missions, penguins, and mr. kitty

I’ve been a bad blogger. And even worse newsletter writer. Both take a lot of time. And motivation. Not sure which one I’m missing.

A MISSIONS UPDATE

  • Tony has been in the slums a lot, visiting, checking up on people, seeing how they are doing. People really appreciate visits here. If Argentines are one thing, it is social. The kids of all the adults he meets with were waiting for him one Saturday when he said he’d come back for a Movie Day. He projected Joseph King of Dreams. That one always makes me cry. ALWAYS. The kids loved it. I love it because it’s about forgiveness. It’s history, it’s the Bible, it’s a great story. The lesson being God can use the bad things that happen to us in life, things out of our control, tragedies, for our good, and for the good of many. A good reminder for us all.

  • We are working on giving away ALL. THESE. CLOTHES. Sometimes I look around this cluttered little house, piled high with still full suitcases, overflowing boxes, stuff, and am tempted to leave half of it on the curb so someone will just take it away. And I tell Tony I will if he doesn’t start giving it away yesterday.
  • Returning to the boys’ home was rough. They have so many problems, it seems overwhelming most of the time. They each got a Good and Evil book, praying.
  • We found a home for a few of the bikes. One woman came looking for help last December. I gave her (translation: lent it permanently) one that had a kid seat on the back. Probably worth 200-300 bucks here. I think we paid $75 on Craigslist. But we gave up bike riding. Too dangerous here. She can keep it. Which she has. She offered to pay me, I said we’d talk in February. Of course I never heard from her. I don’t care too overly much about things – and I don’t care at all about the bike. I do care that she never called. She did stop by yesterday and said her husband is riding the bike 18 km roundtrip to his new job downtown. I’m glad they can use it. She didn’t offer to pay for it, and I didn’t mention it either. God is working on all of us.
  • We decided to sell some of our furniture. People started asking and so we said sure, if you want it, we’ll sell it to you. It will help pay for our return tickets. What we can’t sell, we are giving away. You’d think that after doing this many times before, giving away most of our earthly belongings, it would get easier. It does and it doesn’t. Beginning to pack up my kitchen stuff, it’s amazing what I don’t really need. I mean, love the big roasting pot with the glass lid and all, but when was the last time I made a casserole?? Not in the past year. Bye-bye roasting pot with glass lid, I don’t really need you. We have been trying to figure out what to give to whom, praying, asking God. It’s coming along. Not nearly as fast for my liking, but welcome to Argentina. Everything happens so slow here.
  • We have been distributing the Good and Evil Illustrated Bibles. We left quite a few in Bahia Blanca at Tony’s uncle’s little church. Some to the ones in the church here who work with kids in the school and slums. Others to a young couple we had over for dinner last week – she works with kids, and he used to accompany Tony to the kids’ home. Everybody thinks the bibles are awesome. We agree. We gave some to the neighbor kids. Their parents just separated. Have other hopes on who to pass them along to, it’s just a matter of meeting up with people over the next month. I really love these Bibles because they are missionaries that cost next to nothing to support. They take their message wherever they go and to whomever picks them up. Good stuff.

ON THE HOME FRONT

Starting to very much feel the effects of being back in country.  My peace disappeared about Day 3 {poof just like that}. My MO should be peace and love, but it’s more often living with my heart in my throat, fighting anxiety, fear, on the defensive, looking over my shoulder, who is around me, what are they scheming, are they scheming anything?, not trusting anyone, praying without ceasing about ev.er.y.thing. It’s a completely different life. Fortunately we haven’t seen any black widows since we killed them and fumigated. I’m thankful for that. Praying now none crawl into our boxes and show up back in the States. That would really not be fun. Please pray with me?

Recently took the kids to see the penguins for a few days.

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I really didn’t want to go (it’s complicated), but we had promised them we would go for Christmas. But we unexpectedly ended up in the States, and detouring to see the penguins on the way to catch our flight was too much. Then detouring on our drive back last month was also too much. Then when the A/C broke and it was 100 in the van I said no way, let’s wait a month until it cools down. Fall is coming, almost here. It’s is now down to 50 at night; 45 later this week. At least we can sleep now.

So we escaped to the coast for a few days with the excuse of celebrating a birthday, and we’ll regret it if we never go, and it was on our dime so we can’t not go… (which – speaking of it – feels pretty good to be slowly weaning off support, which has sort of dropped off a little lately, and becoming more self-supportive as we transition slowly back to “normal” non-missionary life. What doesn’t come in we make up ourselves. It is what it is, and I’ve ceased to try to figure it all out. God provides no matter what. I’ve learned that pretty well these past two years.]

