Nomad

Nomad 

a member of a people having no permanent abode, and who travel from place to place to find fresh pasture for their livestock.

• a person who does not stay long in the same place; a wanderer.

ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from French nomade, via Latin from Greek nomas, nomad- ‘roaming in search of pasture,’ from the base of nemein ‘to pasture.’

I find it interesting that the more industrialized our society has become, the less nomadic it has become. If we search through history, and even more specifically, biblical history, nomadic cultures are more of the norm rather than the exception. I love the stories of the Israelites as they spend 40 years wandering the desert. While it doesn’t exactly sound like a walk in the park, I can’t help but respect their necessity to depend on the Lord and nothing else as they moved from place to place, oftentimes with nowhere to lay their head. I long for that dependence on my Savior. 

Here’s where I’m coming from…

Life without Argentina has left me feeling, for lack of a better word, empty. I find myself longing to be back in Buenos Aires: in my apartment preparing for my discipleship appointments, in the park with friends, or dancing salsa until all hours of the morning. Then I force myself back into the reality that even if I did live there again, I’d miss home: my nieces and nephews who are constantly growing and changing, the endless variety of food at my fingertips, my loyal, irreplaceable, and steadfast friendships that help me keep my heart fixed on Jesus, but then again, Argentina has been such a huge part of my spiritual process… but the United States is where I grew up… it’s what I know. 

So where do I belong? 

Maybe that’s the whole point. I don’t belong here.

"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." {Philippians 3:20}

Over the years as we’ve developed socially, industrially and otherwise, we’ve decided it’s time to make our beds… and lie in them. The American Dream is all about reaching the top and parking your $90,000 car there alongside your million-dollar home without even a thought of what’s being sacrificed.  As our culture settles, we really are settling for something far less than what we were created for.  

There’s no need for God when I make enough money to feed 100 families. There’s no need for God when people respect me because of my reputation. There’s no need for God when I have a significant other who makes me feel good about myself. There’s no need for God when I do what I want, when I want, and how I want. 

Is that reality? I don’t think so.

The more attached I become to a particular place, the more out of place I really feel. My citizenship is in heaven.

The more attached I become to my stuff,  the more empty it leaves me. Every good and perfect thing comes from above.

This song puts into better words than I could ever muster to describe how I’m feeling. 

It was a beautiful let down

When I crashed and burned

When I found myself alone unknown and hurt

It was a beautiful let down

The day I knew

That all the riches this world had to offer me

Would never do

In a world full of bitter pain and bitter doubt

I was trying so hard to fit in, fit in,

Until I found out

I don’t belong here

I don’t belong here

I will carry a cross and a song where I don’t belong

But I don’t belong

It was a beautiful let down 

When you found me here

Yeah for once in a rare blue moon I see everything clear

I’ll be a beautiful let down

That’s what I’ll forever be

And though it may cost my soul

I’ll sing for free

We’re still chasin our tails and the rising sun

And our dark water planet’s

Still spinning in a race

Where no one wins and no one’s one

I don’t belong here

I don’t belong here

I’m gonna set sight and set sail for the kingdom come

I will carry a cross and a song where I don’t belong

But I don’t belong

I don’t belong here

I don’t belong here

Kingdom come

Your kingdom come

{Switchfoot- Beautiful Letdown}

Authenticity.

From processed foods to spray tans to Laguna Beach to colored contacts to hair extensions to social networks to advertising to…well, you get the point… our culture is starved for authenticity. In our products, in our relationships, and especially in our spiritual lives, we’ve glossed over the real and injected, morphed, and disguised some of the most valuable things in our lives. 

Let me start by saying, I’ve been so blessed by each and every incredible person I’ve met along this exciting, intense, and challenging journey (read: life). Most people I know don’t have the database of loyal, encouraging, and exhorting friends who consistently breathe authenticity into their lives as I do. Please note: without them, I’m a MESS. And while I’m so enjoying all my *free time* in Niceville these days, I find myself craving the depth and significance of these relationships. Remember when all I had to do was knock on a neighbor’s door or drive a half mile down the road? College is too short!

Just recently I had the privilege of making a short appearance at a women’s retreat for FSU’s Campus Crusade ministry. The night that I arrived, to hone in on their previous talk, the girls asked all of us to participate in a survey. Each girl was presented with a list of common struggles or sins and was asked to check off any they had committed in the past anonymously. Now, stay with me… After checking off each item (examples: I’ve cheated on my boyfriend, I’ve gossiped, I’ve looked at pornography, etc…), the anonymous surveys were then collected, shuffled, and passed back at random until each girl was holding the survey of another girl. Then, someone read through the list and asked each person to stand if that particular item was checked. What a way to build authenticity in a group of college women!!!! I was FLOORED by the responses and the maturity of these women and longed to share my heart with each of them. 

