One beautiful night this past summer my girlfriends and I were sitting outside having a drink and talking about life (basically, just like every other night last summer..). But, as we sat and talked about future plans I couldn’t help thinking that I just didn’t seem to get as excited about anything as Melissa does about Nursing, Rebecca about Literature, or Kristi about Social Justice. So, as we talked and in my frustration I vented to them: “I just don’t have a passion.” They, of course, jumped to my defense (cause they’re awesome friends!), and refused to believe that statement. We talked about my love for baking or for music. One of them even said, “Sure you do! God is your passion.” Now, I know that’s supposed to be a really honorable thing that she said and I am truly appreciative of the comment. But, as I linger on the subject a little more… I remain a little unsettled.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that they didn’t probably intend what I’m about to write, but because I’m the queen of over-analyzation, I’m going to write it anyway. (sorry, ladies…).
I am passionate about the Lord, and I pray that it’s as apparent as my friend stated. But, it’s not a passion like baking a cake, curling up with a good book, or even winning a case against a child abuser. All of these are great things and I love that my friends are so passionate about them, but really, in comparison to our God, they’re more like hobbies. I used to think that God was just a separate category of my life. I had my school category, my friend category, my family category, my work category, and then my religion category. As I started learning more about who God is and what He has done for me, I realized that He is much to large to be put in my “religion category,” but that He transcends into all aspects of my life. I desire to be passionate about the Lord, but not just when I’m sitting in Church or Bible Study, but when I’m hanging out with my friends, when I’m sitting at my computer, or when I’m relaxing with my family. I desire to be passionate about the Lord as a teacher, a baker, a translator, a social worker, or wherever else the Lord leads me. I do desire to have a vocational passion beyond just my love for the Lord, and I’m praying that He reveals His will for my life. But for now, I’m trusting in my One Great Love.
God is not my hobby. He’s not just something I pick up when I’m bored. He’s not just that part of my life on Sundays. He IS my life. He is my hope, my peace, my comfort, my love, my joy, my righteousness, my friend.
I hope He’s yours, too.
Well, friends, I thought it was time I did a little FAQ time, or for the non-techsaavy, “Frequently Asked Questions”. Many of you I’m sure have wondered some of the same things about my time here in Argentina, so I thought I’d answer a few of the most commonly asked questions, as well as some I just feel like throwing in for kicks…
Hope you enjoy and keep asking good questions! (Actually, There’s a link on my blog where you can ask whatever you want… pretty neat, right?)
1. What’s your favorite thing about Argentina?
Hands down, my favorite thing so far about being here is spending time with the people. The people here tirelessly pour out themselves for others. Being in the states I felt like it was a lot easier to be selfish or even isolated, but here it’s not so. The Argentines thrive off each other and their time together and it’s virtually impossible not to develop community. That’s my favorite thing.
2. What’s your least favorite thing about Argentina?
Aside from being so far away from friends and family, I really miss the organization in the States. Doing ministry is not often the easiest thing because most of the time I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do or how I’m supposed to accomplish it. I wish things were more organized, but I’ve noticed things changing in that aspect even since I got here. I don’t think there will ever be as much focus on organization here as in the States, but at least things are functioning better.. or maybe I’m just adjusting :)
3. Do you have air conditioning/heat?
I don’t have AC or heat in my apartment. But, the good thing is that our apartment is in the shade, so it hasn’t been miserably hot. And, there are really good fans in our rooms, so that’s nice. As far as heat… We have a space heater, so we should be fine throughout the winter.
4. What’s the food like in Argentina?
Probably one of the biggest adjustments for me has been this. The BEST food here are Steaks! Empanadas! and fresh fruit and veggies. They also have really good pizza… it’s different from the pizza in the States, but good. Oh man, and don’t even get me started on Choripan. There’s a sausage, called Chorizo, that you eat like a hotdog on a hoagie-type bread (“pan”), and it’s sooo delicious! Things I miss- Overall there isn’t as much variety, so I miss having all the options in the States. I have Peanut Butter with me, but I’m not looking forward to the day when my supply runs out. haha. Also, I miss Chik-fil-a and Moe’s… maybe I should stop before my mouth starts watering…
5. Do you get to come home at all?
So far I don’t have a plan to come home at all until next November. But, I definitely think time will fly by, and Skype has been such a blessing!
