Dear Prayer Partners,
By the grace of God and through His answers to your prayers we have finally made it to Argentina. Our hearts are filled with praise to the Lord for terminating the long road that brought us to Chivilcoy to begin our first term as missionaries. We have six years of memories of deputation and language school and we now have four weeks of our initial impressions of the mission field.
Our journey began a little roughly as we were not allowed to leave Miami on the intended day. Initially we purchased round trip tickets (a must) with a return date too far out (past three months the limit of our initial visa). This denied us our planned departure date. We had to cancel our original tickets and buy new ones with an acceptable return date (which we will not use) that allowed us entrance into Argentina. This was an expensive lesson but well worth the price for informing future travelers.
After our departure, everything went smoothly. We landed in Buenos Aires, breezed through customs and met Tom Gibbons and James Morrell at the airport. We loaded our 11 suitcases and 3 totes and headed to Chivilcoy. We arrived safely and quite tired.
Many years ago, when Patti and I started driving we learned on a standard shift vehicle. It took several attempts through stalling and grinding gears before we were able to start, cruise and stop the vehicle smoothly.
Our first four weeks in Argentina have been a little like that. Trying to negotiate a new country, new schedule, new language, new ministry, new culture, new computer programs, new people, etc., is not all that easy. But we are now managing a smoother go of it. We are currently being tutored an hour a day. We have orientation class once a week. We have done most of our shopping on our own. We have been introduced to all the various stores to make our purchases. We are starting to spend time with folks from the church, at church, drinking coffee or mate (pronounced MAH te – a popular herbal infusion similar to loose leaf tea) in our home or out in town. We have scheduled time to be in their homes. It is a bit comical sometimes using our developing language skills, but it has been a great blessing. We are making adjustments and rolling with the changes.
Mike, our son, though not able to speak much Spanish, speaks good mate. There is a saying here, “Frente al mate somos todos iquales” – before the mate all are equal. Though we are strangers here, spending time talking, drinking mate, eating, etc., is giving us good opportunities for a smooth shifting of ministry gears. Your prayers should be thought of as the lubricating oil of the transition transmission.
Adjusting that saying a little, we might also say “Frente al cruz somos todos iquales.” Before the cross all are equal. We – North Americans, South Americans, etc, — are equally sinful, equally in need of a Savior. We are linking arms with missionaries and Argentines to present the gospel to folks in great need of Christ Jesus. Pray for us as we get ourselves situated and as we prepare to do our part in this needy work of the Lord.
Your Partners in Argentina,
Dave, Patti and Michael West
2 Timothy 2:2
“Trabajando, Orando, Mejorando”
(Working, Praying, Improving)