And what a way to debunk our culture! “When people stop being polite… and start getting real…” What MTV tried to do, but failed to do…these girls BROUGHT IT. Let’s be authentic people of Christ- not for the sole purpose of “Being Real”, but so that the TRUTH of who Christ is can shine in our weaknesses. THAT’s true authenticity. And I LOVE it. 


Memories.
Here’s some questions I’ve responded to reflecting on my year here in Argentina. As I live up these last two weeks, I’ve been spending lots of time journaling on all the Lord has done and just some great times I’ve had. Here’s a few of my thoughts…
8. Describe a funny moment you shared with your team. 
            There are so many and so many ridiculous ones. I think one of the funnest and funniest times I’ve had with my team was September 11th, when we ran the half marathon. JM had the American flag painted across his chest, Cari was the statue of liberty, Ben was Abraham Lincoln and Jessica had an American flag shirt on. Whenever Tiffany was getting ready to finish, we all ran across the finish line with her in our crazy costumes. It was so fun to be able to share that moment together and to cheer Tiff on in such a crazy fashion!  

9. What new things have you discovered about yourself?
            I think over this past year I’ve realized how comfortable I can really be in America. I rarely share my faith. I always have food on the table and plenty of clothes to wear. I got to see my friends and family pretty much whenever I wanted. There are just so many blessings that I had in my life in the States and I think I’ve realized how 1. I took so many of those things for granted and 2. Many of them are luxuries not necessities. I’m hoping that on my return to the States I learn to appreciate my many blessings and even strip my life of the thousand luxuries I possess.

10. Is there anything that has surprised you within the South American culture?
            If there is one thing I admire about the culture here in Argentina it’s their emphasis on sacrifice. All the people I have the privilege of working alongside here in Buenos Aires are men and women of great faith. Many of them sacrifice daily for the ministry here and ultimately, for the sake of the Gospel and the Kingdom. They choose to live in smaller homes in often dangerous neighborhoods to share Christ with the University students instead of taking high-paying jobs as architects, engineers, or whatever else where they could afford other means. Their obedience to God’s call challenges me to check my faith everyday.

11. How have you seen God moving in Argentina?
            I think one of the coolest things I can look back and see is how He’s raised up movements on the campuses here in BA. When I first arrived in Argentina, Vida was only on the Agronomy and Ciudad campuses, with a few contacts on Law and Econ. Well, the first semester we moved to Econ full time. Through moving to Econ we met students in Medicine who formed their own movement on the campus there. Then, the next semester, Tiff and Garrett moved to Law full time. We’ve gone from two campus movements to 5!! Not to mention the movements being raised up in UNLAM and the UNQUI.

12. What has God revealed to you through His Word?
            See previous blog post. I’ve learned SO much about the Holy Spirit this year!

13. Have you identified any idols in your life?
            Every. Single. Day. I think everyday the Lord reveals to me how many things I put before him. But the greatest idol I’ve discovered in my life is myself. My own selfishness gets in the Lord’s way so often. Through prayers, time in the Word, and great community, however, I see the Lord destroying this idol in my life and causing me to yield to His control and His will.

14. Share your favorite memory.
This is probably one of the toughest questions. I’ll share one of my favorite memories from a more recent time. I really love to dance and thankfully, so do two of my best guy friends here in Argentina. They’ve taught me salsa, merengue, bachata, and more dances over the last year and I’ve learned to love them! One night a couple weekends ago, we went out to this bar in San Telmo and danced for hours. I didn’t get home until 5 or so in the morning! It was such a fun night and made discover how far the Lord has brought me in my time here in Argentina. It wasn’t a super-spiritual moment, but still meaningful because I was able to see how the Lord has truly formed a life for me here in Buenos Aires.

15. What attribute of God are you finding most difficult to grasp? Why?
            I think I’ve struggled a lot to understand God’s grace. I’m really hard on myself and I struggle a lot with accepting who I am in light of who God is. It’s hard to believe that someone so perfect can love me so much. As a result, it’s hard for me to give grace to others. This is one area I really hope the Lord will start transforming in my life.

