Volunteering and traveling in Argentina to proclaim God's great love, and hopefully not getting sick along the way.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Five birthdays in one

The midnight of, I was eating with Maria Elena (much like I'll be doing in a few hours from now...). Due to various plan confusions, they forgot it was my birthday. No big deal; I just like hanging out with them. On top of that, Johnny made a drawing for me which I should be receiving tonight!

And so we get to midnight, and they turn off the lights. Johnny comes in with a muffin that has a candle in it. "Que los cumple.." they begin to sing. Oh, how it made me laugh when we divided the "cake" into six for all that were present.

Came home to chat with mom and dad, and my friend had made me a video to welcome in the 26th year of life.

For lunch, Flor made me pizza, while her sister made a pasta frola that served as cake. Betania's.. ahem.. good friend.. and I toasted (raspberry liquor offered by mama Silvia) to the tastiness of it all.

Came home and got to Skype with Mark, Beth and Nolan. Weeee... so wonderful to see them! Nolan spent time building little towers with his blocks and kicking them down. Although, the best part was when I would ask him to give me a kiss, and I watched as he kissed the screen.

Everybody with me: awwwwwwwww

Then Solcita and I went to see the Men in Black 3, or Hombres in Negro, if you prefer the castellano. I was surprised that it was actually a pretty good story. Of course, I've always been a fan of playing with time (hence Star Trek). We came home to a little Chinchon and mate. Can't have my Argentine birthday without mate!!! That is when she also gave me a flash drive that carried a video from her and her sisters singing to me.

That was that for the day of, but on Saturday, my favorite ados and a few others from the OM team went bowling.

We numbered ten, which made for a perfect 5 v. 5 competition. Although I must say, aside from winning, hehe, the most exciting part for me was getting to see a few of those gals bowl for the very first time in their life!! They (Mariela, Nieves and Mily) did quite well!!

Ate some hawaiian pizza, and perhaps there was a little bit of karaoke. :)

On Sunday, all I knew was there was a meeting with the Santa Rosa leaders to plan for the months of June and July. I was planning on meeting with a friend (much more on her later!), so I started making may way toward the door...

Then Vanina, you may remember her from helping out in Chaco, brought out what I can only call a tortasa:

It was a lovely surprise, and it made me even happier to get to celebrate what God is doing with all sorts of friends! So blessed am I!

Sharayah "Yoda" L.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I guess that's called compassion

It's easy to complain, you know? I have this weird knee issue going on right now. But in the end, this too shall pass.

Because in the same week of finding out that the ligament of my knee is stretched to it's limit, my best friend Sol found out that her mom has cancer. The bad kind. The really bad kind. Which means her brother, serving in Thailand, has to make a decision.

I can't imagine what this situation is like.

I went to visit Flor last week and we talked about the news with her mom. After her mom left, Flor and I continued to talk. She has several good friends that have been making poor decisions. Some of them believers.

Neither of us came to a point of judging, because we believe in the age old mantra of "Me too." I am just as capable of making a stupid decision that can ruin everything. I pray against it, but I don't ever want to think of myself above anyone.

It's why we need Jesus.

But with all of this.. I couldn't keep going. I was hurting on the inside. "Can we stop and pray?" I asked her. "I am too overwhelmed with sorrow."

And I think that I wasn't just empathizing. I think that I was feeling something much stronger.. I couldn't hold back the tears.

I felt a huge peace afterward. Even though I don't think "everything will be all right" in the sense that we might understand it as humans, it will work out for the good.

I couldn't stop thinking about Jesus. Is what I have been feeling for the Rodriguez family and Flor's friends similar to the compassion he had on the masses who were hungry? If it is, let me also admit that it is a fraction of a corner of an eyelash of the type of compassion he had. Nada que ver, digamos..

Any way, there it is. Chau!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

English version

In case you have no idea what was going on in the previous post, here comes another version. Different, because things have advanced even further. I just happen to know there are a couple of Spanish-speaking readers out there, and even if just three, I want to include them if I can (horrible Spanish and all! jaja).

