February 11, 2012

Trip to Bariloche

I've tried writing something about our recent mini-mission trip to Bariloche, but I can't seem to get anything out. Homesickness and sadness hit me hard this past week from completely out of the blue, and I just can't get myself together. I'm teary, weepy, sad, feeling sorry for myself, unmotivated, convinced at the moment that perhaps we are either stupid, crazy, or both for doing this missionary thing. What were were thinking?? Maybe it's just hormones and homesickness talking, but I'm wondering if we've completely ruined our kids' lives by bringing them here. Sigh. Sadness sucks.

Well, anyway, not to go on about that, and don't worry about us too much (but you can pray, we need that). For now, here are a few pictures from our trip six hours southwest to the mountains.

the church/community building where we stayed in Bariloche (back view)

the new church they are building down the hill
 After I saw a huge black spider in the bathroom, I was like, "Hey kids, let's pop the tent open inside and sleep there!" My suggestion was met with delighted squeals.

Me and my girls zipped up safe in there, while the boys slept out in the van.

how I heated the building when we got up in the morning - it's chilly in the mountains in summer
{in the forefront is one of the trash bags of clothing and supplies we brought}
and we finally used our carseat. Roadtrippin' is a good time for safety.

the wood stove I didn't know how to work - it sure did put out a lot of heat, though, when our friends lit it!

the kitchen
we had to use water collected in buckets to wash dishes, our hosts graciously provided us with bottled drinking water
(volcanic ash is in the water system and carries dangerous heavy metals making it unsafe to drink, at least that's what they told us)

the view from the kitchen - spectacular
that's snow-capped Mt. Tronador on the left, it lies on the Argentina/Chile border

talking in front of the church (on the right) with missionaries Enzo and Sandra, who live and work in the neighborhood
Sandra is holding a soccer ball we were able to give them to work with the kids (they were so happy about that ~ thanks, Hughes'!)
Incidentally, there was volcanic ash EVERYWHERE. You can see it in this photo, it's the white stuff that covers everything. After we packed up to leave, I swept the church floor. I regret not taking a picture of the amazing amount of grit and sand and ash (all from the volcano) I collected. It was another reason we slept in the tent. There was just no way around all that grit.

the soccer field where they play and do outreach with the neighborhood kids
(that is not sand or dirt, it's all ash)

more of the neighborhood
Enzo and Sandra have been living in this neighborhood (located at Km 23, for those in the Bariloche know) for ten years. They are two of the few Christians of the about 500 families that live here. They are working for the most part alone, but receive construction teams from the church here in Neuquen from time to time, and visitors (like us) who take them supplies, and hopefully encouragement, from time to time.

They are self-supporting local artists and native missionaries. 
They make mates out of gourds and sell them at fairs throughout the region. They scrape by, but it's an artist's life. (And missions isn't easy either.)
When they're not doing that, Sandra is teaching literacy classes in the church building. They have to teach the residents of the barrio how to read, before they can teach them to read the Bible. They also hold a weekly Happy Hour (kid's Bible study and craft) and play soccer with the kids. It's slow work. Their obstacles are many. I don't know how they do it, I really don't. They did say that that is why visitors are so important. They couldn't do it alone.


Terry and Patty said...

Praying for you. They say that your will go thru the homesickness thing after about six months. It passes and comes and goes. I will be praying for you. I have had a few teary days also. I mostly miss velveeta.

Amiee said...

What a beautiful place! That view from the kitchen is amazing. I don't doubt the difficulty of the location but it beautiful to see a couple who has settled in for the long haul of sharing the gospel. So glad that you guys were able to spend some time there.

All of the ash is kind of mind boggling, wow what a impact that has on the environment and day to day life.

Don't be too hard on yourself for the homesickness. You guys are crazy by most american standards, that is the awesome part. In my book crazy is good and I think you guys are amazing for taking huge steps way outside of your comfort zones. So revel in the crazy. It really will come in waves and I bet you will feel homesick when you come back here for a visit...funny how that works.

Love and hugs! I think of you often!

Denise said...

Catching up on your blog after a busy week. Praying for you with the homesickness. I was a little bit worried after the spider reference, but I bravely kept reading to see if there was more on how I can pray for you. Thank you for not posting pictures. ;) The scenery there is unbelievable, and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, so is the ash. How far is that from the volcano?
I'll keep praying for you. You continue to amaze me!

Cristian said...

I hope you can go pass the homesickness and apreciate and see what a beautiful and lovely place is bariloche

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