16. Describe an embarrassing moment. 
German: Che, mira tu brazo! (putting his hand around my arm to demonstrate how small it is)
            Me: Tengo huevos chiquitos….
….
            No!!! Huesos! Huesos chiquitos!!!!
For those of you who don’t speak Spanish…. I’m sorry, but some things are just better left unsaid.
17. Has there been a book of the Bible or verses that have encouraged and/or challenged your faith?
 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their good with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”       Acts 2:42-47
18. Describe a time (or times) where you shared your faith and saw God working through you. 
            Well God has definitely been faithful this year and I have been able to see him moving in such incredible ways. I think the coolest thing has been seeing him work through me to reach Sofia.  I had just begun doing surveys on my own, and each time was a struggle for me- not only with the language, but in taking risks and stepping out in faith. So, whenever I met Sofia on Economics I  was doubtful that the Lord would move so powerfully!  During our conversation, It was so incredible to see that light go off for her in understanding God’s grace. Since that one conversation, we’ve become such good friends, and as I walk with her, this continuous journey has been so fun! I’m constantly encouraged by how God is drawing her into a relationship with Him.  Just recently she went on a retreat with us and expressed how the Lord just made everything “click”. Now, she has returned to BA with a heart to not only seek the Lord each and everyday, but to also share Christ with those around her. She recently said at our Vida meeting, “I want to belong to the generation that makes a change in the world.” God is POWERFUL. 

Memories.

Here’s some questions I’ve responded to reflecting on my year here in Argentina. As I live up these last two weeks, I’ve been spending lots of time journaling on all the Lord has done and just some great times I’ve had. Here’s a few of my thoughts…

8. Describe a funny moment you shared with your team.

            There are so many and so many ridiculous ones. I think one of the funnest and funniest times I’ve had with my team was September 11th, when we ran the half marathon. JM had the American flag painted across his chest, Cari was the statue of liberty, Ben was Abraham Lincoln and Jessica had an American flag shirt on. Whenever Tiffany was getting ready to finish, we all ran across the finish line with her in our crazy costumes. It was so fun to be able to share that moment together and to cheer Tiff on in such a crazy fashion!  

9. What new things have you discovered about yourself?

            I think over this past year I’ve realized how comfortable I can really be in America. I rarely share my faith. I always have food on the table and plenty of clothes to wear. I got to see my friends and family pretty much whenever I wanted. There are just so many blessings that I had in my life in the States and I think I’ve realized how 1. I took so many of those things for granted and 2. Many of them are luxuries not necessities. I’m hoping that on my return to the States I learn to appreciate my many blessings and even strip my life of the thousand luxuries I possess.

10. Is there anything that has surprised you within the South American culture?

            If there is one thing I admire about the culture here in Argentina it’s their emphasis on sacrifice. All the people I have the privilege of working alongside here in Buenos Aires are men and women of great faith. Many of them sacrifice daily for the ministry here and ultimately, for the sake of the Gospel and the Kingdom. They choose to live in smaller homes in often dangerous neighborhoods to share Christ with the University students instead of taking high-paying jobs as architects, engineers, or whatever else where they could afford other means. Their obedience to God’s call challenges me to check my faith everyday.

11. How have you seen God moving in Argentina?

            I think one of the coolest things I can look back and see is how He’s raised up movements on the campuses here in BA. When I first arrived in Argentina, Vida was only on the Agronomy and Ciudad campuses, with a few contacts on Law and Econ. Well, the first semester we moved to Econ full time. Through moving to Econ we met students in Medicine who formed their own movement on the campus there. Then, the next semester, Tiff and Garrett moved to Law full time. We’ve gone from two campus movements to 5!! Not to mention the movements being raised up in UNLAM and the UNQUI.

12. What has God revealed to you through His Word?

            See previous blog post. I’ve learned SO much about the Holy Spirit this year!

13. Have you identified any idols in your life?

            Every. Single. Day. I think everyday the Lord reveals to me how many things I put before him. But the greatest idol I’ve discovered in my life is myself. My own selfishness gets in the Lord’s way so often. Through prayers, time in the Word, and great community, however, I see the Lord destroying this idol in my life and causing me to yield to His control and His will.

14. Share your favorite memory.

This is probably one of the toughest questions. I’ll share one of my favorite memories from a more recent time. I really love to dance and thankfully, so do two of my best guy friends here in Argentina. They’ve taught me salsa, merengue, bachata, and more dances over the last year and I’ve learned to love them! One night a couple weekends ago, we went out to this bar in San Telmo and danced for hours. I didn’t get home until 5 or so in the morning! It was such a fun night and made discover how far the Lord has brought me in my time here in Argentina. It wasn’t a super-spiritual moment, but still meaningful because I was able to see how the Lord has truly formed a life for me here in Buenos Aires.

15. What attribute of God are you finding most difficult to grasp? Why?

            I think I’ve struggled a lot to understand God’s grace. I’m really hard on myself and I struggle a lot with accepting who I am in light of who God is. It’s hard to believe that someone so perfect can love me so much. As a result, it’s hard for me to give grace to others. This is one area I really hope the Lord will start transforming in my life.

