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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Healing in his wings

"But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet," says the Lord of Heaven's Armies. Malachi 4:2-3

Last night, while celebrating with a friend the completion of her thesis, I met a young man obsessed with J.R.R. Tolkkien. Not just obsessed with Lord of the Rings, as I have been lately, but the author himself. As I am currently finishing the final book in the series, we focused on some of the details we love about the story. One that was especially powerful, was the prophecy about the King of Gondor being a healer.

They would know that the rightful king had returned if there was healing in his hands.

Sure enough Aragorn comes in, and with various herbs that only he seems to know how to use, he is able to revive several characters (including my favorite hobbit - Meriadoc!). One of the women who remembered the prophecy stands in awe of what she sees. And similar to the verses we read in Malachi, thus begins the events that lead to the destruction of the power of the Lord of Mordor, better known as Sauron.

Personally, it gave me chills to think about the parallelism in the Bible of Jesus' power to heal. It's bigger than just health of the body, although I am convinced that they can be connected.

Take the story of a pastor who recently visited us in OM. He told us the story of his ability to finally forgive someone in his family. In his prayer of release from the burden to forgive, the word "sinus" came to mind. He was confused, to be honest, but felt it might be a nudging from the Holy Spirit.

Near that time, he had his annual check up on his sinuses. Typically they have to be cleared through a surgery that takes a lot of time and money. Imagine his surprise then, when the doctor says that he can't find even a trace of whatever it is that causes sinus infections (I'm not a medical professional, so I don't know the terms!). The pastor is convinced that the healing of the relationship between himself and his kin, brought a personal healing of his sinuses.

A young man in our community has been sick for a long time. His name is Lucas. While I am unclear on all of the details, what I know is a few weeks back our team doctor had a chance to visit him in the hospital. With pure boldness, she told him of his need to know Jesus. His need to give his life over to him in order to be healed. Lucas was in agreement, and so he prayed.

The next day, he got better. The people rejoiced.

Today, I got a phone call informing me that Lucas died this morning. I was the one who had to call our team doctor to let her know, and to say the least she was surprised. My response was to write. Is to write.

Do we have to make sense out of everything? No, because it's impossible. There are too many things way above our pay grade, and that's a good thing.

For this reason I said that they "can" be connected, the healing of the body and the healing of burdens in our lives (such as sin), not that they are connected. At least not always.

But I will say this, the healing from sin is so much greater than the healing of the body. I am currently unable to fully empathize, as I have been recently given a clean bill of health after another check up on my knee. I am ecstatic that I can return to jogging and eventually running again (with a knee brace, to be on the safe side!), but then it was brought to home with a conversation I had just last night with another OM team member.

He was working this summer in the hospital, providing food for the various patients. He told me first about the many awkward encounters he had with those who were naked, or the constant sight of blood which made him queasy. But then he explained how interesting it was to see some patients, dying, and completely miserable. Others, also dying, yet always grateful to receive the food from him. The stark contrast between those ready to die, and those who are not.

Maybe it has something to do with the peace of having lived a full life, because Jesus had come in and healed them of their true pain. Or better said, that they had allowed Jesus to come in and heal them. They believed, and were set free.

Maybe that's it. And it's just skinning the surface of what the phrase "healing in his wings" even means..

love and chau!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pride


I can't hide it. Especially when one of the likes is from Anberlin. I may have never seen them in concert, but I still love 'em!!

chau!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

How things have changed (although I still mess up)

In my first months of being in Argentina, I said "no" a lot.

Someone had asked if I played guitar, which I do, but I said that I couldn't really. I found myself being asked to serve in a lot of ministries very last minute. The stress of last minute stuff made it so I would say.. you guessed it.. nope.

And in a lot of ways, it was probably healthy for me to do that. One way to look at it is the fact that when we serve, we should give quality sermons, or play quality music, etc. Last minute often means people did not plan well what they should have.

Then you add cultural and language barrier..

The answer is no.

Now that I've been here for.. awhile.. I feel a bit more confident with just going with the flow. There have been countless trips recently where I don't know how I am getting home afterward, and sometimes I'm not quite sure how I will get there. But I always return safely.

Today I played the guitar in church, after only an hour of figuring out which songs that we will play (3 out of 6 I had never played before), and not knowing all the chords. It turned out all right.

