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

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Honeymoon period

Having just arrived (again), I am feeling quite at home. It's lovely to have summer back, to waltz around in my new flourescent shorts and sport the "renovado" hairstyle. I have had plenty of quality time with Sol and Flor, even a couple of visits with Maria Elena. Deep conversations with Laura; ice cream and boy talk with Eva.

I just had a lovely time with my girls at the institute as well. The pressure was on after a long meeting with the director Thursday. She gave me several speeches about how I need to make sure to include all of the girls in whatever we do, and to ask permission over and over again anytime we want to participate in an activity outside of the home. I tried to be very grateful, and reiterated how this is my first year for any type of work like this to be on my shoulders. That I am in the process of understanding how to do any of it.

She seemed to understand, and we even worked on a way to slowly distribute the money to the girls for the bracelets I was able to sell for them in the States. That way they wouldn't go spending it all in one place.

But like I was saying, a fun time with the gals of the institute. Ale wasn't there, but I did find Flor and Gladys and Evelin, as well as two new ones: Talia and Esmerelda.

The other good thing was that the director had given me the rundown of what the characters of the girls are like, and I was half-expecting to see a bit of this when I arrived today. And now we understand the honeymoon phase--the girls behaved so well, listening to what I had to say about why I am here and how I want to support the girls growth as young women.. as I passed around the tereré.

I am partially hopeful too, that Ale and Flor have put in a good word for me, as I noticed them make comments about who I am to the others. Evelin remains quiet as ever, but I was happy to see her interacting a little with the newer girls.

And Gladys.. poor girl seems intimidated by the quantity of the others, nevertheless, she sat by me and grabbed my hand.

When Luciano came back he ran to me and sat on my lap. I confess I was astonished, and encouraged to hear him speaking more clearly.

Walking home, I thought about a certain sentence in my devotional this morning. I am running behind in the devos lately, but I think God is still working mightily in this, as most of the time I find myself reading exactly what needs to be impressed upon me:

Si Dios ha endulzado tu copa bébela con gracia; y si la ha hecho amarga, bébela en comunión con Él.

"If God has sweetened your cup, drink it with grace; and if he has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him."

May we enjoy the good, and endure the bad, with Christ.

I look forward to this summer of staying in Córdoba (perhaps will explain this later?), as it gives me more time with the girls, perhaps a lot of time with Sol. On the other hand, it will come with some difficulties that I am well aware of. The possibility of a lot of alone time in the house, a necessary root canal surgery, and a very hot (air conditioning-less) summer.

Perhaps it's important to write all this down in order to be thankful (happy t-giving everyone) for when it is going well. Taking it with grace, chau!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Add it to the list

CPC is a daunting place. I had only heard of it a couple times, but going to it, alone.. was I ready?

When I came back to my lovely Cordoban home, I was welcomed with all of the finances of the household, including several unpaid bills. Hooray! (sarcasm sign)

And since most of them were vencidos, or late, it would mean that I would have to go to the dreaded CPC. That is, where the long lines are to lead you to where you ashamedly pay your said bills. It's a complicated process because you pay certain bills at certain locations, and others at others. Then there's the whole this is in another language factor.

I decided to walk the 20 minutes to get there so that I could pray for all the help I could get. And yes, it was complicated. Yes, I almost paid too much more than once. But in the end, I survived! All of our bills are covered and there will be no cutting off of power or water anytime soon!

In other news, prayers are needed. I had a short talk with the director of the teen mom's home today and it looks like the girls aren't behaving too well. "I would like to speak with you before you talk with them," she told me. The meeting is at 4pm Argentina time. Pray that I would have the words to say and would be able to help more than hurt. Above all, that I would trust in the Lord every moment!

love and chau!

Monday, November 19, 2012


"Do you see it?"


"Look," The guide had gone out of his way to stop the vehicle just so I could see a sloth. Now he was pointing at something high at the trees.

"I feel blind," I told him, and he pulled me close that my line of vision would follow his arm, follow his index finger, follow an invisible thread toward the leaves and the supposed sloth. I eventually saw a fluff ball, something, sitting between a Y-shapped branch.

