Week 2 in Argentina: Villa General Belgrano

We are still in Argentina and although my husband and I are actually in our 3rd week here I want to pick up where I left off and share our second week with you.

DSC01511Thursday, September 11: We took a bus to Villa General Belgrano. Our host was their to pick us up at the bus station and took us to their home.

The family we stayed with were wonderful and for the sake of their privacy I won’t give their names. If anyone reading this wants more details about any of my posts, email me. My husband suggested for privacy’s sake that I not give every detail. I am willing to share more with anyone that has specific questions that I might not have answered in my posts.

Okay back to our trip. When we arrived we visited with our hosts, unloaded our luggage into their guest house, and settled in for the evening.

It is interesting how we met this family. I was looking up homeschoolers in Argentina. There are some but not a lot. I found an email address for a homeschool group listed online. I emailed the contact person listed and she told me about her friends near Córdoba that also homeschooled. However the email address she gave me didn’t work.

I changed directions and emailed a Missionary family in Buenos Aires. I told them our plans to fly into Córdoba. They told us about two families near where we would be that were praying for someone to come to their area. They also homeschooled. She gave me their email address and it was the same family that the other person had given me. This time I had the correct email address.

Their town is Villa General Belgrano in Córdoba province. They and their neighbors have been having Bible Studies in their homes. There are two main churches in town and neither of them are very deep in the Word of God. One of the churches doesn’t even have a Pastor to lead them. 

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A small waterfall at La Cumbracita. It was quite a climb to get to it but it was pretty even if it was small. :)

Friday, September 12: We made a short visit to La Cumbracita. It is a town that is now mostly pedestrian. I think it used to be completely pedestrian but there were quite a few cars on the roads that day. There weren’t as many as you would see in most towns.

We climbed up to a very small waterfall and visited with several Argentines who were there on vacation. They were very friendly and helpful. They took our picture in front of the waterfall. We rode the bus back to Villa General Belgrano and walked to the home where we were staying.

That evening we visited their home Bible study. They had a good attendance of about 20 people in their livingroom. Scott had asked them to go ahead and have their services the way they normally would and he would speak at the end. 

Three of the children played violins during the song service and Scott played a guitar. We sang a few songs, had the Bible Study, Scott spoke, and then we had a fellowship meal.

We really enjoyed visiting with all the members of their Bible Study.

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Our host preparing the asado. Everything was delicious!

Saturday, September 13: We enjoyed the most amazing Asado at lunch. Asado is what we North Americans would call a Bar-b-que. Our hosts invited their neighbors to join us and cooked an amazing meal.

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Not everyone was at the table yet for this picture but this was outside our hosts home during the Asado.

After lunch we went with the neighbors to the local grocery store. We found peanut butter. There was only one kind of peanut butter there but they do have it. They also have hot dogs.

Sunday, September 14: We visited a church in the morning that did not have a pastor. They followed mostly liturgy and the lady that led the service read the sermon that was sent to them. I thought she was just reading a story but Scott told me that was the sermon. It was a very short service. 

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The river we ate beside.

We walked back to our hosts’ house and ate lunch. We then went for a drive to another nearby village. There are a lot of people in that area and we could see a lot of potential for starting several churches there. We enjoyed cake and maté by the river. 

That evening we attended services at another church. The people were very friendly and welcoming. They had us come forward to introduce ourselves before the sermon. They asked Scott to say a few words and he read a Bible verse and could have gotten into a sermon but instead he held himself back to a brief devotion about God. 

The sermon that followed I could not understand at all. I understand some Spanish but there are times that my mind just zones out and I don’t understand a word anyone is saying anymore. My husband later told me what the preacher’s sermon was on. 

After the service was over we walked to the corner and our host picked us up. The evening service was so long that we got back to their house very late. They had supper on a tray for us and we were able to go back to our room and talk about the day.

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My husband took this picture of me. I think I was asking him if we were almost to the top. Can you believe people were running up and down this hill?