16. Describe an embarrassing moment.

German: Che, mira tu brazo! (putting his hand around my arm to demonstrate how small it is)

            Me: Tengo huevos chiquitos….

….

            No!!! Huesos! Huesos chiquitos!!!!

For those of you who don’t speak Spanish…. I’m sorry, but some things are just better left unsaid.

17. Has there been a book of the Bible or verses that have encouraged and/or challenged your faith?

 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their good with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”       Acts 2:42-47

18. Describe a time (or times) where you shared your faith and saw God working through you.

            Well God has definitely been faithful this year and I have been able to see him moving in such incredible ways. I think the coolest thing has been seeing him work through me to reach Sofia.  I had just begun doing surveys on my own, and each time was a struggle for me- not only with the language, but in taking risks and stepping out in faith. So, whenever I met Sofia on Economics I  was doubtful that the Lord would move so powerfully!  During our conversation, It was so incredible to see that light go off for her in understanding God’s grace. Since that one conversation, we’ve become such good friends, and as I walk with her, this continuous journey has been so fun! I’m constantly encouraged by how God is drawing her into a relationship with Him.  Just recently she went on a retreat with us and expressed how the Lord just made everything “click”. Now, she has returned to BA with a heart to not only seek the Lord each and everyday, but to also share Christ with those around her. She recently said at our Vida meeting, “I want to belong to the generation that makes a change in the world.” God is POWERFUL. 

Unfulfilled.
Frustrated.
Struggling.

These 3 words are an accurate description of my journey over the last decade in my relationship with the Lord. I’m a perfectionist by nature and my walk with the Lord is no exception. In high school, I was arrogant, trying to prove myself to others, to myself, and even to the Lord by making sure I didn’t “screw up” in front of others, especially non-believers.  I was legalistic, judgmental and secretly frustrated in my inability to achieve perfection. In college, I went through my own version of rebellion- abandoning many of my previous standards out of exasperation and desperation for change. I was no longer the pedantic Christian, but had instead transformed into an apathetic bystander in my relationship with the Lord. It wasn’t until this past year on STINT that the Lord started to reveal to me the cause of my malaise.  
Naturally, Argentina has cultivated my spiritual growth in a lot of ways, but probably the most valuable thing I will take away from my experience is how the Lord has revealed his very nature to me in such a fresh way. Over the past year, I’ve become more acquainted with the person of the Holy Spirit and as a result have been able to experience more intimacy in my relationship with the Lord.
I just recently finished reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan, which deals with this third identity of God, whom is often neglected.  As Chan describes his sin struggles and the disconnect they caused between himself and the Lord, it was easy to connectwith his sentiments: “I wanted to prove that I was sorry for what I did by being faithful for a period of time… I wanted God to see that I could be a good servant… But God didn’t want a good slave that tried really hard. He wanted me to see that He was a good Father. He wants intimacy” (emphasis mine).
So many times I think that the end I’m striving for is this state of perfection: never sinning, always doing the “right thing”, and with total and complete humility. Easy enough, right??
As I read this book and as the Lord began to reveal to me the power of the Holy Spirit, I was reminded that this is not the goal. The greatest error I was committing was not the fight against the sins in my life, but it was that in trying to overcome these sins, I was taking complete control of everything. I was trying to work things out in my own strength to prove that I was a “good servant”. Christ’s mission, however, in going to the cross was not because He wanted us to lead these perfect lives in response. Christ went to the cross because He loves us and desires intimacy with us that was only possible through His sacrifice.
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)
And now, God, by giving us the Holy Spirit, desires for us to experience that intimacy daily by surrendering complete control to Him and allowing Him to transform us.  The frustration I was experiencing in my life wasn’t caused by my failures, but by my control.
I wish I could say this was an easy learning process, but it wasn’t. Giving up control can be painful and scary, but there is nothing greater than seeing the Lord work through our lives in the ways that He desires. When I think about the fact that the same God I serve is the creator of the Universe, who understands the complexities and intricacies of the Human body, who is the same God who called the galaxies into being, and is the same God who controls the storms, I’m suddenly left with a different perspective. If God left His Holy Spirit to live and dwell in me, WHY would I not claim that gift?! Romans 8:9 states “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” So then, the question for those of us who believe is not: “Do I have the Holy Spirit?” but rather, “Am I allowing the Holy Spirit to work powerfully in my life?”.
As we read through scripture, there is great evidence of God moving because of how the Church was relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to heal and to save the lost. These famous verses in Acts 2, just shortly after the Pentecost, are just one example of this:
“And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together, and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:43-47)
Francis Chan concludes his book describing how different the Church would look if we were consistently guided by the Holy Spirit in this same way. As Chan reflects on his own story, he states, “I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit.”
 How would you explain your life if someone asked? Is it even possible to tell your story without mentioning the Lord or is there a necessity for supernatural power? As we reflect on these challenges, my prayer is that we would surrender all things to the Lord and allow Him to work mightily in our lives for the sake of His glory and His Kingdom.  

