swimming in faithfulness….

As I think of the fact that I am mostly bilingual and my sister is graduating from college in 2 weeks, it dawns on me that time has flown.
What have I done with all this time!?!!???
That’s my question to myself and I’m sure to many of you, or should I say Mom and Dad who I know actually read this blog.
I must apologize for not being the most punctual nor organized with this blog business, but I assure youimage that I have indeed been busy.
Sooooo how about we have a timeline summary of Anna’s life for the past 8 months? Aight.
September 4th, 2014 – arrived in Argentina
December 3rd, 2014 – went to Chile on a missions trip
January 6th, 2015 – started summer camps
February 14th, 2015 – took a trip to Southern Argentina for vacations
March 2015 – finished Spanish classes in the end of summer break
March 24, 2015 – one week of vacations, and my mom and my great aunt came to Argentina to visit and travel around
April 6th, 2015 – returned to campus and started the new school year with an opening conference
April 14th, 2015 – started First Year classes in the bible Institute as regular students in Spanish

And so that is that. Since I’ve failed in keeping this writing up, I might need to go back and explain somethings like my missions trip to Chile and a different trip I was able to take to an orphanage, but it has been such an amazing journey. I mentioned that time has flown, and that is crazy. But what is even more impacting about reminiscing and moving forward in this life is the realization of just how faithful God has been. He has been so faithful. He has been faithful in gentle in leading me here to Argentina, fulfilling my desires to travel and providing the money to be able to come, and giving me the opportunity to study his word and fall more in love with him, which I didn’t realize was what I really needed most.
December was such a neat month, what with the opportunity to travel even more to Chile and spend time in the countryside with Mapuche Indians ,cold showers, walking 80 kilometers in one week, and the time spent in an Argentine home for Christmas and New Year’s. It was wonderful all right, but so hard. Every tradition and thought I ever had of the holidays was tossed out the window what with 80 degrees weather, steak and fruit salad on the night on Christmas Eve, and lanterns and fireworks launched at midnight. Part of me wanted to yell out and announce that no no no they were doing it all wrong that we should be going to sleep so that we could wake up and eat and open presents, but I experienced something so new and unexpected and continued to have my perspective shaped and my way of thinking and traditions pushed out of the way. Of course, our own traditions are part of us and our culture and we should always be proud of where we’ve come from, but I really benefitted from humbling myself (getting rid of my bad attitude) and accepting a new way of doing things, even if I won’t necessarily do it like that for the rest of my life. It was just one more way in this whole process we call life that God is throwing out every piece of myself I want to hold on to and filling with Himself, with love and grace and flexibility.
What a blessing I have realized that I have in my family. Not being with them for the holidays was really hard, and even more so when I saw pictures and remembered traditions. But yet again God proved himself to be more than enough for me and made me appreciate all of hem so so much. I had just returned from Chile in the middle of December and had absolutely no where to go for the holidays. Of course, there were missionaries on campus and a few other students, but I was so hoping to be able to stay at a house with a family. And suddenly as I was chatting with a friend on facebook, she invited me to her house for the holidays. Out of the blue, without telling her anything about my situation, without telling anyone really, and she offered up her home and her time and food and said that her family would love it. And God totally provided. I have been insanely blessed by the God of the universe and also by human beings he has created.
Speaking of the blessings of human beings, thank you. To all of you. Any of you who have taken time to think of me or pray for me or have written me a note. I apologize for not responding to some notes or messages, but I can assure you that they have all been sunbeams of joy and encouragement in my time here and have made me feel so loved.

I heard something about blog posts and how they should be 250 words or less so that people don’t lost their attention?!!???,…….
Oops.
So now that my parents really are the only ones reading this, I wanted to announce some interesting things.
First of all, I came to Argentina to study Spanish and the bible in a program nicknamed the PBB. That PBB program ends in June and we will graduate and be bilingual (mostly we hope) in Spanish and have credits from those Spanish and bible classes, and can go on our merry way and go home and speak Spanish forever. However, I have decided to stay until December. The classes of the Palabra de Vida (word of life) bible institute have just started and the school year here in Argentina is from April to December (fall to spring) and I am, Lord willing, going to stay and finish my first full year of studying at a Bible institute and then will head back to the states in December. Although it will be hard being about from family and friends for even more time, I really feel like God is ministering to my life through my time here and that I need to stay longer. I also have a desire to continue studying God’s word, especially in Spanish, and am praying about the opportunity of being able to do ministry in an argentine church.

Wow wow wow woooooow. So much information.

So now I am here in the Southern Hemisphere, learning to love other people with the love that the creator of the world has shown to me, and studying his word in a language that he has been so graceful in letting me learn. And thanks be to him, because also in this insanely phenomenal sequence of events, I have a plane ticket for Chicago, USA on Friday, April 25th, 2015 and will be coming home!!!!!!!