Can I say the trip to see the penguins was almost a complete disaster?

We were rained out and completely unprepared for the weather. Although it was in the 90s at home, it did not help a bit that we checked the forecast and asked the Tourism Office before we made the three-hour drive further south AFTER the ten-hour drive to the beach. Long drive. Great time to read. I pulled out the Kindle and actually made a good dent in both Walden and The Quest for the Simple Life. Love. Heart. Heart.

The morning we headed out to see the penguins we were delayed an extra hour by a protest and road block, detouring through the desert bush. I was sure we would get stuck in one of the huge mud puddles caused by recent rain. It was a bumpy drive off-road in our not-off-road vehicle just to get around the protest. I was worried the two-inch desert thorns we were forging our way through would give us a flat. We did find barbed wire under the van days later. Tony later said he enjoyed it, felt like he was in a some movie adventure. I didn’t enjoy it. When I get accused of being The Cynic, I just point out I’m The Realist. You should have seen the 18 wheelers that got stuck back there in the bush. It was a mad house traffic jam, everyone trying willy nilly to get around the road block by flooding the almost roadless desert with their also not-off-road vehicles. My new line is, “I’m too old for this.” Last night I even drempt I was yelling at someone, “I’M HAVING A MID-LIFE CRISIS!. lol

There, on the remote peninsula of Punta Tombo, it was cold, windy, and rainy. It was miserable. And was it remote, good grief! I was a little nervous {understatement}. I think we saw one car the last hour drive on the dirt, gravel and slowly flooding road. I was happy to just make it out of there. Oh yeah, no cell phone signal. But that’s normal, too.

DSCF1053this picture doesn't do the remoteness justice AT ALL

A million penguins live in this colony, the largest continental penguin colony in the world. And we were there! We saw only about a few hundred. Not bad, I’m not complaining about that. I loathe to admit it though, but I seriously could have cared less and just did it for the kids. (Ever done that? Been really ungrateful for doing really awesome stuff because your kids made you do it and you did it for them and didn’t really want to be there at all? Am I the only one??). I wasn’t too happy when we were got soaked to the bone within minutes and was much too worried (Philippians 4:6 doesn’t work for me sometimes) about someone getting bronchitis {again} and croup {again} that we didn’t even make it over the hill to the actual beach. A few braver, better dressed peeps there did. The only ones properly dressed were the few obvious foreigners with their waterproof windbreakers with hood, long pants, and boots. All the Argentinians had flip flops and cotton sweaters on, no jacket. We took a few pictures of the ones we did see (yes, there are penguins as far as the eye can see. And, no, they were not bothered by the cold, wind and rain.). We didn’t even take that many pictures because the camera almost got soaked, too.

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DSCF1001this mama turned her head away, but there is her fluffy baby in the background

But we did it. Hey, at least we did it! That’s what I kept telling myself and the kids – one who was “steaming mad” because she thought it would be so great and it wasn’t all she had dreamed of. Yeah, for me either. But a once in a lifetime opportunity, right? I think we’ll appreciate that we went a few years from now…

We got home last night and Mr. Kitty was nowhere to be found. One of the many reasons I didn’t want to go; I just knew something would happen to him. And it did. I knew when we called him and he didn’t come home. There were a lot of dogs roaming the streets, and several that all of a sudden felt comfortable to break in and roam our yard, leaving their evidence. One ate the cat’s foot I left out in an attempt to lure poor kitty back from his street cat wanderings. No pet care services or kennels here, people. The neighbor fed him. Nonetheless, it worried me to leave him on the street. People don’t really pet sit for you here. I’m not sure what they do with their pets when they go away, I really don’t.

We tracked Kitty down today, though. He was wounded and at a neighbor’s house. The neighbor (a vet) looked at him and said he is fine – probably fell, maybe from a height, and hurt himself. There is a lot of construction around here and too many dogs to escape from. He now stumbles a little, loses his balance, was nervous and skittish again even we got him home and indoors. He is now recovering and sleeping on his favorite bed.

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Yeah, I know, I’m turning into one of those cat ladies who only ever talks about her cats. Wanna see more pictures? :) It’s just, he’s become so important to us. When you don’t have a lot and life becomes hard and lonely, it’s amazing how you start to talk to animals and they become your friends, a solace,a respite, a part of your family. He so is.

We finally gave the neighbor our dishwasher. They have been so kind to help us with Mr. Kitty. Tony lifted it up on the kids’ wagon one day and rolled it on over there. I think they were happy. They’ve never seen one before. We had to explain how to use it. I don’t think they sell dishwasher detergent here, but they will figure it out, make it work. It’s really strange to think that it will probably now be a conversation piece in their house.

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