Missionary Diary: Bible studies, vaccines and cricket – a typical Tuesday in Argentina!

Julie Field and her husband Martín are missionaries with Church Missionary Society (CMS). Together with their four children, they have been serving university students in Argentina since 2007.

It is a relief that our teenage son has finally returned to normal school hours, after 18 months of online or part-time classes. The COVID pandemic has had many long term effects on us – one of which is the shock to the system of getting out of the home early for school. 7.25am just seems so early to enter the classroom!

Tuesday morning brings a flurry of activity in the living room, as I prepare for a group of ladies who come for Bible study. Out come the big tables to provide some social distancing and the toy box for the three little people who accompany us. The women who gather in this meeting are eager to read about our Saviour Jesus, who raised Lazarus from his grave. We reflect on the comfort and security of having a great high priest who is fully God and fully man – one who understands us and our human frailty, yet can also represent us perfectly in the throne room of God.

During the morning, Martín heads down to the local hospital where he participates in the fortnightly Bioethics committee meeting. As a Masters student in Bioethics, Martín provides the evangelical voice on this team. This week one of the topics for discussion is how to publically recognise the deaths of various staff members from COVID, in service of our local community.

Next stop is the vaccination centre, as I have finally been called up for a second dose of the Russian vaccine. The process is swift and far less anxiety-producing than the first jab, which was received in the peak of the second wave of cases here in Córdoba, Argentina.

Our desire to keep working with ‘jóvenes’ (Spanish for ‘young adults’) has still not died out.

Then we head to lunch with a dear couple from our church. Newly married, there is a serious issue to discuss with them. We are very conscious that we are in a different generation, and our opinions on certain topics may seem old fashioned. Yet our desire to keep working with ‘jóvenes’ (Spanish for ‘young adults’) has still not died out. We open the conversation and implore them to rethink this issue, directing them back to God’s word.

After school, Martín heads to the park with his cricket gear. Our son has formed the first-ever cricket team in our city, drawing together a group of teenage friends to make up the team. What the guys lack in skill, they make up for in enthusiasm! The team hope to travel to Buenos Aires for their first match before the end of 2021. Returning home, Martín finds a friend on the doorstep, in need of an ear and some biblical counsel. The preparation for his Ephesians class will just need to wait.

In the late afternoon, I connect with a second ladies Bible study group, this time via Zoom. This group of ladies has found the online option better suits their busy schedules. The group has grown during the pandemic, as it has been more accessible to working women and young mothers. We have grown accustomed to praying and challenging one another via this means, though last week we were all able to meet in person for afternoon tea, and it brought us all great joy to be physically together.

An online theological class in Argentina

An online MOCLAM theological class in Argentina

Straight after this meeting, a handful of young students link into the same Zoom call. They are ready to sit their MOCLAM theology exam online. As I was responsible for their 10-week study program in the book of Mark, I explain the exam process, pray for them, then send them off to sit their exam. It is so encouraging to receive animated feedback later from these young guys, who have benefited immensely from their studies.

While I’m busy with the New Testament One students, Martín meets online with his Ephesians class. These students, having now completed various subjects, are experienced with the rhythm of theological studies. Martín finds it a mutual delight to continue reading the Bible with them.

Our typical Tuesday draws to a close as we sit together as a family for a late dinner, then get ready to start it all again tomorrow.