February 27, 2010

Earthquakes and Ideas

Another earthquake today, this time an 8.8 in Chile.

I've been in three earthquakes in my life. I'm still here. I'm assuming for a reason. Why not go? If I'm supposed to die in an earthquake, I will. If not, I won't. God knows what He is doing with me.

So while at the gym this morning beating this almost middle-aged body into submission, all I could think of was what I read the other day on this missionary family's website. There is a family from Oregon with seven children living north of Bariloche (northern Patagonia) maybe two hours. They are planting self-propagating churches in the native Mapuche communities. They wrote on their blog that there are 11 communities out of 40 or so that already have churches. What struck me most is this: most of the leaders of the indigenous churches CAN NOT READ.

So... how can they know how to follow God if they can not read His Word??

Is anyone teaching them to read? My guess is not. And certainly not for free. Why couldn't we teach them to read?

I mentioned it to Tony. He said he was thinking the same thing. (Big smile :))

I just love that God taught me Spanish... 20 years ago now. Hubs is a native speaker. Why couldn't we just go and teach them to READ? All Mapuche speak Spanish, but many can not read it.

I taught my kids how to read. I didn't find it to be rocket science. As a matter of fact, most people would be shocked to find out how very little I did to get my kids to read. Yes, it's true, I did almost nothing. I admit it to all you homeschoolers with your pre-packaged curricula. I confess it to all you public and private schoolers who believe it takes years of professional instruction. It's true, I did very little. It was extremely painless. I gave my kids a couple of books. I took them to the library. I encouraged them to "read" (ie, look at) the books that interested them, answered their questions about how to say this or how to pronounce that, I read to them a LOT.... I don't know... I really didn't do that much. I just winged it. I truly believe all people are smart in their own way - if you take the time to get to know them and find the key to unlock them then - whamo!

How hard could it be to teach someone to read in Spanish? I don't think that hard. I taught some English-speaking teens and pre-teens to read Spanish. It wasn't hard. Spanish is easy. Infinitely easier than English with its "more exceptions than rules".

I can totally see my husband teaching an illiterate leader of a church to read. He could then read his Bible. Then he could teach his congregation to read... they could teach their kids....

Just another idea.

February 26, 2010

Broke The News

I know a girl that has been traveling the world alone since she was 16 years old doing missions. She's been to several very under-developed countries, some pretty scary places. She now works teaching kids on an Rez in North Dakota, where the poverty is as bad as it is in Haiti. I asked her what her parents thought of her going off to all those places alone. Didn't they worry about her? How did they do it?

She just said, "Well, I guess they just trust me to the Lord."

Wow. Yeah, I guess so.

That's what I will have to do someday with my own kids. Probably what I should be doing now, come to think of it.

Well, we let the cat out of the bag. First told the fam. Went well, I guess, all things considered. Now we are telling our friends. My apologies about the Facebook bomb, if anyone thought that was weird. It's like pregnancy, having to tell people one by one takes forever. I don't get out much, and miss so much church and life because someone always seems to be sick, just figured it would be easier. And anyone who knows me knows I don't do the phone. :D So far everyone has been encouraging and supportive, which means a lot to us. But I'm sure not everyone will be. That's just the way it goes.

February 25, 2010

The JESUS Film Project

The people at the JESUS Film Project are so nice! They helped me add a banner and link to their site (see above). Isn't it awesome? I still don't know what an HTML is... but at least it works!

We definately are going to show the film in Argentina.... ooooo, the possibilities!

I thought it was really cool in Mapudungun, the language of the Mapuche people of Patagonia. Check it out!

February 24, 2010

Venemous and Poisonous Animals

I was always the fearless wonder kind. Until I hit 35 and realized I was a mere mortal. Well, ignorance is bliss, or at least it was for me for many years. It was really nice to live like that, I have to say. I liked it better, much better, than this worrying I do now. I've done stuff like taken a dip in shark-infested waters, hung my hammock in Brazilian wandering spider territory, hiked in Western diamondback rattlesnake country; you know, dumb stuff. Now, I never knew all these dangerous things were underfoot at the time, because I was just plain dumb and incredibly unaware in my younger years. But, even if I had, I was foolish enough that it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway.

Then I had a son. My son taught me more than I EVER wanted to know about all things venemous and poisonous.

His venemous arachnid stage lasted 8 long torturous months, only to be followed by his venemous snake obsession. That lasted years. Now it's sharks. Lucky me. I'm still traumatized by all those "I Shouldn't Be Alive" shows he made me watch, all the "Jaws of Death" shark specials, "Bugging with Rudd", Jeff Corwin animal adventure shows, World's Most Deadliest Snake specials and on and on and on, etc., etc., etc... I swore I would never, NEVER go camping again. Or hiking. Or swimming in the ocean. And I haven't. And I don't plan to. Ever.

