August 31, 2011

more photos

I meant to post these the other day, but forgot to include them here... here are a few more pics from Patagonia. Enjoy. :)

Bariloche after the volcano exploded - ash piled high by the side of the road
Our friends have relatives in Bariloche, so they drove the 4-5 hours to help shovel two feet of ash off roofs, so they wouldn't collapse under the weight.

the road from the Patagonian desert to the Andes mountains,
via Villa Pehuenia, Neuquén Province, Argentina
[check out that snow, 6-9 feet easily!)

 Four. more. weeks. !

August 30, 2011

one of my favorite quotes from an old dead guy

"In the long run, men hit only what they aim at." ~ Henry David Thoreau

August 29, 2011

ministry pictures from Patagonia

I am really excited to share these photos with you! In a little over a month, we will be living and working here - the Patagonian province of Neuquén, Argentina. 

Here are some pictures of some of the ministry and missions that our friends and contacts are currently doing there. Soon, and Lord-willing, we will be doing it, too!

(all photos used by permission - gracias, Edgardo!) 
entering a remote mountain village that is not even on the map!

indigenous Mapuche church

learning from the Word of God

various Bible activities
Personal evangelism: sharing the gospel one-on-one

some believers in a little village called Cancha Huinganco,
200 miles up in the mountains from the city of Neuquén

oh, and remember that recent volcanco explosion? here's what it looked like on the road to Bariloche,
just 4 hours from our new home :)

We are beginning to see what Edgardo meant when he said that our mission mobile will be a tremendous blessing to have there... don't you think? And I just want to thank Chris N.! One of those many tents you gave us will come in pret-ty handy when we go to minister in these far, and I mean FAR off the beaten path places! I never thought I'd see the day my city-slicker husband CAMPED, but I do declare that God answers prayer and we may indeed camp after all. I can't imagine lodging is plentous, or even available, in these here parts.


"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." ~Matthew 25:40

August 24, 2011

The Mission Mobile: new and improved

I said I'd put up pics, so here she is: tinted windows and all. Briefly considered rechristening Big Blue, aka The Mission Mobile, the "Narcomobile". It looks like we should be conducting illegal and clandestine activities in there or something.

You can't see in AT ALL. It rocks. No hot, 105 degree, Patagonian desert sun beating in on delicate missionary skin (okay, me - everyone else in this family has some serious melanin but me - wah).

I like that no one will be able to see the kids in there. Or our projectors, film, laptop, and other such tools of the trade. I like that A LOT.

Front windshield... super. :)

It's actually kind of scary to drive at night. You can't see out the side windows at all unless there's a car coming or very well lit streets - or enough to reverse without running over a tree. It'll take a little getting used to.

Thank you, Tim!!! We still can't believe you did it for us for free!

August 23, 2011

about my cranky pants

Okay, my cranky pants are a little looser today.

Somebody asked me once if my husband knows what I write here on the blog. Yes, he does. Tony is all up in my business all the time. He uses my email, my Facebook, and has the nerve to sleep in my bed. Can you believe it? So annoying. Sometimes he reads here, I tell him what I posted, or he tells me to post something. I appreciate his input very much. He has strengths, clarity, insight, and wisdom in areas I will just never have. I just do the writing because his English is, well... let's not go there. In the end, we complement each other really well in every way.

Mostly this blog reflects our lives, what we are doing, and what we are already talking about. If I am treading in heavy waters, I have learned to ask Tony's advice. God gave him to me because I will always be socially inept, always (like last night I said something that was totally dumb about communism to someone from Cuba God, why am I such an idiot??). It's really quite embarrassing. That's why most of the time I try not to talk too much, and almost always let Tony handle the touchy convos. I know I will eventually open my mouth too wide if left to my own devices.

But, sometimes there is a time to speak (that's in the Bible - Ecclesiates 3:7). And sometimes - as a friend of mine said - there is a rightful place for cranky pants. Some people are worried about us (maybe because we are moving abroad without any concrete monthly support?), but honestly, we are worried about some people.

We need to be in anguish about the right things.

So, yesterday when Tony and I were talking about missions and poverty and young people being taught to play with food, his suggestion was that I always reference Scripture when trying to make a point. The thing is, I wasn't trying to make a point. I was just thinking out loud. But, okay. Point well taken. In the end, my feeling is that a lot of people already know what the Bible says. I argue that we can all go read it for ourselves.

This is just a blog, and sometimes I get cranky. Mostly what I write here is simply what is going on in our lives, and (God help us all) sometimes it is just Chris thinking out loud. But, to humor respect and honor Tony (I do try my best), here's a verse, just one verse from the Bible, that talks about the hungry. Isaiah 58:7,10

"Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him...?