Monday, September 15: We had our bags packed ready to go. Our original plan was to head back to Córdoba city sometime during that day. When we came in for breakfast they told us that their neighbor was planning to go to Córdoba on Tuesday and offered to take us if we would like. We had a return ticket but we decided that would be great to visit with him the whole ride back rather than just looking out a bus window.

We were glad that they could use our return tickets. All they will have to do is change the name on it. His mother goes to Córdoba by bus sometimes and could use our tickets. 

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View of part of the city from the large hill we climbed. I don’t think we had made it quite to the top here.

We were really glad about that and enjoyed one more day in Villa General Belgrano. During the day time while the mother was teaching her children we visited a “mountain”. Technically it was a very very big hill but to us Texans that was a mountain. It was a long hard climb up. We went up it before most people were around. It seemed like a quiet place but by the time we got to the top people were starting to come out to climb it for exercise. We started down this hill and were being passed twice by people running up and right back down. 

I took a video going down the mountain. I’m going to try to get that put together and share that with you at some point. That video may not get done until we get back. I had fun with it though. We walked back and enjoyed tea time with the neighbors. 

That night we had a very good visit with our neighbors talking about the future and then enjoying hearing stories about their families. We had a lot of fun hearing some of the cultural differences in how they each were raised right there in Argentina. 

They would really like to see a church started in their town. Scott and I both see great potential there but it would be a few years of preparation before we could actually start something there.

It’s hard when you see a need but can’t immediately fill it. We encouraged them that they really were doing a good job. We will be keeping in touch.

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The group we ate with in Córdoba. They are all learning English and enjoyed practicing with us. Scott had the opportunity to talk with some of these college students about God that night.

Tuesday, September 16: We rode back to Córdoba with the neighbor and enjoyed a very good visit with him. I practiced a line in Spanish in my head and when he dropped us off at our hotel I said, “Tu carro es más mejor que el autobus.” He smiled and told me very good and that he was glad I liked his car better than the bus. :)

That evening we went to the English Ministry with the friends that we met the first night we arrived. They meet every Tuesday and we were able to talk with them again and met some new people. When we went out to eat after our trip I sat by a lady that eats a raw vegan lifestyle. My husband and I were eating about a 70% raw diet this past summer. We’re not vegan but we had quite a bit in common that we were able to talk with her about. She even shared with me where we can get vegetables at a really good price in Córdoba. She also told me about a church her family attends. We plan to visit there our last Sunday in Córdoba.

What are our plans? Right now we still feel this is where God wants us to go. Scott told me that this trip has been different from all the Mission trips we have taken before. I agree.

We came here not knowing anyone in person. Only a couple of contacts by email was all we had. God has opened doors for us from the day we got here and those doors just feel like they are opening wider the longer our visit has been. 

Now what I have shared here has only been two weeks. I have another week of activities to share and another week ahead of us. 

Pray for my parents and our children that are staying with them. They all went through a sick spell and now our 4 year old may have Mumps. It’s hard being here away from our family when I know they need us there.  

Thank you all for praying for us and following along with us. As always feel free to email or ask questions in the comments. My next post will be about our time traveling to and visit in Buenos Aires.

~~ Anastacia “Stacie” Maness ~~

 

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Hello from Argentina!

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I laugh every time I see this picture. My dad dropped us off at the airport. Would this be considered a selfie/photobomb? :)

My husband and I are in Argentina right now. We arrived Thursday, September 4 around 4 p.m. Argentine time.

Our flight was supposed to land around 5:30 a.m. in Córdoba, Argentina. However there was a big storm and our flight was diverted to Mendoza. We waited about two hours on the plane for the storm to lift in Córdoba. Then they let everyone off the plane. We were rescheduled to fly out that afternoon.

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Just got off the plane in Mendoza.

We found out when we arrived at the airport in Mendoza that we left our checked luggage at the airport in Miami, Florida. I now have a new appreciation for packing carry on luggage well.

We finally arrived in Córdoba and got ourselves a city bus card. We decided to try out one of the hostels. It was a little cheaper than a hotel and they usually have private rooms available.

I really think the Lord had us arrive at the particular hostel we finally chose at the time we did on purpose. You will see what I mean here in a little bit.

