November 29, 2011

a great video

a house in the neighborhood on the hill

Every Wednesday night a few musicians from church meet up in a neighborhood up on a hill with a couple other people to play (oh, what do they call it here? I can't remember...) musica folklore? musica criolla? I know it as "musica del altiplano", music of the high Andes, from my time in Ecuador... but my brain is too tired to tell you what they call it here. It's one of my favorite types of music, though. So beautiful.

Just watch.

In this video they are playing Christian worship music.

Tito, the guy strumming the little guitar really, really fast, came by to pick Tony up. The car broke down on the way there. Somehow he repaired it with dental floss (okay, it wasn't dental floss, but he fixed it somehow, right there by the side of the road.)

I wanted to go, but had a headache, so decided to hold off til next time. As I was talking there in our kitchen with Tito before they left, he noticed I had a little Andean panflute lying on top of the microwave (the one that doesn't work, by the way, it has transformer issues). I casually remarked how it has been my life-long dream to learn to play the Andean panflute (called something else here... but, alas, can't remember. Tito is a musicman and gave me a mini music class just standing there in the kitchen as he rattled off all the names of the different sized panflutes...). Tito then said he would teach me to play the panflute. He said he and his friends love to teach people. I should come and he would teach me. Wow... really?! Total dream come true!

Tony just laughed and asked if this is going to be like the time I wanted to learn to play the guitar. The one that just sat there in the living room, and then later in the basement.

I guess we'll see...


Lost internet for over a week. We can't go on like this. Hopefully getting internet here at home this week. Which means probably next week. Or the week after. Patience required.

Here is Tony's friend, Pedro (the one who works and lives in the tent next door). He came to church on Sunday, then Tony invited him in amongst all our boxes and craziness to stay for lunch. Afterwards, we showed him two of the Torchlighters Series, the Richard Wurmbrand one, I believe, and the Amy Carmichael story (not sure, I was washing dishes... as usual).

He was riveted. Tony also bought him a really nice study Bible at church. You should have seen his face. He held it up in front of him and stared at it like it was made of gold.

He said he was only going to use it on Sundays.

We said, "No, no, you have to read it every day! And study it. It's the only thing that can change your life."

Please pray for Pedro. He began coming to church with us, and Tony takes him to a men's discipleship group every Monday. But he has a lot of problems, one being with alcohol. He said he wants to quit but doesn't know how. The day this picture was taken, he wreaked of alcohol.

November 19, 2011

just a few pics from this week

I'm sitting here on the edge of the bed, by the window, holding the laptop at various and sometimes elevated angles, just to catch a signal - something I do every time I want to do the internet. Sometimes it works, sometimes it's doesn't. Let's see...

Tony freelanced a lot this week, thanks be to Jesus - here he is covering the news around the city

since the Mission Mobile is currently on lock down, he rode one of our donated bikes 8 miles one way
in 90 degree heat to work, then back again 12 hours later. one does what one has to do.

freelancing for a production company somewhere way out in the middle of nowhere Neuquen Province
(he clearly gets to do all the fun stuff)

Me, what have I been doing? Oh, I'm busy wiping noses, hanging laundry (no clothes dryers here, nosirree), washing dishes by hand (such suffering!), and sweaping and dusting the whole house a mininum of twice a day due to the dust and ash that blows in the windows. Exciting, evangelistic stuff. I know, you're jealous. You're thinking, Wow, I wish I had her life. I know, I know, it's tough not to envy me and my amazing life.

This week I reached three kids for Christ. I made brownies. Hey, happy kids, happy mommy. We ignored the boxes that needed unpacking, the heat, and the fact that we still don't have fans and the oven would make the kitchen a bit more toasty than it already is, and dug into our precious chocolate chip and brown sugar stash to escape reality for a bit by drowning ourselves in butter and sugar and chocolate. It was worth it.

