Freezing Temperatures, Warm Fellowship

Trip Start Jun 14, 2007
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Trip End Aug 04, 2007


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Flag of Argentina  ,
Monday, June 25, 2007

On Friday afternoon, after a damp morning of wandering around Buenos Aires on buses and by foot, Eduardo Carbone, ECS 'Southern Cone' Regional Coordinator picked us up in a Renault Utility van with 6 seats and brought us to his home in Pilar, about an hour north of the BA center. His home is on a compound that consists of a K-12 Christian School, the assembly, Emmaus office, printing press, his house and the "mother-in-law" house where we are staying. (His mother-in-law lived in the house until March 4, when she went to be with the Lord.)

One thing we have learned is that Argentinians are eaters. First thing we did when we arrived was have "tea"--tea with sweet breads, pastries and other fattening goodies. The other thing we've learned about Argentinians is that they don't go to bed on the same day they wake up--at least it seems that way. Midweek meetings start at 8 or 8:30 and go for an hour and a half! Our "getting to know you" session of the Emmaus directors in Argentina began at 8:45 and we were served a supper of cream cheese, tomato, and ham sandwiches, Argentinian empanadas, and pastries about 10:30 p.m.

There are currently 3 men working as Emmaus directors in various parts of the country and one who is planning to start Emmaus in his region. The men (two with their wives) were from Cordoba, La Pampa, Chubut (Patagonia), and Mendoza (in the Andes on the Chilean border). Jim met with them all day Saturday to discuss the how-tos and suggestions and problem solving aspects of the ministry. He explained once again his vision of every assembly having a promoter with a portable Emmaus office in a small briefcase. Currently the work for Buenos Aires is located here in Pilar--a distance too great for most people to bother coming to get the courses. A promoter in each local assembly could provide the service of having a small stock of courses, taking the tests to the correctors, bringing back the graded courses and certificates and following-up the students. Please pray that this vision would be captured by the Emmaus Directors and God would raise up someone in each assembly to do this ministry.

Of course, Saturday was punctuated by food! Coffee and sweet rolls at 10, lunch at an all you can eat Argentinian Beef (plus international foods) restaurant (the lamb roasted over a wood fire was the best!), tea at the ladies' meeting in the afternoon and more tea after the evening meeting where gray heads joined the young people to learn about Emmaus. At the ladies' meeting the girls got their first opportunity to speak! We were interviewed about our lives and ministries there and then all of us were at the evening meeting. The interviewer (Mariano Carbone) asked all three if they had boy/girlfriends. Thankfully for Mom and Dad there were no surprises there!

Getting to bed at near midnight--and we accomplish this by leaving events before others--makes getting up in the cold air all the more difficult. Morning temperatures are around 30F (-1C) and inside it is only 10-15 degrees warmer until we get all the electric heaters going. Then it's a balmy 50! Sunday morning I took the clothes from the washer and hung them on the line before we were picked up for meeting at 8:15. I didn't understand why my fingers curled up and stiffened until I learned that it was below freezing! Ever heard of freeze-dried clothes?!

We were with people from the Galvan Assembly in Buenos Aires all day. They couldn't have been nicer. The Argentinians seem to be naturally outgoing and the Christians are wonderfully welcoming. Their Italian-cadenced Spanish is matched by their effusive greetings which include even the men kissing each other by touching right cheeks. Between the breaking of bread and Sunday School there breakfast was served--donuts, pastries, ham and cheese croissants and cafe con leche.

 A wonderful family had us over for the afternoon and their daughters took our 3 out to a mall for lunch. We sat at their home for 3 hours around the table, first enjoying the "anti-pasto"--salamis, cheeses, olives, and pepper and olive breads. Then the main course of spinach stuffed cannelloni came out. After a while, there was flan and thick cream or caramelized milk and finally coffee with cookies and tiny pastries. I think they are trying to fatten us up for the kill!

There was another ladies' meeting in the afternoon where I gave a short testimony, cut-off by my cough. My cold has turned worse and affected my asthma, congesting my chest. Please pray for healing for me, for Samuel who has a cold and for the others to stay healthy. After that we were served tea, melted cheese sandwiches and more pastries. Then the evening meeting and the 40 minute drive back to Pilar where we were served a full meal including appetizer, main course and dessert followed by tea. Bowing out of the Carbones at 10:30 we headed for bed!

This evening we travel by bus to Iguazu Falls for a few days of vacation. It is a 15 hour bus ride  on a bus that provides chairs that go completely flat for sleeping--after serving a hot meal.  There was even a choice of a vegetarian meal for Rosana! The climate there is warmer and we will probably be able to do away with the top three layers we have been wearing perpetually here! We plan to be in and around the Falls until Thursday night or Friday morning when we go to Asuncion, Paraguay. Jim's next meeting is Saturday evening.
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