And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkeness be as the noon day."

Oh, and another verse someone from church used to encourage us the other day, 1 John 3:17-18.

"But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."

August 22, 2011

The History of Pine Ridge Reservation, SD

This video, in my opinion, is a must see. Didn't learn this in no public school History class. (hmm... maybe I won't send the kids to public school after all.) [click on over to the blog if you can't view it Google reader, it's looking a little wonky for some reason].

People have been oppressing people since the beginning of time. The story of the violence, hatred, oppression, abuse, outright massacre, and continued neglect of American Indians is deeply tragic on many, many levels. But it's not a new, or even an isolated tragedy. If you have studied anything about history, it has always been. People have been hating and killing people since Cain and Abel.

I wanted to post this incredible video because I have a friend (well, more like a very distant, met-her-one-time-but-love-her-tons-anyway kind of friend) that lives and works on Pine Ridge Reservation.

She LIVES in this place.

She is an amazing young woman of God, she loves Jesus, and she loves people. Especially kids. She can't be more than 25 or 26 years old. She is beginning her fourth year as a public school teacher through Teach for America. She's an incredible example to me, and I find her testimony incredibly personally encouraging - as well as an example for the youth (and adults) of the Church of Christ to emulate. She is a missionary first and foremost, and just happens to work as a teacher to support herself. She shares the love and hope of Christ with lost people. I would be so proud of my daughter if she did something like this. I hope my daughter never follows the American dream as her god. It would be a tragedy. So many hands and feet for Christ, and so few using them. I am tired of hearing the excuse to not go because, "But you can do so much HERE!". Really? Are we doing it? Are we? I don't know, maybe others are. I know my friend is. I know we're not. And we're tired of it. Tired of not doing anything. That is why we feel we have to physically leave here to reach those who are actually in need. My neighbor with the quarter of a million dollar house and access to Bibles and Christians and a church on every corner, with food on the table and a vacation to the Outer Banks every year does not need anything. He's lost because he wants to be. It is a joke to call white, suburban REACHED middle-class America the mission field. I wonder if Jesus would agree with some churches' definition of "missions". I wonder what Jesus would say if he were here right now. Are we acting like the Church of Christ, or the church of the American Dream? The proof is in the pudding - or, I should say, the fruit.

Our church held a camp last week for the youth. I heard about it, and saw some pictures. I heard it was really fun. They bought a lot of milk and syrup and flour. To play games with it. Playing games with food. When children are starving to death? Is that what we are teaching our youth? Is that what "growing in godliness" looks like? Is this how we are to live?

Would I move to Pine Ridge as a missionary, in obedience to Christ? Sure. Would you? Even though they may even hate white people? Would you go anyway? How much does He mean to you? As much as you meant to Him when He died for you? You're not called, you say? No, you're not. You've already been commanded.

What are we doing in the church? What are we DOING for Christ? For the Redeemer of our souls, who bought us at a great price? Are we sacrificing anything for Him? Are we...?

(you can unfollow me now, I'll get over it. my cranky pants are on a little tight today)

August 21, 2011


Here is a LIST OF DONATIONS that we are currently accepting to fill the shipping container we are sending to Argentina in 3 weeks. This list is comprised of things we can use in ministry in Patagonia, as well as *specific needs of the native church. 

ALL DONATIONS DUE BY SEPT. 10 (quantities are as many as you feel led to donate)!

  • Good & Evil Illustrated Bible (in Spanish only)
  • The JESUS Film DVD (in Spanish or Mapudungun)
  • Christian movie DVDs (in Spanish, or with Spanish subtitles, ie.: the Torchlighters Series, The Last Adam, The Fourth Wiseman, John, Paul, etc, etc.)
  • Gospel Tracts (in Spanish only)

  • Foosball balls (not football, FOOSball - google it for pics)
  • Sleeping bags (new, or used & washed)
  • Camping gear (new or used)
  • Basketballs (new or used, deflated)
  • Volleyballs (new or used, deflated)
  • Tents (3 large/5-person and up, new or used)
  • Badminton equipment (sets, or birdies, rackets, or any part thereof)
  • Board Games (in Spanish)
  • Letters to make signs for events
Oh, and a printer for us. Ours broke, then I realized I just can't live without my printer. But, maybe I can. I just need to adapt.

Part of the funds we have worked to raise, as well as what many others have so graciously given, are being used to ship not just our supplies for life and ministry in Argentina (mission mobile, furniture, clothing), but also in order to ship as much as we can to use in outreach, evangelism, and ministry.

