Candle in the Corner project. I had thought about doing a vlog but that's not possible after dropping my Macbook last Friday and busting the screen. So you get the words. Lots and lots of words :-)
To keep it from being ridiculously long, I'm not going to re-tell the story of how we ended up in Argentina, but if you're interested please feel free to read all about it here. Oh, and I shared a bit more of the story in a meme last week (answer #2).
Argentina is probably best known for tango, beef and gauchos (sort of like cowboys but not really). All that beef means there are lots of leather goods too, and my contribution to the giveaway is a leather wallet (you can read the details here). I'll be tucking in a little something more feminine too but that's a surprise.
We arrived in Carlos Paz on August 16, 2008 after FOUR LONG YEARS of deputation and traveling more miles than I care to remember. Now I know why mostly young people go as missionaries; it takes a lot of stamina just to get through deputation and to the field :-) Although I think it's interesting that so many later-in-life people are joining the ranks.
Like us. We both hit the big Five-O in 2008. At a point in my life that I thought would find me (finally!) settled down we were instead getting on a plane to travel 6,000 miles away from friends and family to a place where I'd have to learn a whole new language. Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?!
Having just completed a year of intensive language study I'll be taking two classes per week with my Spanish tutor for the rest of this first term on the field (two more years). On the one hand it's exciting to be able to do more in the ministry with my husband (who was already fluent) but also nerve-racking because my Spanish is far from where I'd like it to be. I understand about 50% when listening to people I already know, more like 20% when first meeting someone -- before I've had a chance to get used to their speech patterns. Anyone who has learned a new language knows there are good days and bad days the first few years. Two days ago I had a lovely (and lengthy) conversation with the people at the fresh pasta store. Yesterday I couldn't form a coherent sentence while looking at fabric.
We're church planters. Long explanation short: God uses the local church to accomplish His work and where there is no local church, He desires that one be "planted" or established.
That's the goal and why we joined another couple who arrived in 2002. There are about 80,000 people living in our city today, most of them from other parts of the country and very few have ever heard the news that Jesus died for them so that they could have eternal life.
They've come to Carlos Paz because there is not as much crime as in the bigger cities, the climate is dry which helps those with respiratory problems, and because there is a greater chance of finding work here than many other places. Tourism is the biggest industry and even though it has suffered along with everything else during the economic crisis, we still get a lot of tourists throughout the year but especially in summer (January - March).
Some liken Carlos Paz to Las Vegas. because of the casinos; others to Boulder, Colorado, because of its propensity to embrace all things New Age. Not an easy city in which to plant a church. It helps to know that it is God who does the work of changing lives. He has merely called us to be faithful in sharing His Word -- a challenge at times, since so many don't want to hear it.
It's been a blessing to read what the other missionaries have shared during Candle in the Corner project. Thank you Heidi for organizing and hosting it! How encouraging to hear what God is doing in other places. Missionaries can sometimes feel alone and isolated; remembering we are part of the larger missionary community really helps.
Maybe you're reading this and feel a stirring in your spirit? Is God asking you to do something different? Something outside your comfort zone? LISTEN! Don't ignore the opportunities He brings your way. Yes, that can be challenging and stretching and scary...but also exciting and rewarding....and life changing!