After an exhausting and hectic flight, we finally made it to Buenos Aires. It is crazy to think of this as my new home for two months. We were greeted at the airport by our hosts, Carlos and Robin Radi. They are a couple that work as missionaries for the Nazarene church and also pastor their own church, Moreno Centro. Their service to God has taken them to several countries. They have been in Argentina for the past 6 years and have three daughters.
The country of Argentina is heavily influenced by the European culture, and this is evident as soon as I exited the plane. Buenos Aires is one of the largest cities in the Western hemisphere. Culture here focuses on experiences, not achievements. Common topics of discussion include: sports, travel, friendship, etc. Very rarely do Argentines speak of money, work, possessions, etc. The Nazarene church’s presence in Argentina dates back many years. The South American district office is located in Pilar, Argentina. This is will Carlos and Robin live and I will be staying on the compound as well. 95% of Argentines profess to be Catholic. This creates our biggest obstacle. Within the Argentine Catholic church, Mary is viewed as equally important, if not more important, as Jesus. Meaning, followers do not understand their need for Christ. Unlike the United States, there is a huge divide between the Catholic church and the Evangelical church. This divide creates a difficult setting for Evangelism.
After briefing us on the basics of the Argentine culture, the Radi’s told us what our team would be doing over the next few weeks. Robin described our experience as “living the life of a missionary for two months,” which is fantastic. We will work with Carlos and Robin on whatever they are doing. Tuesday-Thursday of each week is devoted to administrative work in the regional office. Friday-Sunday focus on work within the church and ministry. Monday is the day of rest. Carlos is very interested in meeting with each of us to identify our strengths. He encouraged us to not be passive, instead, be eager to embrace this culture and to try new things. Participating in youth group, leading discipleship groups, music ministry, preparing and delivering sermons, and working with children are all areas in which our team will help the Nazarene church in Argentina.
When our informative session ended, we were released back to our rooms. Dinner is at 8:00 pm. So until then, I will be resting and settling in.