Hobsons in Argentina

After service as missionaries in Colombia and Paraguay, Charles and Wanda and family went to Argentina in 1974 and served there until the summer of 1978.

We understood that Wanda became quite well known as a cake decorator and a teacher of cake decorating while they were in Argentina. If this is a fair sample of her work, I can see why. But if she turned all those young people loose on the cake, it wouldn't last long.

When they went to Argentina, a very much Catholic country, they had to find ways to make contact with the people. One way Wanda did it was with cake decorating. She had made friends with a lady whose daughter was approaching her quinceria (the big 15 year celebration for a young lady). She offered several times to make the cake for the celebration and her offer was finally accepted. She made a fancy multi-tiered cake with roses, butterflies and other decorations. When the mother and daughter came to see it the girl screamed and said “I’ll never cut it!” From that time on Wanda taught cake decorating and used that as a way to meet the women and witness to them. For the classes she just charged enough to cover the cost of the materials, preferring to use it as a ministry opportunity. She wrote and article about these experiences entitled “That Takes the Cake” for the missions magazine.

They also opened a day-care center and a bookstore as ways to make contact with the people. The bookstore wound up supplying hundreds of copies of the officially sanctioned Spanish translation of the Bible to the Catholic schools in northern Argentina.

Charles’ Bible studies were well attended, and even the Catholic Bishop of the area did not oppose his parishioners attending those Bible studies since Charles taught the Bible and did not speak against the Catholic Church. Charles also found opportunity among the people in time of bereavement. The Bishop did not want to visit the homes where persons had died, and it became known that “the missionary will visit you”. So he had the opportunity to visit in about 25 homes of the bereaved in a couple of years to read the Bible and pray with them to offer comfort.

Charles credits Stephen with opening doors to ministry with his fishing. He apparently really loved to fish and was always on the river. A number of the men came to know Charles as Stephen’s father and it opened some doors for witness.

These ways of being present to the people in a real and friendly way helped overcome some real barriers. Some time after they arrived there, there was a big “Yankee, go home” painted on a local wall. Since they were the only US persons in town, there was no doubt about the target of the sign. From persons he had baptized who were members of the local labor union, he found out that it had been publicly stated in the union meeting that

From another lady whom he had baptized, who was a French teacher at the local college, the found out that it was being said at the college that he was a CIA agent.

But by the time they had lived among the people for something over two years, the mayor had a dinner with him as the guest of honor at the time of his leaving. He said over 600 persons came by to bid him farewell. He sees the things that happened as definitely the Lord’s work to make that kind of impact.

It surely looks like Wanda found some ways into the hearts of the women of Argentina.

Wanda and Charles with another extraordinary multi-tiered cake and some kind of celebration.

Charles preparing for another baptism in the open-air baptistry they had constructed. Any minister is going to find the time of baptism a time of joy, but particularly if, as seen below, it involves the bringing of a whole family to faith in Christ.

In other locations, Charles baptized believers in less formal settings, like this wide river.

To Roosevelt State Park

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