6. What’s the weather like?
Right now It’s warming up. It’s summer here now so the heat is starting to set in, but I’ve managed to still get by wearing jeans everyday.
7. What’s the Lord been teaching you?
SO MANY THINGS. Coming here the Lord has really humbled me and given me an even greater dependence on Him. I didn’t realize how inadequate I would feel, but I’m so grateful to know that it’s not about me and how prepared or capable I am. I definitely feel like my relationship with the Lord has flourished here. It’s so evident where He’s moving and all that He is doing. I constantly and consistently see him answering prayers. I guess recently the biggest thing I’m learning is just how God is so big. I really have just been in awe of how all powerful He is and yet how intimate He is with me. I could go on for days, but that’s a little summary..
8. How’s your Spanish? Are you fluent yet??
If there’s any question I dread answering.. this is it. haha. But, my Spanish, all glory to God, is getting better. I didn’t think this would be as big of a struggle for me as it has been, but I’m thankful for the challenge, and am excited everyday to feel like the language is becoming less and less of a barrier. I’m not fluent, and I don’t know really know how to define that anyway, but I will say I understand about 85% of conversations, but speaking is significantly more difficult.
9. What’s been the most challenging thing so far?
Probably learning a new culture and a new language. Even though I knew Spanish, the dialect/accent here is so different and I really knew nothing about Argentina before coming. It’s been such a challenge to discover how to deal with certain situations that require cultural sensitivity, but it’s also been rewarding to appreciate the differences and even learn from many of them.
10. How many people are on your team?
Right now we are 4 gringos (Americans), but there are lots more Argentines on our team. My boss is Charly, the director of Campus movements here in Buenos Aires. His boss is Marcelo, the director of all Crusade movements, not just campus, in BA. His boss is Mario, who is the national director of all things Crusade in Argentina. It’s pretty awesome to see the head honcho of Argentina on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. Plus, there’s a lot of wisdom to be found in our sede (our office). Also, we have another staff couple here that is full time on campus at the Architecture campus- Pablo and Etel, who are two of my favorites! There are lots of students involved as well! One student, Andres, from Colombia just became the director of the Agronomy campus. Two other students, Analia and Debo, work in the office as well as on campus with us. And there are many others who consistently do surveys with us: Leo, Eve, Dario, David, Jimena, and lots of others! It’s hard to put a number on how many people actually work with us, but we are definitely blessed to have the people we have. However, we are still consistently praying for labor, but the harvest in BA is PLENTIFUL.
11. What’s the campus like there?
At the University of Buenos Aires, there are 13 different campuses spread out all over the city. The University was actually created this way on purpose. Because it is government funded, they feared the students, if concentrated in one area, would gain too much power and unite together to overthrow the government. Pretty interesting fact! Each campus is distinct. I work on the Economics campus which is basically in the heart of the city. It’s full of people, really busy, and the architecture is BEAUTIFUL. Across the street is the Medical School, where Che Guavara (an extremely famous revolutionist) went to school. Because of Che, the school is FLOODED with political propoganda. But.. on a completely different side, there’s the Agronomy, or “Ag”, campus. The campus is rural, with dogs and cats in the streets, and a vet hospital. It has a very different feel from any of the other campus and is even a nice refuge from the rest of the busy city life.
12. How is your team dynamic? Is everyone getting along?
Our STINT team has really become each other’s family here. Being the only gringos, we’ve discovered our need for each other- when cultural differences creep in and we don’t understand, we’ve found that leaning on each other often makes things a lot easier. The four of us are all very different but God has blessed us with each other, in all our strengths and weaknesses, and I’m loving the opportunity to share life with these four awesome people!
As far as team dynamic with the Argentines.. I talked about that a little earlier. Often, we don’t always understand some of the cultural differences, but I’ve learned SO SO much from the things they value and their hearts for the lost. I looove the opportunity to serve another culture with people who are a part of it.
That’s all the questions I could think of and that I’ve received but let me know if there are other things you want to know! Thanks for reading and taking an interest in my life here! :)