June 29, 2012

please pray

Tony has pneumonia. Please pray. The good news, it's treatable and TB has been ruled out for now. But that scares me that they even mentioned that.

They want him back in 20 days for tests to see how he's recovered, and to see why he is getting these chronic bronchitis/lung infections.

Please pray for us all around, and feel free to share our prayer request. If someone put a plane in front of me I'd get on it. We are working on selling off some big appliances to pay for rent and food. That probably sounds bad, but God is very creative in how he has provided for us since we have been here. Tony hasn't been able to find a job yet, but we're still here. Either way, our lives and future are the hands of the One who made us.

I'll write more later. If you have any words of encouragement, bible verses, or anything you want to share, please do. It helps us so much! Thanks...

June 28, 2012

Blue-winged Macaw, or Burrowing Parrot of Patagonia

The wildlife in Patagonia is amazing. As we drive around just going about our business, we often spot some really amazing animals. We've taken up bird watching and animal identification as a side hobby. Its also fits nicely and easily into our homeschooling study of science. I never leave the house for trips without our Aves de Argentina [Birds of Argentina] guide book. I try to make our mission trips around Patagonia count. I think they are highly educational in so many different ways; bird and animal study being just one way.

I have found bird identification to actually be really hard, and we're not that good at it. Wikipedia helps. My bird book says these are the Blue-winged Macaw, but they're really not as big as macaws, and yet seem bigger than most parrots. Wiki helped us further identify them as the Burrowing Parrot of Patagonia.

they are very skittish and very fast, making it hard to get a good picture

After our first day of outreach in the mountains last month, we drove back into the town of Chos Malal for the night. A pastor we met at a conference our first time in the area offered to let us stay at their house since they were out of town. Their house is located downtown, but surrounded by tons of huge old trees. These trees were the perfect place for a huge flock of parrots to spend the night. From the sounds of them, there were more than hundreds, if not a thousand easily.

Parrots are very noisy. A thousand parrots are extremely noisy. They chirped and chittered and chattered and squawked and screamed all night long. It seems no matter where we go here in Argentina we can't get away from the noise! If it's not the twenty million neighborhood dogs yipping at every leaf that moves, it's motorcycles, cars with bad mufflers, neighbors partying into the wee hours of the morning, or a thousand crazy parrots yapping and squawking. Fortunately, this particular night we were so tired after having been up for almost 24 hours driving then doing this and this, that we passed right out and slept like babies all night long. Or I should say I passed out. The birds woke Tony up several times during the night with their squawking.


June 27, 2012

rural church, part II

The church is in front of the grove of trees on the right. Like I said, rural.

Day 1 we drove back to town from the first village outreach. That was nice, sleeping in civilization, with a shower.

Day 2 we drove back up into the mountains to the rural church, another 45 minutes or so on down the gravel road from the first village. This stretch of road makes me nervous. Tony said he's never heard me pray so much as when we're on this road; I'm usually mumbling prayers under my breath that we don't slide off the cliff, and doing some major side-seat driving. It's not as bad as other parts of the Andes, the drop-off with no guard rail is only about fifty to one hundred feet. But still enough to usher you through Gates of Splendor before your time if you were to slide off of it. Which, incidentally, we almost did on the way out the next day.

The bummer about Day 2 and 3 was all the rain. Our visits to the isolated local families in the region were cancelled because of the cold and whipping rain and wind. We were disappointed because we were looking forward to driving to the end of the road and getting out and walking/hiking the rest of the way to the houses. We were also disappointed to not be able to visit the unreached in the area and to get to know them. They are very hospitable and invite you in for tea and homemade bread and often times a meal. An hour visit can last all afternoon.

Plan B was to hold a service/outreach at the church. So we did. Even in the rain there was a decent turn out, considering most people walked to the church in the rain and mist.

The Gladys Aylward story was the movie of the weekend... mountains, rural, children, lonely but God still works kind of movie


My internet is still not co-operating. Ugh and Sigh. I'll try to post more pictures when it decides to cooperate. If ever. I miss you hig-speed internet... I miss you.

June 26, 2012


"I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears...."

