The history of the church in South America practically begins at the Parque Tres de Febrero. German immigrants had previously written to Salt Lake City and asked for the Church to send someone to officially open the land of South America for the preaching of the gospel here in Argentina.
However, the park itself has quite a story. I have mentioned previously that history shows you really didn’t want to be the leader of Argentina because of their tragic ends. That is also the story of Juan Manuel de Rosas. He governed in Buenos Aires from 1829 to 1852.
The historians and the Argentines themselves still seem to be debating whether or not he was a good leader or an evil one. I read a story about Rosas that described him as a “man of extraordinary character, a perfect horseman who conformed to the dress and habits of the Gauchos” which would, of course, win him the admiration of the Argentines. There was also a story of how Rosas had himself put in the stocks for inadvertently breaking his own rule of not wearing knives on Sundays.
He left home as a young child and by the age of 13 he was fighting with the army. After that, he began honing his leadership skills working the fields of the Pampas. He combined a strict discipline with the gauchos under his command by sharing their conduct and customs, and by subjecting himself to the same discipline he demanded from them. He became a very popular and wealthy individual in his own right.
Eventually, however, his property located in the northern suburbs of Buenos Aires was confiscated and donated to the city for the purpose of making a beautiful European style park, named in honor of the date of his defeat. The park has numerous statues, three artificial lakes, a gorgeous rose garden and paths for walking and riding bicycles. This time of the year hundreds of families use it on the weekends for picnics and enjoying the sunshine.
Of course, my husband and I go there year round at least a couple of times every six weeks with incoming and outgoing missionaries.
One of our talented office elders designed this graphic for the mission newsletter today. I especially like the speed limit sign—that would be about 93 miles an hour. (Even most of the Argentines don’t drive that fast!)
The mission continues going forward always keeping the goals in mind.