Ale. She stopped to ask me if she could use the money we have collected from the bracelets to support the kids in Escuelita. Before she could ask she told me how she was embarrassed to ask. As if something inside her is changing, and she can't explain it. Or at least, that's how I translated it.

Today, I had a talk with the director. The Director director. A woman that always makes me feel like I've done something wrong even though we have yet to have a bad conversation. There's just something intimidating about her, you know the kind?

She had asked me to come to her office on Monday, but we couldn't due to some visitors. So today I sheepishly walked to her office. It turned out she just wanted to see how things were going, and we ended up talking about each of the girls. She too recognizes the positive changes in Ale, and shared a story that I had been unclear about.

Ale used to have a friend come visit her all the time. This friend was not a positive influence, and they had even snuck off together to go to the boliches, or dances that take place at 2 and 3 in the morning. Recently, this friend came to visit. When she left, and Ale went to check on her money box, she was missing 100 pesos. No other person could have taken it except this "friend."

"Normally," the director shares. "Normally when someone did her wrong, Ale would start crying and yelling and accusing. This time she just came up to me and told me what had happened. She was worried, and didn't know what to do, but she didn't get angry."

And on top of this, from the money that remains, she wants to help out the children at our church.

I want to cry at how beautiful the stories God writes can be.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Ven y ver, ser transformada

"Quiero preguntarte.." Ale me dice.

Siempre cuando había dicho así, yo sé me va a pedir un favor. En realidad, no me molesta escuchar de ellos, porque me encantaría ayudar como pueda.

"Sí?" la miro.


"Ahhhh...," dice. "Me da verguenza!"

"No te preocupes, Ale!" le dijé.

Unos segundos más y empieza. "Me gustaría... me gustaría usar alguna de la plata que hemos ahorrado para ayudar con escuelita en la iglesia."

Como dijo Andrea cuando le compartí esta historia del día, "Me colma!"

Mira como el Señor hace los cambios!! Seguimos orando por Alejandra a crecer en la fe y entender que bueno es nuestro Dios!!

Amen y chau!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy birthday Gladys

She turned 19 yesterday. She shares her birthday with Ale, but Ale was picked up by her family to celebrate together. Gladys doesn't have the luxury. She recently told us that her father is dead, and that she doesn't even know where her mom and brothers and sisters are.

And don't get me started on what it is like to be the other woman living in the home. Lorena, in her 40s, with her fifth child.

But let's celebrate the good. Fridays are the days we cook together in the institute. We made a very complicated, two layer, german chocolate cake that was delicious. Gladys had asked for a cd with Christian music on it, so how could I say no? When we arrived, Mariela gave her a bracelet. Gladys looked at me, "Let me guess, the cake we are about to make is your gift to me?"

I laughed. "Maybe..."

She frowned.

"Gladys!! Don't you remember what you asked for??"

Her face changed. "THAT'S TRUE!! You made a cd for me?"

She hurried to grab the cd from my hands and put it in the media player. For me, it was an even more beautiful moment to hear positive messages permeating the walls of the institute. "Oh!" she shouted with each song change. "This is beautiful!"

It is hard to describe the characteristics of Gladys. I have seen her mature in many ways over the past year and a half, and yet she is still a very selfish, uncaring person. Again, it's not that I blame her, for reasons I've explained before, but I still hope for the best. May her 19th year see even more growth!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

This too is ministry

I've had to explain to several people the importance of cooking for the house. When you make sure that everyone has food before them, you are meeting a need that will help them through the day. Take your time to cook, enjoy the process. This too is ministry.

When I made a list with Ale about the many needs she has--not just to buy things for the coming baby, but to buy things for her son Luciano--one of the obvious and more urgent things for the list was winter clothes for Lu.

So today, we went to the center and shopped around. I was surprised at how easy it was to get the okay to do this. But then again, just a little bit before asking permission, I had an encounter with one of the other directors who wanted to know my motives. Turns out, she's a Christian too. That helps.

And away we went. Again, never sure of what to say or how to behave (especially when I wanted to help Luciano behave--man that kid is crazy!). But all in all, I believe it went over well. Again, never imagined myself hanging out with a 17 (her birthday is today!) year old pregnant gal and her kid in the middle of Córdoba.

This too is ministry.