Oh wait, that's not totally true... We did go to hiking once while in the midst of this many-years obsession. And guess what we almost stepped on??? That's right... a you-never-see-them-except-when-WE-decide-to-go-hiking Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake.

Yep. Totally traumatized.

So, guess what I just found out? This is GREAT NEWS!!! And I quote...

"Patagonia has no snakes or dangerous wild animals, making it safe for visitors to enjoy outdoor activities."

Glory! Thank you, Jesus. You're so good to me.

(I hope that website is right.)

February 23, 2010

Little Faith in a Big God

How many galaxies are in the universe?

We just watched a lecture yesterday on DVD (a very expensive, college-level course that landed at our door by accident, and we were allowed to KEEP it!). It poses this very question.

Well, no one really knoooows.

Because we can only see a FRACTION of the universe, even with the best telescopes, instruments, and technology of the day (like the Hubble) scientists can only estimate that:

* There are 150-400 billion stars in our Milky Way (our sun is just one of those).
* There are 100-200 billion galaxies in the universe (according to current estimates from real smart people who should know).

Uh... okay. Do the math on THAT.

...more galaxies...
galaxy with dust cloud
Tadpole Galaxy
My God is SO BIG. I don't know about yours, but He is SO COOL! He made ALL THAT. What's more, the Bible says,

"When I consider thy heavens, the work of the fingers..." ~Psalm 8:3

Fingers? God didn't even need to use his whole hand? Just his fingers?? To make the Universe???

Isn't that cool?! Aren't you impressed?

This prof. also went on to try to answer where all this came from. Of course, like 99% of PhDs today, he teaches the "Big Bang". You've got to have serious faith to believe it all exploded from something the size of a golf ball. Another version of the Big Bang Theory (yes, it's still a theory) is that it all exploded out of something called a "singularity". That's a small point somewhere, smaller than a golf ball, see... not in the Universe... because... that didn't exist yet... Soooo, inside this "singularity" were these things called "quarks" which were "pre-atoms". You know, because real atoms would be obliterated if all the matter in the entire universe were compressed into such a small point... (by this point I'm thinking to myself, "Is he making this up???").

Anyway, I felt bad for the guy because here he's a Ph.D and is sounding really kind of... unsure.

Anyway (I like to say anyway a lot), I believe in the Bible, that God created the Universe. But that's just me. I didn't always believe that, but it seems the most logical thing to me now. For those who think the universe exploded into being from something the size of a golf ball, and people by some 'chance' (actually millions, billions, of random chances) crawled their way out of some primordial soup little by little miiiiillions of years ago, well then, hey, I think they have much more faith than I do. So you see, everything really IS about religion, what you believe. You can't take faith out of Science. Although everyone tries to do that. Can't. You either believe in the Big Bang and biiiiillions of years ago (cause you have to believe it, it can't be proven, remember this is still a theory and theories can't be tested, repeated, or proven), or you don't. 

It's simple, really. See?

Whew. Glad I got THAT off my chest. Man, I just love blogging. I get to rant and rave and ramble on 'cause it's MY BLOG.

February 22, 2010

Missions Organizations

Some of you are probably wondering if we're going to go with a missions organization.

I used to think that that's the only way to go. I don't know where I got that idea, but that's what I thought. In my research, many missions organizations require college degrees, seminary, and/or special training of some sort. Not to mention other major and minor "requirements". Although I understand where they are coming from, it "disqualifies" so many well-intentioned Christians from ever doing anything for the Lord abroad. Or at least that's what they'll come away believing. It also "disqualifies" us from ever being able to work with certain organizations.

At some point I realized that, if we were to go some day to an overseas mission field, it might not be with an organization. I let that dream die a slow, pitiful death, and actually mourned that loss for years. What would we do? I guess I was wrong, maybe we're not called. Tony did not go to college, and neither one of us have gone to seminary. We have no special training that we could put on a resumé to make us look really good. We're just ordinary people who happen to love Jesus and want to live for Him. That's all. Sigh. I guess we're not qualified either.

Peter was a lowly fisherman. Probably didn't even finish high school, the poor guy. There were tax collectors, women, soldiers, somebodies and nobodies who all followed Christ and helped to spread the Good News 2000 years ago. Yes, Paul was highly educated and well-trained... but that was Paul.

