Friday, March 11, 2011

Settling into Buenos Aires

Hi friends,
I feel inspired again to continue writing a travel blog!
So yes, here is the blog of random funny and/or encouraging experiences that you can read when you have time (never).

Christine and I just moved into an old-style apartment that is absolutely charming. It belongs to a Witness family who live an hour away from Buenos Aires. The mother in the family, Lilliana, told me that they usually never rent the apartment out. However, because her son is a good friend of one of the elders in our congregation, she was willing to rent it to us at a very good price. I truly feel that getting this nice apartment is a blessing. Not only is the location close to Bethel and the Chinese territory, it is close to all kinds of cafes, restaurants and shopping.

Yesterday was the first time we really ventured out on our own to do return visits. All the publishers here are equipped with a little book called the Guia "T", which has all the street maps and bus routes of the city. So we were able to navigate to our calls quite easily.

It is amazingly easy to get return visits and start Bible studies here... a little unbelievable. Of course, it remains to be seen who are truly sheep, but so far, several people we meet in the territory take the time to listen to you. One reason is that much of the territory is composed of small business owners, mostly grocery store owners. When there are less customers, these people usually take the time to listen.

Today, Christine and I started 2 Bible studies with the Bible Teach book. The first one was with a grocery store lady from Fujian. She said that she believes in the powers of the supernatural world, and she prays to God. We seized the opportunity to ask her why God allows unfairness to exist, and whether he truly cares for us.

The second one was with a young woman who works with her parents at the laundromat. Christine used the theme of the last days and when the world will come to an end as a bait to catch her interest.

One thing we are still getting used to is the public transportation, which is convenient, but a bit of a hassle to get onto. The following scene repeated itself several times today: After finally figuring out that we are indeed on the right bus, we quickly get in and try to get a steady grip as the bus speeds down the road rocking us back and forth. At the same time we are trying to stuff our change into the coin slot to pay our fee, only to realize we were putting it into the wrong slot. Several times we tried to save ourselves the trouble of fumbling with coins by buying a transportation card, but those cards were sometimes a bit troublesome too because the machine would not read them if you did not place them a certain way. Anyway, just little things to get used to.

The Chinese congregation we are attending is interesting, with a mix of Argentine and Chinese culture. There are several Bible students making major changes in their lives to pursue spiritual goals. One brother left his old job for a new one that only paid half the salary so he could attend the meetings. Another young man just became an unbaptized publisher. He has been studying the Bible for only a year, and making rapid progress.

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