This has been by far the best 8 months of my life, and I look forward to connecting with loved ones in person so soon and celebrating the college graduation of my dear and favorite sister, Katie.

So, as I look back, I see faithfulness. None of my own faithfulness, as shown here with this blog and to you all by way of my lack of communication. But I am learning, I hope, in little ways to be faithful with the things God has given me and by the grace from the most faithful one. But I see the faithful hand of God, guiding and shaping and correcting and humbling.
And I pray, that through all of this that He might be glorified. My Spanish, for his glory. My trip home, for his glory. My future, for his glory.
18 Micah 7:18-19
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over transgression
for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love.
19 He will again have compassion on us;
he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.

“You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” – Augustine

argentina is the bomb.com

I have now been in Argentina for six weeks. Many things have happened and as much as I’ve wanted to share everything with you all on this little corner of the internet, I’ve kinda been a little busy living my life away from the internet, but I’m doing what I can to make time to write.
Currently, it’s Sunday, October 19th, and this two sundays ago we returned from the southern part of Argentina called Patagonia. A week before that, we twenty-one PBB students as well as one of our directors and his wife embarked on a twenty hour bus ride to Word of Life’s hotel Pichi Traful in San Martin de los Andes in Patagonia, Argentina, which just so happens to be in the heart of the Andes mountains. Bum deal, right? Oh, contrare, contrare.
Guys, I’m just saying, those mountains were incredible.
But anyway, we were the first people besides one missionary to be at the hotel since its being closed all winter. So now, at the beginning of Spring (southern hemisphere, people), we went to work to get it ready for the upcoming season of use. So after we traveled a few hours on the bus. (I mean no big deal only 20), we arrived at the hotel and had a wonderful snack with homemade bread and coffee and tea. That was around five o’clock in the evening and after we were done with that, we had a little break and started on dinner. We started eating our pasta with freshly made sauce and grated cheese around 9:15, which is a pretty normal time to eat dinner in Argentina.
As the week progressed we cleaned all of the hotel including rooms and dining rooms and did other various projects, and we also had some free time to have worship and fellowship, as well as play soccer with a view unlike any other.
On Friday of that week, we took a little hike to a waterfall and got to take in even more of God’s creation, which was one of my favorite parts of the week.

It was such a wonderful week of being away from campus and being in nature and not having school and was really refreshing. We returned back to campus on Sunday and started classes up again on Tuesday.
I have been given the opportunity to start taking some classes at the bible institute itself in Spanish, instead of just the PBB classes, so on Tuesday I had our PBB class first which happened to be about missions, and then chapel and then I went to the first year classroom for that class.
And then came my biggest challenge since being here so far.
You see, I understand spanish. And I have grown a ton already in just being here for a month and living with Latinas and eating with Latinos and speaking Spanish everyday and hearing it. But different people have different accents, just like in English. Some are easier to understand than others and the Argentine accent is so much different than hearing the Mexican accent I learned from, and so every case is different. Well, in this specific class, the prof is Argentine and he mumbles, barely even articulating his words half the time as well as telling jokes that most people not from Argentina understand. With that being said, this Tuesday was my first time going to this specific class and I hadn’t heard this prof speak before. I sat pretty close to the front, in order read his lips better and be more engaged, of course, like any good student would. And as class started and progressed I pretty much got nothing. Like, it was so super hard to understand. And the prof had a microphone and started walking around in a little radius around his podium, and I thought nothing of it. That is, of course, until I felt someone touch my shoulder. At this point, I had been distracted with reading the Bible passage we were in and had not noticed the prof walking toward me. And I looked up into his eyes and saw his white eyebrows and I just smiled awkwardly. In that moment of staring into the eyes of this old Argentine guy, my mind went blank. Even if he spoke English to me, I would have had no idea what he said. It was that kind of moment. And then I heard some people start to laugh and even heard one guy say “No entiende” which means “she doesn’t understand.” And then he walked away and the moment was over for everyone.
Except me.
I sat in that desk and everything inside me crumpled. I wanted to cry and run out crying and ‘accidentally’ kick that guy on the way who said I didn’t understand. Well guess what bucko I understood what you said in Spanish so calm it down! At least that’s what I thought. But I just sat there. And sat in my failure and pitied myself for my misfortune. And as I sat there, I thought everyone was still thinking about me and laughing about me inside their heads and I thought about me and my failure and me and me and me.
And then I remembered what I had learned about in chapel just a few minutes earlier, Job. We had learned that in the midst of Job’s many trials and destruction, he cries out in Chapter 10 and says that he loathes his life and wishes had died. In those moments, Job completely forgot that God was his creator, that God was sovereign, and that God still had plans for his future. He was only thinking on his life and his misfortunes, and forgot that God was still God. But at the end of the book of Job, when he had been brought out of his trials, he refers to “things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” Job saw when he got to the end of his life that God had always been faithful, and had plans far beyond Job could ever have dreamed, yet when he focused on himself and his losses, it seemed as though he had nothing.
Although my trial in that moment was soooo so so much less than Job’s pretty much destruction of his life, it was really hard for me and was a struggle. Yet when I felt like I had no hope nor any friends, I looked to God, and I remembered his great love and constant provision. (And of course, that I had friends, I was just wallowing in self-pity). And the next day came and I literally had to psych myself up to go back to that classroom, but I knew I could never have the confidence on my own, and Psalm 42:11 really encouraged me to look to God and hope only in Him, the only one that we really can hope in. This little dilemma in my life also showed me how bad things look when we look at ourselves, yet oh, how things change when we look to God and others.
But thankfully I have come a long way in my Spanish understanding since arriving here, and I am really enjoying being here. I love living with people who speak Spanish and constantly being around Latinos as well as I am enjoying getting to know people from the United States that came here with me in this program. And so through these funny embarrassing moments, God is humbling me and teaching me and through being immersed in the Bible and Spanish everyday, I am learning and growing closer to God.
I miss carpet. And my family. And friends. But the constant is and always has been God, and he always will be. And I will always have my peeps from the states, but God has provided such lovely human beings here for me to share life with, and I am so thankful for that as well as the people I know I have back home.
Thanks for all your encouragement and messages, I love hearing from all of you! Also, sorry for the lack of posts I’ve written, maybe I’ll write more frequently….
– Anna, from San Miguel de Monte, Argentina, South America 🙂