Unfulfilled.

Frustrated.

Struggling.

These 3 words are an accurate description of my journey over the last decade in my relationship with the Lord. I’m a perfectionist by nature and my walk with the Lord is no exception. In high school, I was arrogant, trying to prove myself to others, to myself, and even to the Lord by making sure I didn’t “screw up” in front of others, especially non-believers.  I was legalistic, judgmental and secretly frustrated in my inability to achieve perfection. In college, I went through my own version of rebellion- abandoning many of my previous standards out of exasperation and desperation for change. I was no longer the pedantic Christian, but had instead transformed into an apathetic bystander in my relationship with the Lord. It wasn’t until this past year on STINT that the Lord started to reveal to me the cause of my malaise.  

Naturally, Argentina has cultivated my spiritual growth in a lot of ways, but probably the most valuable thing I will take away from my experience is how the Lord has revealed his very nature to me in such a fresh way. Over the past year, I’ve become more acquainted with the person of the Holy Spirit and as a result have been able to experience more intimacy in my relationship with the Lord.

I just recently finished reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan, which deals with this third identity of God, whom is often neglected.  As Chan describes his sin struggles and the disconnect they caused between himself and the Lord, it was easy to connectwith his sentiments: “I wanted to prove that I was sorry for what I did by being faithful for a period of time… I wanted God to see that I could be a good servant… But God didn’t want a good slave that tried really hard. He wanted me to see that He was a good Father. He wants intimacy” (emphasis mine).

So many times I think that the end I’m striving for is this state of perfection: never sinning, always doing the “right thing”, and with total and complete humility. Easy enough, right??

As I read this book and as the Lord began to reveal to me the power of the Holy Spirit, I was reminded that this is not the goal. The greatest error I was committing was not the fight against the sins in my life, but it was that in trying to overcome these sins, I was taking complete control of everything. I was trying to work things out in my own strength to prove that I was a “good servant”. Christ’s mission, however, in going to the cross was not because He wanted us to lead these perfect lives in response. Christ went to the cross because He loves us and desires intimacy with us that was only possible through His sacrifice.

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)

And now, God, by giving us the Holy Spirit, desires for us to experience that intimacy daily by surrendering complete control to Him and allowing Him to transform us.  The frustration I was experiencing in my life wasn’t caused by my failures, but by my control.

I wish I could say this was an easy learning process, but it wasn’t. Giving up control can be painful and scary, but there is nothing greater than seeing the Lord work through our lives in the ways that He desires. When I think about the fact that the same God I serve is the creator of the Universe, who understands the complexities and intricacies of the Human body, who is the same God who called the galaxies into being, and is the same God who controls the storms, I’m suddenly left with a different perspective. If God left His Holy Spirit to live and dwell in me, WHY would I not claim that gift?! Romans 8:9 states “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” So then, the question for those of us who believe is not: “Do I have the Holy Spirit?” but rather, “Am I allowing the Holy Spirit to work powerfully in my life?”.

As we read through scripture, there is great evidence of God moving because of how the Church was relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to heal and to save the lost. These famous verses in Acts 2, just shortly after the Pentecost, are just one example of this:

“And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together, and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:43-47)

Francis Chan concludes his book describing how different the Church would look if we were consistently guided by the Holy Spirit in this same way. As Chan reflects on his own story, he states, “I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit.”

 How would you explain your life if someone asked? Is it even possible to tell your story without mentioning the Lord or is there a necessity for supernatural power? As we reflect on these challenges, my prayer is that we would surrender all things to the Lord and allow Him to work mightily in our lives for the sake of His glory and His Kingdom.  

