Greetings from Helen King – Red Box Project!

25th December 2008

To my very wonderful family and friends….

Hola from sunny (and slightly thundery) Salta!! This is my very first time bein in the southern hemisphere for Christmas and also I think the 1st time I’ve ever written a Christmas letter. (apart from those to Santa Claus)

Well as the muppets would say, there’s only one more sleep til Christmas. Although this year for me it’ll be quite different…no turkey dinner, no freezing/rainy weather, not bein with the familia , bein in a different hemisphere, there’s one thing that’s the same!!The reason we celebrate…the amazin fact that Jesus came to earth as a baby FOR US!! ‘She will have a son, and they will name him “Immanuel” which means ‘God is with us’! How excitin!!!!

They actually do most of the celebrating here on Christmas eve…today!!woohooo! In true Argentina style they start late at night and finish early in the morning!! Thats my favourite kind!! Although they don’t have church here on Christmas day, I’ve been part of a Nativity play as Mary and the other night a load of our church ones were playing CHRISTMAS CAROLS in the main plaze in town!beautiful!!

It’s going to be strange not being able to see you all and wish you Merry Christmas in person but know that I’ll be thinking of you and even if I’m enjoying Christmas here (which I’m sure I will be!) there’ll be a big part of me missing you and wondering whats goin on with each of you on Christmas day!Make sure you all enjoy some extra mince pies or roses chocolates or M&S Christmas food on my behalf!!(mmmmmm) I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and really feel God’s love and peace all around you! Don’t fofget that He is the reason we have this amazin season!!




Lots of Christmas love and hugs!

Helen xxx

Prayer request from Alec Dean in Argentina

A simple insight into the challenges of sharing the love of Christ in tragic circumstances.

DanielI went last week to the Pilcomayo river to see if I can help with job creation through crafts. Río Pilcomayo is a river in the central parts of South America, longest western tributary of the Paraguay River, and its watershed extends across 270,000 km². The Pilcomayo rises in the foothills of the Andes cordillera, between the Bolivian departments of Potosí and Oruro, east of Poopó Lake. From there it flows in a southeasterly direction 2,000 km through Chuquisaca and Tarija departments, passes through the Argentine province of Formosa and the Gran Chaco plains of Paraguay, forming the border between these two countries before it joins the Paraguay River near Asunción.

I visited very poor communities far from the river. The kid in the photo doesn’t know his age or his surname; he is 8 but never has gone to school. Very sad. His dad is in the other photo with the dry “water hole”. The authorities dump water in this dug out hole but the plastic is broken and the water disappears. It was 47 degrees Celsius my friends… and with no water!!! It drives me up the wall only to think this exists! I’m thinking what to do and the best would be a simple plastic water tank of 1000 litres approximately cost £120.
Poor family 
Un abrazo fuerte y bendiciones hermanos!

Megan Johnston’s blog

Megan and CescillaMegan Johnston has started a blog on her experience with the Red Box project in Argentina! Here is a snipit.

Well I returned safe and sound after a 6 day conference to Misa Rumi on the Argentine/Bolivian Boarder. It was quite an experience to be honest! During the main conferences I taught 54 children in total, basically the Happy Hours that I mentioned before. Alot of Games, Songs and teachings which was really great. Although the children where soo shy as its a very traditional place so sometimes it felt like I was doing all the talking…no change there I suppose!

Read more in her blog. More about Megan.

Helen King

Helen King

Helen King

I’m Helen and I went to Argentina as a Red Box Project volunteer as part of my university year abroad! It was a significant time for me and I’m thankful for the opportunity to share with so many wonderful people in South America.

Naomi Francy updates

Naomi FrancyRed Box volunteer Naomi Francy continues to update her blog and recently uploaded some photos. Please have a read for her latest updates. She shares some prayer points:

Some prayer points for Salta :

For all the children in the orphanage, that they learn to treat eachother as they would like to be treated. That their hearts be filled with love for God and they will open their ears to our teachings.

For the happy hours in El Redentor (my church) that the children will be able to put into practice the memory verses they learn each week and for the leadership teams that they can work well together and come up with new interesting ways of teaching Your word.

For the young people at the church, for being so young they have an amazing faith and I pray that they will continue to let their hearts overflow with God´s love.

Mission Paraguay 2008 first report

San Lorenzo is a very poor area with little work.  Dusty earth roads are a quagmire during periods of rain.  Some roads are on an incline so that deep ruts are formed, subsequently setting rock hard making the movement of vehicles extremely difficult…

Read the full report.

“Wonderful, fantastic, brilliant and any other superlatives you can think of are how it felt to be able to show ladies from a shanty town called San Lorenzo how to make garments for themselves and their children.  The look of sheer ecstasy on their faces was amazing as they learnt and completed the task.  In the end several pairs of trousers were made.   One elderly lady looked resplendent in a pink suit (jacket and skirt). Her daughter and granddaughter had made trousers and inserted a zip.  Children and adults made scarves.

In Paraguay nothing is wasted and scraps were tied together with string to make dusters.

This has been an amazing experience. 
Thank you God, for giving me this opportunity.”
Moira Lindsay, From St.Saviour, Church of Ireland, Co.Armagh.

Teams leave for Argentina

A number of SAMS Ireland Beyond the Norm teams are leaving for South America this week. The team from Lisburn Cathedral leave for Argentina today, and the Down and Dromore Diocese team leave next Friday.

Here is a report from their last team meeting on Sunday.

DDYC-SAMS Ireland team to La Caldera, SaltaThe DDYC SAMS Ireland team to La Caldera met for their final briefing last Sunday. We now have details of the work on the retreat centre, church services, kids clubs and Irish fun night that we wil be involved in. Everyone is really looking forward to it all. The team are a really talented bunch and we’re really looking forward to this trip.

Last week in Argentina there were farmer’s blockades protesting over export taxes that they led to food shortages in Salta! The protests are thankfully now over and we hope there will be no problems.

Next Wednesday we have a commissioning service with the Bishop Harold Millar. He is keen that the historic link between Down and Dromore Diocese will be restored with this trip. The service is at 7pm in Holywood Parish church.

You can follow this teams progress on their blog.

Summer Teams

This summer there are six BTN teams going from Northern Ireland to South America. The work will be varied, but wherever they are, the volunteers will have the opportunity to encounter South America within a supportive environment. Participants form part of a team within a local community working alongside local Christians in outreach and development projects.

Soraya“I’ve never been on a mission trip before, so this makes the idea of going to Argentina an exciting prospect but also quite daunting at the same time. I’m looking forward to exploring the Argentinian culture and meeting different Christians over there and seeing how they worship. I hope to gain a great experience from this trip and have a great time while I’m there!”

EmboscadaTwo teams are going to the Red Box project in Salta Argentina where they will be helping Cecilla Valdiviezo with outreach through the soup kitchen and children’s clubs. Another team from Down and Dromore Diocese are linking up with the Diocese of Northern Argentina to refurbish a retreat centre in La Caldera and experience the life of local churches in the foothills of the Andes. A further two teams will be joining David Orritt in Mission Paraguay focusing on practical projects in Asuncion and Concepcion. Finally, the Love for Life team will again go into schools in Paraguay with their multimedia presentation on relationships.

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