I sat in the hall with all the other patients and their drips. We line the wall in the ER. IV analgesics I could not understand the names of tapped into my right arm at the elbow; the worst rebound migraine in the history of migraines. One man in a neck brace on a stretcher, a boy in a wheelchair peeking out of the next room, a woman in labor sitting next to me; she had been there for hours, still waiting... Waiting, waiting, waiting. That's what we do here.

It is well past midnight, this first day of winter. I sit, the drugs beginning to work their magic and ease the pain, and put me to sleep in a sitting position. My eyes fling open, slower than usual, as I hear the commotion - a man being brought in on a stretcher. He collapsed outside, the men who drove him to the hospital unable to hold him up. Blood is streaming from his chest: a gunshot wound.

I think that because I am in hospital he will be saved.

He dies several minutes later. I watch as the doctor comes out, his body language says everything. He points to his chest, He received a shot HERE. He shakes his head, takes off his glasses. We did everything we could...

It was like a horrible movie, the next scene predictable. The son buries his head in his hands and starts to sob, "My father, my father..."

The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous,
and his ears are open unto their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

Was he a bad man?, I think to myself. Are these the consequences of a life lived wrongly??

I wonder.

Sometimes I feel as desolate as things appear.

{...none of them that trust in him shall be desolate...}

Perhaps it is good that we are here, I try to console myself. Yes, very good that we are here, I tell myself again. I squint at the scene, breathe out, shake my head slow.

No, a voice says, Go home.

Why are you here? - the voice whispers. You could be next, you know... It's dangerous here. Don't you know that?

Fear, a constant companion, comes to visit again. Why can't fear just leave me alone?

 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.

Death. Need. Loss. It is too much to bear some days, many days, most days. Nine months and I feel like I already need a big, long, stress-free furlough.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears.

Today there is no gas in town. No gas at the gas stations. There's just no gas. Lines of cars are three blocks long. Tony says, I'll go after midnight tonight, maybe there won't be any lines then. He tells me of the strike that is supposed to last into next week, which probably means no trucks making deliveries. I say we should go to the store today and stock up just in case.

We are on our knees, praying for peace. The anxiety overwhelms, driving us down. Tony gets ready to go to the older boy's home, the opposition begins.

I need to pray, he says standing at the kitchen sink. I don't want to go. I can feel it.

Sometimes I get tired of these desparate prayers.

It's the first day of winter, June 21. My mom's 65th birthday. Sixty-five. Where has the time gone?

She buries her father. He died on Father's Day.

Death, like a Gypsy, comes to steal what I love.  Again.

Sometimes I feel grey. As grey as these winter skies. I cry. Cry until three in the morning and I just can't stop.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.

I think of regret. Pain so deep, sorrow so great, I will never be the same again. I have an epiphany. And I'm mad it takes me forty years to come to it. I will never allow anyone to influence me again when I know what God is telling me to do. When I know what is right. But I don't do it. It's too late, it's too late. I can't go back.

Only ahead.

I think of this forgiveness that I have been given. This wonderful, unbelievable, undeserved forgiveness. I know I don't deserve it. I know it now more than ever. Do any of us deserve it? 
I think of him, lying in the ICU, the ventilator pushing air into his lungs, the phone up to his ear. Is he under the wrath of God or under His wings? He can hear me, but he can't speak. I grope to speak words of Truth, of Love. Something. Lord, give me something - the right words to say.

You need to get ready. Are you ready? I love you.

At my words he begins to flail his arms wildly. Fiesty, strong, German stock. Whether in agreement or in anger I do not know - I will never know, not in this life. We have to hang up. They call the nurse. He dies five days later.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart;
and saves such as be of a contrite spirit.

This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles....

The Lord redeems the soul of his servants.

I groan within myself, waiting for this redemption.

~Scripture quoted from Psalm 34

June 22, 2012

older boys' home pics

Tony helping the boys write their memory verses...

Some of the other boys helping, too...

They were really into it... (some of the boys can barely read and write so need a lot of help).

See our projector on the table?

Tony projects movies on the green wall in the background while Facundo works crowd control. I can't remember which one he showed this day, but this week he showed them Fireproof (dubbed over in Spanish). They LOVED it and cheered and clapped at the end asking, "Can you bring more movies like that?".

to our supporters

I have so many pictures and stories I want to get on the blog, but...

I wanted to take this moment to thank our supporters!