As for language, I still say the wrong verb, or at least the wrong form of the verb, all the time. But most get the idea. Partnered with a greater understanding of the culture, and I find the people here accept the fact that you're at least trying.

Maybe it has something to do with faith. Maybe it has something to do with not linking my identity with my performance. Maybe it has something to do with the rather laid back attitude of the culture (which I happen to love).

Just recently, one of the members of the church corrected me for a mistake I had made. I still get it wrong, and will continue to do so. The question is whether we can humble ourselves enough to trust that it's okay. We're human. Called to be holy, but stumbling along the way.

love and chau!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lincoln

I like the way that Argentines pronounce "Lincoln." There is a brand of cookies that has a recipe for making a cake--a delicious cake mind you--and that brand is called Lincoln. We made the cake in the institute with the girls last year, and I remember asking Ale to repeat the word several times because I wasn't understanding her. I think it has something to do with the "ln" at the end.

Any way. The other day, I introduced Sol to the movie "Origen", perhaps better known to the English speakers as "Inception." Unfortunately, her dad got home right at the last 5 minutes. When Cobb is still in limbo, looking for Saito. When they fall through the different dream stages to return to the States.

"Well I have absolutely no idea what just happened," he says.

We laugh, because we know it's impossible to explain..

Sol's dad had also asked me once about American football. "Is it true that the quarterback gets all the girls?"

Again, I laughed, but then thought about it. I was watching the tv series "Friday Night Lights" at the time, and thinking about my own high school.

"It kind of is true," I told him. "Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the quarterback is involved with the majority of the plays."

Turns out, he later was talking to Sol about this, and she told me. She said he was quite convinced of the fact, because "Soraya told him so." As seems to be our best response to all things, we laughed some more. But even more so when she told me that just the other day, he bought the Spielberg movie (I had to clarify, make sure it wasn't the vampire one!) "Lincoln" just for me.

"Soraya always brings thinking movies to watch with us," he said. "Here's one about her country and I know I will enjoy it too."

hahahaahaha
love and chau.

Monday, February 18, 2013

These shoes are too big

You know what they say about people with big shoes..

I immediately think of Kyle Snow, personally. Maybe a little about Ashton Hooper as well (wink).

Seriously though, being a leader comes with so much. I am looking at the hour, and I am looking at my list of responsibilities.. I can only praise God that I am not alone in this. So grateful for the opportunity to be co-leader of OM in Córdoba, yet at the same time:

scared.

That turns out to be the point. As I was talking with a friend today, it slipped from my own mouth how God always used little people to prove to others that it was (is) God at work in them. The miracles didn't (don't) come from the wee little one (ahh! visions of Hobbits dancing in her head!).

You can't mistake impulsive and denying Peter for the one who got the movement of the church started--that was the work of the Holy Spirit in Peter.

And so I pray the HS works in me. I need your prayers as well!

love and chau (for now.. I know there is much more to write about especially these day, but this will have to do)!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Hotline rechazado

You've heard the phrase, "Some people just can't take a hint."

This guy is one of them. And yet I mean it in the nicest way possible.

Here comes a story that even I don't really like how it has played out, but writing it down is therapy for me. What's done is done.

The other night, I came home via taxi--something I had heavily debated doing. I was trying to get a bus from Villa Dolores that would get me back to the terminal in Córdoba around midnight. With very little baggage, I could still take the E4 home.

Unfortunately, I was left with no other choice. Even in the line, I remember thinking about how this wait determines which taxi I will be in. I recalled a taxi home with a guy named Cristian and how much can happen in about a 15 minute drive. Certain appointments are unavoidable.

But when you take in account a recent story of mine involving a late night phone call, I just have to say, I am a little tired of the attention from guys. Honestly, I just want to share Jesus with some young women, because those relationships can continue without the awkward one-side attraction factor. And trust me, I'm not trying to be arrogant here.

All this to say, via short version of the story, this taxi driver was also interested. I was very clear about what I do in Argentina and why. In fact, I doubt one can put Jesus into a sentence as much as I did. When we finally reached the "white fence with the light," he surprised me with a, "I really liked talking with you. I really like your point of view on life.

"Can I have your number?"

I stumbled and finally said yes. Why I couldn't think of an excuse for no; why I couldn't think of a wrong number; why there isn't a Spanish version of the Rejection Hotline.. all come up with a giant I DON'T KNOW.

