I arrived here in Argentina almost one year ago. I spent a lot of time in taxis at that time (not having a car made me a regular with the taxis). I wanted to practice Spanish and learn for the drivers. I would ask them about La Plata (where we are) and about other cities in the country. Different men had different opinions, but there were a few consistencies from taxi driver to taxi driver. Here are some…
- Cordobá is beautiful.
- Mendoza (at least the surrounding areas of Mendoza) is beautiful.
- The waterfalls (Iguazú) in the north are amazing.
- Bariloche is worth the 24 hour drive to get there.
- Lanús (where the church is being started), Avellaneda, and Lomas de Zamora are “complicated” and “ugly”.
“Complicated” seems to be a common way to say it is dangerous, somewhere you don’t want to be. “Ugly” in this context, seemed to be speaking more about the bad things that go on in those areas. It seems to be that most people don’t want to be in these cities unless they have to be. But as I travel through Lomas de Zamora, I see something altogether different.
Over 111,800 people live in Lomas de Zamora (according to a 2001 census). A friend of mine once told me, “You can know an area is safe if you never hear about that city in the news.” With that in mind, you hear about Lomas de Zamora a fair amount. It seems there is consistently something bad that has happened there. The city is large and also has nice areas with expensive housing as well, most notably in the “Las Lomitas” district. There is even a Starbucks there (they usually don’t put a Starbucks in the “slums”, especially in foreign countries). Obviously there are more dangerous areas as well. Another friend of mine told me that there are a lot of villas in Lomas De Zamora. Villas are “shanty towns” or “slums”. The houses are usually made of tin, wood, or other scrap material. Many of the villas in Argentina are well known for being very dangerous, especially for those who don’t live there. I have been advised by many, don’t go into a villa without someone with you who lives in that villa. This makes planting a church in a villa difficult, seeing that generally only those of that villa are welcome in that villa. These areas are throughout Lomas de Zamora, or so I am told.
The need in Lomas de Zamora is just like everywhere else I have detailed. The central area of Lomas is about 20-25 minutes in a car from Faith Baptist Church. I am told that while there are no Baptist churches, there are two churches that do preach salvation by grace through faith. I am encouraged by that, but I don’t know anything about these churches. I do know however that the need is great. Pray with me for the many people in and around Lomas de Zamora.