Thanking our supporters is something I haven't quite figured out how to do in a way that I am sure we are doing it enough or correctly (if there is such a thing).

We try to remember to thank our supporters in our newsletters. I've thanked our supporters several times here, I think. I even try to write personal emails to people, although that has proven to be almost impossible to keep up with.

We know who our supporters are (well, except for the anonymous donors - in that case, God knows who you are.). We actually have a lot of different kinds of supporters, and we appreciate every single one for how they help us. We have people who pray for us, we have people who write us encouraging notes or emails or blog comments, we have people who support us financially, and we have people who simply support us in heart and mind and spirit and they let us know it. It is ALL support, and we are thankful for all of it.

We know who is behind us. We know because you have expressed your support to us in person. We know because you have written to us to tell us you are praying for us, or simply to say you think it's really great what we're doing. We know because you comment here. We know because we received a check with your name on it. We know because we have read scanned notes and cards that have arrive with checks. We know because if you donate via Paypal, we see your name. We know because we have specifically asked the church we attended back in the US to tell us who it is specifically that is sending us support (unless they choose to remain anonymous); we want to know because we want to be able to thank you. We know who our supporters are and we are VERY thankful. I don't know if we communicate that enough, or well, but please know that we thank God in heaven for you and and we pray for you. My prayer is usually that God would repay you 100 fold in this life for all your kindness to us and to those we are trying to reach. We could NOT be here without your support. Just could not.

If you are praying for us, THANK YOU. We are sincerely grateful for your prayers. If you sacrifice to send us financial support, THANK YOU. We know that everything that is sent is something you have not spent on yourself, or perhaps on something you need, but have sacrificed it to keep us here doing what we are doing. I can guarantee you that we would not be here if it weren't for these sacrifices.

Thank you from all of us.


June 18, 2012

rural church

When we were up in the mountains recently, we spent Day 2 at the rural church. I have much to say yet about our outreach there.... so much to say, and a gazillion pictures, but I'm about to take an oozie to my internet. It's schizophrenic and doesn't know if it's high-speed or not. Mostly not. That one lovely picture up there took 5 minutes to upload. Five minutes. Which is better than the 10 to 20 it has been taking lately. Suffice is to say, this might take a while...

The rural church was rural. It is nestled snugly way back in the mountains about an hour and a half out a gravel road from the main paved road. It is one of the few buildings within miles around. Neighbors are very far apart. Walking to church may take a half an hour, an hour, or two. There is no running water, no flushing toilet, no refrigerator (see my bag of milk hanging outside in the cool mountain air, in a bag above the door, refrigerating?). There is no microwave, no corner store, no telephone, no internet, nada. Surprisingly there is cell phone reception, on clear days. But the two days we were there, rain rolled in over the mountains from the west and the signal disappeared. It is an isolating feeling. When people get sick or have an emergency, sometimes the only way to communicate is by radio. You know how truckers used to have CB radios back in the 80s? Like that.

Tony and our friend Miguel made several runs to a nearby stream to fetch water to flush the toilet. The stream had swelled from the day's rain. They carried several very heavy bucketsful of mountain run-off back to the church.

It's always good to be able to flush the toilet. :)

June 15, 2012

unexpected open doors, unplanned evangelism

Missions isn't all salt and tears. There are unexpected blessings for following Christ overseas. In our specific case, one of those for us here has been free sports for our offspring. We didn't know about this particular benefit when we sensed it was Patagonia that God had placed on our hearts. We were completely prepared for bare bones living - meaning, in part, nothing extra for the kids. For all I knew we'd be living high up in the mountains, far from civilization, my kids whittling toys out of sticks because there was nothing to do. That has not been the case. God surprisingly brought us to a city, and, even though I neither like cities nor city living, we have been really blessed by all it has to offer.

The province we live in in Argentina is unique in that it offers free sports for all kids. There are clubs all over town that offer swimming, basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, handball, racquetball, and many others I can't remember. All you have to do is sign up.

We are so thankful for these classes. It's a great way to get our homeschooled kids out of the house, around other kids, speaking Spanish, and run their energy off at the same time. It's a good stretch for them physically, culturally, socially, and linguistically.