Earlier, Koren, had led my mom and I on a floating safari and at one point had asked if we smelled something.

"That's monkey," he says.

I was quick to look up and I remember seeing 3 black balls of fluff, similar to the sloth I saw now, but I hadn't been certain. A little later on the same tour we smelled monkey again. This time he stopped the boat, pulling us ashore by a hanging vine, and we spent about ten minutes watching a family of monkeys swing from tree to tree. Koren made noises with the paddle, then mimicked the monkeys themselves, in order to get them to move around. I admired the scene although I admit I also feared we would be making these monkeys mad enough to throw their poop at us if we weren't careful.

We moved on.

A bobbing brown head proved to be a sea otter. Or I suppose a river otter? Spikes in the branches proved to be large iguanas.

'Am I blind?' I asked myself. 'Or is it that I just don't recognize what I am looking at?'

A pastor raised the point to say that if Jesus had to use Scripture to combat temptation (Luke 4:1-13), you can be assured that we will need to do the same. That is, it is not a suggestion; it is not something we ought to do. It is something on which our very survival depends!

I say this about the Bible because I think it's what will help us see things for what they are. We read about what the Devil is like (that rascal and his schemes against us!), so we can focus on the truth that Jesus came to give us real life. We read about the fall of man and recognize how important it is to flee from Satan and not try to reason with him. We begin to see people as God sees them; with a potential to be children of God. I think I'll steal from Lord of the Rings, my current book obsession:

"Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. And he is bound up with the fate of the Ring. My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end, and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many--yours not least."

Once we start to adjust our vision.. once we realize what we are looking at.. we won't feel as blind anymore.. we'll recognize that sloth in any tree we pass by on the jungle Costa Rican road.*

*yeah.. not there yet!!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I have great friends

I mean, seriously.

They tell me the sweetest things. I nearly.. no.. that's not true.. I did cry at the sincerity and beauty of an email from former roomie Janna about the time we first met. How it was God putting us together. There could never be a more true statement, as I saw a lot of positive change in myself through our friendship.

Then there was the hour or so conversation with another favorite roomie, Liz, about how life has gone along in the past couple of years. We realized our need to be better with the coming two years. All the same, I felt like we just picked up from where we left off, and it is pretty cool to be able to say that.

Later, watched a movie, ate dinner, and talked for SEVERAL hours, with Courtney. She is simply great. Another with whom I can come back to and we continue the story. I appreciate her listening ear and all the laughs.

Well.. I laugh with everyone, so that's hard not to say.

Any way, just wanting to show some gratitude. It's amazing how God is so kind to me.

love and chau!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Wrong way

I have questioned the idea of 'wrong' on many occasions. Same thing with 'late.' I mean think about it, so-called 'wrong' turns might have allowed you to get to know or do something extraordinary. Life's many interruptions may bring you to a deeper understanding of God's love for you..

if you let it happen.

I had checked online which stop to get off of on the El in order to go to EBF on Sunday morning, but was told by Madeline and Jeremy another way. Not that I didn't get to EBF's new location, but it put me there earlier than expected and I was cold. So I would be going to Panera any way in order to get a warm drink (which turned into a breakfast sandwich, but I digress).

Well, because I went the way that I did, I ran into Tom and Rebecca. I had been in contact with Rebecca about possible support, but wasn't completely sure about where they were living. I mean, I have her number in my phone, but the actual making a phone call hadn't happened yet.

But there they were. Had I gone the way I planned, I would have never seen them. Because I listened to advice, and was cold, ahem, I did.

And the people with whom I had made lunch plans with, well.. didn't answer their phones. I suppose it was meant to be.

We met up after church (as they go to EBC), and sure enough, they are planning on supporting! Woot! And the perhaps even more cool thing? I got to hear their story about actually getting together, engaged and married--something that has basically happened all in the two years I have been gone. Very cool! Very cute, I might add..

So there you have it. Even I need the constant reminder that the 'wrong' way may be the right one. Keep those eyes peeled.