Thursday, August 22, 2013

Post by Olivia and Elias

Olivia's Section:  This trip has been fun but any time you travel with several little kids and a baby it can get hard. They usually need help buckling, eating, passing things, entertaining and more.  The nice thing is that Mommy and Daddy don't mind that much about how much time it takes us so we go to rest stops where we can run off our energy.

Sea lions
There have been many things to see and do along the way.  We liked seeing the wales, sea lions (with their babies), and a few guanacos.  There was a missionary down here that knew of a dinosaur museum with lots of dinosaur fossils and petrified eggs which have been found all through the Patagonia.  We also got to see some petrified dinosaur eggs which our Grammy (Karen De Leon) found many years ago.  That was really neat!

Us kids looking at the sea lions
Last night, we arrived very late and got some food and went to bed.  I got to sleep between Sofia and Lucia - that was fun!  Some of the time it was a giggle party.  This morning, I was the last one up (I was very tired!).  After breakfast, we heard Argentine Folklore music playing from the little park across the street from where we are staying.  A little later, Daddy took us to the park to play while Mommy finished cooking lunch.

Alright, I better let Elias have his turn!  Good bye for now.  I miss all of you very much!!  - Olivia

At the dinosaur museum in Trelew
Elias' Section:  Hi!  This is Elias. We are going on a looooooooooonnnnnnng trip and on the way, Mommy took us to buy souvenir with our own money.  I bought a blue wooden boat which I plan to put in my bedroom.  They also had a yellow one and a black one which I did not buy because I like blue if there is no other boyly color.
Lucia holding a stuffed baby penguin at the Ecocenter
Mommy and Daddy took us to the beach in Puerto Madryn.  I enjoyed collecting soooooooooooooooo many sea shells.  I asked Uncle Grady Milstead how to make them not stink.  He said to put bleach water in a bowl and put your sea shells in there (Mommy said I can't do this without her help).  After that, you put them out in the sun and let them dry.  Then I asked him why he has salt in the bottom of his and he said it was so that they would look like they had a seashore under them.
We went to an ecocenter and we saw lots of interesting stuff.  The funniest part was getting to walk through a hallway full of hanging ropes that symbolized the gills inside the whale.  I better let Mommy hold Emilia.  Good bye!  I love you all!  - Elias

White Knuckle Driving

We're in Cipolletti (Province of Rio Negro)!  It was a long day of hard driving.  The people at the gas station at 'Choelle-Choel" were saying that the gusts of wind were reaching between 43-50 mph.  Eric said his hands were cramping from holding the steering wheel so tightly!  We have several interesting pictures to share with you as you 'journey' with us.  Please pray for us tomorrow as we meet with a leader.  Thank you!
Kristi working on a post for the blog while on the road...

Kristi driving during a 'brown out' of sand/dirt today on the road to Cipolletti

Women's bathroom at the service station...bidet included!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pastor Ordination

Here are some pictures of the kids and their new friends they made the evening of the Pastor Ordination Service. 
Sitting in the back row of the church

Sofia and Lucia making friends

Elias and his friend "Gabe"
Sofia and Lucia with their friend, Naiara

Sight Seeing

We’ve enjoyed a few field trips scattered throughout our trip to the Patagonia.  We’ve been able to go to a dinosaur museum in Trelew, an Aquatic Ecocenter in Puerto Madryn, and the beaches where we were able to see the whales (Playa Doradillo) and to the ‘Puerto Piramides’ on the Peninsula Valdes where we saw the seals.  Kristi and the kids have had a few excursions to the beach to collect sea shells also.  It has been neat to let the kids learn more about the Patagonia and it’s flora and fauna.
Playa Doradillo

Southern Right Whales


Kristi and kids at the Trelew dinosaur museum

Southern Right Whale


Monday, August 19, 2013

More Pictures Than Words...

Eric driving with argentina ma-te
Hi!  Oh how we’ve wanted to post an update over the past several days.  Late nights, no Wi-Fi, and busy days have prevented it.  We’ve covered 1,900 km thus far.  Until you drive in the Patagonia (and we’re not even half way into it), you really don’t understand just how vast it is!

Tero bird in Bahia Blanca
We left Buenos Aires and drove all day (still in the province of B.A.) arriving late that night into the city of Bahia Blanca.  This is one of the cities we have been counseled to consider as we pray about where to move.  We only stayed one night but explored the city a little.  The next morning, we left and drove all the way to Puerto Madryn (province of Chubut).  The most interesting thing was being stopped at each police check-point and asked if all these kids were indeed ours.  At one check-point, they made us give them all the kid’s documents so they could verify that they were ours.