Sorry, no pics of the finished product... they were gone way too soon.

got some of my extra kitchen stuff together to give to Yoli, the wife of one of the construction guys
next door who came here from Mendoza with barely a thing to even cook with. it feels good to give.
(hey Denise, see your cups??)
met and talked with Enzo about going down to help him do some sort of Christmas outreach in Bariloche -
he is an artist and the church's contact there who lives and works in a very poor and pretty rough neighborhood reaching the community with change for Christ by teaching art
we shared our testimonies with the youth group - great group of kids - half of them are first generation Christians that have been reached through the church's Christian school

getting to know the church better - they're still pretty awesome

finally unpacked some books (shudder with happy goodness)... ah, you're never alone with a good book
It was like Christmas! Here I was a little worried about how we're not able to do "normal homeschooing" like all our good and diligent and disciplined homeschooling friends back home, but just hide the books for a couple of months and then voila! All of a sudden they're eating up the Classics. {Oh, yeah, and blowing out the big screen TV works, too.}

My boy actually read his first non-fiction book this week all on his own: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I couldn't believe it! My girl read Anne of Green Gables, Black Beauty, and Grimm's Fairy Tales. Great Illustrated Classics are a great way to ease them into good literature. The pictures and shorter versions are working for us.

And by far my favorite picture...
seatbelts and car seat optional! (and this is the pastor's wife... they're a fun bunch! lol)

gearing up

About this picture: this is about as big as our living room is, the carpet is a BIG MISTAKE (but it's going to take a lot more desert dust and volcanic ash being ground into it and a few more weeks to convince the husband {who doesn't clean} of that, and those speakers put out some serious sound!

testing the speakers that hook up to the laptop and projector

We found the box with the speakers in it! Also found the box with the projector and all the ministry DVDs  (thanks Dave and Emmanuel!). They all made it safely. Nothing was lifted. Very thankful. Prayer works. We could have a movie ministry and nothing else, just spend all our time travelling around showing the JESUS film and creation videos, with all that was donated. Sweet stuff.

I told the kids that their Science this year would be to test drive all the videos in that box. I'm sure my boy will be a big help in setting up all the equipment once we get it all untangled and figured out. He's good that way with technology. He tried to explain to us about the adapter and the TV and why it needed to be on Low; and later: "well, you didn't listen to me..." (um, that would be Tony that didn't listen)... the TV blew up and big wisps of gray smoke poured out of the top. One or two people burst into tears (not me). Who needs a TV anyway? We're here to do missions, not waste our lives away watching TV.

(FYI: We hear it can be fixed. The 120V motor blew out on the 220V here, just needs to be replaced and wound with higher tension copper wiring... or something like that? Embobinado. I guess, in the end, it'll be good to be able to show videos when people come over?)

This week we have been learning all about electricity. Converting Amps to Watts by multiplying by Volts etc., etc., etc. Well, Boy was right. Those adapters should be set on Low. They just don't work for high wattage appliances - not because they're not made for up to 1600 watts on the High setting, but because they just can't handle 220 volts, apparently.

So, back to the speakers... we were giddy happy to be able to test the speakers out on the laptop. Dave had given a little training session (sorry, can't link to that post, internet cutting out on me - it's back in Sept '11 somewhere), but it was just three days before the container came, so we had to seal that box up right away and haven't seen it for two months. I didn't know if I would remember how to work all the cables, and was praying I wouldn't blow the speakers out since we needed to use an converter to plug them in.

But (happy sigh), we did it! Those speakers make it sound like the movies! The kids watched "Creature That Defy Evolution" Part I, and begged me to let them watch Part II pleeeease.

Fun times. Step by step.

November 16, 2011

mission plan

This big map is hanging on the wall at church. It is the church's mission plan and vision to reach Patagonia. (We are in Neuquen, the province located in the upper left of the map.)

On the right is a small map of Argentina; Patagonia is the area in red.

Red squares are established works, green are where missionary work is being done, and blue are contacts.

Looking outward is healthy for the life of the church, and without a mission vision the church stagnates, will atrophy, even die spiritually. We need to sow in the fields, not in the barn where the wheat already is.

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" ~Isaiah 6:8

November 15, 2011

Lock down

A (really nice) customs official came to lock down the Mission Mobile today.

Tony went to the Customs Office here to register our vehicle today.

No problem, they said. All the paperwork is in order, you just need to park it until we process it all. No driving it until it is inspected and legally registered.

