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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I like this word. It refers to someone who is very sweet and cuddly. So what makes me like this word when I am not the sweetest nor cuddliest person around? Maybe it has something to do with the way it rolls off the tongue.

Cariñosa... o cariñoso.. if you want to refer to a male.

I would describe Ale from the institute as cariñosa. She has been very sweet as of late, and also very open with her life to me. We celebrated Día del Niño with the church yesterday, where I participated in the short puppet show as your stand in malavarista, or juggler. Of course, I had to make sure Luciano came, so I left the house early to drop by the institute and pick them up. On our walk back from all the excitement, Ale and I had a chance to talk about the father of Luciano.

"He just jokes around too much, when we need to be serious," she tells me.

So I asked her if she has ever thought about making a list of what is most important for a man in her life. She said no, and I gave her some examples that come from my own list. She nodded in agreement with how necessary it appeared to be. As we waited at the bus stop, she gave me a huge hug. It seemed like she needed reassurance that her decision to be through with the inconsistent father of Morena was plausible.

On Monday, she was the only girl in the Institute. As both she and I are quite tired of making bracelets, we decided to play Chinchon instead and we laughed and chatted the whole time. It is cute to see her patience with me when it comes to the language; then Luciano comes up and sits on my lap.

As of now, he calls me "So-ro-sho". hehe

I think about this year, and how far we have come in such a short time. Or better yet, how much I have gotten to witness God move in the life of Ale and her son in such a short time. I daydream about what He has in store for her next. If I will be in the picture or not. I pray for a good man for Ale, and that she becomes a strong woman of God.

love and chau, me.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fresh look on the Santa Cena

Santa Cena = Communion

And prepare yourself now for a Spanglish post. (you can use Google Translator)

Every beginning of the month, our church celebrates Communion. After the two sections of music, three sections of prayer interspersed, and the predica, we arrive to a moment of sharing the bread and the wine.

I was thinking about Bethlehem esta vez. We are studying Ruth in the youth group on Saturday evenings, and we took time the first week to look at the significance of each name. Ruth, and this surprised me, means "Faithful companion." How perfect is that, considering that she stays with Naomi even though there is no promise for a future for her (see Ruth 1:11-13 and Luke 14:25-27)? We find that Naomi means "pleasant", but she changes her name to Mara, "bitterness", because she feels her whole life is no longer destined to be sweet and pleasant, but full of amargura. The list goes on.

Up to Bethlehem, the place that Naomi and Elimelech left in order to live in Moab. The place Ruth and Naomi would return after the LORD provided food again. What does Bethlehem mean in the original Hebrew?

House of bread.

From this small town of Bethlehem, a place from which people thought no one important could come, comes the Bread of Life.

Jesus said to them, "Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." John 6:32-33

And then Jesus breaks the bread and says, "Eat this in remembrance of me."

What's crazy about this is he's changing the meaning of the Passover meal that they are celebrating. What was meant for a celebration of escaping Egypt -- REMEMBERING all that God had done in setting them free -- would now be a celebration of the death of Jesus. His blood spilt for us, setting us free from sin and death.

Speaking of the blood..

In Latin America, they are not afraid to use wine for the blood of Christ. And in Argentina, a true wine country (Malbec, anybody?), it is GOOD stuff. Sarah and I used to joke about how for the Santa Cena we ought to skip the blood simply because we would be thinking so much about the flavor than what it stood for.

But this night, I decided that it would be worth it to take in the rich flavor of el vino. As the flavor enveloped the cavity of my mouth I meditated on what it means to be filled by the Holy Spirit. And how with this sabor, all of life is changed.

All of life is richer. Much, much better.

Preciosa sangre, que mi vida cambió,
Mis pecados mis culpas lavó,
A quedado atrás el pasado sin Dios.

Fue en esa cruz, donde la historia cambió
Donde mi vida tomó otro sentido,
Donde encontré la razón de vivir.

Indeed, it makes my heart sing.


Saturday, August 11, 2012


I am falling behind on writing my update and in my blog. Not that I haven't been thinking about these things, but the language is getting a little bit more difficult to do so. How do I explain it? It's like, I know what I want to say, but the English is failing me. Even writing this first paragraph has been strenuous. How many times I have had to delete, or add words, in order for the grammar to be correct. At least I don't have to worry about spelling.

Enough with the rambling. God is good. Pray tell...

For one, Flor from the institute has changed so much! What once was a timid gal who was originally thinking of not having her baby, is now a confident young woman. She used to get frustrated at not understanding how to make the bracelets. Ahora, she makes 3 a day without flinching. In addition, Eva has been giving classes on how to make various types of purses (out of yarn, cloth; by sewing, crotcheting, etc.), which both Ale and Flor have been coming to. One week when Ale couldn't come, Flor didn't want to fly solo. For the past two weeks, she has come on her own.

She is enthusiastic to see us each time we walk through the door, no longer hiding in her room. It truly is amazing.

So we pray for Flor, hoping that she will have a desire to come to church. I have invited her, but she comes up with a new excuse every time.

Similar to my experience at the gym I used to go to, I have gotten to know some of the women with whom I swim. A lot of them are curious about the 26 year old North American living in Cordoba, and a lot of conversations have opened up as to why I do what I do. One woman, Perla, recently had surgery and probably won't be coming to swim for awhile. Pray for courage on my end to remember to visit her, and take advantage of this type of opportunity.

I don't want to say finally, because that would put a limit on God's goodness--a limit that just simply doesn't exist. But in terms of this blog post, it is the last thing I will include.

I am blessed with the privilege to go to Chaco this upcoming weekend! Last year, I had every intention of going during the winter break, but plans fell through. On the contrary, this year, it is as if God has opened every available door for me to go. I will be attending a seminar given by Lucas Leys on Christian Intelligence, and then on Sunday, the church I have gotten to be a part of is celebrating their personal version of Thanksgiving--a tradition they have celebrated for several years. Oh yeah, and another plus, Sol is coming with me! Very excited!!!!

Like I said, God is good. There continues to be many things I don't understand about His goodness, but for now I am just going to be thankful and put my trust in Him. Oh, and pray like mad.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pavada... for Sharon

This is what happens when Sharayah is super tired, and needs to do something so as not to fall asleep during the sermon.

Don't get me wrong. It was a good sermon about how sometimes God brings us to times of desperation so that his love can spread to the ends of the earth. But if I hadn't drawn the elephant, I would have missed everything...