Rest-Stop at Rio Colorado

Once arriving into Puerto Madryn and checking into the hostel where we’d be staying, we met all the pastors at the church for the pastor’s retreat.  We were very well received.  It was very emotional to hear the pastors talk about Kristi’s parents and the work they did many years ago as well as the work Grady and Claire have continued.
Rio Colorado rest-stop

The kids and I didn’t stay for all the meetings.  We spent some time at the beach, collecting sea shells and enduring the wind.  We also did some driving around exploring the area.  Eric had a great time listening to the work that God is doing in the different cities and regions.  It seems that the recurring themes and statements were the common problems each church is facing, that the Patagonia is a forgotten area in terms of ministry, and that the distances are so vast.  There was a sense community, all united by these common threads.  Eric was asked to bring the devotional Saturday morning (by ‘devotional,’ they really mean message).  We were also able to give out the little gifts we had made for all the pastors.
A common sight: virgin Mary and saint shrines on the side of the road

Loooooonnnnnngg Trips of the Patagonia

Saturday (after finding a little place that could repair my phone after it fell into the mud), during the long break, we were able to make the ‘trek’ to Playa Doradillo to see the whales.  It was amazing to see them so close!  That night, we went to the special service of ordination for one of the pastors.  The kids endured the 3 hour service without losing it (thank you, Lord!) and we enjoyed a meal with all the brethren of roasted leg of cow served in sort of a pita type bread.  It was delicious.  Our kids tried to make several friends using their Spanish.  They really are learning more and more.  We are so proud of them.

Sunday, we went to Trelew (province of Chubut) to have lunch with our teammates, Grady and 
Grady and Claire Milstead - our teammates!

Claire Milstead.  It was like going home.  They let us use their washer and dryer and served us a delicious ‘asado’ (Argentine grill).  We had a great time of fellowhip and listened to all the advice and wisdom they shared with us.  One of the first things Grady did when we got there was to take the kids to the back yard and show them the fossils my mom (Kristi’s mom – Karen De Leon) had found years ago when they first moved to the Patagonia.  Our time meeting with the Milsteads was so profitable that we decided to stay in the area another day so we could meet again.

Monday, we used the day to do a little sight-seeing.  We drove to the “Peninsula Valdez” to see the seals and sea lions (the sea lions were not there yet).  It was a beautiful drive!  We also went to an Ecocenter to learn more about the Southern Right Whale, the Orca, and other aquatic mammals of the region.  The kids were able to use their money to buy some little souvenirs and we ended the day enjoying some delicious “Pizza a la Piedra.” 

Today, we are heading back to Trelew to meet with Grady and Claire.  We have more questions for them.  We also have more dirty clothes!  We will go with them to a Dinosaur Museum and then share leftovers with them at their house.

So far, our plan is to leave tomorrow and drive north-west to Cipolletti (Rio Negro) to meet with a brother who was here at the pastor’s retreat.  We were very well received by the pastors and their families.  Many of them spoke so highly of Richard and Karen and the work they did many years ago.  Several of them invited us to come visit them and see the work.  In talking with Grady and Claire and listening to their insights and experience, it seemed good to go to Cipolletti to meet with this brother and talk with him about the work and seek his wisdom and advice.  He asked us to stay until Sunday and wants to take us around to the different “obras” (works) that are going on in the area.

Emilia is happy to be out of her carseat

At the Puerto Madryn beach




Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Organized Chaos

We are getting ready to head to the Patagonia.  We have all our bags packed, our water bottles ready, our car equipment, our blankets, our food, etc...pretty much everything 'but the kitchen sink.'  It is always our intention to travel light (chuckle) but it never seems to happen.
Anyway, the Lord opened the door for our family to travel to Puerto Madryn (province of Chubut), where there is a Patagonia Pastor's Retreat and a Pastor Ordination service.  It will be a great time to get to know many of the pastor's that work and live in the vast area of the Patagonia.  We will also get to see our team-members that live down south.  Team members?  Yes!  More about that later.
Eric was asked to share a devotional Saturday morning.  Arrangements were made for our family to stay in a hostel owned by one of the church members.  We are grateful that there is a private bathroom in the bedroom!  That is a blessing. 
We have made small gifts to hand out to the pastors (we had lots of pictures but I can't get them uploaded at the moment) and pray these will be a blessing to them.  There is so much more to share but not the time.  Hopefully we will post some while on the trip.  Perhaps we will get to see the whales, sea elephants and sea lions at the "Peninsula Valdes."  Kristi's parents say that it isn't uncommon to see Guanaco and rabbit out in the flat lands of the Patagonia.  So...who knows!  Please pray for safety as we travel. 
It would take 17 hours of driving to get to our destination (without stops).  So, we plan on driving 8 hours to "Bahia Blanca" and spending the night there.  Then, we will drive the rest of the way into Puerto Madryn and find a place to stay (one night) until we can check into the Hostel Maranata

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Feliz Dia Del Niño! (Well, NOT UNTIL THE 18th)

Kids drinking 'mate' (a traditional Argentine tea) out of a grapefruit "cup"
Today (oops!) August 18th  is "Children's Day" in Argentina.  Most children receive a small gift or a little treat on this day.  In celebration of this day, we decided to start a new 'page' called Kid's Corner.  Please visit this page and check out the downloadable coloring calendar pages we've posted with fun facts about Argentina. 

We are grateful to the Lord for our children.  The Scriptures teach us that children are a heritage from the Lord, a blessing, the crown of the aged, and that they are like arrows! 

Thank you for praying for us!  Thank you to all the children who lift up our family in prayer!

Emilia at 2 1/2 months

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Download, Save, and Print!!!

We are trying a new thing on our blog.  We have created a day-by-day prayer calendar for the month of August.  You can view the link under the "Prayer Needs" tab of our blog.  Once you've signed-in to your google account (or created one) You should be able to download, save, and print this calendar and keep it accessible so that you can pray for the needs listed on a daily basis.  (Thank you Aunt Margie and Jennifer D. for finding the glitches with downloading the document!  Thanks for pointing them out to us so we could fix them!!!!)

Thank you for praying!!