PART 1 – The
Total Length: 1:56
City Overlay of Resistencia
Resistencia, founded in 1878 by
immigrants from Italy, is the beautiful and energetic capital of
the Province of Chaco.
Located in the hot lowlands of
northeastern Argentina and with a population of 300,000,
Resistencia is the commercial as well as the cultural center of
the Chaco region.
The people of this area, like those
of most of Argentina, are of European decent. These immigrants
from Italy, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Russia, and the Baltic
countries have been here for many generations and developed a
culture and lifestyle that is uniquely Argentine. They call their
adopted language Castallano which is claimed to be a more pure
form of Spanish than that spoken elsewhere in South America.
Argentines celebrate their
Independence Day on July the 9th and take the opportunity to make
speeches, feature the various cultural groups in parades, and to
show off their prestige with everything from military aircraft and
vintage cars to the sanitation workers and their shiny, new
garbage truck. The importance of family is also demonstrated in
This area is the home of the
Gauchos. These fun-loving and energetic Argentine cowboys are
responsible for raising high-quality grass-fed beef.
The streets in the downtown area of
Resistencia boast of many stores and offices, large apartment
buildings, and a well maintained transportation system.
Transition to Native Argentine People
There was one large group of people
that was not present in the Independence Day Parade. Many
Argentines would prefer to keep the Native Argentine Criollo
hidden in the rural areas and on the outskirts of the cities.
PART 2 – The Target People
Total Length: 2:22
Transition to Fontana
Fontana is a suburb of
Resistencia and the home of some of the Criollos. Here, the paved
streets of the city are replaced by dirt roads, the automobiles
replaced by non-functioning tractors, the sidewalks replaced by
open sewers, and tall apartment buildings replaced by small
masonry structures. Most people who have jobs must ride bicycles
to get to work in the city. Local employment is hard to find and
wages are very low. About 50% of the people are unemployed. Some
people earn a small income selling staple goods from their homes.
Yet, one of the things the Criollos value highly is hospitality
and the visitor is welcomed and offered mate, a tea that is shared
from a common cup.
Behind a levee that protects them
from the Rio Paraná and in the shadow of a large grain elevator is
another community called La Toma. On the edge of this community
is the home of a boat builder by the name of Jose. He
builds good fishing boats but he is unable to sell enough to
improve the living conditions of his family. Jose, his wife,
Raquel, and their 4 children live in a home where the walls and
roof are made from sheets of black plastic.
Transition to Gauchos
The flat terrain of the pampas is
well suited to raising cattle. The care of the cattle throughout
the area is entrusted to the Gauchos. The rainy season turns some
of the pastureland into lakes, which requires extra work in caring
for the cattle herds. Gauchos take great pride in being macho men.
One exciting part of the Gaucho’s
life is the rodeos and an opportunity to show off ones horses and
horsemanship. The Gauchos cling fiercely to centuries-old
traditions. On this day, it was also a time to share experiences
and techniques with North American horsemen. The methods are
different but a helping hand and an Argentine handshake bind the
friendship of these men of different cultures and beliefs. These
Christian volunteers told them about the most macho man they had
ever met, Jesus Christ.
PART 3 – Their Spiritual Condition
(Belief in Idols, etc.)
Total Length: 2:01
The established church, as well as the
provincial government, has provided little meaningful support for
these hidden people.
Catholic churches are prominent in
most cities in the area; however, Catholicism is heavily mixed
with animistic beliefs and popular folk heroes.
A shrine located outside Mercedes
in Corrientes Province was set up to honor one of the folk hero’s
known as Gaucho Gil. People come here to pay their respects and
pray to this patron saint. This also serves as an economic
enterprise marketing various religious symbols and icons. On the
eighth of January, over 100,000 people flood this area to honor
him on the anniversary of his death.
Many people believe that they can pray to Gaucho
Gil and he will intercede and persuade God to grant them favors.