We arrived at the hostel and it was pretty clean. They had a room that wasn’t a private room but no one else was in it. They said we could have that room to ourselves for two nights but it would be booked over the weekend.

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Scott and I waiting on our breakfast at the Hostel.

We went ahead and took the room. There was a double bed in the room and 3 sets of bunk beds as well. I told Scott that there was a bed for each of the kids in there.

That evening Scott struck up a conversation with the clerk at the front desk. The clerk had asked what Scott did and why we were visiting Argentina. Scott told him that he was a pastor of a church in Texas and that we were here to talk to as many people as we could and get all the information we need to possibly move our family here.

The clerk was very friendly and said that he knew a guy that led a group that practiced English. He said that they often talk about Spiritual things during their practice sessions.

We put our things away and were about to head out for the evening to find food when the clerk showed us on his computer where the group met. He said that they were having a session that very evening at 7:30.

We went out, stopped by a store for a couple of items we needed and then headed to that meeting.

Sometimes I’m a pretty nervous person… Okay, I’m often a nervous person when it comes to doing something different that might be embarrassing. In those situations I often have to give myself a pep talk that it will be okay.

So there I was knowing we were about to walk into a room of complete strangers and crash their meeting. Sure the clerk said it was okay for us to just show up but what if he’s wrong.

We arrived at the address the clerk gave us. We were a half hour late. I took a deep breath told Scott I was nervous but I knew this is what we are supposed to do.

We walked into the café and saw a lot of older people playing scrabble. Then in a back room we saw another group sitting around a table visiting. I waited a second while Scott asked them if they were the group we were told about. They were totally blown away with how we found them. They told us later that they had been praying for more Missionaries to come to Argentina.

We also found out that the hotel clerk was a friend of the session leader’s ex-girlfriend. It had been several years since they had last met. He was so surprised when we told him who it was that recommended them.

The group discussion was about God. Before we got there they had each drawn a picture that gave their thoughts about what they imagine God is like. Then they went through and discussed what they drew and what they thought of when they drew the picture. It was a very good and open discussion.

Scott was even able to share his thoughts about who God is and confirm the truths that were spoken by some of the others. During the class there were a couple of guys that believed in God but were not sure who He is.

The story came up about blind Bartemaeus and how Jesus asked him what he wanted. It seemed like it should be obvious what it was that Bartimaeus wanted but Jesus asked him anyway. Bartemaeus asked to receive his sight and Jesus healed him. He didn’t force Bartimaeus to be healed. He gave him the choice of whether he wanted that change to happen in his life or not. The question was then bounced around the room. If Jesus were to ask you what it was you wanted, what would you ask for? That my friend is a very good question.

After that meeting we went out to eat with our new friends. Most of them were actually involved in a Christian Ministry in the city and that English practice time was one of the many ministries they have to connect with people.

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Scott enjoying some Yerba Mate during the Friday Bible Study. I will have to explain more about Yerba Mate in another post.

After we ate with them they asked if we had any plans for Friday. We told them that we did not and they asked if we would like to come to their mission team’s Bible study and meeting.

We did go to their meeting that next day and met their missionary and learned so much. They fed us afterwards and I practiced speaking Spanish with the ladies as we prepared the meal. Yo corté el pan. (Bonus points for translating that sentence in the comments.) :)

Our lost luggage was delivered Saturday night. I was so glad because that gave us clean clothes for services.

Sunday we visited two churches. The first I think was a Community Church that was recommended to us by our new friends. Then Sunday night we visited a Baptist Church in town. We really enjoyed the services there.

We also met another Missionary at the Baptist Church. Scott also met him through FB messenger. One of the friends we made Thursday had told him about us. He and his wife invited us to eat at their home Monday evening. So much to write about and not enough space to share it all here. I’ll write more about Monday on another post soon.

I must share one last little thing. Scott was telling another man in the hostel about what God has been doing for us and could tell that every time he mentioned God the man chuckled. It’s hard to say if he thought Scott was just talking foolishness or if he was just laughing out of nervousness of the subject being brought up.