 
"Blessed are those who dwell in your house, eversinging your praise! Selah" ((Psalm 84:4))
Blessing number one: permission to go to the States!
 A couple weeks ago I was blessed with the opportunity to visit the States for a wedding of a great friend of mine. I had planned and prepared for weeks and the time had finally arrived for me to hop in a taxi and head to the Ezeiza International Airport. I called ahead the preceding day for a remis, a taxi that is ideal for traveling longer distances because they charge based on distance, not on time. The remis was scheduled to pick me up from my apartment at 7 and shuttle me to Ezeiza. In my experience if there is one thing I could count on to be on time in Argentina (or so I thought), it was the remis companies. However, I anxiously watched the minutes go by… 7:00, 7:05, 7:15, 7:20…. No remis. I called the company and they informed me that the driver was unreachable and that because of traffic they would not be able to send another with sufficient time. Therefore, my best bet would be to grab a taxi off the street as soon as possible and pray that it didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Blessing number two: remis doesn’t show up. 
In my frustration, my roommates and I hurriedly took my suitcases down the elevator and onto the street. I hailed the first available cab, unaware of what would unfold in the next hour. The chauffer was affable and helpful, grabbing my bags and placing them in the trunk. I said my “see you later”s, shut the door, and took a deep breath. At last, I was on my way!  I quickly thanked the driver for his willingness to make the long drive to the airport and explained how my remis failed to show up. He was very understanding and asked me how much the remis was charging for my trip. “100 pesos más tarifa”, I responded (about 25 dollars plus tolls). The chauffer, whom I would later come to know as Horacio, smiled and out of compassion, agreed to drive me for the same rate.
Blessing number three: generous taxi driver.
Now in order to understand what happened next, I’ll first need to digress. A few weeks prior to my trip I had heard a compelling story about the late Bill Bright, founder and former president of Campus Crusade for Christ.  Bright was truly a man of God with a huge heart for the Gospel. He was also, however, a busy man. With trips and conferences all over the world, one could imagine his agenda was pretty jam-packed. However, there was one thing that made Bill Bright different than the average businessman. His business was the Kingdom of God and his product was the Gospel. No matter where He went or whom He spoke with, Bright was careful “to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share” (1 Tim 6:18, emphasis added).  The last line of this verse is perhaps what most characterized the ministry of Bill Bright; he was always willing to share the transforming power of the Gospel.
This is where my story comes into play. A friend of a friend of a friend once worked as Bill Bright’s personal assistant. Working this closely with Bright, his assistant attested strongly to his faith. He recounted that whenever they would travel overseas, the first thing Bright would do was share the Gospel with the taxi driver, many times even having to rely on a translator. His overflowing passion for the message of Christ made it virtually impossible for him to NOT share.
Which brings me back to Horacio. After his generous offer, my heart had calmed down from its previous frustrated and anxious state, and I began to engage in small talk. As I recognized the Lord’s blessing of a friendly and generous taxi driver, I remembered the faith and passion of Bill Bright.
Blessing number four: remembering Bill Bright’s legacy.
Remembering his faith, I was compelled to share with Horacio. Because I work for a Christian organization, it’s not always difficult to strike up spiritual conversations. Our small talk had quickly reached a deeper level as I explained what my job in Argentina entails. I explained that I spend the majority of my time on the university talking with the students about what it means to have a relationship with God. When I had finished unfolding my life in Buenos Aires, I could tell Horacio was engrossed in the conversation, more so than the normal response. I took a deep breath and, being thrust forward by the Holy Spirit, asked, “Y vos? Qué crees?”- What about you? What do you believe?
Blessing number five: out-of-character, God given, boldness
Horacio didn’t even blink at my question. He didn’t feel awkward talking about spiritual things, but rather, seemed comforted by the opportunity to express openly who He was and what He believed. Horacio explained that he was born into a Jewish family (not a surprising fact- B.A. has the 3rd largest Jewish population in the world), but was not a practicing Jew and that his wife was Catholic. He didn’t seemed to have any truly formed beliefs other than the fact that He believed God existed. Horacio opened up about his desire to know God, but couldn’t seem to overcome his doubts. Finding a pause in the conversation, I briefly explained a little of my own journey in discovering God and how more than believing in a religion, I had attained the most valuable thing in my life: a personal relationship with Christ.
Horacio and I tn hebegan to talk about lighter subjects, and I was content with the conversation the Lord had provided. Little did I know… God had not finished working.
Over the last few minutes, Horacio had been processing everything I had said and interrupted our small talk to ask, “How did you achieve this relationship with God?” Shocked but excited, I carefully went through the Gospel with Him. I used my knowledge of the four spiritual laws, and my own experience to expound on what it means to truly follow Christ. I started by describing God- a loving Father, infinite creator of the Universe, personal, yet perfect, who has a plan for each and every one of us.  Then, in comparison to God, described who we are- imperfect, broken, and lost individuals, desperate to fill our emptiness with something, anything, that will satisfy our longings. I explained the broken relationship between God and mankind because of our sinfulness and that only one person, one sacrifice, could reconcile this brokenness: Jesus Christ. I told Horacio that Christ lived a perfect life, and then died for each of us, becoming the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, and in three days, resurrected so that we might have eternal life with Him. I explained how Christ fills the void in each of us and that everything else only lasts for a season, but that Christ’s satisfaction is eternal. I explained to him that despite my doubts and unanswered questions, I had made a personal decision, by faith, to follow Christ, and that He had changed my life forever. Horacio then asked me if I believe that God answers my prayers. I didn’t hesitate to say yes, smiling at the irony of his question in that He, in fact, was an answer to prayer. I told Horacio that God often answers us, we just aren’t always paying attention, or that maybe He answers us in a way we might not expect.
Blessing number six: opportunity to share the Gospel
Horacio was left speechless at the beauty of the Gospel. We marveled at the greatness of God, but again, the subject changed momentarily.  “The traffic isn’t as bad as we thought it would be tonight,” Horatio commented. “See, God does answer prayers,” I responded with a grin. Horatio smiled back, pondering the truthfulness of the statement.
Recently I finished reading a book called “The Case for Faith”, by Lee Strobel, a former journalist and a now well-known Christian apologist.  The book breaks down 8 major oppositions to the Christian faith and Strobel’s own discovery of truth.  I recommended the book to Horacio, knowing that it was available in Spanish as well. He was so interested in obtaining a copy that when I told him I had one in the apartment, he whipped out his business card and told me to call him as soon as I returned from the States.
Blessing number seven: opportunity for follow-up
We exchanged contact information, and I strategically wrote mine on the back of a 4 laws booklet I had placed in my backpack only 30 minutes before, making a joke with my roommates that I was “pulling a Bill Bright”.
Blessing number eight: 4 laws booklet in my backpack
As we neared the airport, Horacio told me that just that morning his wife made a comment that He really needed to find a relationship with God. Horacio and I both agreed that our encounter had not been by coincidence. We said our goodbyes and I made my way to my gate with a full heart and an increase of faith. I’m so glad God’s plans are better than mine.
…
Today, I met up with Horacio and gave him a copy of “The Case for Faith”. He mentioned that He wanted to bring his family to my church. I have no doubt that God is moving in BIG ways in his life and I am anxious to see how the Lord speaks to Him through the book. Please be praying for his search for truth.

