After a week of travelling we finally made it “home” to Patagonia. Safe and sound, praise the LORD. A few rough landings in Peru and then in Argentina, but we made it. We ended up having to spend an extra day in Buenos Aires working on getting son’s passport. Figures the day Tony went, the embassy was closed. They no longer give you your passport the same day (only the emergency ones), but mail it to you if you live here in Argentina. Mail it to you? We shall see if it gets here. I have no idea why they trust and are using the mail system here… slightly worried and doubtful about this. We’ll see in 15 days.
Going from 20 degrees F to 100 was BRU-TAL. Not five minutes into picking up our van did the AC die a permanent death. It was so HOT. I tried not to complain, and fortunately things cooled off as we drove south out of Buenos Aires province into Patagonia. We stayed two days with Tony’s uncle in Bahia Blanca; it was too hot to travel in that car with no AC and the sun beating down, so we waited an extra day hoping and praying for cloud cover. Delay came in the form of 4yo waking up with a seal cough one morning – going from dead of winter to high summer was bound to affect someone. Fortunately the older she gets the better she seems to do with the whole croup thing. She can at least breathe now and it doesn’t always turn into an ER visit; it is true, they do grow out of it. THANK GOD. I hate croup. Tony says I really need to stop saying hate, but there’s really no other word for certain feelings. “Greatly despise” just doesn’t seem to encompass the sentiment.
It was SO HOT in Bahia Blanca I thought I would lose my mind. My daughter got out of the baking car at one moment at a pit stop saying, “When we move back to the United States I don’t think I am EVER coming back here. I’m NEVER coming back to Argentina. I don’t think ever!” I feel bad when she talks like that, and tell her that’s not really nice, but I silently totally agree with her. Buenos Aires was a hot, humid, baking madhouse.
The only way we made it through was to constantly be dousing our hair and arms and legs with water. All day long. We barely slept and were just drenched in sweat all night. Heat and dogs barking and cumbia until 2:30 in the morning. It took all I had to not ask his uncle how on earth he could live like that. I barely slept a wink there. The second night I could barely breath it was so hot, I sat on the edge of the bed in the back of his uncle’s little church and just panted, unable to breathe the heat was so oppressive. Got up and went outside to try to get some relief. It was breezy, but too warm of a breeze to help too much.
My sister said to me once, “I could never do what you do. I wouldn’t survive.”
Ha, I could never do what I do either. It’s impossible without Jesus.
Once 4yo was okay for the rest of the drive, we headed out. Six hours I rode holding a white towel between my leg and arm and the burning sun streaming through the open passenger’s side widow. The sun goes across the northern sky in the southern hemisphere, I was sitting on the wrong side of the car for our 15 hour drive, northern exposure. Close the tinted window and it’s 100 in the van; open it, I burn. The towel at least kept my white skin from turning crab red.
Tony turned 44 on that drive. Happy Birthday, Tony! We celebrated by driving eight hours from Buenos Aires south to Bahia Blanca.
Several near death experiences already. Yeah, the mission field will do me in. It will. Maybe I am done. Yes, I do believe I am.
I’m allergic to bees. Carry an Epipen. I hate bees. A four letter word IMO [that’s ‘In My Opinion’, for the older folks]. Somewhere south of Bahia Blanca one flew in my window at about 60mph and hit me on the cheek. I didn’t know what it was since it didn’t sting, until it bounced off me half dead, hit my seat with a pop and rolled down, fortunately outside of my shirt, and landed on the seat beside my recently extra-padded-with-donuts left hip.
When I looked down and saw it was a bee, stunned and maybe dead but I wasn’t sure, I screamed, jumped up so I wouldn’t sit on it and get stung, unbuckled really quick, screamed again, practically pressing my butt to the windshield trying to get away from it. I wasn’t about to squish it myself just to make sure it was dead, so Tony, forced to let up on the gas but still driving, tried to squish it and get at it while I was still screaming “AH! AHHH! BEE!” with my butt still pressed against the windshield. He told me to stop screaming so he wouldn’t crash. He squished and grabbed the bee with my white towel sun shield and threw it out the window. Right then we both saw an explosion of dust in front of us right as Tony managed to regain control of the car.
The 18 wheeler ahead of us blew a tire. It kicked up dust and rubber went flying. We just missed the flying rubber as Tony drove around it, now at maybe 25 or 30mph.
And then it dawned on us. The bee and insuing commotion forced Tony to slow down. We would have been right behind or passing that truck when the tire exploded.
God sent a bee to save us from a potentially very dangerous accident. He knew a bee is the only thing that would have gotten me to carry on like that and force Tony to slow down. If the tire had exploded while we were passing, it could have flown in the window and hit me, or caused us to crash, God forbid.
Thank you, Jesus. And thank you everyone who is praying! I wish He had used something other than a bee, an angel would have been more comfortable for me, but hey, God and His ways, whose to understand them? He saved us, that’s the important thing. I still hate bees, but now I see God controls even them. I do pray He controls them never to sting me.
“All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord…”
But, Oh, it gets better.
We arrived “home” to a yard completely overgrown with waist high weeds and warnings from friends and neighbors to not walk it in. The house was miraculously not broken into. We were “very lucky” said the neighbor. Three houses down a house left alone for a weekend was immediately broken into and completely cleaned out. They even took the kids’ toys.
God is the Almighty. We prayed every day for our car and our house and our kitty. They were all still intact and alive when we arrived. This is miraculous. Oh yes it is.
We missed our beds. The kids missed “home”. Strange they think of Patagonia as home since the States is very much home, too. We quickly got Juan to come with his tractor and mow our jungle of a yard. Tony put on long pants, boots to help, and the kids were made to stay inside. Raid was in good supply, and good thing. As they sprayed and sprayed the spiders of various colors coming out all over the place, I walked around inside peering out windows to see what was hiding in their corners. The hugest black widow I’ve ever seen was nesting in a corner outside my boy’s window. Tony sprayed it profusely, and as I watched it die a much deserved death, I saw its red stripes. They are “red backs” here, no hourglass, but a red stripey thing on their backs.
How are we doing? Oh, alive. And that’s what counts here. Two, three months ago I would have been flipping out and packing my bags, but two glorious months in the States did me well. And prayer. Always prayer. It’s beginning to work. I still want to retire from the mission field, though. I very much do. Wouldn’t you? I mean, this life is nuts. Only for the crazies. I can’t believe my son slept one night with a black widow outside his open window. I can’t believe God sent a bee. I can’t believe the poverty and misery here, driving by it for days is depressing, the things people live with day in and day out. It’s just not dignified. It’s normal, though. At least here, and the rest of the third world. We are so blessed in the States, I don’t care what anybody says, we are. American missionaries get a bad rap for not being able to take it. They can’t hack it. They don’t last long. They certainly don’t last long here in Argentina, there are very few who stay long term. I’m beginning to understand why!
*apologies for no pics – my ancient laptop doesn’t have the greatest capabilities, it’s barely hanging on as it it and we don’t have internet yet here at home, hopefully by next week. i’ll see what i can do about better blogging and getting some pics up soon…