One year ago yesterday (March 21) we were preparing to board a plane that would take us to Argentina for our first term as new missionaries. While we were very excited, I must admit that there was a certain amount of fear in my soul. We were not flying to Argentina for a quick visit or a conference or survey. We were moving. Permanently. We would be gone for a couple of years. We were leaving our kids, our culture and our comforts. We left our books, our bikes and the majority of our keepsakes collected over fifty years. We were a little nervous, yes. But at the same time, we were excited to see how the Lord would use us in this new ministry. It was a new chapter in our lives, and we were eager to see how it was going to work out.
Now, a year later, we can look back and see the good hand of the Lord upon us. We have made it through the first step of the immigration process, Patti has merged into the role of field treasurer, we have had speaking and music participation opportunities, we have formed the committee for the school. Progress is being made on the development of the school program, the core curriculum, and the content of some of the first semester classes. Mike has found his ministry of helping out at the camp cutting the grass and serving as an ambassador of good will by showing up with his mate (a tea-like infusion). Our Spanish improves at a snail’s pace but it is improving!
In our home, which is the Mission House in Chivilcoy, we have had the privilege of hosting, in the guest apartment, a missionary family, our pastor’s family upon arrival from Chile, and a short-term worker. We also had the joy of hosting a young man from one of our supporting churches as he helped James Morrell out at the camp for a few weeks. We have had friends and families from the church into our home for fellowship.
We have travelled several times to Buenos Aires (by car, me driving!), Gualeguaychú, and Lican Ray, Chile. Our fascination and love for Chivilcoy and the people who live here grows continually. It is normal for us to still feel like foreigners, but we are feeling much more at home here in Argentina.
We are so thankful for your support and prayers for us this past year. Often, when the pressure and strangeness of living here worked against us, we reminded ourselves that we had you as our support group, knowing that you had our backs and that you regularly brought us before the Lord. We cannot thank you enough for the comfort and strength that gave (and continues to give) us.
We have a challenging year ahead of us. We have another step to take in the immigration process near the middle of the year. I will begin promoting the new school in the churches in the second half of the year. There is still much work to be done planning and organizing for the start of the first semester. And, of course, we will continue to work hard at making progress with our Spanish. Please continue to pray for us as we tackle this next year. God has been so good to us – our list of praises is long. We look forward to seeing what He has in store for the next year. Pray for us and drop us a line sometime.
Blessings in Christ,
Dave, Patti and Michael West