Another man Scott talked with Sunday night told him that he believed the world didn’t need missionaries. According to that man missionaries take away people’s free choice. They oppress people. Scott told him that it was actually the opposite.

Missionaries come to spread the good news that can free people from their bondage. A missionary isn’t to force his beliefs on people. He presents the truth to them in love and gives them the option to accept God’s message or not. It’s really education and opening people’s minds. What’s oppressive about that?

Here is the real problem.  Those who have experienced God understand who He is. Those who have never had that experience simply can’t understand until they have that moment that they finally trust Jesus and turn to Him for salvation.

If you don’t believe what I am saying was brought about by God who sees, hears, and knows exactly who I am and what I need. Then you have never had that experience with God. You need to talk with God right now and ask him to help you understand. Ask him to let you experience Him.

You know God did that for blind Baritmaeus. He asked Jesus to return his sight. God answered and his life was changed completely.

Have you experienced Jesus? If Jesus were to come to you tonight and ask you what you want, what would you ask for? Let us know in the comments.

“And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, [thou] Son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, [Thou] Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.” – Mark 10:46-52 KJV

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Our Upcoming Adventure

Our airline tickets are purchased. On September 4, 2014, Scott and I will arrive in Córdoba, Argentina. We will spend the whole month there and will return home October 2.argentina2.jpg

Why are we going to Argentina?

Scott has had Argentina on his mind and heart since 2009. At work he overheard a documentary. He came home and started looking up more information about this country in South America. We found a Missionary we knew in Paraguay and Scott was able to visit there and cross over to Argentina during Christmas break. I was in my third trimester with our 5th child and couldn’t go.

A lot has happened over the past six years.

  • In March 2008 Scott accepted the call to pastor New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in South East Texas. We moved here that September.
  • December 2009 Scott visited Paraguay where Bro. Ted Barker and his family currently serve as Missionaries. Bro. Barker also took him across the border to visit Argentina. You can read “Scott’s in Paraguay” to learn more about that.
  • July 2010, Scott answered a call for help by our friends, Missionaries to South East Asia Rusty and Susan Teer. You can read more about Scott’s trip to Thailand and my trip to Michigan alone with the kids.
  • June and July 2011 Scott took me to Thailand.

Before we married Scott made sure that I would follow him wherever the Lord wanted us to go. I knew even then that God may call us to leave our comfort zones. I am willing. What more does God need but for us to be willing?

What will we be doing this September in Argentina? 

We are going on a survey trip to see what it will take to live there.

Our goals for this trip are to:

  • look at the different language schools in Córdoba.
  • find and visit area churches to see what worship services are like there.
  • visit other cities in the surrounding area.
  • check out the stores and markets to get an idea what our cost of living will be.
  • gain contacts we can learn from and who can help us in our move onto the field.

Are we taking the kids?

No. We’re not doing this to get away from our kids. We enjoy taking our kids places. When we finally do move onto the field we will be bringing most of our children with us. However for this trip it was not practical financially and time wise for them to come. My parents have graciously offered to keep them while we are gone. They will be in good hands.

What can you do to help?

Please pray for us.

We have been doing a lot of reading and research on living in Argentina but the more we learn the more we realize we don’t know.

It’s a little scary actually taking this trip not knowing what God has in store for us next. It’s a big step of faith to leave our comfort zones behind and prepare to move to a different culture. We want to make this trip as productive as possible.

We also need your prayers that God opens the doors for a sponsoring/sending church to come along side us in this endeavor. Somewhere there is a church seeking who the Lord will have them send. It’s just a matter of God’s timing but we need prayer as we wait.

Have any questions for us? Do you know anyone in Argentina? Please share with us in the comments.

I will be sharing more about our plans in future posts. You will probably be hearing some from my husband as well. Now that we have our tickets we can bring you along with us on the adventure.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15 KJV)

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Life is Like a Boat

You may be wondering where I have been. Well, life has been pretty busy lately and my blog has been down for right around a whole week. I have finished my book and will be sharing that with you tomorrow. But today I wanted to describe what my life is like.