"Blessed are those who dwell in your house, eversinging your praise! Selah" ((Psalm 84:4))

Blessing number one: permission to go to the States!

A couple weeks ago I was blessed with the opportunity to visit the States for a wedding of a great friend of mine. I had planned and prepared for weeks and the time had finally arrived for me to hop in a taxi and head to the Ezeiza International Airport. I called ahead the preceding day for a remis, a taxi that is ideal for traveling longer distances because they charge based on distance, not on time. The remis was scheduled to pick me up from my apartment at 7 and shuttle me to Ezeiza. In my experience if there is one thing I could count on to be on time in Argentina (or so I thought), it was the remis companies. However, I anxiously watched the minutes go by… 7:00, 7:05, 7:15, 7:20…. No remis. I called the company and they informed me that the driver was unreachable and that because of traffic they would not be able to send another with sufficient time. Therefore, my best bet would be to grab a taxi off the street as soon as possible and pray that it didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Blessing number two: remis doesn’t show up.

In my frustration, my roommates and I hurriedly took my suitcases down the elevator and onto the street. I hailed the first available cab, unaware of what would unfold in the next hour. The chauffer was affable and helpful, grabbing my bags and placing them in the trunk. I said my “see you later”s, shut the door, and took a deep breath. At last, I was on my way! I quickly thanked the driver for his willingness to make the long drive to the airport and explained how my remis failed to show up. He was very understanding and asked me how much the remis was charging for my trip. “100 pesos más tarifa”, I responded (about 25 dollars plus tolls). The chauffer, whom I would later come to know as Horacio, smiled and out of compassion, agreed to drive me for the same rate.

Blessing number three: generous taxi driver.

Now in order to understand what happened next, I’ll first need to digress. A few weeks prior to my trip I had heard a compelling story about the late Bill Bright, founder and former president of Campus Crusade for Christ. Bright was truly a man of God with a huge heart for the Gospel. He was also, however, a busy man. With trips and conferences all over the world, one could imagine his agenda was pretty jam-packed. However, there was one thing that made Bill Bright different than the average businessman. His business was the Kingdom of God and his product was the Gospel. No matter where He went or whom He spoke with, Bright was careful “to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share” (1 Tim 6:18, emphasis added). The last line of this verse is perhaps what most characterized the ministry of Bill Bright; he was always willing to share the transforming power of the Gospel.

This is where my story comes into play. A friend of a friend of a friend once worked as Bill Bright’s personal assistant. Working this closely with Bright, his assistant attested strongly to his faith. He recounted that whenever they would travel overseas, the first thing Bright would do was share the Gospel with the taxi driver, many times even having to rely on a translator. His overflowing passion for the message of Christ made it virtually impossible for him to NOT share.