But back to missions organizations... our situation is unique in that Tony and I are already fluent in the language. We don't need to spend six months and a lot of money on language school. We don't need special visas to get into the country, we're already citizens/residents (Tony and Big A by birth, the rest of us by association). We don't need special training on how to get around, how to bridge the culture gap, how to pay the bills, or prepare the food, or really anything. God himself did a pretty good job already preparing us.

Cameron Townsend, founder Wycliffe Bible Translators

I remember wanting to go on a mission trip to a South American country once and tried to jump in on the action a little too late. I didn't end up going, but I was shocked to find out how much it cost the people who did go. We could have sent our whole family for a month on what each individual paid to go! The $1500 ticket we could have easily found for a third of the price.  And I guess that's why organizations are needed, most Americans don't know their way around the system or how to get things done the right and best way abroad, so they need that help.

We are 38 and 41 years old. We don't want to spend any more time "getting ready" or waiting until we are "prepared enough", whenever that is. It reminds me of parenting. If you wait until you are "ready" or "have enough money", you'll never have kids. The truth is, who is ever ready? and who ever has enough money?

If you want to be inspired, read a few great missionary biographies. Cameron Townsend, Gladys Aylward, George Muller, to name just a few. You'd be surprised to find out that Gladys Aylward flunked out of Bible school. Cameron Townsend, who founded Wycliffe Bible Translators, found himself in Central America at a very young age as a missionary, only to realize he had NEVER ONCE SHARED THE GOSPEL WITH ANOTHER LIVING SOUL. George Muller had faith he said was nothing special. We all have access to the same kind of faith.

Interesting how God still used a failure, a young unprepared nobody, and just some ordinary guy... Read it for yourself! :)

February 21, 2010

To Whom?

Over the years when we have discussed the possibility of moving back to South America as missionaries, Tony has always said he would go to where the poor are. That has always been his conviction. Now, not all of South America is poor. There is a wealthy, thriving, upper class in every country that, like our middle class in the U.S., seem to have no apparent need for much of anything.

Bariloche, an area we are looking at, if you don't know, is sometimes called the Switzerland of South America. For its mountains, for its skiing, for its posh Hotel Llao Llao (you've probably even seen it in a movie at some point). My flesh loves to be comfortable, just like the next person. Who wouldn't love to just camp out at Hotel Llao Llao and enjoy life? I would. Pick me! Pick me!

But outside of this small, wealthy, inner-circle of elite vacationers, there are people that make $500, $300, $50 a month on which to live. Or less. There are also at least one or two slums in Bariloche that I am aware of. What's more, the northern three provinces of Patagonia are home to hundreds of small, indigenous communities of Mapuche Indians. There is so much more to life than skiing there.

kids from one of the less than fortunate areas of Bariloche

house in Bariloche

We just watched a YouTube video the other night about a small, 25-family community of Mapuche that used to travel "only" 20 km round trip to the next town. Four years ago their bridge, and only link to civilization, was washed out in a storm. It is now a 200 km commute. They have no access to schools, medical attention, running water, or electricity. They said that no one will help them, and the government has forgotten about them.

We could spend years driving around Patagonia, from village to village, and never meet everyone or run out of things to do.

Mapuche community
entering Mapuche land
rural school kids

In the end, we all need salvation. We all need forgiveness. We all need to hear about Christ: the rich, the poor, the Mapuche, the American, the Argentinian, everyone. We all deserve the opportunity to accept or deny God's free gift in Christ. I am so thankful someone had the courage to put themselves aside and tell me about Him. Why wouldn't I want to do the same?

February 20, 2010

Illusions of Grandeur

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." 2 Corinthians 4:7

Today we received two invitations to go to the mission field. That makes three times this year. What are we still doing here?

The first was more of an indirect invitation, not to us personally per se. It was in the monthly newsletter we receive from our missionary friends in Ecuador, whom we visited two years ago. There are still villages high in the Andes that have never heard of Jesus. Who will go and tell them?

The second was from a Bolivian friend of mine I met while she was a missionary in Argentina. She since has returned to her native Bolivia. She asked when we were coming down. She is working with 120 kids in Camiri and needs help.

The first time someone actually asked us to consider coming down to help was last year when another friend, also working in Bolivia, said they needed help. Would we come? We so wanted to, but I had just had a baby, so that, as well as many other factors, made it pretty impossible.

But the point is, what are we still doing here? What are our excuses? We are quickly running out of them.

I no longer have illusions of grandeur. I probably once did. You know: I'm special, God wants to use me, look at all my talents and abilities, I have this to offer and that to offer, I mean I speak 3 languages for goodness sake! Why wouldn't God use me??

Yah. Whatever. Get over yourself, Chris.