But even though it's a great blessing, this is still the Third World. The gyms are built and subsidized by the city and province, but funds are limited. [EDITORIAL: Tony says because the corrupt politicians pocket all the money and don't give it to the programs that serve the public. I guess he would know. He's Argentinian.] They are often unable to buy new equipment because they are just not given any money to do so. The equipment is sparse and often in ill repair. But the teachers are great, and we are really impressed with them and all they do.

Because of the severe lack of funds, the coaches and parents have to raise the money on their own to buy any equipment they may need for the gym. Interesting, when we remember the fully stocked, shiny YMCA's back home.

Somehow Tony was nominated to be the money collector guy for all the funds this year. The coach's excuse was because "he was at every single practice". My incredibly supportive response when I found out was, "How did you get sucked into that? That's all we need, something else to do. Great."

But sometimes these unexpected things are really a blessing in disguise. Most of these kids are not Christians and have probably never heard the gospel. I know this because of all the interesting words the girls teach my girl in class. Words she's never heard before in her life. The boys actually seem a bit calmer. Or maybe my boy is just so spacey he's completely unaware of what they're saying. I don't think he cares much what they talk about, he's just there to play ball. And he still pretty much refuses to speak Spanish, too (I wonder where he got his stubbornness from....}. We don't worry much about negative influences with him. He's so head-strong we can hardly influence him, let alone someone who speaks a language he barely cares to understand. Hardly any worries there.

Anyway, so - big fundraising event this past month. Bake sale, lottery-type money-raising thingy, activities for the kidlings, snack - and a movie! When Tony asked if we could show one of our movies, they said yes. He made it clear it was a movie that talks about God yadda yadda, but they were okay with it and said sure that would be great.

(I wonder if that would happen in the States. Probably not...)

So, after their bake sale, lottery, fun activities, and snacks, all these kids sat down and watch The Gladys Aylward story. Completely unexpected open door. Completely unplanned evangelism. Completely awesome. And they raised all the funds they needed for the new equipment! Score and score.

June 14, 2012


Some of the cuties we were with in the mountains, on the first day of our recent outreach...

Pablo, on the right, is my new boyfriend, only he doesn't know it yet. :)

June 10, 2012

mountain movie magic

At a recent outreach, we showed some movies.

It was a village of about 100 families; Day 1 of our return trip to Chos Malal.

At these events (well, most events we show movies at), the two and a half hour JESUS film is often times too long. The kids usually don't make it past a half an hour - any more and they will begin to wander off. The Torchlighters series work well in these situations, especially since we have many other activities going on and a program to follow. The movies are evangelistic, animated, and only 30 minutes in duration - very kid friendly. A nice fit after the kids (and watching adults) have sung, played, heard the Good News, and had a snack.

the garage, lent to us from a family in the village, converted into a makeshift movie theatre

setting up the projector

aren't they adorable?!?

notice our make shift projector stand: a rusty barrel, an old rack, and some planks 

Fun stuff. Hard work. Worth it.

June 7, 2012

what i've learned so far...

downtown Los Menucos, aka Curi Leuvú

We've only been here eight months. We are by no means experts. On anything. We only know our own experience, what we are living. What I will tell you is that we've learned a few things since we've been here in Argentina, on the mission field.

There is nothing like missions to bring it all to the surface. I am amazed at the junk that God is revealing in us. Ew.

God has sifted and shaken and pruned and cut, cut, cut, and opened eyes and brought conviction and has made us see things I know would have taken years, not months, back home. I want to say I am thankful, because that would be the correct "Christian" response. I guess I am.


I am.

But it's been ugly. Sin likes to hide. It likes the dark. Kicks and screams when dragged into the light.

That's pleasant for no one.

There is nothing like missions to bring what is hidden and dark to the light.

There is nothing like missions to bring you to your knees and make you cry like a baby.

There is nothing like missions to show you that YOU are the worst sinner in need of salvation, God help your soul.

There is nothing like it.

There is nothing like living on the edge, and still feeling like you take up too much space.

There is nothing like leaving it all for Christ and feeling like most people don't think you are sacrificing all that much, and the rest seem to have forgotten you.

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, so hard as simply trying to do what is right, and being criticized or misunderstood for it. {The Christian Condition, right?}

There is nothing like doing what is right, and not getting the same thing in return. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year?

There is nothing like feeling like the very people that should love and support you, don't. Won't.