They really meant it.

Pablo was a really nice guy. He's actually the boss, and coming out to our house was not his job. He's not sure why he did it, the guys responsible for this part of the tramite are on vacation. It was 92 degrees and he came anyway. Sealed our baby right up and took a picture of the odometer just to insure we don't get out of line.

They mean business. We are impressed, in an ironic, inconvenienced kind of way.

Good news is they said it would only take 10 days until all is well and legal. Public transportation is very, er, not prolific here, so good thing we went food shopping yesterday. Hopefully we'll make it until our car is released into the land of the living.

the church here

Is awesome.

Look what they gave us - a welcome to Patagonia house-warming box filled with goodies!

our own mate carrying case and thermos engraved with our names and the church's name, Bible verses attached to little gifts, kitchen stuff, a metal colander (I've always wanted to replace my plastic dollar store one!), and on and on and on...

There was even an envelope with money in it, and a verse. Joshua 1:9,

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Very humbling. We are in a developing country and they give us money? The church even paid our first month's rent until Tony finds a job.

Can  you believe that?!?

We can't. I told Tony it's just not right. How can they do that?? We hope we can bless them in return someday, somehow. The other night at the table (our little plastic table that has plastic stools), Tony just shook his head and said, "We are so blessed. Do you realize how blessed we are?". I know he was talking not of the material blessings they have bestowed on us, but of who they are as people, as Christians.

God really hooked us up. We love it here, and we love the people.

November 14, 2011

working as a cameraman again

working again as a cameraman

Tony worked one day last week freelancing for a local production company that produces marketing videos for oil companies in the region. They drove an hour north to Anelo (sorry, can't do the little squiggly thing over the n on my laptop), and he spent the day out in the hot desert sun filming trucks or something like that. He loved it. He can't believe he is working as a cameraman again after all these years. He also said the place was beautiful. The guy liked his work and said he has more work for him this week.

But not today, because he is on two different interviews with two different TV stations here! Praying he gets one of them, we do have rent to pay and food we need to eat! Gas for the mission mobile and trips to do evangelism would be good too!

November 13, 2011

Christian voyeurism

I always feel weird taking shots of us or anyone doing evangelism. But I suppose that's what some people want to see here on this blog - at least that's part of the point of having it, right?

Mostly, right now, it just feels like Christian voyeurism.

"Excuse me, could you hold that just so while I get a shot of Tony handing you that Bible?" smile!

That's just weird.

Besides, I'm usually too occupied making sure the toddler doesn't fall into a ditch or the older kids don't run off chasing rabid dogs to deal with getting a lot of really great pictures - of which there are many, many opportunities here.

So, while I navigate those waters, here's a shot I voyeured yesterday through the bathroom window (incidentally quite grayed over with dusty volcanic ash).

Tony sharing the gospel with the construction guys next door - they live in that mobile home

The story behind the pics... after we had been so sick, we began asking the locals and doctors here about drinking the water. We had been drinking bottled water since we arrived, but that gets expensive. The doctor from the church, Adrian, said he wouldn't recommend drinking the water here. I asked why, and where does the water come from anyway? He said it comes right from the river and is only treated with chlorine. There is no decantation process either to settle sediments, and there is sewage drainage from the town upriver right near the intake for the city's drinking water. He said sometimes that can lead to intestinal tract infections, and you don't want that. Um, no, we don't. So we broke down and bought a water filter system that attaches right to the kitchen sink and has a little valve to filter water when you need it. The couple that came to the house to install it turned out to be Christians. She sells the filters and he, a retired chemistry teacher, comes along, he says, to help with the chemical explanation part and also offer people the "living water". Turns out he is President of the Gideons Association here in Argentina. We had a nice little talk with them, Tony invited them to lunch (he always invites people to stay - I was SO tired that day and not really thrilled, but of course later I felt bad when they prayed for us and gave us some evangelism advice.)