Please contact us (email or phone is best) to arrange to drop off no later than Sept 10. We have to have everything boxed, numbered, and labeled as per customs regulations before it is loaded up on Sept. 17th.

*These are specific items the native church has told us they have need of. To offer some background, the native church we will be working with is 18 hours away by car from the capital, the only place many of these things can be found (ex., foosball balls). The church also does many activities with youth, but resources and finances are limited (retreats, for example, are done in tents, not hotels).  As far as support from the American Church, they receive only $12,000 per year, to be distributed amongst all churches of their denomination in Argentina - of which there are about 50 to 60. Please pray about how you can support missions and ministry in Argentina! Also pray specifically we can fit every last donation in the container.


August 20, 2011

and the homeschooling must go on... sort of

While others are gearing up to start the school year, or have even already started, we have been (sort of) homeschooling all summer long.

seed class

The kids have been doing math, reading, writing, even drawing and arts & crafts all summer. NONE of it has involved me. Mommy's been unavailable these days - up to her eyeballs in boxes and wrapping paper and bubble wrap (and don't forget a glass of wine or two for her nerves). I set them steadily on the math track, then stepped away to deal with packing. I really haven't had to do anything except answer a question here and there about how to divide fractions and what is 9 times 4 again?.

Homeschooling this year is looking anything but orthodox. I'm okay with it (mostly). We have no schedule, no normal, and way too much to do for any of us to attempt anything that remotely resembles normal. It bothers me a little, but it's okay for now - and will have to be okay for the next 4-6 months or so. It is what it is. I am looking forward to getting settled in to our new home and regaining some sort of consistency in our day. Not sure what that'll look like, since we arrive in their spring - summer being right around the corner in December... and how do you school when everyone else is on summer break?!

I packed all of our homeschool stuff up for shipping (10 boxes, mostly books), except what we'll need to do the bare minimum over the next couple of months. We keep the Math available to be worked on, I threw a few books in my suitcase for reading to the kids (not that I anticipate having any time to do that, but everybody needs a few good books close by...), and their handwriting is floating around here somewhere...

It's a bare bones academic year so far, but rich in so many other ways. We are, after all, moving to the mission field in a foreign country. And all that. I'm resting in God's grace, and all the other amazing learning experiences yet to be had. In many ways, I see how I am made for this. An excessively organized, scheduled person would probably not do so well having their lives turned upside-down with a move of this magnitude. It takes a certain level of go-with-the-flow to survive something like this. Good thing I'm not an especially uptight kind of homeschooler, or we'd all be in a straight jacket right about now. :)

August 16, 2011

one amazing week

We have been blown away just about every day of this past week with some more of God's amazing provision. Three stories in particular come to mind.

At the beginning of last week Tony sat down and recalculated (again) what our remaining expenses still are to make this Big Move to Missions (ie., how much we still need to make it to our final destination in Patagonia - and hopefully afford a roof over our heads once we get there). We were $2000 short. We have been unemployed for six months now, and he stopped receiving phone calls for some side jobs he had found. He was visibly worried when he told me, and followed it with a, "What are we going to do?". I said, "I don't know, I give up worrying about it, honey. This is God's problem. He called us, He needs to provide. I'm done worrying about it." Then I laughedYou have to see the humor in it all or you'll just cry. Tony did not seemed helped by my non-chalance. So we prayed hard, our faith returned, and we felt a lot better - Tony also decided he would fast. Three days later we went in to the church office to pick up the check of the money we had made at the fundraiser, along with other gifts that have come in. Tony came home and told this amazing story: when he got there the pastor said he had some good news. Someone had called that morning and said they wanted to give us a gift. Of $2000. Tony said  he almost cried right then and there. His eyes filled with tears.

The Mission Mobile (before tinting; after pics to come)
Later that same day we stopped in to the shop of a friend's husband who tints car windows. Tony wanted to get an idea - just an idea - of what it would cost to darken the windows to our van - to keep prying eyes and the hot Patagonian desert sun out (it can reach 104, up to 107, degrees F in the summer there - most of Patagonia is actually desert, the sun shines every. day.). We only wanted to know how much it was, to see if we could even do it. As Tony told our friend about what we are doing and why, the guy offered to do the work FOR FREE- all we had to do was cover the materials (maybe $70 out of a $400-500 job). Later, when we took the van back to start getting worked on, he said, "Never mind, I'll do it all for you for free."

A few more amazing days went by, replete with God's goodness and more provision (not just material or financial - but much emotional, spiritual, and relational provision, as well.).

