November – Soccer Rivalry, Transit Strikes and Puppies
May your unfailing love surround us Lord, for our hope is in you alone. Ps 33:22
November was a very quick month. Here we are moving from spring into summer. The days are warm and sunny quite often, to a point where we don’t need jackets. Flowers are in full bloom, grass is being cut and the fresh fruits and veggies of November are not what I am used to. It takes some thinking to switch from November = winter = winter veggies, brussel sprouts, etc to November = spring/summer, fresh strawberries and raspberries, more lettuces (YAY!) and salad veggies. It’s also very weird to see Christmas decorations in the stores and the city being decorated in red and green, Christmas trees too.
Villa La Agostura – I refilled, recharged, renewed and rested for a weekend here. It was a relaxing time in God’s presence with absolutely no distractions. I didn’t take any work with me and even turned off WhatsApp notifications. It was energizing to walk alone in the Bosque Arrayanas. It’s in between seasons so there weren’t a lot of tourists there. I didn’t even have to pay for the Park entrance as I am classified a local. Very funny morning with the ticket agent when I asked about what documents were needed for a Residencia Nacional discount, explained I’m waiting for my DNI, residency and that I live in Bariloche. We had a great chat about Bariloche and Argentina, and in the end she said, Es verdad, vivis en Bariloche; entonces, gratis (local). It’s true, I live in Bariloche, no charge. Another (obvious) tourist was in the office too and questioned why I didn’t have to pay and he did. The agent explained I live here, you don’t – only visiting, and you don’t even speak Castillano. At this point, he turned to me and asked what Castillano was. People…. learn a bit about the countries you’ll be travelling to… I could hear Max saying ‘Really?????? you just asked that?????’ For those of you who don’t know, Castillano is the Argentine Spanish – it’s a bit different pronunciation here.
The Missionary group hiked to the lookout el Mirador de Lago Gutierrez early one Sunday morning and we had a time of worship, prayer and scripture. The men went to a weekend workshop in Neuquen. There was outreach to the local communities, barrios – times of prayer, seeing a need and filling it – whether food or clothes or just being present with someone.
Unfortunately, airlines strikes, public transportation strikes, soccer team rivalry incidents and Buenos Aires preparing for G20; made it difficult to travel to the Asemblea in Uraquay. Pastor Hector and Pastora Norma weren’t able to take the extra days off work (we were to return Monday, but airline strike Monday, possibly Tuesday, long distance buses on strike Tuesday, so we wouldn’t be able to return until Wednesday). They cancelled their tickets, but I still flew North to visit and spend time with the churches there. It was a surprise for many as they weren’t told I was coming. My friends and I had some good laughs as I just showed up at events. Together we had prayer services, Sunday services, made milenesas and papa fritas (a meat schnitzel type and French fries) to sell, shared meals, mate, laughter and tears. It was encouraging to learn more about IPEA, CIPE and their future directions. Pastor Ivan and Pastora Sandra and I talked more about my ministry and we had some heart to heart talks as friends as well. I have more family homes than just the one here in Bariloche.
It was interesting to watch and experience strikes – no trains, planes, buses – they at least give a bit of notice so you can prepare. As Argentina prepared for the G20 there was a huge military presence in the capital; roads, buildings, plazas closed. And the capital was closed off to the public as much as possible for the event. The G20 saw it’s own incidents. The government took a stand on a new law for police and the uproar and subsequent court case decision has been a hot topic.
The rivalry between Rival and Boca was fierce. Riva was hosting – that means no Boca fans inside the Riva stadium. The Boca collectivo (bus) was assaulted by rocks and pepper spray. There were incidents inside and outside the stadium. To the point they moved the game to another country.
The relationships continue to be built, conversations deepen and we share life together.
School was very full this month and I am preparing for another exam in the coming months. I am enjoying the language although still wish I could learn faster, remember more vocabulary, but my Spanish is much more fluid and each week that goes by I am more comfortable with it.
December 1 I moved into my own apartment. It is really great to have my own home; although there has been some processing and embracing and moving through some sad moments. I am comforted by the plant Marcela left me. Some of you will know; but which plant is Argentina and which is Canada? Little signs of being cared for, signs and memories that Max is very much a part of this life.
December brings about the Youth/Young Adult retreat. I have been able to sit in and serve a bit with the organizing; and I have been asked to share a bit of my/our testimony – as youth before Christ, adults after; and since losing Max. The topics include being united; serving in and through difficulties and just how we are to serve. The beginning of December is a bit busy as I am having to redo my notes. Literally, the dog ate my homework. Ah Simona… so cute…. so mischievous…. so very puppy.
December also brings about the holiday season in the city, the community, the church, and within the families. It is also closer to the date of seeing friends from Canada. My first visitors. I am excited for them to experience Argentina; to meet everyone here!
I will forever be thankful and grateful for each and everyone of you. For your prayers, your support, your friendship and your presence in my life.
Prayers for moving through this holiday season of Christmas and New Years is important. While there have been some wonderful days, there are some pretty heavy days.
Praise and gratefulness for the ECCC and the ECC – it is exciting, wonderful and I am humbled to be a part of this family – to be a Canadian Covenant Missionary! I am proud to be an ambassador for Christ with the Covenant!
Prayer requests include: the residency process, continued learning and studies
Prayer for the continued ministry here and a clearer view of my role in it.
Prayers for Argentina as they face economic issues, and for the churches as they respond
Praise for the language I am learning
Praise for the family and friends that I have here
Praise and prayers for the funding that has come in and for the fulfillment of pledges to begin. For the commitments that have been made, prayer support and financial support