Sometimes the Lord has to take you through tough and humbling times to show you that you're nothing apart from Him. "For no good thing dwelleth in my flesh". I have come to see that all too well.

I no longer have illusions of grandeur. Maybe that's why God is able to finally reveal His plan to us. I have no desire to be great, or well-known, or important, or to teach, or to have my husband be a pastor and me a pastor's wife to all these people who "need" us. No, a quiet, peaceful life in the mountains somewhere, sharing God's love and plan of salvation to whomever will listen is enough for me.

That's why we are broken vessels, and we hold this perfect message in jars of clay. It is not us, but God who wills in us to do of HIS good pleasure. Are we willing? Will we go? Will we offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice?

They went...

February 19, 2010

Raising Boys

We only have one boy, so we're not experts. But we do seek to be the parents our son needs. It's not easy, and our son has been quite a challenge. But we do our best and pray that God will make up the rest.

As our son nears the double digits, one need of his has become more and more apparent. We see his increasing need to be with Dad. Unfortunately for him, Dad is at work M-F. A noble and honorable thing, of course, but Big A can't exactly go with him. So he's at home with Mom. Well, Mom does her best to raise her boy to be a man, but what Big A really needs, at least at this point, is Dad to teach him to be a man. So Dad does the best he can from the hours of 6-9pm, and on weekends.

I read once that if Mom is the only one raising Junior, don't be surprised if, at 15, Junior acts more like Mom than Dad.

Now, everyone's free to raise their kids as they see fit, I'm not passing judgement or saying there is only one way to do it. I just don't want my son to act like me, that's all. I think Tony's a far better role model. All I know is that we have been entrusted to raise the one boy we've been given. A monumental task. But we, like so many others, are stuck in this modern day merry-go-round where Dad just can't be around as much as we would like.

In my ideal world, I would do the academics with Big A in the morning, then off he would go to do manly things with Dad for the rest of the day. Like work, chop wood, go to Home Depot, fix things, build things, install fences, raise chickens, you know, manly things. Whatever.

Leaving for the mission field is in many ways a blessing. I've often mentioned to Tony over the years how wonderful it would be if Big A could be with him most of the day. The poor kid just seems to wander around the house half the day. It's very taxing for me to find things for him to do. (And no, sending him to public school is not the answer). It's very sad and frustrating when he says things like, "I wish there weren't so many bad people in the world, so I could just go outside and you didn't have to watch me all the time." Well, unfortunately for both of us, there are, and I do. Several times a week we have people walk right across our yard. Like RIGHT across our yard, right passed the above-ground pool, toys, and within feet of the windows. It's creepy, especially when it's some strange guy dressed in shorts in the middle of winter, covered in tattoos, and talking loudly only to himself.
Leaving for the mission field would be a blessing, indeed.

What To Do, Part II

As I mentioned before, there are SO many things to do.

I once read that 6% of Argentina was born-again evangelical. In my personal experience, I find that number to be extremely generous. Extremely. I would guess, and this is just my opinion, that the number of true believers is more like 1 or 2%, maybe 3 or 4%. Again, being generous. It's just reality.

In the United States it is said that there are upwards of 60 million Christians.

For years I have heard people say, "Oh, but there is so much you can do here! You don't have to leave the country to serve the Lord, to reach out, to share the Gospel.".

True. Very true. But I agree with Jim Elliot who said (and I paraphrase), "Let the dusty Bibles of the United States speak as a testimony against the people." You can read the exact quote in The Journals of Jim Elliot. It's found at the part where he sets sail for Ecuador. Excellent, excellent, excellent read. It has a surprising twist at the end, too. And I don't mean that he gets martyred, most people know that. I mean, his last entry is something you would never expect. His wife was later criticized and pressured to edit the ending because it made too many people uncomfortable. She refused. You can read her response in Through the Gates of Splendor.... or was it Let me Be a Woman? I can't remember, I've read so many books! :)

Rabbit trail.

Anyway, Tony and I are no Bible teachers. Nor do we aspire to be so. Too much responsibility. Neither is it our calling. We just want to be the hands and feet of Jesus. In a place like Argentina, people just need to hear the Gospel message in a clear and simple way, they need hear about Jesus, about God's plan of salvation. They need someone to go visit them, talk to them, give them some clothes, a Bible, some toys for their kids because they can't afford even one. One tract. That's all.

Showing the Jesus Film is also another possibility. Operation Christmas Child. The Good and Evil book (like in the photo above :)). These are just a few ideas we've had.

What can you do? What is your gift? What do you feel God has naturally equipped you to do?

February 18, 2010

Where To Go, Part II

Location, location, location, as they say.

