This time, she started with, "You're so much skinnier!" And, "I want to hear everything!"
So that made the next two and a half hours of serving mate and catching up on life all the easier. Not to mention to find out that she was just as busy so no one could be fully to blame (nevertheless, I think my secret gift of Nutella also helped soften the blow). I realized that the evil one often likes to mix up lies in our head.. okay, not all of them are lies.. but are heavy truths if that makes sense.. to impede us from doing things we ought to do.
To keep us from doing things we actually enjoy doing very much.
On Wednesday, I made the 20 minute walk to el Refugio to find Andrea completing an art (supposed-to-be-cooking) class with three of the girls from the neighborhood. She told me how surprisingly well it had gone even though she had woken up without much of a plan due to the drawback of certain members of the leadership team unable to make it.
We then started a mini adventure to find the house of Mily. It led us to one home, then another, then another, then finally, a small, and questionable passageway that we had never known existed in Las Violettas. We were making all sorts of new friends, who looked at us strangely in our pale skin and funny accents. But what else were we to do when the only explanation for the address to her house was "the one with the black door."
It was a chance to see what our ten year old, wise craking, Mily's life was like. We had been told that her father was in prison, and that her mom was left alone to take care of the kids. It wasn't until we had seen the true poverty of her household, and the six kids that it began to click.
By the help of the Spirit alone, I was able to let the mother know of Mily's behavior in the pre-teen's class. In previous experience, the mothers are quick to talk with their children, driving in that healthy parental fear, and usually the child behaves for at least a week or two.
As Andrea described it, this time.. the woman, Paola, just looked numb.
We asked if there was any way we could help her family out, and her doe eyes responded with a nod, but no words. I tried to explain that we are here because we want to show her how much Jesus loves her. Straight stare in response.
Thursday began OM Argentina's conference for future missionaries. They are small in number, but they are full of passion. Having just finished a book about the type of support that a missionary needs, as well as two books before talking about how to take care of missionaries while on the field, I was hyper aware of the reactions of a certain participant.
In the middle of the class, she started almost at a yell, expressing her frustration about a past hurt (without saying what was that hurt). I seemed to understand, and, asking the speaker of the talk for permission, made a concise explanation to help try to alleviate her anger. She subsided, but I was quick to talk to my mentor about possibly meeting with her so that she could talk through some of those feelings. Honestly, it was a weird moment.
That same day, and the next, we had two, 3+ hour leaders meetings for OM. Being the youngest by more than a decade, I had very little to say, so I kept busy by taking notes. Even when they turned to me for comments, I didn't know where to begin or how to respond, and I am certain that I said something silly, because they didn't ask me again. ha.
At the same time, it was a privilege to understand a little more of the inner-workings of this very complicated machine.
Continuing with Friday, I visited the girls' home to find that only two girls remained. The rest had been taken in by families for the long weekend, while these two had none. I was given permission to take them out for ice cream where we talked about random things, and eventually, just as random, what the eating of the bread and the drinking of the wine during church mean.
This morning I got a text from one of them thanking me for a great time. I responded that I like it too. I had added a "You are so special!" at the end and got a quick response.
Quick detail moment: this 18 year old is the only one in the institute that is not pregnant (or already with child). She is hiding from her family because she was being sexually abused. First by her father, then by her uncle. Another reason she has no one to go to during the long weekend.
Her response was, "Are you serious about that?"
"Of course! You are the daughter of God!"
"Wow. Thanks. Te quiero mucho."
Pray for her. There is a 24 year old young man showing interest in her, and I fear for her need to be loved that she will give more than she should to anyone who shows her affection.
This morning, I also had the chance to share a 2-hour, Spanish only, talk about raising a support team for while you are on the field. With the help of a new friend, Yanina, and by God's grace, it went over very well.
But then afterward, I pretty much collapsed in my bed. I watched a couple of tv shows, read a book, and finally came to write about it all. It has felt pretty nonstop, especially when you include the fact that three more women are sharing our downstairs bedrooms in the OM house. I am thankful that I get to rest a bit now.
love and chau!