Sunday, December 16, 2012


Week of December 3 - 9 , 2012
The spring weather here is turning blustery, raining in waves for entire days, then it turns hot. The mosquitos are showing up and they’re hungry! We saw just one firefly one evening…

Wednesday, the Internet was out. It’s then that we realize just how dependent we are! Evenings, I kept trying to bake – cookie dough, apple empanadas, but the oven just won’t stay on… re-lighting several times is just too fruitless! Carlos Camacho, one of the maintenance men, came over twice, finally tweaking the valve and thermal coupler, until the oven will stay lit. It runs really hot (we have an oven thermometer left to us by Thea when she returned to the States), so I’ve got to really pay attention when something is baking! When the internet returned Janet did some Christmas shopping online to get the kids and grandkids gift certificates.

We brought fewer clothes this year (in their place we’d packed work clothes, for the Work and Witness project, that we wore and left in Costa Rica), so our Saturday project was finding a couple of shirts for Dan. We were successful in a cute shop in downtown Pilar!

Sunday night’s service at Iglesia Altos del Pilar was an awesome production called “Sorpresa en el altillo” (Surprise in the Attic)! This church has a very dedicated bunch of young adults who work hard at their theater productions. They are all good actors and their dedication is evident in the quality of the plays. It was also an evening to honor the end of the Sunday School year and all who had completed their course of study. Two adult classes even got certificates for finishing their levels of Master’s Plan  Discipleship study. The best part for us is that we understand so much more of what’s happening this year!

Week of December 10 – 16, 2012
Tuesday was the Claytons’ last day in Argentina. We’ve been grateful for their presence and work since the end of March so we could return to the States for a few months. They’d been packing for several days, so we took them out for lunch at Babette, their favorite restaurant (but our first time there). The Plato del Dia (plate of the day, the “special”) was “creps” (chicken or ham and cheese crepes) and dessert was included! The meal was delicious, as was the lemon pie! After the meal, we returned the Claytons to their apartment at the Seminary to load up the boxes of stuff they had for us; some things were “inherited” from previous missionaries and some things we had loaned to them. We cleaned out their pantry and refrigerator too! Their ride to the airport was already scheduled and they’ll return to Arizona, via a few days with family in Texas.

Wednesday was Cindy’s birthday and we’d been invited to join her (and Dani, Seyda, and Anna Melva!) at Kansas – an upscale restaurant here with a great menu! On our way, Dan and I stopped at Freddo’s – an ice cream shop – to purchase a gift certificate for Cindy’s birthday, but were unsuccessful (I guess that idea was too North American), so we just tucked some cash into a card I made on the computer earlier. Seven o’clock turned into 8:30 (hey, we’re on Latin time) before we arrived at this busy and classy place, but we certainly enjoyed our shared cedar-plank salmon!

Work-wise, I’m doing some translation of articles from South American ministry events for the Communications department. It’s fun to turn a short article from Spanish, with the help of an online translator, to English, then polish up the English for American readers. Also for Communications, Dan did some voice-over narration and I did the translation of subtitles for a short film about Carlos and Noemi Fernandez, our friends and missionaries here! They are leaving soon for deputation (fund raising) in the US until April.

Iglesia del Nazareno
Nueve de Julio, Argentina
Saturday was the frosting on the cake for this week! We’d been invited to join Wilmar and Jessica Rojas on a trip to the church plant they’ve been working with for several months in a town called Nueve de Julio (the 9th of July)! It’s 3 hours away so we drove the truck and brought along Ron and Margaret Boeve, volunteers here for 3 weeks from Oregon. Ron’s been here working with Wilmar building and welding some steel structure elements while Margaret lent a hand to Robin Radi with data entry for regional General Assembly registrations. This little church has been growing with the help of some people from other local churches. They had already gathered, preparing a meal for this last week of children’s ministry before the summer break. 

Jessica led the kids in songs; we clapped and sang along, taking photos of their precious expressions. She’d told us that many of the children are “gypsy kids” from families that move around a lot, according to the work available to their parents. The kids were used to a small snack each Saturday but, this week, they were treated to a ravioli dinner with crusty bread and juice. They’re learning lots about Jesus in the songs and by the actions of the generous folks involved. After the kids headed home, we were fed too! It was a hot day and, after lots of kisses and blessings, we got back in 2 vehicles and started back to Pilar. Along the way was an area of dairy farms – “La Ruta de Queso” was the nickname. We stopped at a cheese shop to taste and buy some delicious cheeses to take home!

These events, while we sometimes call them field trips, are so much more than that! They’re rich experiences that help us to know and understand the culture we’re living in. We see God working in our lives and the lives of those we meet.

Sunday evening’s service at Iglesia Altos del Pilar was almost all Christmas music – the most outstanding number being “O Holy Night”! Our friend Nico, who conducted, and 15 other adults had been practicing for several weeks to perform this number. This may not sound unusual for a Christmas program, but choral music is quite rare here. While churches have excellent bands and worship teams, they just don’t have choirs. And this group performed a capella (without accompaniment); just thinking about it gives me goosebumps! They repeated the number as an encore at the end of the service – what a fitting end to the week!

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