Friday, October 26, 2007
Where to Live in Argentina

Annette and I have been in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the last few weeks - in part - looking for a place to live (we move here in February). There are so many factors to consider, many of which we are not even aware of - and so we would really love it if you would pray for us that God would guide us to a great place.

In case you can't remember why we're moving to Argentina, we've been asked to help start a string of youth ministry institutes. (CLICK HERE for more info)

Little Sleep. Lots of Friends

According to anything official, there is only one hour time difference between Orlando and Buenos Aires during daylight savings in the US. Though technically accurate, this perspective is a bit deceptive, since the average weekday dinner time here ranges from 9 to 11 pm.

Since I prefer to be in bed about the time the main course is served here I’ve found it much more helpful to reset my body clock as I would for a more drastic time change. My jet lag coping strategies include not thinking about what time it is, either where I am or where I came from and going to bed when everyone else does. (I cut myself some slack by sleeping until I wake up and eating every few hours.)

This has helped me actually enjoy the dinners/cookouts/meetings we’ve had every evening but one for the past two weeks. Getting to bed after 1 am every night makes it hard to get up in the morning, but it’s a small price to pay for time with friends like these.

Thursday, October 18, 2007
Unique Wedding Gift

"We're here today to celebrate the marriage of Terence and Noelia, who in the last three weeks have gotten more national press coverage than any couple I can remember…and definitely more than many who seek the spotlight," said the pastor, Gerardo, at the beginning of the wedding service.

Several radio and television programs had interviewed them and the day before the wedding their story was on the front page of "La Nacion," a leading newspaper in Buenos Aires, Argentina:

Local Couple's Unique Gift Registry
When Noelia and Terence decided to get married they had a dilemma they weren’t sure if their wedding guests would understand. They wanted to have an amazing party to celebrate their decision to unite their lives, but they didn’t want gifts…As they explained on their web page, "We have everything we need...and we don't want to acumulate more stuff" so they decided to open a bank account and donate what was collected to a foundation that works with children with cancer. (Click here for full article in Spanish)

And as Terence said in the television interview:

We asked ourselves why would we want stuff that we don't even have space for... and like the Bible says, it's better to give than to receive.

At the time of the wedding the equivalent of $20,500 USD had been donated ($1500 of it by a complete stranger who wanted to join in when he heard about the project) and four couples had written to Terence saying that they are going to do something similar.

We care about this story because Terence is a close friend and a volunteer youth leaders at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Olivos, our church family in Argentina. We met him years ago when Daryl Heald of visited St. Andrew's and spoke about the joy of generosity. Few people believe that it really is better to give than to receive, but Terence and Noelia get it. What a great foundation for a marriage.

Monday, October 08, 2007
Family Reunion

September 30th is a important day in the Baumann/Randall/Gulick/Linares clan because both my father and our brother-in-law, George, celebrate their birth. This year was even more important than usual because my father turned 75. We all managed to converge in Orlando for the festivities, which included several photo shoots.

Here is the miracle picture where every single one of us is looking at the camera. 30 seconds later it began to pour but I'm not sure that we would have gotten one this good if we'd had another hour of picture taking .

Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Great Teammates

We spent last week in Colorado with our new OC team: the International Ministries Team. This unique team meets twice a year to do some business but mostly to encourage each other and catch up on what God has been doing as we serve as “global catalysts for discipling all nations”.

The aspens had already begun to change so the landscape on the back side of Pike’s Peak where we were meeting was breathtaking. But even that paled in comparison to the ministry reports, which is really saying something coming from someone who dislikes meetings as much as I do.

Here’s a few snapshots of what some of our teammates have done during the past year:

Kwang Ja (in her 60’s) has taught herself Japanese, in large part by reading through the Japanese Bible out loud, five times. She had us captivated as she explained things that had popped out during these readings from passages she had studied countless times in English and Korean.

Edwin trained 12,000 counselors for an evangelistic crusade held in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Those counselors passed 13,000 decision cards to local churches after the crusade.

Sharon showed a picture of a twenty something girl in a former soviet republic beaming as she hugged Sharon and a camp director. The girl had come to the camp office to thank the director. “You probably don’t remember me,” she began, “but I’m an orphan and you gave me a scholarship to camp many summers ago. I want you to know that I just finished my degree at Bible School.” The scholarship had actually come through Sharon and Bob so it was perfect timing that the orphan “happened” to come the day they were at the office.

As we move into our new role with the institutes for youth leaders in Latin America, we’re honored that we have these wise, experienced people supporting us and holding us accountable to our shared goal: “The IMT promises to serve as a global catalyst for discipling all nations, through research, training, media, consulting, and partnering with churches, other agencies and change-agent leaders. Whether alongside other OC teams or entering new frontiers, the IMT will use non-competitive, strategic and innovative approaches designed to make breakthrough contributions on behalf of OC.”

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