My friend Pamela Hodges asked on her blog ipaintiwrite.com what life is like to us. She plans to put all submissions into a book. You can read more about her plans on the post “Tell me what life is like and be in my book“. I have been describing my life as a boat for a long time. So I’m going to share it with you today. And since I haven’t blogged in quite a while (try a whole month!!!) this post is very fitting as a prelude to my book launch tomorrow.

Art Credit: Scott K. Maness (2004)

Art Credit: Scott K. Maness (2004)

My life is like a boat. A leaky boat. It keeps taking on water.

I run over to one part of my boat realizing I neglected an area. I work diligently to fix the holes and bale out water.

Ah! Smooth sailing…

Then suddenly I look behind me… Oh, no! Another leak. In the process of fixing one area of the boat I forgot to see the damage in another area of the ship. I then have to run over there and fix that leak and bale out more water. 

There fixed! Life is good.

Uh oh! Yep, you guessed it. I’m constantly running in circles to fix up this rickety ship.

One day it’s the dishes starting to pile up. I get so upset about the mess that I work very diligently to get that mess cleaned up. It may take a few days but I’m back on target with the housekeeping. 

Then I turn around. Sometimes I don’t even turn around just someone warns me. You have a problem over here. Maybe it’s a problem one of my children are having. I leave everything else behind and focus on that problem. Great that child’s problem is solved. Even if it took a few weeks to resolve the issue, I’m happy with the results. 

But oh, no! I planned to have a book finished and given to you, my faithful followers, by the end of August. So I rush over to that part of life and try to get that resolved. I have so many things planned for my little part of cyber space. 

Anyway, you get the picture. And that is what life is like for me. I’m still on this same old rickety ship called “Life”. I’m beginning to see that it will always be this way.

I used to get very upset at the tipping and tossing by the waves. Once I accepted this ship that God has given me, I can now enjoy the ride.  

How about you? What is life like for you? Do you have trouble keeping everything in balance? Please tell me about it in the comments

Where am I at today on this boat? Well, the dishes are clean. The kids homeschooling got off to a pretty good start.

Where are the holes? Well, you have just witnessed me patching one up right now. I am finally posting this blog post after a month of neglect.
Over all? Life is pretty good since I have great ship-mates like you to share it with. :)

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.   ~ Mark 4:37-39 

~~ Anastacia ~~

 

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Adventures with 6 Kids at the Dentist’s

I received a call from our Family dentist Wednesday afternoon confirming our appointment for the next day.

I didn’t even pretend to hide my shock. I forgot!

The kind receptionist just laughed and said that she was glad she called. I assured her we would be there.

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Elisabeth is playing peek-a-boo while Jonathan is putting his big brother’s hat on my head.

Yes. Living in Plan B a second time this week. What were my original plans for Thursday? I don’t know anymore.

I do know that my plan wasn’t driving 5 hours round trip with 6 children for their 4 hour dentist appointment.

This is not my kids’ first dentist appointment. It’s just the first one I forgot about.

Then I got a call from my dad saying the Dentist office just called to confirm his appointment and told him, he was going to see some grandchildren.

A squeal of excitement arose throughout the house as the kids realized Papa had a dentist appointment too.

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Jonathan sat in Nana’s chair. He told her she could sit on his lap.

Something good happened with Plan B. My dad told me that he was just as excited as the kids.

Entertaining the kids wasn’t nearly as challenging with Papa and Nana in the waiting room.

You know…That surprise was a gift from God. He knew I was a bit apprehensive about the long drive and the long hours of waiting with my kids.

It’s like He gave me a hug and told me that it’s all going to be okay.

This is how the 3 youngest and I looked by the end of the wait.

This is how the 3 youngest and I looked by the end of the wait.

Have you ever felt that way?On those days, weeks, or even months when nothing seems to go as planned. Have you ever had a surprise that made you feel loved despite all your shortcomings?

As always feel free to share with me in the comments. Or send me an email.

Joshua and Ruth with their nice, clean smiles.

Joshua and Ruth with their nice, clean smiles.

Oh, and as an added plus to my day. My husband installed a new calendar app for me. Now to just start using it. :-)

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