Here is the second part of our blog “The Joys & Challenges of Living Argentina.” Be sure to revisit the first part if you missed it. We love our new life in Argentina! And we are grateful to see God working in us Romans 5:1-5.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Here are four more “joys” that are specific to our life here:
- Our Purpose & Vision: We are comforted in the harder days that this place and this ministry is exactly where God wants us. We are blessed by the monthly online meetings we are able to have with the other missionaries at Reaching and Teaching, and are so grateful for the mission and vision of our organization. We are also grateful for the way that God has lead and brought us here in so many visible ways, from the provision of funds to the encouragement from other trusted friends who have loved us through this transition. Because of these and many other confirmations, we know this is where God wants us.
- Upcoming Ministry Opportunities: Although we are not heavily involved in full-time ministry until after language school, being in Argentina gives us the opportunity to see the many needs that exist for pastoral training. Already, we have several opportunities ahead that are exciting. So many needs for discipleship are here! Last week, Eric got to observe the first Reaching and Teaching training module happening here monthly in Cordoba. Eric also will be going to Salta, Argentina in a few weekends to check out some future opportunities there. He is super excited about that!
- A New Culture: We’ve had fun trying out new foods, cultural events and celebrating holidays here. Argentine food is really not that different than we are used to, just a bunch of new combinations and a few things missing. There is a lot of Italian and German influence here so there is a lot of bread, pasta, meat, ice cream and more carbs! The meat here is pretty amazing!!! We have enjoyed learning about new customs and ways of doing things. We are enjoying having people over to our home and experiencing that with them.
- Walking through this as a Family:
It has been a blessing to walk through this experience with our five boys, praying that the things that our boys see, hear, and hopefully learn during their years growing up here in Argentina will shape and fashion them to be followers of Christ. It is fun to expose them to missions and the world, and give them the opportunity to see God working around the world. They often tell us they loved the plane ride here, and they want to go on more plane rides! Maybe they have already caught the travel bug! 🙂
And here are 4 more challenges we are facing:
1. Missing Friends and Family:
Along with not being able to communicate deeply with our friends here, we have found ourselves missing our family and friends lately. Eric especially is finding that his very social position previously working as a youth pastor is a huge contrast to the sometimes solitary and lonely days spent studying Spanish and taking care of the home and family. We haven’t gotten through too many holidays yet, but when special events are happening back in the States, particularly things that we loved to do or with people that we loved, we have shed a few tears over our distance from our family and friends.
2. Hard Work: We have found most of our days extremely busy. Our day starts at 6:30am and don’t really end until about 11:00 pm or later. Part of that is just getting into a new routine and finding what works. But life here is hard work. There are extra conveniences in the US that save time that we don’t have here automatically like dishwashers, dryers, garage door openers, etc. We are still waiting to get our car so we walk or take taxis everywhere.
It is not complaining to say it is a lot of hard work to learn a new language, do homework, set up and maintain a new house, and feed and parent five kids. Not bad, but hard. We have come to really appreciate and value our days off from school.
3. Raising Our Kids as Third Culture Kids: We were told that the months before and after moving overseas would be especially hard discipline-wise for our kids. And that definitely has been the case for us. Some days we feel like we are just learning to parent, (and doing a not-so-good job of it). We are constantly in need of asking the Lord for wisdom. They miss their friends, their “ninja club” and don’t understand much of anything at school (though they are learning it very quickly!). They have to get used to new food, new friends and new routines. We have had our share of grumpiness. They are actually doing really well and adjusting and making friends, but this is definitely a challenge we are all facing.
4. Functioning in Different Roles of Ministry: Though absolutely and totally essential to our future here, we are right now in “learning” mode and not doing much practical ministry. Besides simple interpersonal ministry to our kids and to our new friends here, we have to learn language and culture first before any “formal” ministry takes place. We understand this, but it is sometimes hard to wait and not remember the moments of ministry we have had before. This mean lots of learning in humility for sure! And we also are functioning in different roles from before. Eric is not at a 9-5 job, and Danica is not a stay-at-home homeschool mom. These are new roles and a challenge for us.
Hopefully reading these joys and challenges will allow you a peek in our life as the “Abisrors Abroad.” Please praise the Lord together with us for both the joys and the challenges! We know that He is working!