Which brings me back to Horacio. After his generous offer, my heart had calmed down from its previous frustrated and anxious state, and I began to engage in small talk. As I recognized the Lord’s blessing of a friendly and generous taxi driver, I remembered the faith and passion of Bill Bright.

Blessing number four: remembering Bill Bright’s legacy.

Remembering his faith, I was compelled to share with Horacio. Because I work for a Christian organization, it’s not always difficult to strike up spiritual conversations. Our small talk had quickly reached a deeper level as I explained what my job in Argentina entails. I explained that I spend the majority of my time on the university talking with the students about what it means to have a relationship with God. When I had finished unfolding my life in Buenos Aires, I could tell Horacio was engrossed in the conversation, more so than the normal response. I took a deep breath and, being thrust forward by the Holy Spirit, asked, “Y vos? Qué crees?”- What about you? What do you believe?

Blessing number five: out-of-character, God given, boldness

Horacio didn’t even blink at my question. He didn’t feel awkward talking about spiritual things, but rather, seemed comforted by the opportunity to express openly who He was and what He believed. Horacio explained that he was born into a Jewish family (not a surprising fact- B.A. has the 3rd largest Jewish population in the world), but was not a practicing Jew and that his wife was Catholic. He didn’t seemed to have any truly formed beliefs other than the fact that He believed God existed. Horacio opened up about his desire to know God, but couldn’t seem to overcome his doubts. Finding a pause in the conversation, I briefly explained a little of my own journey in discovering God and how more than believing in a religion, I had attained the most valuable thing in my life: a personal relationship with Christ.

Horacio and I tn hebegan to talk about lighter subjects, and I was content with the conversation the Lord had provided. Little did I know… God had not finished working.

Over the last few minutes, Horacio had been processing everything I had said and interrupted our small talk to ask, “How did you achieve this relationship with God?” Shocked but excited, I carefully went through the Gospel with Him. I used my knowledge of the four spiritual laws, and my own experience to expound on what it means to truly follow Christ. I started by describing God- a loving Father, infinite creator of the Universe, personal, yet perfect, who has a plan for each and every one of us. Then, in comparison to God, described who we are- imperfect, broken, and lost individuals, desperate to fill our emptiness with something, anything, that will satisfy our longings. I explained the broken relationship between God and mankind because of our sinfulness and that only one person, one sacrifice, could reconcile this brokenness: Jesus Christ. I told Horacio that Christ lived a perfect life, and then died for each of us, becoming the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, and in three days, resurrected so that we might have eternal life with Him. I explained how Christ fills the void in each of us and that everything else only lasts for a season, but that Christ’s satisfaction is eternal. I explained to him that despite my doubts and unanswered questions, I had made a personal decision, by faith, to follow Christ, and that He had changed my life forever. Horacio then asked me if I believe that God answers my prayers. I didn’t hesitate to say yes, smiling at the irony of his question in that He, in fact, was an answer to prayer. I told Horacio that God often answers us, we just aren’t always paying attention, or that maybe He answers us in a way we might not expect.

Blessing number six: opportunity to share the Gospel

Horacio was left speechless at the beauty of the Gospel. We marveled at the greatness of God, but again, the subject changed momentarily. “The traffic isn’t as bad as we thought it would be tonight,” Horatio commented. “See, God does answer prayers,” I responded with a grin. Horatio smiled back, pondering the truthfulness of the statement.

Recently I finished reading a book called “The Case for Faith”, by Lee Strobel, a former journalist and a now well-known Christian apologist. The book breaks down 8 major oppositions to the Christian faith and Strobel’s own discovery of truth. I recommended the book to Horacio, knowing that it was available in Spanish as well. He was so interested in obtaining a copy that when I told him I had one in the apartment, he whipped out his business card and told me to call him as soon as I returned from the States.

Blessing number seven: opportunity for follow-up

We exchanged contact information, and I strategically wrote mine on the back of a 4 laws booklet I had placed in my backpack only 30 minutes before, making a joke with my roommates that I was “pulling a Bill Bright”.

Blessing number eight: 4 laws booklet in my backpack

As we neared the airport, Horacio told me that just that morning his wife made a comment that He really needed to find a relationship with God. Horacio and I both agreed that our encounter had not been by coincidence. We said our goodbyes and I made my way to my gate with a full heart and an increase of faith. I’m so glad God’s plans are better than mine.

Today, I met up with Horacio and gave him a copy of “The Case for Faith”. He mentioned that He wanted to bring his family to my church. I have no doubt that God is moving in BIG ways in his life and I am anxious to see how the Lord speaks to Him through the book. Please be praying for his search for truth.