Sunday, April 8, 2012

Holy week 2012

It’s Easter! Christ, the Lord, is risen today!! Alleluia! 

This has been a week to remember, or forget (!), as it was a very busy week of more training and acclimating for the Claytons. Our heads were full of information to “download” and decisions to make with our possessions, as we prepare to move back home to the States.  Beyond the work duties here, practically speaking, we needed to eat the food in our fridge and pantry, box up things to be stored, wash and pack clothing, and pass along the things that can be used by others in our absence.  No Spanish lessons are scheduled this week, as the seminary in Costa Rica is having Spring Break, but we’ll continue with those after we get settled at home!
 This week too, it was difficult – but necessary – to say good-bye to Neo, our “foster cat”, to send him to his next temporary home until Cindy can return to Argentina. That should be in about 4 months. (We started to miss him right away!) We’re praying for Cindy as she waits for cancer surgery and reconstruction scheduled for April 16. We plan to see her in a few weeks when we’re in Kansas City.

Thursday, we were dismissed from work at noon and had made plans with the Claytons to go out to eat that evening. They had not yet experienced Siga La Vaca (a restaurant name meaning “Follow the Cow”!) – I think you can imagine what they serve!  The Claytons wanted to treat us, as thanks for our training and feeding them and showing them around Pilar. The guys had done some research on buses and the name of the area and we had no trouble finding our way.  We were early though (silly Americans), and had to wait until 8 p.m. for the restaurant to open! Once it did, though, we were shown to a table, and pointed to the parilla (grill) to begin choosing our grilled meat from the 3 asadors (grillers). I think we each had at least 2 servings of the carne (meat) offerings, then tried out the massive salad bar – what a variety!!  AND, dessert was included, so we just HAD to try something sweet!  My flan was delicious and I think Dan enjoyed his Volcan (molten lava cake) too!  By the time we waddled out, the restaurant was very busy!

Good Friday is a national holiday and we got to sleep in a little, then started some laundry and caught the bus up to the seminary to see Ireneo, the techie guy there, to deliver a borrowed adapter. It was good to see him and his wife and son for a few minutes before they were ready to leave on vacation to Bolivia to visit their families. And, since we were almost to the Las Palmas shopping center, we thought we’d enjoy strolling there without a specific agenda for a change!  We did have fun window shopping and even treated ourselves to coffee at Starbucks before returning home on the bus for a late lunch.  

Much of Friday afternoon was spent on Skype with Lori Bruce, our Missouri District Missions President.  We talked and strategized for about an hour, then recorded an interview to be shown at the District Assembly in early June. (We were asked to speak in person, but we’ll be traveling home from our oldest granddaughter’s high school graduation!)  Dan will spend some time editing the recording before he sends it off!  

I think the best part of Friday was the Easter musical drama being performed by our church folks at a community teatro (theater) in Pilar. The use of the theater had been donated by the owner – what a blessing!  And all of us were encouraged to ask friends to attend, especially people who don’t attend church and might not be willing to attend something in a church. It was so fun to see our church friends performing the Easter story from a gaucho (Argentine cowboy) perspective, as if it had taken place here in Argentina!  Dan took lots of photos and some video, all posted on Facebook to share with our friends and with the actors.  They are also included as a slide show here on the blog. They all did a great job!

Anna helping baptise her brother Joel.

Saturday, Anna Melva Chavez and her brother Joel came over for breakfast. (We’ve known her since Third Wave in South Africa in 2007.)  Anna is the part-time assistant to the pastor at our Iglesia and she’s a pastor herself.  She continues to be involved in the JNI (Spanish Nazarene Youth ministry) as the president for all Argentina. She recently recovered from major surgery that removed a benign tumor from her stomach! Anna had cornered us a few days before, saying that she was coming over, that we had to spend some time together before we left. So when we agreed on Saturday morning, I baked a quiche and they brought some pastries from Los Medialunas del Abuelo (Grandpa’s Medialunas) bakery. We ate and talked, and ate and talked some more. How good it was to connect with her and to gather insights from her about youth ministry in South America!  We’ll see Ana at a youth event this summer, as she leads the Argentine JNI representatives to the regional youth congress in Cali, Columbia.

Packed Easter Service
Baptism Candidates
Sunday - What a beautiful and memorable Easter service there was at Iglesia Nazareno Altos de Pilar!! I think we knew all the music and could sing along. After the music, fourteen people were baptized, including the pastor’s daughter, our friend Christian’s daughter, and Joel Chavez! A short testimony was projected for each of them and it was definitely inspiring!

After the service, we had a good conversation with Pastor Hernan, telling him how we appreciate his good leadership there. He even called us up specially to have us help distribute communion - wow!  He thanked us for our service in Argentina, and said our Spanish was much better and that he's 41 and it's hard for him to learn English! We had a good laugh when we told him how old each of us is and said, "No excuse!" Our Spanish should be even more improved when we return if we can truly spend a month or so in Costa Rica with immersion language classes as we return here! Another funny part of the conversation: we said we would return si Dios quiere (if God wants). And he said to say it this way, "Sí, Dios quiere!" (Yes, God wants!)

After church, with the Claytons, we enjoyed canelones verdura (spinach-filled pasta with tomato sauce) for lunch at a little parilla (grill) called El Cabaña near the church and seminary, then returned to the compound on our last bus ride for a while!

We’ve spent a good deal of this afternoon sorting things to lend, things to give away, and things to store. The Claytons came over to take some of those things – and they’ll get more tomorrow!  Then Carlos just knocked on our door and delivered a plate of empanadas from his wife Noemi, to help us with food through this time – my favorite Argentine food!  They’re truly good friends, in addition to being good jefes (bosses)!

In less than 24 hours, we’ll be waiting at the airport for our flight!  Back to sorting and packing… :D

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