Thursday, May 31, 2012

I always knew SOUTH was better....

We started our journey to South America Wednesday morning -- meeting at Sky Harbor at 10:15 am.

Mission Grupo.

To say I had misgivings about getting through security without my whole team (without Wade, Little Red and Uncle Len) would be exaggerating a bit....but only the tiniest little bit. And if I am honest, I will say that the only  reason I wasn't so nervous about security is because I was too busy worrying about the flight from Dallas to Argentina. Ten hours in the air. International flight. Customs. Immigration. Baggage claim. All after, did I say it already, TEN hours in the air.

But, as often as I gave it over to God, He shouldered the worries. As often as I outlined every stressor, all the things I feared could go wrong and every little minute anxiety, He filled my heart with peace. I worried about that even....perhaps I was just in denial??

But oh no. The peace -- well, it was straight from God. Straight from Him who assembled THIS team. This group of teenagers willing to do whatever is called for in order that Benjamin and Mason could be part of the team.

Apparently a cell phone company in Argentina...but I loved that it looks like everything is SIMPLE with Claire!! Makes me smile because frankly, my sweet girl does make life so much simpler for me in so many ways!

After flying all night -- and sleeping very little -- we arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina this morning and were greeted by the warmest airport staff I have ever met. As these kind men and women scurried to push wheelchairs, navigate immigration and gather our bags, we quickly learned that while I may be on my first visit to Argentina, I am clearly an Argentine at heart. I LOVE the kisses shared in greeting and parting. Such a lovely gesture to express my gratitude for the warmth being shone my family. I am getting choked up just typing. Really, we so need to embrace this custom!!

Founder and Director of SACDEM ministry.

Our first day was spent learning about the mission of SACDEM ministry. I won't even try to get the translation correct because all you need to know is that this amazing group seeks to serve those that society says are unworthy and better off forgotten -- prisoners and the mentally ill.

As Daniel, the founder, shared his testimony, I could not stop myself from weeping. He shared how he himself was sentenced to a psychiatric hospital for crimes committed. How the barren cell with no bed did things to his head, made him go even further into mental delusions and breakdowns. He spoke of violent behavior. He spoke of a life over. At 22 years of age. Until. Oh, I love the drama of the word until -- until someone asked him to read the Bible out loud for them. The power in the words came to life. The power changed him. And for the last almost 30 years, he has worked to shine that power for others in despair.

His obvious heart for Benjamin made me smile -- he came straight to us as we exited the bus.

Tomorrow, this group of teenagers will have an opportunity to stand along beside Daniel, his lovely wife, Marie-Elena and their staff and minister to women at a local prison.

Mason will share his first sermon. My Mason. Will you pray for his words??

Nearly exhausted. Having been in the same clothes for 36 plus hours. We left SACDEM and headed back to our church eager to meet our host families. I wasn't sure what to expect. And had I not been so obsessed with worrying about the long flight here, I probably would have worried about ours. But I didn't. And I am so thankful I didn't waste the worry.

Dear Leila and her brother, Jairo, have opened their home to us. These amazing siblings live next door to their father on one side and their grandmother on the other. Their Mom died a few years ago and they are very close. (Sounds like a sister and brother I know....except it was our Dad that died...) They are so gracious to welcome us with open arms, warm hearts and just the dearest hugs ever. We are collapsing into bed tonight -- well past midnight (Argentines dine late and entertain even later!) but with smiles on our faces. Mason has already said he intends to be back again and again to this lovely place.

Showered and ready to party with Leila!

(Now, if I just had mi esposo y pequito rojo -- and if that didn't say husband and little red, don't correct me -- I'd doze right off as well....)

Blessings from South America, mi amigos, I promise to update again soon but for now, Chau!


Amy said...

What a great opportunity you guys have been given! Praying for you and your family from all the way in Mississippi!