ESTOY EN ARGENTINA!

September 14 , 2014. I flew into buenos aires, ARGENTINA on Thursday morning September 4th. 10 days I’ve been here and it already feels like home. And now welcome to my blog where I will share my jumbled up but sincere thoughts or at least inform everyone (who cares) that I am alive and loving my Argentine life. Oh and argentine is actually pronounced with tine like the tine of a fork contrary to popular belief or more accurately my belief which was pronounced more like ar-gen-teen. So yeah, there’s some edumacation for you. Also, when Argentine people greet you with a kiss on the cheek, it’s not actually a kiss but more of a making the sounds and touching cheeks kinda thing. I made that mistake a few awko-taco times.
When we first arrived at the campus of palabra de vida bible Institute, we put our things in our rooms and later were able to meet our roommates. There are actually 21 students in this PBB program (programa biblico bilingue) and we are all spread out in separate dorm rooms with other Latino students attending the bible institute. I loved my roommates from the very beginning and have since loved getting to know them more even just in this one-ish week. There is one girl in my room who speaks some English but she and the rest of the girls were so excited to know that I speak at least some Spanish. So we’ve been speaking Spanish and it is amazing. And if I don’t understand a word, (which happens a lot), they will even act it out for me or think of a different way to explain it. And they been so patient with me. So patient. But I also love having Latina roommates because I speak Spanish so much with them, since of course you must communicate with the people you live with!
I love adjusting to living in a new place and learning about a new culture, and eating has been a lovely new adjustment. It is a bit different because lunch is at 1 and dinner is not til 7 (and usually eaten later in most of argentina). But that’s just more of an excuse to eat some snacks amirighf? Hah but breakfast is always bread with dulce de leche (a caramel like spread with similar uses as United States peanut butter) and sometimes bananas and/cereal. And coffee and tea, always. Lunch and dinner are usually more bread (optional of course) with rice and chicken or pasta or beans. And hamburgers are also thrown in the mix along sign other things I can’t recall. But some of my favorite times are in the comedor (literally dining room but in this context means cafeteria), because of the fellowship and conversation. Although it’s so easy to just sit with the other gringos (white people) that also speak english (and I really do love then all), it’s been really neat to sit with students from the institute I’ve never met before who speak a language I love but am still learning, and be able to share life stories.
There are so many things to share with you peeps on these interwebs but I’m sure this internet space with full up soon and so will your brains so I’ll only share a few more things for now, but kudos to making it this far.
One of my absolute favorite moments was last Sunday when we attended chapel for the first time since being on campus where we sang worship songs in spanish and listened to a Spanish message. Worshipping in Spanish was phenomenal. I love how some things translate so differently from one language to another, and how reading or saying something in another language can bring a new meaning or life to it in a really refreshing way. One lyric I’ve been thinking about since then is “no era nada y tu me diste valor”.
(I was nothing and you gave me value).
I hope to write more soon and share more information about my roommates and the other people I am meeting, but Chau for now and let me know what else you want to hear about. Love you all!