My stomach churned as I sat in the airport in Portland, Maine, on my way to JFK airport in New York. Businessmen make the quick flight quite often, but this particular flight would never compare to a businessman’s journey, and the experience to be had could never be repeated or reenacted by anyone ever again. From New York, the plane flew me to Buenos Aires, Argentina; a place over 7,000 miles away from my home, away from the materialistic country I had known. The anxiousness in my stomach did not cease when the plane landed in South America, but soon turned a joy within my spirit that could not be matched because the faces of the children, the smell of the dusty air, and the passion in the hearts of the people could never leave me.
In Buenos Aires, I tasted the best beef in the world at Siga la Vaca, and the sweetest ice cream at Arnoldo’s. However, my life transforming journey began when we landed in Formosa, Argentina, and a land overtaken by drought. Throughout the week, I not only witnessed rain fall every day in a place that hadn’t seen rain in 8 months, but danced in the rain with my Argentine family singing the praises of the Lord. The only explanation I have for that is the Lord and his goodness! We were involved in classes with fellow Christians from all over northern Argentina where we learned how to evangelize and share our faith, then every afternoon our group, Argentinean and American alike, would break up into groups and go around to houses and invite the families to the children’s service we would have in the center of different villages every day. In the town square, we told the children and the parents who stood in the back about Jesus through songs, puppets, dramas and testimonies, and showed them the love of God through balloon animals and lollipops. Every night, we held a church service for anyone who would come in a white and yellow striped tent, always overwhelmed with dust; the foundation we helped build that week. I saw a man who hadn’t moved his legs in years after a stroke, move his leg up and down. I saw over fifty people come to know Christ, and men who entered the tent drunk, left sober. No one in this whole world can convince me that there is no God because I have seen my God work in the villages of Pirane.
Even though the barrier of language hindered me from talking in depth to my Spanish-speaking friends, I felt a bond- a connection -which I had never felt in any relationship before. The love we shared radiated from our smiles, and I fell in love with Argentina and the people who inhabit the country. The last night of our trip, I hugged and kissed the cheeks of every one of my newfound brothers and sisters saying “Te voy extronar” (I’ll miss you) and “Te amo mucho” (I love you much) countless times. The night of our departure, the group spoke of what God had done and the memories we shared, laughter overtaking us. However, before our plane took off from Buenos Aires, I realized that the trip had come to an end and I had to go back to my former home, and I felt the tears begin to stain my face. I pray that God will allow me to return to Pirane one day soon, so I could truly feel at home, in His will.
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