He takes the place of Jesus for them. The story goes that the
Argentine cowboy, Gaucho Gil, was captured in 1875 and hung from
the tree that once stood at this spot. This happened after he had
deserted military duties that he thought to be wrong.
tree where hung, plaques and
Many accounts circulate about the
favors granted by Gaucho Gil. Plaques abound at the shrine
expressing gratitude to Gaucho Gil. License plates on the wall
are from people who attribute the gaucho with the good fortune of
acquiring a new car or perhaps being saved from a bad car wreck.
The wedding dresses hanging from the ceiling are a thank offering
to Gaucho Gil for a good marriage.
Virgin of Itati and Saint Death
Two other popular religious symbols
are the Virgin of Itati and Saint Death. Saint Death was the
patron saint of Gaucho Gil so people here will also pray to Saint
Death as well as Gaucho Gil petitioning for a non-violent death.
PART 4 – Mission Activity
(Worshipping Jesus at Pampa Alegria)
Total Length: 2:57
Transition to Saénz Peña
Saénz Peña is the second largest
city in Chaco Province and located about 100 miles west of
Resistencia. Here, as well as elsewhere in the province, the
Criollos are left out of meaningful employment opportunities.
Transition to Pampa Alegria
Many of the Criollos live and work in the rural
areas of the provinces. The roads to get to these settlements are
rough and poorly maintained. When it rains these roads become
virtually impassable. About 30 miles northwest of Saénz Peña is
the small settlement of Pampa Alegria. The living conditions in
this colonia are similar to that throughout the area. The small
homes are made of mud and sticks with a dirt floor. But this
colonia is different than most of the other places. They have a
People gather for worship.
A few men leave
the comfort of their churches in Saénz Peña and make the hour
drive to Pampa Alegria to assist in the worship service as well as
teach Sunday School. One leads the group in prayer and songs of
praise. He continues with a lesson from God's Word as the people
stand and listen carefully.
The worship time concludes after an
hour and Sunday School begins. M. takes the six little children
and sits them in a circle near the tall grass. Four teenagers
help their teacher bring a table outside. They use a hand cranked
cassette tape player as part of their Bible study. Meanwhile, B.
and four young adults gather next to a house where they enjoy mate
while discussing the lesson. There is no need for a nursery here.
As R. teaches the seven adults under a tree, a little one plays
quietly and a mother comforts her baby. Their time together ends
with the observation of the Lord’s Supper. Servant Leaders serve
a small loaf of bread and a common glass of peach nectar.
God is here in the midst of these
believers. Those in attendance are eager to learn more about
Jesus. Other small villages like this one are opening to the
Gospel. The church planting movement is growing in this part of
the world as the Criollo people discover that Jesus can give them
hope in every circumstance of life.
PART 5 – Call to Action
Total Length: 1:40
The Criollo … the hidden people …
are overlooked and pushed aside. Their lack of education,
environmental conditions, and family problems all present
difficulties in reaching them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
One of the greatest challenges we face is to stay on focus with
the mission that God has called us to carry out because it would
be so easy to prioritize the social part of the ministry. That is
important but we are here with one mission and that is to begin a
church planting movement so that our people can come to know the
Lord Jesus Christ.
People here may pray the prayer
that the evangelicals ask … but "just in case" … they also
continue to pray to their saint and to listen to the messages
presented by cults. We present the Gospel little by little
through narratives, not rushing the people to a decision. ...
Will you help us show these people how to leave the darkness
behind and step into the light of God’s Son? Will you help us
train Christians in churches in Northern Argentina to disciple
small groups of believers? Are you willing to walk with us among
these hidden people? Will you be on your knees as a prayer
warrior for the Criollo people? As you pray, will you remember
the faces of these Criollo men, women and children who need you?
What will you do?
Ending: group singing at
Pampa Alegria with overlay: HELP ... TEACH … GO … PRAY
Transition to Web site address:
for more information:
Fade out with children
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