It seems that since we made the decision to accept God's call to missions, we have made a lot of new friends. It's been great, but kind of sad. Now that we have to leave, there are even more wonderful people we have to say goodbye to. Only a very few we will get the pleasure of seeing again soon.
Lee and Dori are new friends the Lord has so graciously and unexpectedly brought into our lives.
And it's a really cool story how God brought us together.
Lee and Dori were missionaries in Peru for 8 years, then they moved to Argentina to continue the same work. After six months there, they came back to the States to resolve visa issues and have a baby. They are currently getting ready to return to Argentina in just a few weeks!
|Lee and Dori visiting with us (sorry, guys - not the greatest picture -|
but the few I took didn't turn out so well! You can kill me later. :))
Sometime back in March Dori left a comment on our blog. I clicked on over to theirs, read a bit, and also commented.
After hooking up via the blogosphere, we started emailing, Facebooking, and talking over the phone. We shared experiences, talked missions, the Lord, and Argentina. For hours. We just loved them immediately. I think we found kindred spirits in one another.
They are currently in Georgia with family, but have relatives in our area. So when they came up to visit Dori's grandparents with her parents and the new baby in tow, they swung by our place so we could finally meet in person. They stayed for two days. It was great to finally meet them after months of communicating over the phone and Internet. We had a great time: we talked the Lord, missions, and Argentina for two days straight. Even our two-year olds became good friends - it was so cute! They still like talking to each other over the phone - it's so adorable to listen to two toddlers have a happy little conversation over the phone. lol
Back when I initially read their website, they had posted something last year that they were praying for another couple to work with. I read that and thought, "Oh, I hope they find someone. I'm sure they will. God will answer that prayer." Maybe I even said a prayer for them, although I don't remember.
By the time they came up to visit they were seeking the Lord's direction on where to go upon their return to Argentina. They had been in Ushuaia, also located in Patagonia, but 30 hours south by car of where we will be. We kind of lamented that they would be so far away, and too bad they weren't closer, seeing as they were the only other missionaries we had contact with in all of Patagonia besides Edgardo. But even though that was a little disappointing, we promised to visit - maybe even for Christmas.
When they came up we discussed the possibility of them going to Neuquen instead of Ushuaia. Why not? One of the things they had found that was difficult in Ushuaia was that they didn't have any contacts, and it was difficult to meet people. Tony suggested they just come to Neuquen - there, at least, they knew us, and we had a few contacts. The more we talked and prayed, the idea began to take shape: they wouldn't have to be alone, we wouldn't have to be alone, we were already friends, we would have someone to speak English with if we ever wanted or needed to, and we could all work together.
They called up Edgardo (the pastor there), talked at length about what they do, and we all continued praying. Lee was very impressed with what they do and how they do it.
It turns out (and we didn't know this at the time) that Edgardo, the pastors, and the church have been praying that God would send workers. As we talked more with him about not wanting to be a burden to them (they offered to find a house for us to rent, and would pay our first months rent - imagine that, a humble, third world church paying the rent of the rich first world missionaries), we wanted to be a blessing, Edgardo told us to please do him a favor and not waste one more second in worrying about it - they believed that God was in this, and to just come down. Us and them.
So now we're all going to Neuquen. And we're all really excited and happy about it! :)
We are thrilled, and just in awe of God.
I remember many, many months ago mentioning to someone at church that the last time I lived in Argentina I didn't have any friends. It was very hard to make friends for some reason. This woman (although I can't for the life of me remember who it was) just looked up at me sweetly and said, "Ohhhh... I'll pray then that the Lord give you friends." I thought that was so sweet, and then proceeded to forget all about it. I remembered that only after we met Lee and Dori - I guess she really did pray. God has been so kind to give us friends before we leave! How good is He? Tony and I often look at each other, shake our heads, and just go, "Wow. This is amazing. Isn't this amazing?". Él es bueno de verdad. He is truly good.
So, God answered the native church's prayer for workers, Lee and Dori's prayer for another couple, prayers we never thought to pray for ourselves, and the prayers of others for us.
"For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." ~Matthew 6:8
As it is now, Lee and Dori plan to arrive in Patagonia a few weeks before us. Once we arrive in Buenos Aires and get our things out of customs (Lord-willing, without event), we'll meet up with our little growing team in Neuquen.
It's a good start.