Exhausted But Exhilarated

As I am writing this blog post, I am sitting in the Houston, Texas airport after our ten hour flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina, waiting for our connecting flight to Detroit, Michigan. I am physically and emotionally exhausted, not just from the long flight with very little sleep, but also from a long week of work on the future church building that Andrew Self will be starting in Vicente Lopez. In spite of my exhaustion, I can’t express how positive of an experience this trip was for me. Having never been a part of a foreign mission’s trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect; and I am a person who likes to be informed. For this trip that desire was simply impossible, which required me put my faith and trust in God that much more. And boy, did God come through in some very amazing ways.

I know that this trip was bathed in a lot of prayers by a lot of people, and for that I cannot express my thanks enough. We needed everyone of those prayers. I also know that this trip was invested in financially by many as well, which helped us to get to Argentina to begin with. Again, thank you.

In light of the prayer and financial investments made by many, I wanted to give you a one quick highlight from the trip so that it might be an encouragement to you that your investment was worth it. The highlight I want to share with you is about a man by the name of Carlos. Carlos is an Argentinean hired by Andrew to oversee the construction and remodel of the building. He is extremely skilled in what he does, having over 40 years of experience in construction as he started working with his dad when he was 12. While Carlos could not speak a word of English, it didn’t take long for us to realize what a gentle and kind man he was. Working through translators, he helped us to understand how things were done there compared to here in the U.S. We all really enjoyed working with Carlos, and at the end of the week he asked if he could get a picture taken with all of us so that he could remember us. So, on Friday, at the end of the work day, we took that picture and Carlos left.

Later that night, as we all sat around in a circle in the now renovated building, Andrew’s wife Romina told us Carlos’ story, which she did not know until that day. In talking with him that day, Romina found out that Carol’s wife died just about two years ago, leaving him with four kids, 19 years of age and younger. He travels about 2 hours to get to Vicente Lopez, and then two hours home, at which time he has to make dinner and help his kids with their school work. He is still struggling with the loss of his wife, and is struggling with helping his kids to cope with it as well. He hasn’t been much of a church goer since becoming an adult, but told Romina that after working this week with us, and seeing the love and care that we expressed towards one another, he is thinking about going to the church in Don Quantro to see if he could find the same love and care there.

After hearing his story, there wasn’t a dry eye among us. Individuals like Carlos were exactly why we went all the way to Argentina. Please be in prayer for Carlos and his children. Pray for their salvation. Pray that Andrew and Romina will be able to have some further spiritual conversations with him as he continues to work on the building there. I won’t soon forget the name and face of Carlos, and I hope you won’t either.

Before closing out this blog post, I would like to express my extreme thanks to Matt Dosh and Jan Wood for their leadership on this trip. Matt took over a lot of the leadership in order to make this trip happen, communicating with Ron, purchasing tickets, running our meeting, etc. Jan took over a lot of the leadership on the job sight, which was not an easy thing to do. We certainly did not have many of the tools and equipment needed, but Jan stayed steady and calm, making it possible for us to get most of our jobs accomplished by the end of the week. If you see these guys, please tell them, “Thank You” for all of their work.