May 2, 2012

holiday weekend stuff

 Fall has finally come to Patagonia.

May is the equivalent of November back home, but I'm wondering if it ever really gets cold here in the northern Patagonian desert. Flies are still buzzing around and it's in the 70s today.

It was a four day holiday weekend. I'm feeling a little unmotivated to write about it. Must be the gray skies.

Friday night I thought Tony was dead. Or the car was stolen. I have an overactive imagination, my mind often going to worst case scenarios first, faith second. Tony had taken off for the gym and didn't come home at his usual time of 10pm. By 11 I had called him about 15 times but couldn't get ahold of him. He usually calls if he's running late, so I was worried when he didn't. I was sure his fanny pack got lifted from the gym, taking his keys and cell phone with it, therefore he was stranded and couldn't call. Or - even worse - the car got stolen, so that's why he was late. Of course! It's just a matter of time. I knew it! I told myself. Surely it will get stolen one of these days. Things always do. Then, by 11:30 and no Tony, my mind had him knifed and bleeding, lying by the side of the road, unable to call for help.

I really shouldn't let my mind get away from me like that, it's much too small to be left alone running around by itself.

Naturally, I could have killed him myself when I finally heard from him. Guys, it's bad enough to do stupid stuff like that to your wife in the States. It's almost unpardonable to do that to her when living in a Third World country. Just call, okay? Saying you forgot and didn't realize the time doesn't cut it.

Turns out Space Cadet had left his fanny pack and cell in the car and, in typical Tony fashion, had decided to stop by a friend's on the way home to chat. Without calling me. It was great. Really. I had myself widowed and moving back to the States by the time he remembered to call me.

After threats of "If you ever do that to me again I will kill you myself", he laughed at me (as usual), and we turned our attention to our busy weekend.

Pastors Conference in town all weekend. Three days, all day, non-stop. We hosted native missionaries - the same ones that hosted us when we were in Chos Malal last month. Lovely couple. Such great guests. You know, the kind you want to bless, but they just end up blessing you?

I stayed home all weekend with the kids, while Tony and our guests spent one 12-hour day after another at the conference. I missed all the action. One child was sick, the other two would have just run around unattended all weekend at the church, because that's what kids usually do at these things. There is never child care here, for church or any event. Parents just let the kids run wild and don't seem to worry about where they are or what they are doing. I've seen one year olds wander around for unbelievable amounts of time, completely unattended. It baffles me that they even survive. My kids at that age would find a ditch and fall into it, or a street and run out into it. I don't get why these kids don't, my kids never stayed on location if left to themselves. This is still a great mystery to me.

Tony helped paint the new church all weekend, between showing a movie or two at the conference and attending seminars and sermons. What I was sure would be the most tiring weekend ever, turned out to be the most restful. The kids and I spent way too many hours at home on Godvine watching videos. My eyes were red and puffy but happy. Funny how God ministers rest and rejuvination to us in unexpected ways. It was an extremely restful weekend, a true stay-cation. Ahhhh. Things are rarely that quiet here.

Delbert and Frida
We've never been big conference people, for lots of different reasons. But this is our second conference here in Patagonia, and we've really appreciated the opportunity to meet native missionaries and pastors scattered all over the region, doing hard things in hard places. There were a few Americans in town, as well. One couple who have been missionaries their entire lives.

Delbert is in his 80s and has been here in Argentina since 1952. His wife was a missionary for 17 years in Bolivia, then 28 in Argentina. They have retired here because, they say, at least here they can do something in their retirement. They are still active in missions. Amazing.

Before our guests left, we sat down and scribbled out plans over breakfast for the evangelistic event we are organizing near their town of Chos Malal later this month.

We will be taking a group of about a dozen people, most youth, from church here in the city up to the mountains for a three day mission trip to reach the unreached mountain people in their area. Stuff we love to do, and stuff it seems the Lord is really in. The response has been great, things are coming together wonderfully, and we are all very excited. Damian and Marta, missionaries, told us that they have been praying for years for help, and that we are an answer to their prayers. They have been working for ten years, mainly alone in their little town, and are pretty cut off by time and distance. They don't receive much help or visitors and there is a gap there of support they say. Our goal, we explained, is not that they would depend on us per se, but that we could mobilize the church here to go and do the work there. Maybe that is part of this burden we have to work with the youth. They are the next generation. They are the ones that will to carry on (or not) the work to go and make disciples. And we are thrilled that they jumped at the chance to go. They just needed the opportunity and someone to organize it.

Now we can see why, at least in part, God has called us to this region. Somebody was praying that God would send help. It's quite strange, and very humbling, to think that we are an answer to someone's prayer. Mostly it just shows that God is the One who does the work. We just need to listen and obey. I think most of us are listening, we just get stuck on the obey part. Obeying can cost, sometimes cost a great deal. We know. Maybe you do, too. Sacrifice is not natural, it's a supernatural choice which costs. It oftentimes pushes us over into the land of "partaking in His sufferings". And who wants that? Not me. Yeah, I want Jesus, but... I am okay with ignoring that verse in the Bible, Lord, if it's okay with you.

Poverty, illness, black widows, gunshots? Yeah, just not my bag. Thanks, Lord, but no thanks. Can we go home now?

We need each other, the Body. We can't do it alone. The Bible says we are co-laborers with Christ, but the arm can't do more than what the arm is designed to do. The arm needs the rest of the body behind it. When the Body of Christ works together towards the Great Commission, it is really Christ working to bring about his kingdom here on earth. I always find it amazing that He could do it any way, but He choses to do it through us.


No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails