¡Viva Argentina! – Overwhelmed by the new, reminded of the old

A group of us at Girls' Night!  Norma, Ellie (from the UK), Me, Rocio and Flor
A group of us at Girls’ Night!
Norma, Ellie (from the UK), Me, Rocio and Flor

I sat down to write this post almost 2 weeks ago, but besides deciding a general topic to write about, I’ve gotten nowhere. Things in Argentina seem to fly by quickly and slowly at the same time. Although I can hardly believe we have been here for a month already, each day seems to stretch before us because many times our days start with group prayer at 9:30am and don’t end until nearly 1am or later. I’m sure you are all curious as to what our typical day here looks like, but I honestly don’t know that we’ve had a “typical” day yet – our schedule is always changing.

But in general, the activities that we expect to participate in throughout the week include: team Bible study over Galatians and also cross-cultural living (Tuesday mornings); visiting the Hogar (Orphanage) for merienda (tea/snack time) or to teach a Bible lesson (usually on Tuesdays, Fridays or Saturdays); meeting students on campus (Wednesdays and Thursdays); Spanish Bible study (Wednesday nights); helping with conversation during Chris’s English class (Thursday afternoons); team discussion of the book Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges (Friday or Sunday mornings); some sort of service project such as roofing a house (Saturdays); attending church service (Sunday evenings); and an assortment of parties and get-togethers throughout the week such as asados, birthday parties, soccer games, and dinners with friends.

Team picnic turned nap time during our "Sabbath"
Team picnic turned nap time during our “Sabbath”

One of my favorite days of the week though is Monday – our “Sabbath Day” or day of rest. We are able to spend extended time alone with God and process the week’s experiences. Then we can do whatever we wish that will help us rest such as read a book, take a nap, or go for a run. The idea is to slow down and take a day away from the Spanish and away from the new culture and away from people in order to re-energize for the week to come. I love it!

I think that I love it so much because I am an introvert, but I also enjoy the time to be able to go before God and process the emotional roller coaster that I’ve been on throughout the week. The realization that I had 2 weeks ago when I started thinking about this blog post was that even though I am being bombarded by so many new things (about the culture, about people, about God), I am also being reminded of many of the lessons that God was trying to teach me beginning with last summer and how I still have so much to learn.

For instance, last summer God convicted me of not letting anyone into my life emotionally. Sure, I had many close friends and I loved my family, but I wasn’t sharing my heart with any of them. He was teaching me this in the context of my team at the JAX Summer Training Program and was asking me to open up to them in ways that I was not comfortable with.  Though I realized God was asking me to be vulnerable with them, I fought against it in many ways most of the summer. I opened the door a little ways for them, but still held back the most fragile parts of me. Then during this past school year, I continued to struggle with this idea of trust and vulnerability. I was learning in which situations it was appropriate, and I was blessed when allowing myself to be vulnerable to someone, gave them the courage to open up to me as well.

Fast forward to now: when I am having to rely on God in more ways than I ever have before, when I have a team of 9 others that are sharing this journey with me, in a culture where relationships are valued far above most things, and “going deep” can happen in a matter of minutes of meeting someone.

Yep. I’m in trouble.

Erin, Emily and Jordann
Erin, Emily and Jordann

No matter how prepared I thought I might be for this trip, nothing could have prepared me for what God is trying to teach me through circumstances such as this. I’m thankful for my team leader Emily as she patiently listens to me when I’m trying to process why I struggle with this area so much and asks me questions when my mind and mouth are working against each other. God has also blessed me with a wonderful group of girls on the team as well, that I hope to be able to share this with as well because I know they genuinely care about me and want to help.

For now, I would appreciate prayers that I would continue to seek answers about the root of this struggle and that I would not shut down mentally or emotionally when trying to face the rest of our daily activities.

Thank you for your prayers and support throughout this entire journey. There are many other things that I’m learning and hope to be able to share with you when I return.

In Christ,

~Courtney Rose~

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