remote road

Route 2 between Choele Choel and San Antonio Oeste

This is a rural route in Patagonia where there is no radio reception for hours – not a novelty, really, in Patagonia – but it was for us the first time we drove it. If I could upload the video I took of our car radio searching for a station straight through then flipping over again without finding one, I would. It was surreal, slightly anxiety provoking, and cool all at the same time. This three hour stretch of road between two towns did not have cell phone reception, a gas station, or anywhere to stop for a potty break, snack, or water. There was one, lone, run-down house at the hour-and-a-half mark, but nothing else. Living in Patagonia has redefined our definition of “too far away” or “too far to drive”. An eight hour drive is now “not too far”. Anywhere past 15 minutes a year ago was “too far” to drive for us. Funny how things change. :)

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Another neighborhood fire

This was the view outside my window a few weeks ago.

By the time I ran to get the camera, the 10 foot flames burning in the neighbor’s yard had been brought under control. They were way over the guy’s head. He must have been burning his lawn (perhaps to fertilize it) or burning trash. There are little to no regulations on burning here that I am aware of, and the fruit plantations burn the underbrush in their orchards all the time. It’s really not healthy for all the people who live here, since the smoke often just hangs in the air, mixing with dust. No one seems to complain too much, though, or seem outraged. It just is. *group shoulder shrug*

I kept the kids inside until the smoke cleared, lecturing everyone again about how inhaled smoke, pollution, volcanic ash, or too much desert dust creates the perfect environment for those upper respiratory illnesses we love so much.

And you don’t want to get sick again, do you? I asked.

Rhetorically.

No!, was their quick and understanding response.  I think they’re getting it.

Learning to live in South America. Fun times. Always.

Planet Fitness, Patagonia

I spotted this on a recent trip to the costal town of Puerto Madryn (more on that later). Who would have thought, a Planet Fitness in Patagonia?

I wonder if it could compete with the $10/month, sparkling clean, fully stocked with their very own toilet paper and flat-screen TVs Planet Fitness back home? (*wistful sigh*) I’m thinking that might be hard to do….

My clothes storage system

There is absolutely next to no storage here in this little tiny house. The boxes of clothes we brought for the kids as they grow are piled high on top of a closet.

the numbers either represent clothes sizes, or number labels required to bring the container through customs

Most of these clothes were given to us by relatives or friends. Many are also clothes I saved from Girl Number One for Girl Number Two – and am SO GLAD I did! The gaps we filled in at more thrift store visits than I’d like to remember, and the JCPenney going out of business sale, before we left. Clothes cost a fortune in Argentina, and the quality is not great. People often say things to us like, “Wow, I like that jacket. You didn’t buy that here, did you?“. Then people feel bad when we tell them we spent $20 for it, when it would cost 200 dollars here.

And, of course, being the cheap tightwad at heart that I am, I am so happy that we haven’t had to buy a single item since we’ve been here. I’m so, so glad now that I made the sacrifice of all the time and effort it required to come prepared. It has paid off, and we have saved tons of money this way. We won’t have to buy clothes for a solid two, perhaps three years here, and that makes me very happy since I don’t like shopping.

*My frugal storage system is a la Tightwad Gazette. Works fantastic.

*click both links to find out how to do it

A month of Non-Missions Photos

I’ve decided to lighten up a bit on the blog – it’s been a heavy year. And, after a Google search to try to figure out what has been wrong with me lately, I discovered I have a classic case of Missionary Burnout.

So, as a result – I won’t be talking about missions for the next month. Yeah, you’re probably happy – I’m good at beating that dead dog, I know.

I need a break from all things missions, and need to focus elsewhere for a while. No needy people, no poverty, no stories of near-death experiences (okay, I may exaggerate a bit). For the next month I’ll be posting pictures, maybe a few words if I can manage it, from our lives here – just every day “normal” things – normal being a VERY relative word.

I am aware that pictures of kids are cute and make blogs more interesting, but I have a strict rule about not posting pictures of my kids on our blog (if you couldn’t tell) – so my apologies about the lack of adorable little people in my pictures. My life is my kids, and my pictures and stories don’t always represent accurately how much time and energy I actually dedicate to them.

So, without further ado – DAY 1 Non-Missions Photo:

I like my milk and condiments in a bag, don’t you?

 

the definition of missions

Here is a good definition of Christian missions I just stumbled upon:

God’s mission works primarily through Jesus Christ’s sending the people of God to intentionally cross barriers from church to nonchurch, faith to nonfaith, to proclaim by word and deed the coming of the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ through the Church’s participation in God’s mission of reconciling people to God, to themselves, to one another, and to the world and gathering them into the church [the Body of Christ], through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, by the work of the Holy Spirit, with a view to the transformation of the world, as a sign of the coming of the kingdom in Jesus Christ.

Missions is not planting our denomination of churches where there are already churches. Missions is not intentionally crossing barriers from church to church, faith to faith, to sit around discussing faith and theology without deeds. Even native believers around the world instinctively know that missions is taking the gospel to where it isn’t. Otherwise, how would we all have come to believe?