Mr. President of the Gideons Association came back the next day to give us three Bilingual New Testaments. Tony promptly gave them to the guys next door. Pedro, the only one really open at this point, was really happy and so thankful - he loves to read. The other ones wanted them anyway, maybe because they were free? Or they're bored? Tony said not to worry that they laugh at all talk of "religion" - he used to do the same thing. Tranquilo. Pedro is from Mendoza (a province north of here), and when he came here to work he left his Bible at home. He is the one who wants to stop drinking and smoking but doesn't know how. Tony has been talking to him everyday. When he disappears and the kids can't find him and they inevitably ask me where Papi is, I usually reply, "I don't know. Probably talking to someone."

And, of course, he usually is.


November 12, 2011

more pictures: across the Pampa to Patagonia

Here are some pics of Tony's trip across the Pampa to Patagonia with the Mission Mobile.

It was an answer to prayer that his nephew could make the trip with him.

If Tony had gotten lost, or fallen asleep at the wheel, or had broken down, that would not have been good (especially the falling asleep part).

He said the roads were surprisingly treacherous.

Doesn't he looked scared? Apparently there was no shoulder, they were driving (120 kph probably) into the blazing setting sun, and cars and trucks going both ways on the two-lane highway swerving like drunk drivers.

Tony was able to get a special permission from the customs agent to drive our van for 30 days with U.S. plates, until we register it here in Patagonia. So he quickly bought mandatory liability insurance, had an alarm system put in (very importante), gassed up, and took off on the 14-hour trip a day and a half after it rolled off the container.

They drove straight through and rolled into Neuquen at midnight. It was great to be able to get text messages from them from the road (yes, can you believe it?, I'm texting. It's a necessary evil. And I'm loving it thankyouverymuch. Everyone texts here, more than they talk on the phone even. Calls are expensive, texting is cheap. I love having phones and being able to get a hold of Tony whenever, and he me... that is, when there's a signal... which sometimes there isn't because it just mysteriously disappears... or you just can't get through... for no apparent reason.. because this is not the United States... no...)

Anyway, tangent, sorry. Here are some more pics.

Bee-yoo-tee-ful. Southern Buenos Aires Province, before Bahia Blanca (I suggest Google Earth if you haven't done that yet).

Half of the sky was rain, the other half sun.

You can fall asleep driving on these roads.

Heading west from Bahia Blanca, southern Buenos Aires Province, across the Pampa towards Patagonia.

Right into the setting sun...

pictures, finally: Buenos Aires

I spoke waaaayyy too soon on the last post about how great we are doing. We no sooner left the internet cafe and Miss Baby got sick - again.

Feverish and hallucinating this time.

Oh, sweet Jesus, please make it stop.

It didn't help that the weather went from near 90 and hot to 65, very windy, and ashy. The sun was grayed out there was so much ash blowing in. It was surreal; wish I had pics. My anxiety came surging back with a vengance that evening. We were driving along in some gray, 4 o'clock haze with a sick baby and all I kept thinking as I gazed out the window at the grayness outside was, "This is not normal. This is not normal that people live here, like this, under these conditions. People should not live here... Why are we living here???"

So forgive me for the lack of pictures since we arrived here a month ago now. I just last night was able to find two hours late at night to read the manual for the cell phones we brought with us from the States (we marvel that going to the mission field has catapulted us into 2011 and technology - we were about the only ones we know back home that didn't have a cell phone... except the $10 cheapy from the pharmacy that Tony dropped in the snow once. When the snow melted two weeks later, I saw it sitting there, but the ringer no longer worked... pretty much useless.).

So, anyway, finally figured out how to download the pictures from our cell phones - it only took me two months. And thanks to some random, open internet signal here in the barrio - finally able to upload some pics! Woohoo!

So without much further ado, here are some long overdue pictures... just a few from the phones for starters.

standing in line at the Immigration Office: let the paperwork begin

Argentine bureaucracy at its best: standing in lines for hours for everything
(find the gringa in this photo)

a car on the sidewalk
riding the train
More to come (as long as my pirated gift-from-God signal holds out)...


November 9, 2011

quickie update


Sitting at an internet cafe with the fam waiting outside so here goes... sorry if this is all over the place..