Well, we've narrowed things down a bit. We are now looking at an area between Bariloche (in the province of Rio Negro) and Esquel (in province of Chubut), northeastern Patagonia. I remember someone saying once that God gives you common sense, and He wants you to use it. So, why here?

1) There are people.
2) It's close to the largest city in Patagonia (food, doctors, banks, supplies, internet access, etc.)
3) It's centrally located to all the surrounding Mapuche communities (see map).


Bariloche is the largest town in the entire northern region of Patagonia, at 100,000 or so. Esquel is about 3 hours south in the Province of Chubut. The largest town (Andes side) in the Province of Chubut is Esquel, population 28,000. It dwindles from there south until you get to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, southern-most inhabited city in the world. Tony's brother actually lives there. I don't necessarily feel like I want to.

Now, I don't mind getting away from the Rat Race and all, but Esquel is a little further than I had originally anticipated. But we are trusting God to make that clear to us as well.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."  ~Psalm 119:105

Little House On The Prairie

One of the things I enjoy most about homeschooling is reading out loud to my kids. I just love to expose them to books they would otherwise maybe not pick up and read for themselves.

A couple of years ago I read Little House on the Prairie to Big A and Little M. It was one of my all-time favorite TV shows as a kid, but I had never had the pleasure of reading the book. I didn't even know there was a book, let alone a whole series!

I read a chapter or so a day to them until we were finished. It was fantastic! Wow, history just comes alive when it's written in story form, not as a dry, boring textbook. We learned so much about building a log cabin, hunting, taking care of horses and other farm animals, wolves and other animals of the prairie, the American Frontier, sustainable living, how to make bullets, covered wagons, 1800's American History, and so much more.

We loved it so much, that after we watched the original TV movie that sparked the show (available at our friendly neighborhood library) we dove into Little House in the Big Woods like a pack of ravenous wolves (ok, maybe I dove into it, they just played along).

For me Little House in the Big Woods was even BETTER than Little House on the Prairie. LHitBW sets the backdrop for LHotP. It describes the everyday lives of the Ingalls family in such rich, descriptive detail that you can completely and totally imagine yourself there. It follows them as they prepare to leave their life in the Big Woods of 1800's Wisconsin for life on the prairie. It's absolutely delicious.

We learned how to make cheese, garden, smoke meat, grind wheat, tend cows, store meat and vegetables for the winter, and that panthers actually used to roam the woods of the wild Midwest. How cool is that?

Read it if you can!

February 17, 2010


A couple of Christmases ago I remember finding out that my dear, sweet husband had racked up $900 on our credit card. I was not happy. When, years prior, he claimed he could do a better job paying the bills than I, I gladly handed the responsibility over to him. He soon saw that we never have any money because there just isn't any. That's why he found it necessary, he again claimed, to charge food and gas and other necessities of life on the credit card.

Despite his perfectly justifiable explanation, I was still very upset. How were we going to pay this bill?? I ranted and raved about interest rates and once you're in the hole you can't get out yadda yadda. Maybe I was having a bad day. Not one of my stronger moments of faith. I was too busy pointing the finger to trust God.

I'm so thankful my husband puts up with me. He calmly said not to worry, the Lord would provide. He was working very hard and doing his part. He wasn't lazy, afterall. Now God would do His part. We just have to pray and trust him. I just muttered about how that was a convenient way to not take responsibilty for getting us into this mess grumble grumble grumble. I can be so self-righteous sometimes. He left me alone to pray about it.

So I did. Prayed my guts out for days, weeks, asking the Lord to "pleeeease rescue us, please get us out of debt, please fix our (his) mistake. InJesusNameAmen."

One day he came home from work and just looked at me with an unusually big grin on his face. I said, "What? Whaaat??". He asked me if I believed in God's provision. I said, "yeah, sure". Really convincingly. So he went back out to his car and brought in a paint bucket. Oooo, that's great, honey, a paint bucket. He said, "Look inside". Sigh...okay.

There in the bottom was $1000 worth of rolled quarters.

His boss has purchased some estate of some kind, and the rolled quarters came with the deal. He gave them to Tony and said "Merry Christmas." Funny thing, he's Jewish.

I. am. such. a. wretch. You don't have to tell me, I know.

Can we trust God to provide for us if we step out in faith to follow him? We should know by now that we can. He is merciful and kind and good. Sometimes providing above and beyond what we need. We have so many stories like that. We really do. All I have to do is recall them. How much more does He have to show us so that we can believe? Why do we find it so hard to trust the God of the Universe who holds it all in His hands?

"Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."  ~Matthew 7:30-33


February 16, 2010

How Long?

So... how long are we going for?

