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The Argentina Posadas Mission includes parts of both Argentina and Paraguay.
Snapshot of Argentina – The official language of Argentina is Spanish; Argentine Spanish is distinct in that it uses voseo instead of the pronoun tú. The indigenous language Guaraní is also spoken in the northeastern part of the country. Argentina’s population descends from immigrants that came from many different countries (mostly Italy and Spain), primarily during the 19th and 20th centuries. The Roman Catholic church is the largest religious denomination in Argentina, and continues to influence Argentine culture and politics. The country has several universities that are run by the Catholic church. However, Protestant churches have been growing in popularity in recent years while participation in the Catholic church has been decreasing. Argentina has a very urban society, with very little of the population living in rural areas.
The country has strong traditions in literature, art, film, and theater. Tango music is a unique musical style that began in Argentina, though today cumbia, Argentine rock, pop, and electronic music are more popular. Many regions also have their own traditional folk music and dance styles. The most popular sport in Argentina is soccer, though basketball is also somewhat popular. One of the most popular meals in Argentina is asado, the Argentine barbecue. Beef is the most commonly-used meat, and the barbecues are also social events used to gather friends and family. Pork sausages are also commonly cooked at asados. Pizza, pasta, and salads are other common dishes, a result of Italian influences. Empanadas are popular snack items, and dulce de leche is used in many dessert dishes. Mate is a traditional drink in Argentina. A mate gourd or a cup is filled with yerba mate, hot water is added and then the drink is sipped through a metal straw with a filter called a bombilla. While the bitter drink is often drunk plain, sometimes sugar, orange peel, or other herbs are added for flavoring.
There are 7 stakes and districts located within the Argentina Posadas Mission. Church growth, as well as the recent influx of missionaries, led to the creation of the mission in June 2013. The Church is strongest in the region’s largest cities: Posadas in Argentina and Ciudad del Este in Paraguay. Both cities have CES Institutes, and Posadas also has an Employment Resource Center. Though the Church is not as strong in outlying rural areas, the region continues to grow and mature.
In both Argentina and Paraguay, lunch is the main meal of the day. Two common Argentine dishes are Guiso (noodles with beef, vegetables, and a red sauce), and Milanesa (breaded beef or chicken). Asado (barbecued meat) is popular in the region, and many families get together to cook asado on Sundays or special occasions. Salads and sides of rice or noodles are commonly served with most lunches as well. In Paraguay, a traditional dish is soap paraguaya, a type of cornbread that often accompanies asado or a beef soup.
Street vendors in the region are common throughout the region, and empanadas are an especially popular street food.
Missionaries serving in the Argentina Posadas Mission can expect to do plenty of walking! Public transportation, including buses and taxis is common in the cities, but more often than not (especially in rural areas), you will need to walk to get all the way to your teaching appointments.
One of the biggest concerns for missionaries is theft. Avoid carrying lots of money with you or giving the impression that you are a tourist. Stay away from poorly-lit areas at night, and ask local members or other missionaries if there are certain neighborhoods you should avoid. Ciudad del Este has a reputation for being more dangerous due to its being on the border with Brazil; smuggling of illicit goods across the border is common in the region, so missionaries should be more aware of their surroundings in this area.
Argentines are happy, boisterous, and outgoing. Be careful to not let people talk to you for so long that you end up wasting valuable time! It is a common practice in Argentina to greet people with a kiss (or beso). Because of mission rules, elders should not greet others this way (shake hands instead!), and for sisters it is only acceptable to greet other women with besos.
Many homes have a fence with a gate surrounding their yard. Rather than knocking on the door, it is custom to clap loudly at the gate. Wait for the person living there to either come open the gate themselves or call out “Adiante!” to give you permission to enter. Call out “Permisso!” when entering the yard, acknowledging that they gave you permission to enter.
In some more rural regions, the indigenous language Guarani is still widely spoken. When serving in these areas, try to pick up a few words and phrases so you can better connect with the locals. Accents and lingo can differ between Argentina and Paraguay. A few examples of common phrases:
“Che” – Hey you
“Como anda?” – How are you?
“Adios” – used as a passing greeting in Paraguay
“Ciao” – goodbye
The area near Ciudad del Este and Puerto Iguazú is famous for the Cataratas del Iguazú, (Iguazu Falls). These waterfalls are some of the largest in the world, and were named as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2011.
Close to Posadas lies the ruins of San Ignacio Miní, a Jesuit mission from the 1600s. These Jesuit missions sought to convert the native Guarani people to Catholicism, as well as produce various handicraft products. The area is a designated World Heritage Site.
Av. Roque Sáenz Peña 1918 Esq.
The work is going so well in Argentina and Paraguay that the Church recently created the Argentina Posadas mission! Check back in a year to hear what the first missionaries in the Argentina Posadas mission have to say!