Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to the 'Boro

We got back to Murfreesboro after an overnight flight Friday/Saturday, followed by a short hop from Atlanta to Nashville. Good flights all the way.

It was wonderful being back with Calvary yesterday in the worship service, loved the music and so good to see all of you!

In my sermon I mentioned a couple of things that I'd thought I'd drop in here with the pictures.

The first is of the ladders that we used while working on the dorm. Despite the difference in manufacturing, they were actually quite sturdy - with the exception of when the bolt slipped out of the hinge.  As I mentioned, I was up the ladder about halfway, and ever so slightly reached to sand a spot on the wall. It was just enough of a twist for the ladder to slip it's hinge point.  I felt it collapsing, and there was nothing I could do but flail my arms and ride it to the floor.  All in all I suffered only a scrap on the arm and a goose egg on the back of my head.  I'm thankful that's all.

The second picture was from our last day in BA. Before we went to the airport, Laura Baggett, one of the missionaries, took us downtown to Florida street for a meal and some last minute sightseeing and shopping.  On the street there were people exchanging money and also selling miscellaneous items.  As we walked by one of the sellers, a group members heard a young woman speak in English, saying, "Jesus loves you!"  We quickly stopped and the missionary began talking with her. At one point, in my limited Spanish, I heard her say she wanted to tell us her testimony. She took a step back and began proclaiming the gospel. What an incredible and powerful moment.

In the next blog or so, I'll give an overview of the work of the TBC and Buenos Aires partnership effort.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Kitchen Table, Among Other Things

Today, missionary Earl Quick and I built the frame for a table that was planned for the dorm kitchen. I had sketched a design yesterday and we took an an hour or so this afternoon to cut and assemble it.  Without the benefit of a miter saw we had to bevel cut the angles with a circular saw and also taper the legs.  Considering the basic tools, it seemed to turn out well, and when we turned it up to check how it sat, low and behold, it was level without any rocking.  One of the other guys said it was a "miracle."

Note the picture of me and Earl standing inside the frame.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Connected Over 5000 Miles

Jan and I were blessed by the funeral service today for Jim Burns. Though we were over 5000 miles away and so saddened that we couldn't be there to support the family, we watched the service streaming online, and saw clearly that Calvary was surrounding and supporting Alice and her children.  The words that were spoken by Butch and Rusty about their dad was inspirational and affirming of the man that we knew Jim to be.

The picture above is of the funeral service as we watched on my iPad.

It's an amazing thing to be connected, though over such a long distance, through technology such as streaming video or blog sites.  I hope for those who have been able to read some of this blog, that it has given you a glimpse of the work we've been doing in BA.

For today, our goal was to restart the wall prep, begin painting the door jams, and start assembling the bunk beds. This morning I continued to plaster the walls, and at some point in the future (almost certainly as a sermon illustration) I will tell you about the ladder that collapsed while I was working on an upper wall. Jan and I worked together in one room for a while this afternoon putting together two sets of the bunks.  Jan got to use the power drill and we have a picture of it.

One of the highlights this evening was the discover of a Walmart grocery on a cut-through block that we had need seen. It was a little taste of the states.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekend Update

Missed an update yesterday so here's one that overviews the whole weekend...

We finished the work for the week on Friday and then planned to go downtown on Saturday and see a different part of Buenos Aires.  There we saw more of the city and the highlights that people normally associate with BA. The Recoletta is a central market area next to the museums and close to the government offices.  We were able to take a bus around the area and by the President's Pink House - yes, that's what they call it.  We also visited La Boca, another market area known for its colorful buildings.  You can check Jan's blog later for pictures of that area.

Today, we visited and worshiped at another church, one that is desiring a partnership with a church in Tennessee.  They had a small worship band and praise team, and actually utilized one of the songs we are very familiar with - "Lord, You Are Good."  Though, of course, it was in Spanish.

A second trip to La Boca today was profitable in that the missionaries continued to make contacts with their friends there who work in the market.  The missionaries lead a bible study on Wednesday mornings around 10:00 am.  Once again, we've seen that the work centers around building relationships.

I'm inserting below a picture from Saturday at one of the bus stops.  This is the well known site of the mechanical flower.  It opens and closes each day.

Friday, August 16, 2013

For Another Look Through The Lense

While my pictures give a glimpse of what we are doing, you might enjoy the real photos that Jan is taking.  She has started a photo blog that gives you a more aesthetic and artistic perspective.  You will see a lot more of the cultural perspective as well. Here's the web address.

Just a couple of quick photos today from me. The first is of Jim sanding the doors which will be painted next week.  Then a prototype of the bunk beds is under construction.  I will show the finished product at another time.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Building Relationships is Key!

