Winter Break in Argentina
In the middle of July a strange thing happens if you are not expecting it. Businesses that are normally open are closed. Activities that are normally taking place are suspended. When we first arrived here in 2018 we were left unaware but have since begun to learn the rhythm and flow of the city. During the first week, we rented a house in the mountains for a few days and let the kids have fun playing in the dirt. Even though we were an hour and a half from the city, I was able to talk to two people there about the Lord that either lived in our city or worked in our city. While we were enjoying our time in the small village I was able to pass out several Gospel of John booklets in that place. Please pray for seeds planted!
During the second week, Hannah, Jonathan and Elijah had the opportunity to spend the week at a youth conference with other kids their age. This was a great experience for them and for their Spanish. Elijah had not had this opportunity during our first term since he was younger. This term will be his term to truly soar in his learning and speaking! Please pray for him! It is not easy to make friends in another language and culture, but during the week he made some friends!
On the last day of the youth conference the rest of us joined them as we traveled 2 hours south of Cordoba to the mountains. There is a place there that has zip lines that are stretched between the mountains over a river and other activities. The kids had a great time and continued to bond with their new friends.
“Maybe you should pray right now!”
One of the activities was one that I truly enjoy, archery! As I was shooting, we had a conversation with “Franco”, the one running the activity. Pray for him, as he needs to be saved! I shared what Jesus did for him and how one day we will leave from this earth and stand before Him in judgment and how Jesus willingly gave his life on the cross to pay our sin debt. I told him how he needed to repent and trust Christ before it is too late.
About the time that I was stressing the urgency, my daughter Elisabeth shot an arrow that missed the target and ricocheted back and flew right by him nearly hitting him. Without missing a beat, I looked him in the eyes and said, “Maybe you should pray right now!”
A Visit to the Plaza of Alta Cordoba
While the older three kids were away at the youth conference, we worked on a lot of things with the younger two daughters. One of the things that they really wanted to do was visit the plaza where we spent a year before the pandemic. As we walked around the plaza, we were able to talk to several people as the girls played. There was a lady there that rents out trampolines that started the conversation with us, having remembered us from before when we put on a Christmas concert in that plaza during 2019.
The Grey Haired Barber
I had found a grey haired barber that I liked after having my hair butchered by another younger barber. The only problem is that here if you find something that you like it probably wont be there long. One day I noticed that his barber shop was no longer there. I had to find another barber! I went on the search for another barber. It sounds silly, but my requirement was that the barber had grey hair, hopefully distinguishing themselves as more experienced. I walked to the center and saw an older gentleman through the window. I entered and struck up a conversation with him about my search for a good grey-headed barber. After we talked for a while, I discovered he was not the barber! The barber was a young lady with piercings and dyed grey hair. While I was not sure what the outcome would be, I had my hair cut and must say that dyed grey hair must be as effective as naturally grey hair! All joking aside, I had a great opportunity to talk in depth with three people about the Lord and gave them each a Gospel of John Booklet!
Two Reactions to the Word of God
One day when my wife and I were walking in the center we saw a man trying to sell an old, worn out Gideon New Testament for the price of a brand new complete Bible. I began preaching to the man about the value of God’s Word and that it was not intended to be a commodity to be bought and sold! How sad that this book that he had meant nothing more to him than an item to sell! I told him that the only reason that I would purchase a Bible like that would be to turn around and give it to somebody without charge! I told him that I would not buy anything from him, but that I would give him something. I gave him a copy of the Gospel of John and showed him where I had printed on the spine of the book that it was “NOT” to be sold and explained what grace is.
He will probably try to sell it, but I am confident the Lord will get it into somebody’s hands, where He wants it to go! On the same day we met another older man about the same age. When I handed him a copy of the Gospel of John and told him what it was, he immediately hugged the book! What is your reaction to God’s Word? Is it precious to you or do you scorn it?
Thoughts from Stacie
Fellowship with other Believers
One thing we have found is that we need fellowship with other believer’s in Christ. There are no ABA churches here in Argentina and during our first term we visited several different types of churches.
There is one Independent Baptist Church here in the city that we found to be the closest doctrinally to us. They believe in local church only and even practice closed communion. The pastor understands that we’re not there to become members but that it’s for us to be able to fellowship with other believers and for our children to be able to participate in Spanish services. The members of Templo Bautista Bíblico have welcomed us to their morning services and other activities that they have going on throughout the year. Visiting with them doesn’t stop us from starting our own work but they are a big encouragement in our desire to plant churches as well.
Two Concerts before the winter break
Here in Argentina July is in the middle of winter. Even though there isn’t a corresponding holiday here schools take a two week winter break in the middle of July. It’s kind of like Christmas break in the States. Before the two week winter break our children were able to participate in a couple of mini-concerts. Scott and the older three children participated in the band concert on a Thursday.
Then Elisabeth and Joanna played their violins in a casual recital style concert that Friday. The girls were able to dress-up in costumes for their mini concerts. Joanna dressed up as a unicorn and Elisabeth dressed up as a colorful bear. Elisabeth even surprised us by volunteering to play a solo. We really enjoyed getting to hear how far our children have come along musically.
Taking a short break at the Mountain House
Children need the freedom to run around and just be kids. City life can be tough on country kids. Our kids have learned to be flexible here in Argentina. We live in a large city and we give them plenty of opportunities to play in the parks. Of course in the city we try to encourage them to speak mostly Spanish outside of the house and if they do speak English to do so quietly in order to not attract a lot of unwanted attention.
However when we visit the countryside, we give them freedom to run around and be as loud as they want in whatever language they want. Little breaks like that are good for all of us.
Immersion in the Culture
The week following our stay at the mountain house Hannah, Jonathan, and Elijah attended the youth conference with Templo Bautista where they got to spend a whole week immersed in the culture and getting to know the youth of the church. They were talking about how nervous they were on the drive over to the church but when the week was over they were all declaring how much fun they had and how they were glad they went.
I also had a similar immersion experience one Friday evening towards the end of July. I was invited to a Ladies Meeting that started at 8:00 PM. There was a guest speaker and a fellowship afterwards. I made myself go even though it was late in the evening and I was tired. When we’re tired our Spanish suffers. However sometimes that’s a good time to force ourselves to use Spanish anyway. I was glad I went. The Ladies at Templo Bautista also invited me to a women’s retreat in the middle of August. Pray for me as I’ll be driving several ladies to the retreat.
Missions Conference and Banquet
Templo Bautista where we’ve been visiting on Sunday mornings held a special Faith Promise missions conference and banquet. They asked every family attending to bring food from another culture to share during the banquet. We brought Texas chili, corn bread, and a blueberry cobbler to share. The chili was a big hit.
Celebrating Ruth’s Birthday from a Distance
Ruth turned 22 this month. It’s hard being so far away but we got to talk with her and really enjoyed hearing about all her plans for teaching at church camp. It’s hard to believe my “little girl” is now one of the grownup sponsors and a teacher at camp.