FAMILY REUNION: The Vyhmeister family stands near the gravesite of the author’s missionary parents, located near River Plate Adventist University.The first was San Ignacio Miní, an old Jesuit mission in the province of Misiones. On a frosty, foggy morning our family of nine (parents, kids, grandkids) visited what is left of the mission. Its overwhelming architectural feature is the ruined church, 243 feet (74 meters) long and 79 feet (24 meters) wide, built of red sandstone and adorned with religious carvings. Surrounding the church are the remains of the priests’ rooms, schoolrooms, varied shops, and, finally, the small dwellings of the local Indians.
CHURCH: Ruins of the church at San Ignacio Miní, a Jesuit mission in the province of Misiones, Argentina.A week or so later we had occasion to consider a second mission: that of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Argentina. On a chilly Sabbath afternoon we visited the church and museum at Crespo Campo, not far from what is today River Plate Adventist University (Universidad Adventista del Plata [UAP]). That mission began with the arrival of Jorge Riffel and several other families from Kansas, United States, in 1890. It has continued to thrive until this day. Here is the story.
MUSEUM: The oldCrespo Adventist Church, now a museum, located not far from River Plate Adventist University, or Universidad Adventista del Plata.In 1898, as the church members met with visiting pastor Westphal, they were surprised to see a young man coming up the road carrying a suitcase. When Luis Ernst arrived, the group was amazed to hear that he had come from Uruguay to attend school because he wanted to become a pastor. “Well,” they decided, “that means we need to start a school!” That was the humble beginning of the Camarero school, which later became River Plate College, and now is River Plate Adventist University, which offers 30 majors, including medicine and graduate degrees in theology, to its approximately 2,500 students.
TRANSPORTATION: A miniature Russian wagon at the Adventist museum in Crespo.During our family outing to the UAP, we took time to visit the local cemetery. Many of God’s faithful servants rest there. Foreign missionaries, local missionaries, lay missionaries—all await Christ’s call. Our interest was one special gravesite—that of my parents, Charles and Hazel Weber, farm manager of the college and dietitian at the hospital, respectively. At that gravesite we took time to remember their selfless service and to recommit ourselves as a family to God’s mission on earth.