We went to church a couple of days later and were able to hunt down the family that gave us that huge financial gift. We wanted to thank them, even though they weren't looking for it (we try to thank everyone personally if possible - we truly are grateful for any and all support, moral, emotional, prayer, OR financial, and want people to know that). We then began talking about some of the supplies we want to take to Argentina, some of the missions things we want to do, and some of the things we aren't sure yet how we'll do - one of them being how to show the JESUS Film. I spoke with the head of the Jesus Film Project in Latin America several months ago who told me the best thing for us to do would be to go ahead and purchase the equipment and the film, and go from there. I researched projectors, a laptop, the screen, and the audio, took one look at the price ($4000-$5000 for all of it) and said, "Um, yeah. I don't think so." After telling this story to this particular family, they actually told us that they had a big screen in their basement we could have, and they might also be able to find an inexpensive, used projector for us. He also led Tony into another room and showed him some speakers we could have to use with the projector. They actually have tons of experience with buying and using this very equipment! They will also be giving us more movies and teaching material (DVDs) to show or give away!

this is actually a picture of the Jesus Film being shown in Mozambique... we don't have a photo of our own yet -
 but we soon will! (super happy smile)

God is ridiculously good. He's so in this. I can not describe the joy and peace and abundance that comes from obeying God's commands. Being in His will is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced in my life. I think Tony would say the same.
We can't wait to get there! Six more weeks!


August 11, 2011

random Brazil pics

In packing, I came across several more boxes of old photos. Here are a few.

camping with my friend Leti in a place we dubbed "The Palmtree Graveyard",
somewhere in the NE of Brazil

a little boy in a little town somewhere in the NE of Brazil

Christmas in a little sand for streets, fishing village called
Canoa Quebrada (Broken Canoe), Brazil

The same day I came across the journal I kept on that trip from Rio to the Amazon. This is what I wrote about our time on 12/23/97:

"In Canoa Quebrada, Ceará, Brazil, Pousada Alternativa R$3 [Alternative Hostel, 3 Brazilian Reals/US$3] per person. Swinging in my rede [hammock] with a cool tropical breeze blowing and Bob Marley playing next door."

LOL. Wow. And what an incredible and fun trip. Once in a lifetime. So thankful.

August 10, 2011

new friends

It seems that since we made the decision to accept God's call to missions, we have made a lot of new friends. It's been great, but kind of sad. Now that we have to leave, there are even more wonderful people we have to say goodbye to. Only a very few we will get the pleasure of seeing again soon.

Lee and Dori are new friends the Lord has so graciously and unexpectedly brought into our lives.

And it's a really cool story how God brought us together.

Lee and Dori were missionaries in Peru for 8 years, then they moved to Argentina to continue the same work. After six months there, they came back to the States to resolve visa issues and have a baby. They are currently getting ready to return to Argentina in just a few weeks!

Lee and Dori visiting with us (sorry, guys - not the greatest picture -
 but the few I took didn't turn out so well! You can kill me later. :))

Sometime back in March Dori left a comment on our blog. I clicked on over to theirs, read a bit, and also commented.

After hooking up via the blogosphere, we started emailing, Facebooking, and talking over the phone. We shared experiences, talked missions, the Lord, and Argentina. For hours. We just loved them immediately. I think we found kindred spirits in one another.

They are currently in Georgia with family, but have relatives in our area. So when they came up to visit Dori's grandparents with her parents and the new baby in tow, they swung by our place so we could finally meet in person. They stayed for two days. It was great to finally meet them after months of communicating over the phone and Internet. We had a great time: we talked the Lord, missions, and Argentina for two days straight. Even our two-year olds became good friends - it was so cute! They still like talking to each other over the phone - it's so adorable to listen to two toddlers have a happy little conversation over the phone. lol

Back when I initially read their website, they had posted something last year that they were praying for another couple to work with. I read that and thought, "Oh, I hope they find someone. I'm sure they will. God will answer that prayer." Maybe I even said a prayer for them, although I don't remember.

By the time they came up to visit they were seeking the Lord's direction on where to go upon their return to Argentina. They had been in Ushuaia, also located in Patagonia, but 30 hours south by car of where we will be. We kind of lamented that they would be so far away, and too bad they weren't closer, seeing as they were the only other missionaries we had contact with in all of Patagonia besides Edgardo. But even though that was a little disappointing, we promised to visit - maybe even for Christmas.

When they came up we discussed the possibility of them going to Neuquen instead of Ushuaia. Why not? One of the things they had found that was difficult in Ushuaia was that they didn't have any contacts, and it was difficult to meet people. Tony suggested they just come to Neuquen - there, at least, they knew us, and we had a few contacts. The more we talked and prayed, the idea began to take shape: they wouldn't have to be alone, we wouldn't have to be alone, we were already friends, we would have someone to speak English with if we ever wanted or needed to, and we could all work together.