Uh... er... I don't know?

Is that a good answer??

We don't know exactly, but we know Someone who does.

I do know that if we really are to do this, coming back if it doesn't work out like we thought, or if something happens, or for whatever reason, will not be easy. Not impossible, but not easy. So therefore we seem to have settled on 1-2 years, not burning the bridge to return. After that we will reevaluate. We know there will always be things to do there, and if the Lord opens the door for us to stay, then we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

We are definately counting the cost, though. When you hit a certain number of kids and find yourself rounding the bend to middle-age, you no longer do things so impulsively. But, I have to say, we have peace. We are in total agreement. God afterall is a God of peace, not of discord. And everything seems to just fit. I can't explain it, except that God is in it. He must be. This is just too crazy for Him not to be. Right?
Don't answer that.

I do remember missionaries in Ecuador commenting that people these days no longer want to commit their lives. It's an interesting phenomena. There are a plethora of short-term mission trips to just about anywhere in the world. A "vacation with a purpose". But who will invest their lives in sowing the seed of the Gospel of life where it hasn't been heard?

Becoming a missionary these days is far easier than it was 100 years ago. We have planes, phones, email, internet, vaccinations, malaria pills. No more saying good-bye knowing you'll never see your country, your parents, your family and friends again, as was the case with Hudson Taylor when he sailed for China. We can now pick up the phone, send an email that arrives in seconds, chat and post pictures on Facebook, and go to a good (maybe not great) doctor abroad for just about any ill you may have. How hard is that?

Food for thought.

My Utmost for His Highest

Back in college, before I got saved, I had a Christian roommate who introduced me to many good books. One was My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Eventually I bought a copy for myself. I have been reading it on and off, over and over, for years. It's definately one of my 'highly recommend's. I keep mine in the bathroom, the only place I'm ever alone for a even a minute. It only takes two minutes to read a day, so that's where it lives. Sometimes I just go in there to hide.

Anway, I love what he has to say about missions:

"A missionary is one sent by Jesus Christ as He was sent by God. The great dominant note is not the needs of men, but the command of Jesus... We forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary enterprise is not first the elevation of the people, nor their needs; but first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ - 'Go ye therefoe, and teach all nations...' We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit to the Divine guidance of God through childlike people who were foolish enough to trust God's wisdom and the supernatural equipment of God."

Wish I could quote the whole thing, it's sooo good. But, you can read the rest here.

February 15, 2010

Breaking the News, Part II

Today Grandpa came over for his weekly visit. Surprisingly, the kids didn't leak the news. They must have forgotten about it for now.

When the time is right, we'll break the big news to the fam. The only one I'm worried about is my Mom. I put that poor woman through so much. I don't mean to, I really don't. Sorry, Mommy! Sigh.

I'm not really good at keeping secrets, like pregnancies for example (no, I'm not pregnant - I mean this news), so hopefully we'll tell them soon. The suspense is killing me.

I've been having SO much fun writing this blog! What a creative outlet. I get to write, play with pictures, and just think out loud "on paper". I've been wanting to write for years, I just know I would lose the notebook, all the little papers, or whatever else if I were to jot things down the old-fashioned way. So it's blogging for me! Fun to write. Hope it's fun to read! Most of all, I hope that whoever reads this will be pointed not to us, but to Christ, the Saviour of the world, the lover and Redeemer of my soul. :)

February 14, 2010

When To Go?

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

When to go? Well, definately before I'm too old to want to go, that's for sure. I told Tony we better go before I hit 40, definately 50, or I'm not going to want to go anywhere. Each year I spend back in the States I get more and more comfortable, further away from ever wanting or believing I could ever leave again. I just feel my age, that's all. I really do.

Anyway, that gives us two years, tops.

There is a lot to do, a lot of preparation, but the two most important things are:

1. Go with support (ie, money)
2. Go with a good car (which could mean trading the vans for a good 4x4 which, again, takes money)

I would love and prefer to go visit first, you know: scope the place out, see what the Lord has in mind, check out the living conditions, talk to the people, check out the local churches, get an idea of ministry opportunities, you know, plan. So, I mentioned the idea at dinner when we were talking about the whole thing with the kids. Tony feels visiting is waste of time and money. He would just go. Ship all our earthly belongings in a container, rent a house upon arrival, then take 6 months or so get to know the area and move again, if necessary.

We definately would love Peace Baby to be mobile, out of diapers, and sleeping better. She needs a year/year and half to grow and settle her little high-strung, screamy personality down a little. Well, a lot. Let's just say her name means "peace", but she's not living up to it yet.

Where To Go?

This weekend we were talking a lot about where we should go.

