Saturday, February 11, 2012
The purpose of 30 de Agosto
I juggle. And the camp was in English. I think I know that language fairly well.
Then I went to this camp, months later, and met a teacher from the country in the province of Buenos Aires. As is typical of Argentines, she invited me to her home over the summer. She likes to host people from other countries because she wants her kids to experience diversity.
I had emailed her early in December about coming perhaps the first week of February? I even asked her, if you know.. maybe.. I could present the work that I'm a part of in OM with the church in her town. Her pueblito, as we like to call it.
So she checked with one of the local churches, even though she herself doesn't go, and the pastor had said it was fine.
Justo. Justo is like saying "In the exact same moment." Or, "perfectly coming together".. the week that I came, another missionary was there. He and his wife were visiting churches before heading out to Spain to serve for possibly the rest of their lives.
I was able to meet with a few of the youth beforehand on Friday, but then I was also invited to share a few words on Sunday, with the other missionaries that would be there. On Sunday, I shared my testimony, and the other missionary shared the mission vision that not only encouraged the congregation, but me as well. Mucho.
On Sunday morning, I had prayed a prayer along these lines..
God.. I love Argentina, really, truly. But why here? Sometimes I don't get where you're taking me, or what you're doing. And even though I have seen how much you have changed me and molded me in my time here, it can still be very crazy. I'm speaking another language now. I'm doing things, like visiting perfect strangers in the middle of nowhere, without fear because I know you are with me. All because you put a desire in me to go to India. Which gets me back to the beginning.. what's up with Argentina?
So Sunday evening comes, and the missionary brings with him such Spirit and fire, and I'm back to my original feeling of 'Yes. This is where I want to be.' And so I go and I talk to him and say thanks, and he encourages me back (after all, I did give a brief message) and I ask them, "Why Spain?"
He had just preached on the amazing things God had done in Bolivia over the past several years. He looks at me and says, "Spain was on our heart originally, but God had planned a path that took us to Bolivia first. We know that we needed to be there to be better prepared for this moment to serve in Spain."
Me quedé callada. I was in awe, once again, by the way God speaks.
But that's not all folks. It never is, really.
The pastor's daughter, who works with the teenagers and young adults, invites me to share more of my story the following Wednesday. Talk for maybe 30 minutes, "Or more, if you want." Not that I don't want to talk for that long, but the capability in Spanish can make it quite difficult. Plus, what would I have to say.
The story of Elijah has been on my heart recently, and in part to a book I just read by Paulo Coehlo. After some prayer, I began to write out what I would say. Oh how the words flowed, and I knew it didn't come from me.
On Monday morning, I receive a call verifying the Wednesday time, as well as a how-would-you-feel-about-talking-on-the-local-radio-let's-say-tomorrow request. Umm.. okay. haha. In a town of 7 thousand, everyone listens to the local radio. I got to tell them what I do and why. God, the opportunities you give!!!
And then there's the talk on Wednesday and I feel so empowered in the moment. I look at my watch and realize not 30 minutes have passed but 45.. And the congregation joined in Amens and nods of agreement. The pastor came up to me afterward, his hand on my shoulder..
"Wow," he says. "At first I was reluctant to give you too much time on stage since I know this isn't your first language. But we understood everything. You encouraged us. You encouraged me. God had a purpose in you coming to 30 de Agosto, and we praise Him for it!"
Amen y amen. Y chau!