We are doing great - finally! Tony's back from Buenos Aires - the container thing went very well, praise the Lord! Tony said God was in every detail, EVERY detail. They took one peek at our stuff and waved us through. Many, many other miracles I wish I had time to share as well. The scanner that checks the contents of the container was also broken that day, so they couldn't scan to see anything questionable that would make him stop and have to open all 200+ boxes and packages.

After 9 days in Buenos Aires and an immense amount of stress (on my end too! I was alone here with the kids and no car), he drove the car back 14 hours straight with his nephew. The pics are incredible, I promise I promise I promise I will get them up as soon as we have interenet. We don't know yet if it reaches our house.

We are healthier, finally PTL, the kids are happier, and we really like it here. We have met many neighbors and they are soooo nice. The people here are wonderful, so nice, very open. Very respectful, polite, laid back, and just, well, nice. We like them a lot, and like the city. Tony has already begun sharing the gospel with people, especially the construction guys working on the house next door. They live in a tent and very old mobile home right on the site. The one guy said to Tony, "I was reading the verse on the back of your van... very interesting: I want to stop drinking and smoking, but don't know how." Tony, in his natural way, said, "I have something I want to share with you" and handed him a tract out of the car.

We look forward to getting the boxes out of the living room/dining room so we can finally walk in there, and finally do something more fun and less stressful - like a mission trip to some of the places Edgardo (the pastor) has told us about.

We were able to give Edgardo 20 boxes of clothing we brought to donate, and the tents a friend donated, too. He was very happy about that and said it will be a blessing to many people.

The church is great, the people are wonderful, and such an inspiration to us. They are very, very missions minded and are constantly doing something. They are strategic and orgainized. They don't just talk about missions or doing something, they do it. We can't wait to start doing more of what we came here for!

Tony had several interviews at the TV station here, it looks promising. Please pray they call him soon for work!

Since so many people have asked, as far as finances, we have received maybe $150 in donations this month I think. (Thank you, friends, for supporting us!) Until Tony finds a job, $150 a month definately helps, but doesn't support us fully here. Things are VERY expensive here in Argentina, very, very expensive, it's ridiculous. We are so, so, so glad we were able to bring our stuff. We saved many, many, many 1000s of dollars in just bringing the van we paid $2700 for. Here it is worth $25,000 and we could never pay that!!! Several people have already wanted to buy it from Tony! Imagine that, our old 99 beater Ford van.

Anyway, please pray for a job for Tony and if you want to support us! Our plan is to pay for our own expenses here (be self supporting), and donations to be used for mission work. That's the plan, but we recognize that our sustainer is God and God alone. I told Tony that He got us this far, He's not going to abandon us... too much to do down here!

Gotta go, kids are probably baking in the car - this desert sun is HOT! Thanks again Tim for the tinted windows - we had no idea how much we would need then here!

November 2, 2011

still alive...

Lost internet access for a week, have a small window here, then offline again for a while...

We're still alive. Found a house. Moved in. It's empty. Sleeping on the floors. No car. Tony away in Buenos Aires this whole time (week) getting our stuff and car. He's never allowed to travel again. I've decided I'm not missionary material (but obviously I'm here and doing it, which means anyone can). This is crazy. But we're okay. The kids are happy to finally have their own house and rooms!

They're happy, I'm happy. Healthy is a bonus, too.

Thankful for bars on my windows and an alarm system. I do sleep, just very late after checking each window and door a million times. The angel of the Lord encampeth around those that feareth Him.

Feeling a bit better, we are cured of our illnesses, praise the Lord. Not 100% yet, though. I have a migraine now though, Day 2, can't imagine why. I'm not stressed - no, not at all.

Baby sick again, hopefully just a cold. Ugh. It never ends, but it better soon cause I'm tired of this!

Kids beginning to speak Spanish. Baby yells, "Fuera" (away, get) to the stray dogs when we go out for a walk. I hate stray dogs. They rip my trash bags apart at night and eat whatever is in there. I spent two mornings in a row cleaning up the trash scattered all over out dirt road.

Sorry no pics posted! Internet here is tempermental, slow, and mostly we don't have it. Will upload pics as soon as I get a good connection... someday! Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Thanks for all the comments and prayers - we'll respond when we get a free moment!

love :)
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