We both agree Patagonia.

We are thinking northern, as opposed to southern, Patagonia. The town of Bariloche is located in northern Patagonia. Luckily for us, Tony has been there twice, both for work during his former life as a television cameraman. It's a "little town with nothing to do" he said (well, to someone from a city of 11 million, I guess so). From what I gather, that is not true. Not true at all. It's the only "major" city in northern Patagonia, with a population of 100,000-150,000 (I've read conflicting things), that is located in the Andes mountains. It might work well as a home base for several reasons:

1) There is access to good medical care (important when you're 40-ish and have 3 kids)
2) Access to good banks
3) Internet access (uh, need I say more?)
4) Access to resources we may need for the kids' schooling, supplies for life, and missions
5) It's a good central location to all the indigenous communities of the native Mapuche people of northern Patagonia
6) And it has whatever else a civilzed person may need, except probably peanut butter
7) Oh, and word has it they are building a Wal-mart soon! How happy am I?

It's a match made in Heaven.

There are many other reasons, all good, we thought of that we could also list here. But mostly, it just makes sense. It's a starting point, anyway. We'll see how things develop!

February 13, 2010

Breaking the News, and Mate!

Today we were downtown visiting our mechanic. While we were in the area, we stopped by the only place we know around that sells tons and tons of international food. They have two whole isles of stuff imported from every single Central and South American country!

So, we had to pick up some mate (pronounced MAH-tay)! All this talk of Argentina made us crave some South American green tea. :)

At dinner Tony really surprised me by breaking the news to the kids. That just shows how serious this is. Tony would never mention something so monumental to the kids unless he were actually serious. He said he wants them to start preparing mentally.

Reactions were mixed. M is excited, but life for her is one big party. Big A cried. But he is not exactly our flexible, open-to-change child. Peace Baby just screamed and continued throwing her food. Tony and I both know that as soon as A sees the real live steam locomotives chugging through the Andes, he'll probably forget all about home.

What To Do, What To Do?

So what would we do if we moved to Argentina?

There are a thousand things to do.

Here in the States it is just the opposite. And even if you do want to do something, there are a million forms to fill out before you are allowed to. And you may even have to shell out some money for a permit. Not in South America. Definately not in Argentina. You just go and do it.

Here is a map I found this week showing the indigenous communities in Argentina. This is just ONE idea. You could go a million places from here (click to enlarge):

Want to visit those in prison? Well, just go. Want to feed some hungry people? Just hand them some food. Want to preach the Gospel? Just stand in a town square, preferably with blond hair on your head and a soccer ball in your hand, and do your best in the language. You will guaranteed attract a crowd. Then hand out some tracts, some Bibles, balloons for the kids, whatever.

There are a million things to do. You just have to want to do them. "Faltan ganas", as they say in Spanish. You just need the desire and will to do it. Following Christ is sometimes so simple. We make it so complicated.

Homeschooling Abroad

Ah, one of my favorite topics: Homeschooling! :):)

Each country varies in their laws regarding homeschooling. This map shows the legality of homeschooling worldwide (from Wikipedia.com):

GREEN = Legal under no conditions, or only registration
YELLOW = Legal under regulating conditions, such as mandatory tests and checks
ORANGE = Legal under restricting conditions, like a teaching certificate or permit
RED = Illegal
GRAY = No Data Available

Argentina is in the gray area. It is unique in that it neither has laws forbiding homeschooling, nor laws protecting those who homeschool. Homeschooling is virtually unheard of. When we tell Argentinians (mostly Tony's family and friends) we homeschool, the first thing they say is always, "What? They don't go to school?!?". We always have to explain that homeschooling is a legal option to educate your children here in the U.S. The next question is always, "But what about friends? Don't they have any friends??". No, we're hermits. And as if "having friends" is the primary reason you send your kids to school. Isn't the primary reason you send your kids to school "to get an education"? I thought that's what it was, anyway.

If you don't know about homeschooling here in the U.S., this is a good link explaining the laws state by state. Our state has some of the strictest homeschooling laws of any state. Some people appreciate the "accountability" in having someone (that is, Big Brother) look over their shoulder. Others feel it is just a weight and a burden - one more thing they have to worry about. As if undertaking your child's entire education isn't worrisome enough. I, personally, have always felt the laws to be burdensome, not helpful.

I read an article once that posed the question, "What would your homeschooling look like if you didn't have to comply with the law?" (or something like that). I know MINE would look very different. But alas, I do not live in one of those free states. Like, say... Idaho!

Viva, Idaho!

Don't Waste Your Life!

