Sunday, June 30, 2013

Yet another taste of Argentina!

Dear Readers,

Here I am again, to tell you a little more about my mission trip...
So much had changed in one year in Argentina!
I had looked forward to so many little things, and they were all more wonderful than I had wished they would be. Coffee and dulce de leche on toast in the morning...late nights chatting with my precious host mom and more coffee...bus rides with my host dad...time just "being" with my dear family...

It all happened and it all was so wonderful. Only there were a few changes: I got to have some bus rides with my host mom and Isabella, too, because she attends the preschool now. And when we arrived in Argentina we got to straight home to our families! The first day was my favorite.  And time just "being" with my family was the sweetest time of the whole trip. I'll highlight those moments in this blog post.

This was taken last year: Renzo, Nico, Emily, and I

First of all, those little babies were huge! Renzo and Isabella (my host brother and sister who are twins, now 2 1/2 years old) have grown so much in the past year it blew me away. Nico has grown up so much, too! It was so bittersweet to see how they had changed as I was sad to have missed so much of their lives, but was so thankful that I was back with them again. 

I'll never forget riding home from the church, Isabella was asleep in Viviana's arms and I was just so thrilled to be beside them I could hardly contain myself. We had the sweetest conversation, which was a mix of my newly acquired Spanish and her words in English. Then she handed the phone to me and I was speaking to Reynaldo! It was so sweet to hear all of their voices again. 

Last year some of my favorite moments were just holding these sweet little twins, this year I think my favorite moments with them were when I would read a book to them called "Vaca Luluz". Isabella loved this book, and so despite the fact that I didn't know how to pronounce some of the words, I read that book so many times that by the end of my ten days in Argentina, I could quote it! hehe it really is a cute book and I loved that time with them. 

Nico and I spent a lot of time fixing hair last year, and this year was no different. She loved fixing my hair and putting makeup on me, then having me fix her hair, and setting my camera to take ten pictures of us with our beautiful new do's.  ;) We have some really funny shots! This girl has the most beautiful heart and I can't wait to hug her again! 

We worked on English, too :) 

Another difference in this trip was that Benjamin, Mason, and Mom weren't there. It was so strange to not have them with us! Their host family from last year invited my family and I over for dinner one night, and we had so much fun! They were so kind and welcoming and you could tell how much they loved my Mom and brothers. They were so sweet that they kept thinking I had been in their home before, too, since they said they felt like we were all family. (The first picture in this blog post is from our night there.) I love these people and this loving culture! 

I really wish we in the United States took a lesson from the people in Argentina. 1 Peter 5:14 says: "Greet one another with the kiss of love." 
I really can't describe with words the warmth and love you feel while you are there. It is incredible. It goes beyond the kiss (although that is a big part of the welcoming feeling).The church embraces us with open arms. The fact that so many at this church welcome us, teenagers who don't know their language or their culture, into their homes, their lives, their families is huge.  It's the most beautiful thing, and I'm so thankful to say that I have a family in Argentina. 

There's so much more I will share...
God taught me things and grew me and really blessed my time with these dear people. But here's another little snippet for you! 

Thank you for your prayers that made this trip possible. Your Blogger,


Friday, June 21, 2013

A taste of Argentina...

 Dear Readers,

    I'm back in the United States and fairly bursting with photos, hugs and kisses for each of my family members, and enough stories to write a book.

Thank you for your prayers for my trip! I appreciated them so much and could feel them as my time in Argentina was clearly blessed. To be back with my host family was amazing. I can't even put into words how amazing that was. I stepped off the bus and we picked up right where we left off. It was as if I had never left, except for a few differences: the kids had grown so much. Renzo, Isabella, and Nico are three of my favorite children on earth. They make my heart smile and teach me things and inspire me. My Spanish had gotten better--woot woot!--and so less of our conversations centered around Google Translate. Oh, goodness, we had so many conversations. That was my favorite part of the entire trip. Whether we were on the bus, walking to the church, or in their warm and inviting kitchen, we were always talking. Quality time and physical touch are my two love languages, and so oh man, am I content in Argentina! Time praying together was also so special and a blessing to my heart.

Precious Renzo!! Hasn't he grown up so much in the past year??
Argentina was full of blessings. And, as you can see, most of the blessings stem from my time with this precious second family of mine.  I have so much to share, and I promise I will write more soon.

