November 2010: Argentina

Greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina – 2

It is 11 November 2010 – 11.30 your time there in CDT.

TUESDAY – 09 Nov 10

The Luther Academy event begins this morning at 8.30 and goes to 6 pm.  Most everyone had arrived by last evening – a few more are arriving early today.

The theme is : “THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL IN PREACHING”.  The lectures go through Saturday morning and are all in Spanish – South American Spanish. The first hour started out a little slow but by the end of the day Grol had them in the palm of his hand.  This will be good.  “Grol on a roll.”

You might remember my endless issues this past August in Ghana and Togo with hot water.  And it seems that my issues with hot water continue now in Argentina.  Four rooms have toilets and showers.  All the others get to use the common restrooms at the end of the hall.  Grol and I each have one of those rooms with the private bathroom.  And, each of us have our own water heaters.  Mine will not work – it will not turn on regardless of how many times I turn the knob to increase the heat.  So this morning I almost froze trying to get bathed.  It is about 45 degrees F outside and there is no room heat so the cold air and the cold water – the same temp as the outside air – I’m talking cold.

I mentioned this to Grol and he kindly offered me use of his perfectly working water heater and the hot water it makes.  But, I said, “Self, if I’m paying for hot water then I ought mention to the staff that the cold water heater (you start out with cold water and make it hot – you don’t have a hot water heater because you don’t need to make hot water hot) does not make the cold water hot.”  So I found Ilisa – the manageress who speaks perfect USA accented English – and explained my problem with water heating.  She told me what to do, I went to try it and nothing happened so she took the key and went off to fix it and came back and told me what to do.  Later that evening, looking forward to hot water, I was disappointed.  What one is to do is turn on the hot water faucet and then the heater comes on.  NOT for me, I kept trying to get the faucet marked “F” to start the heater.  Finally it dawned on me.  In English we mark the cold water faucet with a “C” for COLD.  Stupid me – in Spanish you mark the hot water faucet with a “C” for CALIENTE (HOT).  Two days of cold water for no good reason!  Same letter, same context (water supply temperature), not spoken, not in a sentence, actually “signs” – yet opposite meanings.

So why the long story?  Simple : this underscores just how important it is to get the translation right – a simple missing of the meaning of a single letter can cause untold problems.  Now keep that in mind as The CLEF works on the International Lutheran Hymnal Project with over 12 languages and 12 Lutheran church bodies.

The CLEF is working on five other major works in Spanish here in South America.  I’ll let you in on them later because at times we need to get the project well under way before others hears about it and then try to grab the translation project out from under The CLEF.   I can assure you that you will approve of these new works.

Have a good night – The LORD be with you.


WEDNESDAY – 10 Nov 10

Good night – the dogs – something got into them – the ones running around this property and all their friends from next door and from miles away – and they barked from about 9 pm till I went to bed around 2.30 am – well I fell asleep so I don’t really know if they kept barking – I just assume they did cause they would have no way of knowing when I laid down.

I declare this to be the land of carbs – pasta, breads, carrots & potatoes.  I have not seen a grain of rice and that is just fine.  But we got the “cheap fillers” (as my father called spaghetti) world without end.  “What?”  Yes, the first lunch was a chicken leg – the whole thing – baked, with feathers still attached to the end where the foot once was and French like fried potatoes and a couple baskets of bread – no butter.  The evening meal on day one was baskets of bread – no butter and spaghetti with the steak thing I mentioned.  Breakfast was (yesterday) baskets of bread, jam and unsalted butter along with coffee. No one drank tea.  Then for lunch we again got the chicken leg and deep fried potato chunks along with baskets of bread and a raw carrot salad.  The evening eats (7 – 8 pm) was empanadas – they were really good – and pizza which was ok but the crust was really, I mean really thick.

This morning we had a perfectly mirrored breakfast of yesterday. I predict bread, potatoes, carrots and beef for lunch.  (About 6.5 hours later….)  I was not all wrong.  We were given – bread – no butter, RICE with lentil beans and carrots (all carbs) in a thickened chicken sauce with the parts of the chicken we did not eat yesterday at noon – arms, back, tail, neck and innards.  Now don’t get me wrong – all these foods have been tasting good as they say in the restaurant business (“How’s your food bin tastin tonight?”) – but you can’t miss the theme.

Mashed potato pie & carrot stuff

I saw the clock go past 2 am today – the internet stopped yesterday afternoon about 4 and came back on around 11 last night.  So, when it came back on I stayed up to get stuff done.  It was not easy to roll out at 6 am.

This morning Dr. Grol had them laughing for almost an hour straight. I conclude that they understand him and that he is doing a good job relating with them – he did spend some 12 years right out of the seminary in Venezuela and ran the Hispanic Institute in St. Louis and Chicago till Sanchez took over recently – about four years ago.  I spent the whole of the afternoon save for the coffee break and closing devotions in the room getting some things cleared up.  Picture is waiting for the coffee at coffee break

The CLEF and the ILHP-ESP will be meeting Friday morning with the IELA Editorial Concordia Argentina to discuss a whole group of publishing things from colors to layout and production schedules.

This afternoon The Academy blokes split up into 4 or 5 groups to do some class stuff for the coming days.

It is nearly time to eat the evening meal – it is now after 7 pm.  Eats arrived at 7.30.  Ready?  Potato soup with chicken stock (from the chicken parts boiled for the lunch rice and bean mix), carrot salad, baskets of bread – no butter and hamburger mashed potato pie!

All is well. Have a good night.  Again –The LORD be with you.

I just killed a big roach in the bathroom – he went swimming

Thank you for your continued and regular support, spiritual, physical and financial.  Without your generous gifts of time, talents and treasure we (you and The CLEF) would not be here.  YOU ARE THE DIFFERENCE.  Thank you.

Please continue to pray for us and the Lutheran Churches here in South America, her pastors and members.


The picture: about half the group sending The Luther Academy greetings while enjoying the rice, lentil and chicken parts stuff.