Friday, June 15, 2012

At a loss.

We are home. And I desperately want to tell you about our trip. There were so many highs. A few lows. Some challenges and some amazing victories.

Claire getting kisses from her host brother, Renzo.

But words escape me. I think sometimes, we can be paralyzed by an inability to share the depths of an experience. And our time in Argentina was deep, moving, life-changing. And yes, sometimes, hard.

Sweet NEW sisters!

The people we had a privilege to encounter in Argentina were simply amazing. They were warm, loving, welcoming and have impacted our hearts forever. Honestly, my heart aches with the loss of their daily presence (and I know my kids feel the same way.).

Our family!

And because our family is crazy...we had to have a crazy picture! :)

Benjamin stepped out on faith, leaving his power wheelchair behind in the States because we feared a lack of accessibility. We were right. Buenos Aires has narrow doorways, old sidewalks, and small cars. We would not have been able to transport the chair. As it was, we had a daily challenge of fitting his manual chair in and out of cars to get back and forth to the church where we met our team. One day, the driver used a bungee cord to keep it in the trunk. I didn't take a deep breath until we unloaded it!

With our two host families...oh, how we love this crowd!

One day, we took every single piece that could be removed off and then had to re-assembly the myriad of pieces before we could unload him.

New brothers -- Jairo and Benjamin.

One day, the driver, turned the chair around and around, and finally placed it upside down in the passenger seat while the three of us (Benjamin, Mason and I) squeezed into the back.

Our host home -- sigh. Family.

It was always an adventure. And as I felt the stress during our first taxi ride, Mason looked at me and said, "Mom, God's got this." I tried to rest in the faith of my boy for the duration!

The language barrier was a hurdle we worked to overcome. We did our Spanish lessons all year. We had our handy-dandy Spanish-English dictionary and goodness, we relied on Google Translate and amazing new friends who could interpret. But man, when you want to have an in-depth conversation with someone you have grown to love, it can be so frustrating to not speak the same language.

Claire's dear host family were placed in our lives for some very specific reasons -- that only God was aware of at the time of placement. Because Claire stepped out on faith, and stayed in a home away from me and the boys, she had the opportunity to encourage and inspire this dear family in ways that would not have been possible had she been with us. I am so proud of her -- so excited to have been on the front row of watching God visibly grow her through our two weeks. And so delighted to have new life-friends in Vivi and Renaldo, her host parents.

For sure, the most stress-free part of the trip was being with our host family. They were so warm, so welcoming and took such amazing care of us. I am ever-thankful.

Mate -- the drink of friendship, exudes warmth, love and generosity!

Our times of service were exciting. Mason shared in a women's prison and the beauty of his words made an impact on the women listening. We were able to fellowship afterwards and encourage these women to seek the hope of our Savior. It was a spirit-filled day that had tremendous impact on us all.

Benjamin shared at a high school -- two young girls with Cerebral Palsy were in his audience. Again, we were struck by the sovereignty of a God who had this trip ordained for us long before we thought about it!

Work days -- construction, painting, etc -- were more of a challenge for my boys. Mason jumped in where he could but Benjamin could only watch. I want to be honest here and say that watching is hard for 15-year-old boys. I want to be honest here and say that watching your boys hurt is hard for 40-something-year-old moms. 

And while I am being honest -- sometimes I forget. I forget that we aren't what the world calls "normal." That every family doesn't have crutches and a wheelchair. That all teenage boys aren't mine. And while I must say that the young men on this mission team were amazing -- simply amazing in their lifting Benjamin, carrying wheelchair parts, assembling wheelchair parts, etc -- they were teenage boys without the need of crutches and wheelchairs. And well, that was hard.

So, oh and I am loathe to say this, I am admitting here that I went to another continent, and perhaps the hardest part of that was being face-to-face with the fact that uh, we are different. There. I said it.

And yet, the best part of the trip was that we went to another continent and realized that even on the other side of the world, a hug translates as a hug. A kiss as a kiss. And really, we are all the same.

So while my words don't do it justice. And I can not possibly post the 1000 plus photos I took -- I hope you have a glimpse into the amazing journey God took us on. A glimpse into a ministry that so many of you were partners in -- and a glimpse into the blessing that was our trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

We will be back.


DoulaLauraC said...

Oh Carol, I know what you mean about wanting to write, and yet, having no idea how to put everything you experienced into words. We felt exactly the same way coming home from Rwanda. So much to say, but where do you begin?
I think you did an excellent job getting your thoughts down, and I loved seeing your pictures. What a blessing it was to you AND the people you came into contact with, I'm sure. Thank you (and that's to you AND your kids) for stepping out of your comfort zone to make an impact for Christ "to the ends of the earth!"

Greetings! said...

Carol, as always I am inspired by you ...and I UNDERSTAND! you. It is a great and glorious adventure that both reflects what we dont see while living our routine lives and what we suddenly know when we are moved from it, God IS the author and finisher of our daily lives. How awesome that in realizing the challenges of inability He gave you to those who would work through those obstacles to magnify your gifts. I often fear stepping out one day because I see the limitations of our son and yet I know God will provide for his needs when I am ready to trust and take those steps. I am so grateful for your transparency and bold faith to walk outside your comfort zone. Love you ooodles!

Breana said...

I never cease to be amazed at how GOOD God is! Is it not amazing how He always orchestrates everything in perfect ways that we could never imagine? What a blessing your blog is-- it reminds me of that every time I read it. You are all so real, so brave, so faithful. You are my inspiration-- I want to be a woman who has faith like yours.