Chapter IV The Reception For New Neighbors

August 16, 2016

Chapter IV The Reception of New Neighbors

After the parks family got acquainted with Dr. Alvarez and his family, they talked about them at the supper table. Mary wondered if perhaps they should go and ask if there was anything they needed or anything they could do to help them get settled in their new home. She was hesitant because she thought she could never be a close friend of a doctor’s wife, even if he was just a cow doctor. She still felt that perhaps it was her duty as a good neighbor. After all, Paul spoke very well of the family.

The next afternoon, at 4:00, the entire parks family made their way to the Alvarez home. They all clapped their hands at the front gate. Dr. Alvarez himself came out to greet them. He invited them to come in. He arranged chairs in front of the house for them to sit on. Mrs. Alvarez came out too and he hurried to bring a chair for her. She apologized and said she was sorry that they still didn’t have their house in order to invite them in. In almost no time at All Mary and Mrs. Alvarez were talking as friends. They talked about ways they could help one another. The children also struck up a friendship. Charlie even offered to go with Martin on his first day of school to introduce him to everyone and make him feel welcome.

While they talked Dr. Alvarez explained to them that there were two reasons why they chose to move to Chilecito. The most obvious, of course, was to help in the health needs of the animals. But then he said, “We are evangelical Christians and we plan to do all we can to start a church here in Chilecito.”

As the parks family walked home Paul said to Mary, “I don’t understand why they want to start a church. I would think being a veterinarian would be enough to keep a man busy. I wouldn’t think he would earn much money by starting a church.”

Some days went by and the parks had no further contact with the Alvarez family. Charlie kept his promise and introduced Martin to all his friends at school. He felt honored to be one of the first to make friends with a doctor’s son. Martin was a well mannered boy and made friends quickly.

A week later one of the neighbor families took it upon themselves to organize a cookout to welcome the Alvarez family to the neighborhood. Paul and Mary were pleased, but it was hard for them to find the $25 pesos to pay for their share of the meat. The cookout was to be at noon on Sunday. Several of the boys went early to the Alvarez house and played soccer in what had been their neighborhood soccer field. Everyone else went to the neighbor’s house where the cookout was to be held. Everyone was anxious to get to know the Alvarez family so a big crowd gathered. The women gathered in the house and the men talked in the yard while the meat was cooking. After they ate the food most everyone spent the afternoon there talking. One thing that seemed strange to everyone was that Dr. and Mrs Alvarez declined to drink the wine that was served. They thanked the neighbors for the welcome they gave them.

That evening, after their evening meal, Mary sat down to write a letter to her mother and grandmother. In both letters she told about how Charlie and Priscila were growing fast and doing well in school. She mentioned that Paul was doing well in his work. She also told about their new neighbors and about the reception the neighborhood had for them. In the letter to her grandmother she expressed sympathy for the loss of her grandfather. She thought she should say something about the news that they were attending an evangelical church. She thought for a while about what to say and finally wrote “I was surprised to hear that you are attending an evangelical church. If you are happy there I’m happy for you.”

Paul began to give some thought to something strange that was happening in their life. It seemed as though repeated times they had heard something about an evangelical church. His mother in law mentioned it in her letter and now the Alvarez family say they plan to start a church like that here in Chilecito. For a number of years Paul hadn’t given much thought to church. Yes, he believed in God, but it wasn’t all that important to him. He asked himself, “What’s wrong with the big church facing the town square? Why do we need another one?” He didn’t want his family to feel obligated to make a decision about something so controversial. He thought it best that they didn’t hear any more about a new church.

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