If that weren't enough, plenty of other strange things with young men kept happening all week, but I choose to focus on taxi driver for the time being. He started texted me like crazy. They were all innocent questions of trying to get to know who I am: family, life in Argentina, etc. In fact, the only thing that really bothered me was the fact that he kept calling me beautiful. I dunno, you can call me a romantic I suppose, because it's just something I want one guy to call me in the end.

I used the excuse (a true one), that I can't respond to all of his texts because I don't have credit. The ones that I did respond to again, were filled with things like, "Because God is worth it" and "He died for me." So taxi driver bought me a card to give credit for more texts.

When he still asked me out to eat one evening, I honestly thought it had something to do with the fact that maybe, just maybe, he loved Jesus too. At a last minute request, and after a whole heck of a lot of prayer on my part and my friends' part, I went...

He was a perfect gentlemen if you will. Never touched me (apart from the obvious typical Córdoban greeting), asked more about the family, and talked about dreams. Yet, it was very clear that he is not one to put God first. Even if he's nice, let us look to 1 Corinthians 7:16

How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?


Lord willing, I will never dare to take that risk. An uneven matrimony can not reflect Christ and His church as is the goal of marriage in the first place (see Ephesians 5:21-33).

God's timing is perfect you see. He made sure that I was to listen to two sermons on marriage (although unintended), as well as read a certain chapter in A.W. Tozer's book that reinforced this truth. And the crazy part is that I was not even tempted to want to like taxi guy. But I didn't know how to say no.
love and chau.


I remember sort of grasping at straws at the end of our "date"(?) together. He had taken me down the main avenue in Parque Sarmiento, and it was a busy time, filled with young adults eating choripan and playing soccer. He asked about my plans for the weekend, so I openly told him about a Bible study I have on Saturday. Without waiting for him to ask, I laid out the gospel one more time through the story of the woman at the well.


Nothing. An "Oh, that's very interesting," but a quick change of subject.


He dropped me off and asked to see me again. I said I would be gone the following week (true). 

"Could you text me when you get back?"


"We'll see," I told him.


Halfway through the day, he had already texted a couple of times just to say hello. But I didn't respond. One had given advice to just ignore him. When a third text came asking if I was angry, I decided that something must be done. With more prayer and coaching from my new friend Andrea, I came up with this:


"No estoy enojada. Lo que pasa es que mientras no tengo novio, sí hay alguien en que tengo interés. Él tiene la misma pasión por el Señor como yo. Y es algo que no veo en vos. No usé el codigo me mandaste porque no te quise aprovechar. Perdón otra vez."


TRANSLATION: I'm not mad. The deal is that while I don't have a boyfriend, there is someone that I am interested in (true). He has the same passion for the Lord that I have (also true). And it's something that I don't see in you. I didn't use the code you gave me for extra texts (true), because I didn't want to take advantage of you. I'm sorry again.


Response: "Pero puedo aprender mucho d vos, m transmitis mucha paz, y sos una mujer q aca n hay."

TRANSLATION: But I can learn a lot from you, you give me a lot of peace, and you are the type of woman that you can't really find here.

I had to think about this one for a second, but thankfully, I believe the Spirit helped--

"La paz para que buscas es JESUS. No soy yo. Si la quieres tanto, te recomiendo ir a una igle en el centro se llama Aviva."


TRANSLATION: The peace you are looking for is JESUS. It is not me. If you want that peace so much, I recommend you try out the church in the city center called Aviva.

And just like the woman in the well, he didn't get it.

Response: "Es q en nuestro pais n tenemos inculcado tanta la religion como uds. Creo en dios jesus y la virgen. pero no somos d habla d la religion."


TRANSLATION: It's just in our country we aren't impressed so much by religion. I believe in god jesus and the virgin, but we don't talk about it.

While my heart goes out for him, I know that I can't be the one to change him. Certainly not in a dating context. I hope that what was done was right. The choice to give the number was probably my first mistake. I have learned!

Nevertheless, may taxi guy find a group of believers to lead him to the cross, and may his life be forever changed! Please pray for him!

love and chau.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sermonette numero 2

I promise I'm not trying to take the easy route in making videos, but when the moment hits me and I don't have time to write it all out.. well.. here you go:


Plus, I use these videos to write some devotionals in Spanish that I can use for later events. That's gotta count for something, right?

Blessings and chau!