No two missions trips are the same, even if they are to the same places. Last year’s Argentina missions team experienced the quiet and spiritually destitute “corner of nothing” for only half a day.
This year’s team, while making the same drive (with a little added adventure) to La Rinconada, witnessed, heard, smelled and tasted something completely new. For most of them, it was probably their first time eating lamb and goat made cooked in a small hut made of dried mud and manure (it surely was for me – delicious though). For most of them, it was probably the first time going three days without a shower or unlimited water supply. While you may be able to imagine how bad we might have smelled or how matted our hair was, what you may not be able to imagine is how much it meant to us the community and love we experienced there.
Last year, Fabian and Marcela were practically frontier missionaries, making the four hour trek a couple times a month for seven years to bring the good news to a town riddled with the dead ritual of Catholicism and unrepentant sin. Finally this last February, God willed it for their ministry house to be finished and blessed their last trip out to La Rinconada so they could plant themselves permanently on the front lines of the Kingdom.
What God has done in the last twelve months in La Rinconada to me is nothing short of a miracle. Fabian and Marcela now witness to over a dozen teens on a consistent basis in the their home, host church there on Sunday night and share the love of Christ with the community – and with us. During a number of nightly video journals, the team commented on how authentic and caring the love of Fabian and his family truly was while we ate with them, shared in God’s Word together, and served the Lord together. It is quite amazing the story of faith and persistence of Fabian and Marcela, so much so that the head pastor and founder of Centro Crecer in Cordoba, Sam Masters, told me that Fabian and Marcela are his heroes.
Our prayer as a team is that God’s Spirit will continue to bless Fabian and Marcela for their generosity, genuine love and compassion for all and their faith. While we were torn about leaving them Sunday morning, we know that when we return it will again be a different experience for the team, one we hope will include evil even more defeated.