There is nothing like sitting at the computer at one in the morning, pouring your heart out to cyberspace, because that's all there is.

There is nothing like missions to teach you, really teach you, all about grace. Not the grace thrown around in Christian circles - but REAL grace.

grace noun \ˈgrās\
unmerited divine assistance given humans, approval, favor, mercy, pardon, a special favor, privilege, clemency, a temporary exemption, reprieve... {ah, reprieve}
~ Merriam-Webster

Oh, if people only knew!, I sometimes think to myself. 

Really, there is nothing like missions. There is nothing like being in a foreign country, having left all you know and love and that is familiar, to do what is good and right where no one particularly makes one iota of a big deal about all your "sacrifice".  The consensus seems to be, "Yeah, whatever spoiled, first-world people. You're really suffering living here. WE live here, WE know suffering. You can go back to your first-world country, WE live here. WE know."

Really, there is NOTHING like having only the Lord, and no. one. else.

You know what I've learned since being here?

Missions means nothing.

Following the Lord means SOMEthing.

We are not called to follow a cause. We are called to follow a Person.

Truth. Love. That's all that matters.

Do that and you fulfill the Law.

June 4, 2012

It's official!

the Mission Mobile with a friend
After seven months and at. least. 50 appointments and paperwork errands, plus untold numbers of phone calls to find out what on earth is taking so long - the Mission Mobile is finally registered!

She used to be American, but she decided to give up her American citizenship and become a nationalized Argentine automotor. It was hard - leaving her home country, being knocked around in a container on the open ocean for months, then driven over thousands of kilometers of rough terrain until her screws literally began to come loose.

working hard

she doesn't forget to help her neighbor in need,
even if it's 1am in the middle of nowhere

Sometimes she feels depressed, longing for the smooth roads of home - but, alas, she's given her body for Christ. Missions is for life for her. She knows she will never return to her homeland. But she really likes the attention she gets here in her new country. People stare at her when she strolls down the street, a foreigner they can tell, a real beauty. She is even slightly flattered when complete strangers pull up to her, roll down their window, and ask if she's for sale. She knows she's special here. When people climb in, they ooh and ahh, their eyes widening as they gaze up, down, and all around her luxurious interior. Back home she was a nobody, nothing special. Here she's a real gem, and they let her know it.

she visits the less fortunate, but sometimes feels like she doesn't fit in -
she thinks they view her as a snob, a rich girl. it's not true.

Her owners? Oh, they are now enjoying a glass of wine and talking of taking her on vacation. She deserves it. She works hard and they know hers is a sacrificial life, so they treat her really nice, like a queen. She gets regular sponge baths, manicures and pedicures, and the full interior treatment, complete with special products and lotions - something she never got back home. She knows here in her new home she will not likely be viewed as less valuable to society as she ages, and her owners know it, too. They treat her as she deserves, and even pray for her health and safety, almost daily.

sometimes she gets to see some really pretty places

Her owners are just glad - celebrating, really - that they no longer have to fear being pulled over by the police, having her {perfectly legal} temp papers questioned, along with her honor; threats of having her taken from them and detained or impounded; or insults of bribery money thrown their way for her. She is not for sale, and no, she can't be bought. How degrading!
She knows where she stands now. She knows her status. She's a legal resident now, with all the rights. Finally validated, finally accepted, a nationalized citizen.

ching! ching!

June 3, 2012

mime gospel part II

The nine-second test video never uploaded here for me. Welcome to my life. So... sorry. No amazing five-minute mime gospel video. You'll just have to believe me, it and they were amazing.

A couple of these kids accepted Christ. :)

The first day's event of our three days in the mountains was well-received. Now the native missionaries can go back in and continue working with the people. We are very pleased with how it went!

"Let all the nations be gather together, and let the people be assembled... let them hear, and say, It is truth." - Isaiah 43:9

June 2, 2012

mime gospel part I

I've had a bit of a rough week. The busyness and emotional strain of it has kept me from posting pictures of our truly amazing trip to the mountains.

Here are some starters: Jonathan and Keren, university students from church, and their amazing mime act of the gospel. The kids (and adults) ALWAYS love it.

Now, to see if I can upload the video of it...so amazing. Here's hoping it works.


new header

I love the picture.

My photoediting skillz...


I think I like the first one. Opinions?
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