It all started with an early wake-up call… Wednesday September 25th, 2019 the El Camino Mission team headed out to scout out a new place, it was a place we had heard much about, a place a lot like Sucre, Bolivia. It was a university town, a town known for its architectural beauty, a town much smaller than its gigantic neighbor, Buenos Aires. Our problem was not lack of planning; it was a change of plans. Originally, we were to go with a guide, a friend that knew the city well, but we decided that we needed to do it a day before the original date, so we went solo.
“Up and at ‘em girls! Time to catch the train.” Each of us got our children ages 12 years to 14 months old ready as fast as we could and ran out the door, some of us scarfed down a cold bagel on the way out, others were not so fortunate, but we made the train, hoping to eat something more when we arrived! With our young ones in tote, little did we know this would be the first of 8 trains and subways we would take that day.
The beginning of the trip consisted of cramming onto a busy subway and then a train ride about an hour’s distance. We arrived in a station and began walking toward a plaza area. After getting a burger from Mostaza’s (the Argentine version of Burger King) we continued on our way to the town square. Our goal was to get a better idea of the area and so we walked around the center plaza, went inside the cathedral, and finally ended up at a “kid’s world”. Republica de los Niños is said to have inspired Walt Disney to create Disney World, and so we had to take the kids there! Although it may have inspired Walt in it’s day, this day it was lacking in magic, as it was run down and most attractions closed. The girls didn’t mind though and we had a great time running through the miniature size town, complete with a bank, a store, ice cream shop, a castle, lake and a mote! But by the end of the day we were all tired and were dreading the trek home…
Out of the park we walked, and since all of us were new to the area and routes, we asked for directions from the lady at the gate. We hurried down the street to catch the bus number she had said, but after what seemed like forever spent waiting, that bus never came. Two of our teammates, Angela and Lorie ran inside a nearby shop and got us some ‘facturas’, Argentine pastries that tasted so good to our hungry crew and boosted morale. We were able to walk a couple miles more to reach the train station, catch the train and start back!
It felt so good to be sitting after a long, tiring day! We arrived back in the center of BA and decided it was best we have dinner before the next train. We expected to eat a quick slice of pizza and be on our way, but God blessed us with something that truly showed His love for us and bonded us as a team. Because the restaurant was full and they were currently cleaning the upstairs seating area, we were ushered through the kitchen and into a hidden back area that we soon found out was the “presidential suite” used only for special guests! We were the only ones they ended up putting in there and we enjoyed a delicious and quiet dinner that made us forget all about all the walking and endurance that day had required.
It makes me think about how days like this can be reflective of things that go on in our lives.
As we journey through life there are so many ups and downs, trials and joys, yet in the hardest moments that demand our endurance to get through, it can be a friend’s thoughtfulness and generosity that helps us to carry on. Or it can be an unexpected blessing from God that helps us to recognize His presence and His care for us. And after we’ve passed through a difficulty, we can more clearly see how to help another who is struggling, showing compassion that we received from God and others.
And so, that day becomes etched in our mind not necessarily with the remembrance of how hard and tiring it was, but how good God was to bring us through and how He is able to show His love for us however He wants, like giving His children the presidential suite!