Kentucky is my birthplace. I embrace memories of "smokey mountain" mornings when fog created a faery land and in its thickness you could smell the smoke of wood or coal burning stoves, from which bubbling sausage gravy and puffy brown biscuits emerged ready to satisfy the appetite. Scuttling down the steep gravel drive to wait for the school bus and seeing it emerge from the fog, big, yellow, belching exhaust. Simple suppers of soup beans, corn bread and greens. Sitting on your porch with neighbors and catching up on the gossip from up the holler. Strolling down to the store where you could buy everything from bird seed to bib overalls to any food or cleaning item, fill your car with gas, and see if you had any mail since the store owner became the postmaster by merely moving from behind the grocery counter to the locked cubby hole in the corner with its iron bar window. I especially enjoyed the times we had a little extra money and we could buy a nickle's worth of pickled bologna (about 3" of ring bologna about 1-1/2" in diameter). The shop keeper threw in a few saltine crackers to go with it, and we'd wash it down with an RC cola (Royal Crown for those not in the know). Back then Pepsi and Coke wouldn't deliver up in the mountains so RC was the only choice. And if we were really good, we got a Moon Pie for dessert. Life didn't get much better than that!
I spent part of my growing up years in Kentucky, and the other half in Michigan, where I re-located again about 20 years ago (more about that in another post).
But I'm getting ready to be Just A Southern Girl again! Only we're moving a little farther south than Kentucky. Like way, way, way south to Argentina -- which if you're good at geography, you'll know is as far south as you can go. Argentina and Chile make up the southern cone of South America.
This is, of course, a huge move for us.
It started many, many years ago. I won't bore you with the details. But in the past few years God has re-directed us firmly on this path. Along the way my husband, Ivan, has served as an associate pastor at our church, we spent a year in Africa filling in for missionaries who needed to come home on furlough, and now are in the process of preparing for full-time church planting in the Punilla Valley, which is in the center of the Province of Cordoba, which is itself in the heart of Argentina! People sometimes get confused when we tell our story, because they try to figure out why we're going to Argentina if we spent a year in Africa. (Although we've met a few who are NOT good at geography, and they don't know there's a difference.)
The simple truth is, God used that year in Africa, that "pressure cooker experience" as Ivan likes to call it, to teach us things in a short time that we couldn't have learned anywhere else. And He is taking us to Argentina because that is where we best fit into His plans. Simple, no? Yes!
Ivan grew up in Argentina as an MK. He knows the people, the language, the culture. He'll be able to "hit the ground running" when we arrive there next year. Not so for me. After two years of college level Spanish, I'll need to spend the first year in intensive language acquisition. Whether it's not having a bent toward languages, being my age (approaching 50), or a combination of the two, but learning Spanish is HARD WORK! But as Ivan likes to point out, I like to talk too much not to learn!
We hope to be in Argentina by March of 2008. Some ask how long we'll be there (especially those who knew we spent the one year in Africa). This will be a permanent move. At least until health, age, or whatever conspires to make us retire. We're in this for the long haul. We may be middle-aged, but we've still got a few good years left in us :-)
And that's why, once again, I'm Just A Southern Girl.