Life in Argentina is still great. Free time is limited and hard to find, hence, the lack of activity on my blog. However, today was completely open, so I decided to send everyone an update! At this point, the schedule is fairly routine. Mornings are spent in the regional office and evenings are spent participating in ministry outreaches.
Here are some of this weeks highlights…
During our normal weekly grocery shopping adventure, we encountered a little incident. In total, we utilize three buggies. One for our host, one for Pat and I, and one for Joelle and Katie. The basis of this story and root of the problem balances on this one fact – Our three carts are for organizational purposes only, and in the end, all of the groceries go on one bill. If that wasn’t clear, we are all together. The cashier either (1) understood but acted as if she didn’t, or (2) really did not understand. After several moments of confusion and Spanish conversation between Robin and the cashier, we were asked to find another register. With hesitation, we obeyed. Thankfully my team is very easy-going, so it wasn’t a big deal. The frustration with customer service was actually a pleasant reminder of home.
In the attempt to rejuvenate Moreno Centro’s winter attendance, I visited several of the church families’ homes. Carlos took me to a part of town just outside of Moreno where several members leave within close proximity. With the help of Diana’s Spanish and guidance, we visited four homes. At each home we led a brief bible study, prayed, and, of course, had mate. At first, the thought of four hours in an unfamiliar setting overwhelmed my logic. However, my enjoyment increased with each visit. The best part of the evening was finding the key to feeling confident in your Spanish – talk with toddlers and children! When learning Spanish, it is much easier to carry a conversation about favorite foods and toys, than it is to talk about politics and pop culture. Best of all, my silly mistakes make children laugh!
Construction success! Today we finally completed the majority of the work on the ceiling and gutter system repairs. Over the last two weeks we have replaced drywall, sanded, sanded again, installed a drain, nailed roofing down, and thoroughly cleaned the church’s sanctuary. This project placed a lot of strain on our team and caused minor bodily injuries. Thankfully, it looks great and I can mark it off my to-do list. Visit the photos page to see our work!
Music is one of the passions in life. My time in Argentina has already deepened my interest in worship ministry and has greatened my craving to grow as a musician. My talents are already being used in several ways here, but the newest avenue of ministry truly excites me. Several weeks ago I started teaching piano lessons at the church on Saturdays. One student in particular, Brian, is a true blessing. Until teaching a lesson, I never knew the joy that comes from sharing a talent in such a way. It is always a blessing to play for someone. Now, I am actually teaching someone how to play. To see the smile on Brian’s face when he has that “agh-hah” moment is all the payment I need. The mere success of the lessons support the claim that music is the universal language.
Count your blessings…
The normal Sunday morning for a Christian family in the United States goes something like this – A perfectly brewed cup of coffee, a convenient 10 minute drive, a comfortable 1 hour service, padded pews, just enough singing to warm-up, and a nice lunch afterwards. If you suspect the same schedule applies to other regions, as I did, you will be surprised.
Most families of Moreno Centro do not own cars. Instead, they use public transport. A commute from their house to the church may take 1 – 2 hours. For this reason, Sunday becomes a true Sabbath. An entire day devoted to the Lord. The expression “I am getting my money’s worth” is truly illustrated here. Church is not over until everyone has:
(1) given hello and goodbye kisses to the entire congregation
(2) enjoyed several rounds of very hot mate
(3) worshipped and praised God through at least 8 songs
(4) eaten some sort of sugary pastry
(5) conversed about the latest futbol game
Although I present the issue light-heartedly, it is truly something to reflect on. Should church really be a two hour block of time take from our hectic lives? Or, should it be a time to gather, fellowship, celebrate, worship, and grow?
My summer’s purpose has shifted over the past few weeks. After excavating past the numerous ministries and physical activities, I began analyzing God’s reasoning for bringing me here to Argentina. I believe that He has a lesson for me to learn, a call for me to hear, or a challenge for me to accept. Whatever His reasoning, I am seeking to understand it. What would normally be just several second thoughts have turned into 30 minute devotions. In three weeks I will be leaving Argentina. I want to take advantage this opportunity in every facet possible. I want my ears to be trained to hear God’s voice. I want to be obedient to His plans.
My host, Carlos, injured his back while working at the church last week. The pain was enough to keep him from preaching Sunday morning. Please ask that God’s hand to be upon him.