We returned today to resume scraping and preparing walls.  We've patched a lot of the plaster with a Sheetrock mud-type material. Normal stuff for renovation, and fortunately, it went a lot faster than expected.

But the most important things we accomplished today were bridge building experiences. Around mid morning we paused for a break and were hosted to a Mate' tea conversation time. There's a tradition of brewing and sharing tea that's apparently very common.  At this occasion, we learned about Julio's and Ezequiel's families and their hopes to return to their respective communities to pastor churches there.

Then tonight we attended a seminary choir event where the students are raising funds for a mission trip to the United States. The relationship between the seminary and the mission work here has not been as strong as the missionaries hoped for, so anything we can do to show support and encourage them is helpful.  To do ministry, relationships are key! 

Note below photo of Julio and Ezequiel, two seminary students, who also work in the seminary maintenance department.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Guess what?

We found out today that the plaster walls in the hallway will need additional scraping and repainting due to some changes of the seminary's longer term plans. We have had to change our work schedule and it's likely that we will spend all of this week and into next week on more wall preparation, both in the hall and in the dorm rooms.  We may not have time to complete the painting and it appears that the seminary will have to be responsible for putting the flooring down after we leave.

Such is the nature of mission and ministry work - plans are always evolving and we must constantly adapt to the needs around us.  We trust in the Lord's ability to bring to fruition what He desires!

Picture of the day: scraping the walls.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

When will the painting end?

Second full day of renovation at the dorm: The day was filled with more painting which is the first priority, since everything else will follow the completion of that task.  The hope is that we will complete this phase by Thursday. Our foreman has the agenda mapped out so that the natural flow of work accommodates all that needs to be done.

We have a neat group of individuals, all of whom are Tennesseans and have worked with the TBC disaster relief group or have done extensive mission trips with the TBC or IMB. For example, one person just got back from Cambodia, and another couple dropped in from Peru and will be here for our two weeks, before finally returning to the states.   Our foreman and his wife actually lived in Athens, Greece for two years as ambassadors for the IMB. There's a lot of experienced people here and we are glad to be a part of this effort. What a group!

Each day at lunch we have a meal prepared for us by someone at the seminary.  It's been enjoyable, but the real challenge is when we get a bite to eat in the evening and we are on our own - i.e. no missionaries to translate for us. We ate tonight at a "Kentucky Pizza" and though it said, Kentucky, they didn't speak with a southern drawl, unless that might be Southern Hemisphere...  Here's a pic:

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Day At The Seminary

Our work began today with the renovation of the first floor of a dormitory at the seminary.  Our role is to prepare the building for future teams who will stay here as they partner with local Argentine Baptist Chuches.

It's a lot of work for eight team members but we hope we can complete the renovation by the end of the second week.

Below are a few pictures of the outside of the dorm, the hallway, and examples of the rooms we are working in.   First, we paint.  Then we put down flooring. Followed by the construction of over thirty bunk beds.  I will keep you posted on the progress.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

In Buenos Aires

Just a quick post...

We had a good trip down on Friday night and Saturday morning, about a ten hour flight from Atlanta.   By late morning, we were settled in the hotel, The San Remos, and after a quick rest we had the opportunity to go to an ESL class where we participated in a round-table conversational class for people who were wanting to learn English. By the end of the day we were beginning to feel the effects of flying through the night, so we were thankful to call it a day.

Today (Sunday) we worshipped at Nuevo Chicago, a church of about 80, which also has an elementary school of about 260 children. We spent the day with one of the missionary families and also others of our mission group.  We have a busy two weeks laid out for us and we start tomorrow with painting, which will be followed by putting flooring down in the dormitory.

I will try to post when I can, and Jan will also post some pictures along the way.

From Buenos Aires ...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Leadership Team Announcement: Collegiate/Young Adult Position Filled

After a prayerful and careful search process, the Leadership Team of  Calvary has offered the position of Collegiate Pastor to Micah Hoke, who is currently serving as an Associate Collegiate Pastor in Lubbock, Texas. Micah is from Midland, Texas and his wife Cynthia is from Lubbock.

Micah has been the Part-time Associate College Minister at Indiana Avenue Baptist Church in Lubbock since 2010. The local university, Texas Tech, is of a similar size to MTSU in that it has over 32,000 students. The college ministry at Indiana Avenue has grown from approximately 40 to 400 in the last three years, thus allowing Micah to develop significant staff and leadership experience in the collegiate area. Cynthia has also served as a Part-time Associate in the collegiate ministry. They met when they began working together and then married in May of 2012. He has a Master's in Christian Ministry and she also has a Master's degree. 

It's our hope that he will begin his ministry with us by the end of this month. Pray for him and Cynthia as they begin making preparations for the transition to Calvary.