents.  We continue to be thankful for the many friends and colleagues who have offered to help us with anything we need.  We've had lots of questions and undoubtedly will have many more.  Since our arrival, while two of our girls are getting over their strep, another one started with the symptoms and fever yesterday.  What can we say, we're a sharing family!

Lord willing we will begin paperwork tomorrow towards obtaining our visas and other necessary documents.  This can be a lengthy and involved process.  We appreciate you praying specifically for people of peace along the way and for opportunities to share the good news of Christ.

Easter is coming up...we've already seen the little Argentine signs of Easter - the chocolate covered (surprised filled) eggs for children.  The Catholics who come by your door asking for donations toward the commemoration of Christ's death.  This is a country filled with beautiful, loving people who are lost and have no hope.  The economy is bad.  Politics are bad.  Everything seems hopeless.  Yet, we have a Story to tell to the Nations.  What better time to do this than during this time of celebrating our Savior's resurrection!

In closing, we'd like to share a few pictures of the last few days...including some from Kristi's birthday.  Thanks for stopping by!

Right below our apartment, is the Mission's Offices.  This is the entryway (with a cute little neighbor standing in front)

For those of you who used to live here...remember these pictures?

Dinner, in the conference room, with another family

We're going through the water!  Thanks to some dear colleagues  we are setting up a Katadyn water filter today.  That will save us money AND trips to the store!

From our balcony - this is the Baptist Seminary
Down our street at night!

Opening cards for Kristi's birthday

A special gift: a mate thermos
Early morning fun with drawing boards

Notice how this package got opened before we could even take a picture!
We tried a Terma taste that was new for us: Red Grapefruit!
And, notice the soda bottle with spout - now in plastic bottles!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

God is Good!

Now that's a lot of luggage!
After landing in Ezeiza International Airport this morning, making our way through passport control, and trying to find some help so we could get ALL our luggage through customs...we were greeted by some wonderful people with whom we will be working here in Argentina.  They graciously helped us get all the heavy luggage to the cars, get us to our apartment  and unloaded the luggage for us.  Once in the apartment  we realized just how much people have done to bless us and prepare for our arrival.  Meals were ready, in the fridge, snacks were ready for munching, and there was a good variety of fresh fruit to choose from as well.  We were so grateful to have these items waiting on us!  Our colleges have planned to bring us meals or have us in their homes enough to cover the first several days worth of dinners.
All our beds were made and everything was in place and ready for us to crash and rest!
Our friends made sure we had a good supply of some basic foods to get us by the first few days.  For those of you who've lived here: check out the "zucaritas" (Argentine Frosted Flakes).

Of course, after a 'siesta' time, we all agreed to send Daddy out for some goodies.  Eric went to buy some bottled water and find a place where we could get fresh "empanadas" and "medialunas."  Both of these foods are delicious in Argentina.  Needless to say, we had a nice afternoon "merienda" or tea-time with the kids.  

We'll be honest, some of the kids have been asking the typical transition questions like, "I'm just ready to get to Argentina!" (Not realizing that this is it).  Or, "Mommy, can we just go home now?"  Also, "Mommy, I know they're speaking Spanish but they're talking way too fast!"  So, in order to keep them talking through it all and sharing what they see/feel/think about it all, we've put together some questions we ask around the dinner table or on other occasions   It is special to see this experience "through their eyes" and to remember what it was like for each of us as children adapting to this culture.  It is also interesting to think of how our parents did it many years ago...except without internet, without vonage, without cell phones, etc.  We remember when it would take almost 3 weeks sometimes to get a letter from the States.  Wow!  We are blessed!  Anyway, enjoy some of these pictures.
Have you ever seen a toilet flusher button like this?
Here's a close -up...for Eric and I this was normal until we got  to the States many years ago...but we had forgotten about it until this morning.  It had us all laughing!

Ahhh...memories of overseas living: dust everywhere...for those of us who love to go barefoot, our feet were black within just a few hours.  We'll definitely need to mop but I get the funny feeling that, just like living in North Africa, it will be black with dust again before we know it!  Here, Lucia is looking "in amazement" at the black stuff on her feet.
Tired after the long trip

And finally...milk in a bag!  Something we had forgotten about!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

We're IN Argentina!!!!!

Wow!  Praise the Lord!  It is still hard to believe that we landed in Buenos Aires this morning.  We had generally good flights (except for the fact that two of our kids came down with strep the day before leaving Arkansas -  we were grateful for a good pediatrician who caught it and gave us the meds we needed in order to make the trip).  Oh, and all our luggage made it (all 16 pieces!).  The only thing that got broken was our double stroller...but hopefully we can get another one soon.    Here are a few pictures we captured along the way, (on the first flight or in the airport).  As always, thank you for your prayers.  We will soon be posting other fun pictures of interesting things Eric and I are re-discovering...those things you tend to forget but that when you see them again they make you milk in a bag!