A friend posted this inspirational video on Facebook today. We just last night were talking about not wasting our lives and asking ourselves, once again, that age-old question, "What are we doing with our lives, anyway?"

How's that for confirmation? :)

February 12, 2010

Making the Big Move to Missions

That's the subtitle of our blog, anyway.

Last night Tony and I were talking about the life we have been given and actually doing something with it. Not wasting it.

To fill you in, if you don't know the story... I became a Christian about 10 years ago. Tony, several years after that. Since the moment of my conversion I have always felt the burden, or calling, or whatever you want to call it, to missions. All Christians are called to missions, but what I mean is, I have always felt the call to overseas missions.

The three years between my conversion and Tony's were HARD. Maybe I'll write more about that later, but I do remember telling God many times that if it weren't for that call that I always heard so strongly, I would have been OUT of there. So many times I wished I could have just left. Walked out the door. Ended my suffering. Or kicked him out. Or put him six feet under. Or just wrung his neck for the satisfaction. But that's another post altogether (I'm joking here, just in case. Well, sort of... I really did want to wring his neck. Many times.).

Fast forward three and a half (pretty miserable) years. Tony gets saved! Hallelujah! It's a miracle! And believe me, it was. He was the LAST person ever to bend the knee to Jesus, let me tell you. Then we just floated around... kind of like Noah's Ark. No direction. Did you ever think about that? That Noah's Ark probably didn't have a rudder? I mean, where was it going? Where were they going? Nowhere! All they knew is that God had just saved them in a miraculous way from certain destruction. They had no idea what was to happen next. They were just floatin' around. And floatin'... and floatin' some more. Floated for a whole year. Boring after a while.

And so it was with us. For many years. The boat was saved and afloat and we were happy and thankful - just directionless. We prayed and waited, and were thankul in the process. We did what we knew to do, you know, go to church, pray, seek the Lord, read our Bibles, fast, study, raise our kids, share the Gospel with those around us, serve others, love your neighbor, be kind, go on mission trips, etc., etc., you know. But we always prayed that God would reveal WHAT it is he had saved us FOR. Uh, please be more specific, Lord? Isn't there more to life than this?

Well, Praise the Lord we think we finally have a clue. Finally! 6 years later. Whew. It's about time! And for that we are thankful. It's looking like it's Argentina again for us. I swore I would never go back there. Swore it up and down, forget it! I hate that place. And I don't love the people. Don't missionaries have to have love? Always had a bad time in Argentina. NO THANKS! Not goin'. NOT. Don't even suggest it, Lord, because I'm not hearin'. So the fact that we might, that I'm even open to it, that Tony is hearing the same thing, well, it's just a huge a miracle. Tony and I rarely agree about much. Oh, we compliment each other very well. He's strong where I'm weak, and vice versa. He is all the things I wish I were, all very good. And maybe he'd say the same about me. But as a friend of his said once, "Tony and Chris, they're like oil and water: they just don't mix." Haha. Well, somewhat true. We are Night and Day. The few times we have agreed on things, the big things, we know it is of the Lord, because we never do! We are actually agreeing on this. It's bizarre-o. It must be the Lord.

Where in Argentina? Well, I was shocked, I mean, absolutely shocked when Tony said one day a while back that if he ever were to move back to Argentina, he would not go to Buenos Aires. He would go to the campo, las montañas (for you non-Spanish speakers that's: the country, the mountains).


You'd have to know him to understand. Just take my word for it that that's another miracle.

The whole journey is just frought with miracles. But the blogger said to keep my posts short. That way people could click on, read, click off. Yah. I don't talk to adults all day, hello! We'll see how I do!

Toodles~! More to come. :)

Entering the Blogosphere

Welcome to our blog!

God has finally revealed His plans for us! We think. We are heading back to Argentina!

Lord-willing, that is (always good to add the qualifier). We shall see how this all unfolds. It could take a year, years, to prepare to go; so, in the meantime... I need to figure out how to blog! Once we get there, blogging will probably be the easiest way to keep family and friends updated on all the news. Internet access is limited, at least where we are going, so one blog update will be infinitely easier than many individual emails or the sporadic phone call. But, even so, there's also Facebook (hint, hint)! :)

So here we go! First post.

If you're interested in following the news, just Bookmark our page or add our blog to your Favorites. Then check in from time to time.

I plan to write more in the coming months about how we arrived at this monumental decision, how preparations are going, and how life unfolds in the day-to-day along the way. After we make the big move (assuming this all works out), I'll enjoy being able to stay in contact with everyone IN ENGLISH (soon to be a luxury) via the Blogosphere, even if it's primarily a one-way conversation. :)

So check in on us from time to time!
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