Becoming Argentine: An Interview
Missions…it means different things to different people.
  • A call to spread the gospel to the uttermost ends of the Earth
  • An obligation to reach those in our own communities
  • Doing humanitarian-type work amongst the most needy

For those striving to take the Gospel to foreign lands, there are many preparations to be made before leaving for the field.  Training, deputation, raising funds, and acquiring goods needed for the particular field can total several years of time before even setting foot on foreign soil.

But, Lord willing, the time finally comes when the missionary leaves for the land the they’ve been dreaming of going to, to the people the Lord has burdened their heart for.  I’m blessed to have met so many families that have been and are currently in this stage of ministry.  One in particular is the Henry family. Patrick, Leslie, Lily, Piper, and Ivy Henry have trained, have raised the funds, have completed deputation, and have reached Argentina where they have been burdened for the lost souls there.  They left the States at the end of March 2016, which makes it 6 1/2 months of being on the field as church-planting missionaries.  Leslie has been gracious enough to answer some of my questions about her new life in Argentina.  I pray that her answers will give you a realistic idea of the life of a new missionary family on the field and a burden to pray for any and all missionaries that you come across as well as for the lost souls of Argentina.

Q: What is your favorite thing about your new home, Argentina?

A: The people!  They are the reason we came to Argentina, so that is what I try to focus on.  For the most part Argentines are very kind to us and are very curious as to why we are here.  Our daughters have light hair and skin so any where we go, we stand out pretty quickly.  People comment on the girls looks and when I say “Gracias” they immediately know we are not from here.  The majority of the time people are very friendly.   

Enjoying time with new friends at a church gathering
Enjoying time with new friends

Q: What has been your biggest struggle during your first 6 months on the mission field?

A: Language.  I had a pretty good foundation of Spanish before we landed in Argentina, but I was far from fluent.  Trying to set up our house and life here without being fluent had its challenges, but everything worked out.  

A day at language school with her husband, Patrick
A day at language school with her husband, Patrick

Q: How are your kids adjusting?

A: Lily is 10, she really missed her grandparents and her friends.  She is very social, so it really bothered her not being able to speak with the other kids.  She has worked really hard and is doing really well now with the language, she has made friends and loves living in Argentina now.

 
Piper is 7, she is more shy, so it was more difficult for her to make friends especially not knowing any Spanish.  Some kids in the beginning made fun of her for not being able to speak and that really hurt her, but I think that pushed her to try hard to learn the language and she is now doing well.

Ivy is 4, and at first I don’t think she understood why people didn’t understand her or why she couldn’t understand them!  I would hear her speaking in English to them and I would then try to explain that they can’t understand you and she would get frustrated.  She now has made several friends and I am hearing her speak more and more Spanish every day.  

All three are doing well and have adjusted beautifully.  Often times, it is my attitude that sets the mood for everything. If I am positive, so are they and unfortunately when I am negative, so are they.  My husband does a great job of having a good attitude and I try to do the same, because they watch, listen and repeat everything!  

The girls with some new friends...and some new hats!
The girls with some new friends…and some new hats!

Q: What do you miss most from the States?

A: Family and friends. You can find something to love about about every country and culture, some food to replace a food that you miss, but you can’t replace people that you love!  The Lord has given us some great friends here and we are very thankful for these new friendships.

Lily with her Papa when he came for a visit
Lily with her Papa when he came for a visit


Q: What has been your favorite food in Argentina?

A: Empanadas and coffee. I am sure my husband would say steak, but I love the empanadas.  Also coffee is huge part of Argentine culture, there are coffee shops everywhere.  

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Q: What has been your biggest adjustment?

A: Things move slower and can often take longer. Something as simple as checking out in the grocery store, can take easily twice as long.  This isn’t a bad thing, but I can be impatient and this was a big adjustment for me.  When I start to get frustrated with something like this, I recite Philippians 4:8 to myself. I am the only one that can control my thoughts and allowing myself to get worked up over something so trivial as waiting in a long line is silly and a poor testimony.  

Q: What is your favorite or most interested thing about your new culture?

A: Argentines have a siesta, which is a midday rest time usually between 1:00-4:00.  Many shops, stores, and offices will close during this time and reopen later in the afternoon.  Often times when I walk around downtown during this time, there are not many people around. Coffee shops and some restaurants will remain open, but the majority of businesses will close.  Dinner in Argentina is very late. Most restaurants will not open for dinner until 8:00, but I would say 9:00 would be the start of their dinner time.  Lunch is normally their larger meal and they have a “merienda” (almost like a tea time) between lunch and dinner.  

Q: What have been some ways that you can keep in touch with family and friends from the States?

A: FaceTime, Text, and FaceBook are probably the ones I use the most.  With technology it is very easy to stay connected with our family and friends and I am thankful for it.  If I feel disconnected from people, it is really my own fault, because I have the ability to get in touch with everyone in a matter of seconds.   

Q: What are some prayer requests that you currently have?

A: That we would continue to grow in the language and we are looking at starting our first church in the very near future which is super exciting!  Pray that the Lord would send us young people that would be saved and trained to further His name here in Argentina and around the world! 

 

You can stay in touch with this family and stay informed with what’s going on in their ministry by checking out their website www.advancethegospel.net, sign up for their newsletter, or even contact them on social media!  Praise the Lord that they followed the Lord’s calling to make His name Great in Argentina!

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