But right now I need to continue to process and get my thoughts into order or else words will come spilling out that make no sense. :) Maybe a little more sleep would help, too...

So I leave you with a few of my favorite pictures, and also with a devotion I read by Joni Eareckson Tada today that touched my heart. It instantly made me think of Argentina. Exchanging prayer requests with my dear host family, I realized that we were indeed giving the other person our heart's burdens. And there is something so beautifully God ordained in that act. 

Te amo, readers! Thank you for your precious comments and encouragement!

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2

I don't often have the chance to physically help other people, but when I do,
I love it. Nowhere do I feel more useful than at the airport.

I have to pack what seems like half a hospital when I go anywhere. Even after my friends and I check in all this stuff at curbside, we still have a pile of carry-on luggage which includes lots of the usual paraphernalia plus a duffel bag with emergency medical equipment. The challenge is to carry everything from curbside to the plane. This is when I get to "carry another's burden." On the foot pedals under my legs goes the duffel bag. The briefcase goes on my lap, purses are slung over the handles of my wheelchair, coats or sweaters land on my lap. Airline tickets are squeezed between my leg and the side of my chair. I look like a bag lady. But I don't mind. It gives me a chance to carry someone else's burden.

That's what Galatians 6:2 tells us to do. It's good advice whether we bear actual physical burdens or emotional and spiritual ones. Galatians 6 says we should do this on a regular basis and not be so puffed up with pride that we fail to offer a helping hand.

And we are to do so to fulfill the law of Christ, which is a law of love. Love obliges us to be compassionate. Maybe under the old covenant God's people made a habit of laying burdens on one another, but under the new covenant, we don't lay them on, we take them off. So why don't you find somebody today who could use a hand. It will give you an opportunity to lighten the load of another and lighten your heart at the same time.

"God did not write solo parts for very many of us. He expects us to be participants in the great symphony of life." Donald Tippett

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Colon. We will be going there again!
My dear readers,
   Tomorrow morning I will arrive at the airport at 10:00 (hopefully! :))...and by 7:30 that night will be on a plane bound for Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    Last week I was a ball of anxiety imagining leaving. I still am nervous, but as the date is so near, I feel myself getting more and more excited.

Were you to ask me what I'm most excited about, I think it would be hard to pinpoint just one thing. I'm just thrilled to be back in this country I love so much!  I'm  really really really excited to see all of the precious Argentines again!! I know the moment when I see my host family again will probably be the best of the entire trip. I've missed them so much this past year!! So I am very excited to step off the bus on that first day. :)

But I'm also really excited just for the mornings. Last year every day I woke up it was just with a feeling of wonder that "Wow. I can't believe I'm actually in Argentina!!!" This year I know I'll wake up with a similar feeling of wonder that I'm actually in my host family's home again. And the coffee, and the dulce de leche on toast, and walking to the bus in the chill of the early's all so wonderful. I can't wait!!

I'm also thrilled to do prison ministry again. I really wasn't prepared for how much I would love it last year, and think that now I'm more comfortable with it hopefully I'll be able to spend time with more women while we are there. 

Were you to ask me what my biggest fear was, it would be going without my family. Each time I imagine this trip it's with Benjamin, Mason, and Mom. I'll miss them so so much. 

And were you to ask my biggest needs for prayer, they would be the following: 

1.) Please pray for me to not be too homesick! 

2.) Please pray that the language difference won't be too much of a barrier. I know a lot more Spanish than I knew last year, but nevertheless my heart wants to be able to get to Argentina and have long conversations with my host family...and I know that I don't know enough for that! So please pray for patience while we try to communicate, and just that God will evaporate that barrier like He did last year. 

3.) Please pray for our team to have safe travels!!

4.) Please pray for the Argentines who are welcoming us into their homes, and for the people we will be serving and interacting with all trip. Pray that we can touch hearts!! 

5.) Please pray that those of us who are going back for a second time will be able to cherish every minute of the trip without comparing it to last  year. 

6.) And please pray for my family while I'm gone, and for Benjamin's recovery to continue to go well.

Thank you so much for praying over these with me!! 

I'm so thankful to the Lord for allowing me this opportunity. And I'm so thankful to all of you for your prayers and support that made it happen!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

Next time you hear from me I'll most likely be accidentally mixing Spanish with my English, posting a TON of pictures, and trying my best to fill you in on all  that happened over the next ten days. I look forward to catching you up!! 

Chau, dear ones!! Your blogger,