They called up Edgardo (the pastor there), talked at length about what they do, and we all continued praying. Lee was very impressed with what they do and how they do it.

It turns out (and we didn't know this at the time) that Edgardo, the pastors, and the church have been praying that God would send workers. As we talked more with him about not wanting to be a burden to them (they offered to find a house for us to rent, and would pay our first months rent - imagine that, a humble, third world church paying the rent of the rich first world missionaries), we wanted to be a blessing, Edgardo told us to please do him a favor and not waste one more second in worrying about it - they believed that God was in this, and to just come down. Us and them.

So now we're all going to Neuquen. And we're all really excited and happy about it! :)

We are thrilled, and just in awe of God.

I remember many, many months ago mentioning to someone at church that the last time I lived in Argentina I didn't have any friends. It was very hard to make friends for some reason. This woman (although I can't for the life of me remember who it was) just looked up at me sweetly and said, "Ohhhh... I'll pray then that the Lord give you friends." I thought that was so sweet, and then proceeded to forget all about it. I remembered that only after we met Lee and Dori - I guess she really did pray. God has been so kind to give us friends before we leave! How good is He? Tony and I often look at each other, shake our heads, and just go, "Wow. This is amazing. Isn't this amazing?". Él es bueno de verdad. He is truly good.

So, God answered the native church's prayer for workers, Lee and Dori's prayer for another couple, prayers we never thought to pray for ourselves, and the prayers of others for us.

"For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." ~Matthew 6:8

As it is now, Lee and Dori plan to arrive in Patagonia a few weeks before us. Once we arrive in Buenos Aires and get our things out of customs (Lord-willing, without event), we'll meet up with our little growing team in Neuquen.

It's a good start.


August 6, 2011

sweetly broken

These past few weeks have been hard. Really hard. I think I've cried every day for some reason or another (and I can usually go awhile without crying). There is physical exhaustion, mental pressure, emotional strain, unending packing, overwhelming stress, tension, too many migraines, and the beginnings of grief and goodbyes.

The following song and Isaiah 53 have ministered to me A LOT this week. Jesus suffered, as will we in this life. He identifies with our pain, our affliction, our grief. He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.... we forget that. We like to forget that. He was broken, bruised, crushed - yet Isaiah 53 says it pleased the Lord. It does me good to remember Jesus's suffering (as if my life should be free of it?). I find myself broken these days... but sweetly broken.

Being broken is not bad, in fact, it is a good place to be. It is the example Jesus left us....


To the cross I look, to the cross I cling
Of its suffering I do drink
Of its work I do sing

For on it my Savior
Both bruised and crushed
Showed that God is love and God is just

At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees
And I am lost for words
So lost in love
I’m sweetly broken
Wholly surrendered

What a priceless gift, undeserved life
Have I been given through Christ crucified

You’ve called me out of death
You’ve called me into life
And I was under Your wrath
Now through the cross I’m reconciled

In awe of the cross I must confess
How wondrous Your redeeming love
And how great is Your faithfulness


3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

9And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

August 5, 2011

Mate: Argentine Green Tea

In packing, we came across an old box of photos. These were taken 10 years ago when my friend Lisa came down to visit me in Buenos Aires for Christmas. At the time we lived in a little apartment downtown. During her stay we took an excursion to the coastal town of Mar del Plata for New Year's. We drank lots of mate (pronounced MAH-tay)!

Wikipedia explains mate better than I have time to do right now:

"The infusion called mate or chimarrão (Brazil) is prepared by steeping dry leaves (and twigs) of the mate plant in hot water, rather than in boiling water. Drinking mate with friends from a shared hollow gourd (also called a guampa or mate in Spanish, or cabaça or cuia in Portuguese, or zucca in Italian) with a metal straw (a bombilla in Spanish, bomba in Portuguese) is a common social practice in Argentina and southern Brazil among people of all ages; the beverage is also popular in Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru and Chile, eastern Bolivia and other states of Brazil, and has been cultivated in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

 The flavor of brewed mate is strongly vegetal, herbal, and grassy, reminiscent of some varieties of green tea. Some consider the flavor to be very agreeable, but it is generally bitter if steeped in boiling water. Flavored mate is also sold, in which the mate leaves are blended with another herb (such as peppermint) or citrus rind."

So, here is my time with Lisa in mate pics:

serving mate for breakfast in our little apartment

sleepy Lisa trying mate

passing the mate around between friends
lady drinking mate on the beach in Mar del Plata
Well, that all for now - back to packing! I have more old pics to post - coming soon.

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