First of all, I have been at my new placement in Argentina for about 5 days now. There were a few hitches in the travel, but we worked out all the bugs and I made it here pretty close to on time! Praise the Lord and thanks for all the prayers! I have to say, though there always seems to be some hurdles, the Lord surely is faithful to overcome them if I can remain patient and trust. That’s the lesson for me, patience. My seemingly never ending battle. 😉
Now I will share, what has been floating around in my head for several days now. When we learn to be content with a small amount, Jesus is able to shower us with blessings knowing they are not “lost” on us. When we are able to be satisfied with what we have no matter how much or how little that may be, we open ourselves up to the ability to be blessed beyond our wildest dreams. Think of it this way, if you are a person who “has it all”, what would be the significance to you of getting another thing. Most likely you would feel just about any “gift” was fairly insignificant to what you had already. If you are a person who has just a little, maybe just enough to make it by each and every day, then a “gift” to you is immensely helpful because it can take you to a place of comfort even if for only a moment. Finally if you are someone who struggles to have the basics of what you need every day, but you learn to make the best of it and can be satisfied with what you do have, instead of jealous of others or angry that you don’t have what “they” have, then a “gift” to you is life changing! That “gift” may allow you to make a significant change in your life that in turn can impact those around you. The point I am trying to make is that Jesus sees us wherever we are. He knows what we NEED and He knows what we THINK we need. In my opinion, a follower of Jesus will always be provided what we NEED, but not necessarily what we THINK we need. Being provided what we NEED also does not mean life will be comfortable or “fun” by today’s standards. I do believe when we are able to be faithful, good stewards of the resources Jesus provides freely to all and satisfied/content with our circumstances, that Jesus will bless us beyond what we could think or comprehend. It does not mean it will be right away nor do we pretend to be “content” to get out of our current circumstances or attempt to earn a blessing. That is not how Jesus works because He knows our hearts and what we truly believe, no matter what our mouth or actions may say.
I believe I truly learned to be content and even felt the Joy of the Lord while I was in the Philippines. There were many things that were different than what I have experienced before and different from my expectations originally. Sure there was a period at first where I tried to think about adjustments to what I was experiencing, but when it was clear, this was where I was and the Lord wanted me here for a reason even if I couldn’t see it, I was able to learn to thrive in the environment not simply endure it. Although I did not make those changes in my perspective/attitude to receive blessings, I do believe Jesus blessed me in the Philippines once I became willing to fully submit to His will regardless of what that looked like or meant for me. I also believe that because I was willing to learn the satisfaction of being where you are regardless of the circumstances, Jesus knew that no blessing showered on me now, would be lost to me. I would cherish each and every one of them! Let me now share my current blessings with you because I wish to share with you my excitement in another reminder that indeed the Lord is Good. When I first arrived in Argentina, of course I had the language barrier hit me square in the face from the get go, but when I got to my homestay on Sunday I was extremely pleasantly surprised. There are so many amenities here, it’s like a kid opening presents on Christmas Day, but the presents keep coming! When we first walked in they have a full kitchen (oven, stove, refrigerator, double sided sink, a decent amount of counter space, and a “pantry” of sorts. I was thinking that’s awesome we can bake things and washing the dishes will be fairly easy. Next we came through a dedicated dining room. Wow o wow a whole room just to sit, eat, talk, and play games. They then took me to my bedroom. I literally was taken aback. There are 2 twin beds in here because if their daughter was not in university she would be here and I would be sharing with her, but regardless the room is HUGE. I have a chair to sit in besides my bed, a dresser and a mirror and there are a few other pieces of furniture in the room, but there is plenty of space to walk around. Then they showed me the bathroom. Again a large room with flushing toilet, HOT yes HOT showers (and a tub), and a large sink. They also have a large living room with a huge tv, though I don’t typically spend much time in that room (the boys watch sports there alot), the 3 sons have a room to share, there is a room for the parents above the office that is attached to the house also. They also have 2 cats and a dog that are both inside and outside animals. The dog I really haven’t seen inside, but during the day the cats often come and go. So many blessings and extra niceties I really don’t know what to do with myself. The family is simply lovely and although they speak primarily Spanish and I speak primarily English we are working together to learn a bit of each others languages.
I have a Spanish tutor this first week. I have one more lesson this afternoon in a couple of hours, then I will have an exam tomorrow, so prayers for that are surely welcomed. I haven’t had to study and take a test for 8 years now and a 1 week crash course for a language is alot of studying. The Spanish classes are roughly 4 hours long each so I am thankful for no work this week. At home I spend a few hours ever day speaking with my family in Spanish as practice and they will ask me some English. We are making it work together, but no conversation is easy yet. I look forward to the day I can say it flows more naturally and I don’t have to think as hard! 🙂 The Lord is good and I know will help me through as I struggle to speak with everyone!
Yesterday I was able to go and view my placement for the next couple of weeks. This first week they are having me focus on Spanish, so I don’t start working until Monday. It’s considered an animal conservation project. They have quite a few animals not all of which I’ve seen before or know the names of, but I look forward to starting work with them next week. They run a bit of a drive through zoo/safari plus a rehabilitation project. They often get wild animals that are found such as puma cubs and try to make sure they are healthy, growing, and once they know how to fend for themselves they will release them back into the wild. They are not attempting to domesticate most of the animals, although alot of the less dangerous animals are quite accustomed to humans now because they get fed regularly. The biggest difficulty will be that everyone speaks only Spanish on the project so I’m going to have to not only work on my Spanish, but do alot of learning by example. 🙂 I look forward to what the Lord will show me and use me for in the next few weeks!