you tired of bad investment news? Us too. So
we thought you'd like to see an annual shareholder's report showing
you how your long-term investment in Latin America is paying
2008 there have been times when our life felt like it was in slow
motion, when just figuring out how to buy groceries (fruit
stand, then butcher, then... where do we buy cereal?) and
wash our clothing took all day (the sink
or the chinese laundry on the corner?); other times when
I woke up I couldn't even remember what country I had arrived
in the night before. When things were slow, we despaired of doing
anything worthwhile, but as we were filling out our year-end ministry
report we were encouraged to see God's work around us. And since
that would not have been possible without your prayers, financial
and emotional support, we wanted to share it with you.
of Tim's greatest fears is boring you, so in an attempt to communicate
this good investment news in a way you find engaging, we'll allow
you to choose how you want it served up. Here are your
was accomplished per our stated objectives for '08. This
is the annual report we're required to hand in to our team
leader and the U.S. Mobilization Center of OC Int'l.
those who are drawn in more by stories than statistics,
these are a few anecdotes from our life during 2008.
we look back over the past year we can hardly believe that this
time a year ago we hadn't moved to Argentina yet but even though
took a while to figure out basic logistics and get into a rhythm,
we now feel at home.
a story that exemplifies our struggles with adaptation. The 420
square ft. apartment our friends Pedro and Analia are loaning
us while they live in Brazil doesn't have central air, but they
decided to install a wall unit air-conditioner for us. Because
we moved in during beautiful fall weather, we didn't need for
it but we were grateful for their thoughtfulness and foresight.
After a few emails back and forth with Analia and some phone calls
to Fravega, the store they had purchased it from, we thought the
hard part was over because the store would both deliver and install
the unit. The whole day of the delivery we were housebound, but
finally they came and got to work, knocking holes in the freshly
painted wall inside the bedroom and outside the window in the
light well. As we looked at the installed unit we were surprised
to see a 2 foot long power cord dangling down the bedroom wall.
It wasn't plugged in.
are we supposed to plug that into the outlet over there?"
Tim asked pointing to the electrical outlet 10 feet away on the
you just get an extension," the workman replied. "But
what you will have to figure out is how to catch the water that
comes out here (pointing to a tube hanging outside the window
of our 5th
floor apartment) so it doesn't land on this air conditioner (signaling
the downstairs neighbor's unit on which the tube was currently
with that advice they left.
few days later, Tim set off in search of the extension cord. He
had to visit a number of stores to find one that was long enough
and had the right connection. By the time he found it, the weather
had gotten cold so we put the cord away until summer.
months later we ripped open the plastic bag holding the extension
cord. We didn't really need the air conditioner yet, but I wanted
to work on the dripping water problem before we really needed
the unit working at full blast. I confidently put the three male
prongs of the foot long cord hanging down from the unit up to
the three female holes at the end of the extension cord only to
see that the holes were smaller than the prongs. But the plastic
was soft so I tried forcing them in. I made a bit of headway but
it was tough so I called Tim. He couldn't get them in any further.
around the neighborhood one day Tim saw a Fravega store and thought
they might sell the cord we needed. We're not sure if he talked
to a salesperson or just the security guard but the conversation
went something like this: Tim explains the situation; Fravega
guy responds, "No, we don't sell anything like that kind
of extension cord and you won't be able to plug the unit into
the cord you have because there is metal inside. But if you go
to any hardware shop they'll be able to drill out the holes so
the prongs fit."
Tim goes to the small hardware store a block down the street for
help. The father and son who run it are always helpful, patient
and informative but they tell us they cannot drill out said cord.
"It simply doesn't work that way. And even if it were possible,
it's illegal," the father explains, "because air conditioners
use high amperage and it could be dangerous."
what am I supposed to do?" Tim asks bewildered.
you need to connect the air conditioner into plug to this 20 amp
outlet (He shows us a 3x5x3 plastic box). Then you need an electrician
install it and run cable from this outlet to your electrical system.
They'll chisel out your wall, put the wire in, and then plaster
up the wall again. Or you can just let the wire run the outside
of the wall."
Tim's confusion he added, "We're kind of busy today but come
back on Monday and I'll help you with it."
took another visit to the hardware store, which elicited the exact
explanation for us to realize that our problem was that we had
been interpreting the words, "Oh you just get an extension"
to mean an extension cord, not another electrical outlet. Originally
we had been less than thrilled at the thought of having an extension
cord running down the wall and along the floor
but now we were facing a minor remodeling project.
now we were not only in the middle of summer, we were actually
in danger of summer finishing before we got to use the air conditioner.
hot day we mentioned our air conditioning woes to Diego, a waiter
we have developed a relationship with, who told us that one of
the other waiters, Pablo, has studied to be an electrician and
could help us.
Thinks someone could alleviate the problem and make
a fortune by creating a 20 amp extension cord for air conditioning
consider it a problem, but when they understand that we
have a problem they marvel at the fact that we don't know
how to install a high amperage outlet.
before Pablo came to the house we were eating with some friends
from church. Of the whole story, the thing that was hardest for
them to believe is that Tim didn't know how to do basic electricity.
We explained that in the US, houses come with things like central
air, and are already wired for major appliances so "basic"
electrical work is more optional than it is in Argentina.
story has a happy almost-ending in that Pablo did a fantastic
job; you only notice the new outlet and wiring if you are looking
for it. I say "almost ending" because we still haven't
figured out how to catch the condensation water so it doesn't
drip into the patio of the ground floor apartment.
a Firm Foundation
launch of the Especialidades Juveniles Institute for Youth Workers
(Instituto EJ) has taken
a more circuitous route than we anticipated when we signed onto
the project almost two years ago. We know that if the institute
is going to reach its lofty goal of "equipping a new generation
of Latin American youth workers through transformational training"
and if it is going to last over the long haul, it needs to have
a firm foundation. We aren't structural engineers, but we're doing
the best we can and trust that in the end the support of the project
depends more on God's shoulders than ours.
parts of the foundation laid in the past few months have been
the addition of a director for the Institute here in Argentina,
Esteban Borghetti, and formalizing the relationship with the International
Theological Seminary. Instituto EJ benefits enormously from the
seminary's years of experience, their personnel and administration,
and their formal accreditation by the government; they will benefit
as we draw in a whole crop of students who hadn't considered going
to seminary but want to finish the degree they began with Instituto
start in Argentina the 3d of August 2009 and there is an astounding
amount of work to do before then, so we appreciate your prayers.
A few specific concerns are finding the right students, establishing
good relationships with pastors and local churches, finding the
right location for the school (actually we've identified our optimal
location, what we need are either the funds to buy it).
we left Mexico one of my primary concerns was to make sure that
our major investment
into the Roots textbook for youth ministry and its accompanying
animated classes wasn't in vain. Every year we teach the material
to several hundred people and through our partnership with Miami
International Theological Seminary anyone who wants to take the
course online for credit, can. But now the book has been published
by the best known publisher for youth ministry materials in Spanish,
and the classes have their own web site, EspecialidadesJuveniles.com/raices.
We don't know the number of people who have taken the online classes
but the feedback has been incredibly encouraging.
most common question about the Institutes is if we have a distance
education program. And although the institutes don't because they
center on mentoring style formation that is impossible at a distance,
it feels good to be able to answer them saying that they can
learn the basics of youth ministry online through the classes
could write on and on, but I'll save something for next time.
Tim helping out as editor)