By the time you guys read this, I will be at the one-year-left mark of my contract. A lot of things have been happening lately. My mom and sister got to visit and we got to travel to the Iguazu Falls and to Buenos Aires. Both are amazing in their own way. It was a well-needed rest.
You know that saying, though? The one that says that what you need after a vacation is another vacation? I felt that. I felt that like I never have. I’m actually still struggling and it’s been the better part of a month since I came back. Not only did I have to play catch-up with everything and get back in the groove of things, I also found myself with a bunch of stuff that I’m still trying to get done. On top of all the visits to our contacts that we have to do as well as all the prep for our cell groups, I’ve had a bunch on my plate. This includes starting martial arts classes at our church as a way to meet people, starting a soup kitchen ministry, and possibly starting to evangelize in a rougher area of the city, among other things.
I’ve also started to suffer psychologically. I’ve been having panic attacks (don’t worry – I’m getting help). Extreme’s nurse, Krista, has been helping me with this. She thinks I’ve reached my stress tolerance threshold, which I agree with. See, Juan and I have had the misfortune/privilege of finding that every single contact that we come across has some issue which makes them an outcast. To add to that, I love to help people and I have a high empathy level. And a couple of these contacts have a way of getting inside of me so that I bring my work home with me. So now I have to find a way of helping without emotionally getting involved too much, at least for a time.
So a question has come up in my head lately. Is it worth one more year?
Life has a way of throwing us struggles that we feel we are not capable of handling, in some cases so many or some that are so huge that they make us think twice about continuing. Some of my struggles are some of those. I recently posted a sappy Facebook post thanking everyone who messaged me when I was in the airport about to leave the U.S. because otherwise I would have been a wreck that day. So I’m no stranger to struggles anymore.
And just as my friends in Christ were there to support me that day over a year ago, God continues to manage to find ways to tell me that what we are doing here is making a difference. My first day back was a Sunday. I remember being surprised to see not only a full church in the morning, but people we’ve been preparing for leadership already serving! I remember seeing the faces of people renewed, people who are actually happy to be at church, which is something that has been hard for me to find in the States. Our church has grown bigger than my church back home. I’m seeing lives transformed and families healed. And it wasn’t only the day I got back. Even this week I can tell that we’re still making a difference. In some cases, Juan and I are the only friends that some of these people have. So is it worth one more year? Yes, it most certainly is.
And this is just the morning service!!!
At the end of the day, it is impossible to say that the environment we’re in is the same. We started out in a place where people didn’t want to hear about God, or if they did, they failed to complete their promises of showing up to places. Now we have people eager to learn about God! Before if we screwed up for whatever reason (or even if we didn’t screw up), people stopped being your friend. Now our church is full of grace-filled people who know that we’re not perfect. At first people looked at us like weirdoes when we walked down the streets, now people greet us with smiles. Before, we had a neighbor who hates us. Now… well, we still have a neighbor who hates us, but God’s gonna work on her, too! God is good and his work is worth doing.
- That all of our upcoming ministries would take off.
- That our leaders would continue to grow and take leadership roles and that we would get new ones.
- We have another encounter coming up the 14th and 15th of May. Pray that it would go well and that God would bring and speak to the people, including future leaders.
- We have a short-term team coming in May. Pray that God would not only use this team, but change every member of it.
- We have a big event coming up the 21st of May. Pray that we would reach a lot of people. We’re hoping for at least 300.