Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week Seven

Hola! This is just me sending some loving to all of you, and kind of explaining my blog situation...

Life in Buenos Aires is busy, and I don´t have too much time to write meaningful things on the internet (I have however filled half a journal in these 6 weeks). As I desire to keep people updated on this journey, I upload photos when I get a chance. The reality of my photos however is that I haven´t taken my camera many places that aren´t super safe yet, which happen to be most places in Buenos Aires, and absolutely every single place that we go in Buenos Aires. Also, out of respect for our friends that we spend time with on the street or in the slums, and the seriousness need for child protection, I won´t be posting any photos of these friends in particular on my blog. So, as you may have noticed, this leaves photos of the inside of my house and food... lame! Ok, not completely lame, but not at all representative of the richness of the experience I am having here in Buenos Aires.

A huge aspect of the servant team which I am a part of through Word Made Flesh is advocacy. Telling the stories of the friends I am making, which are our neighbors, the majority world, who know extreme poverty as their reality. They need to be heard, they need to be known, and we need to respond. Ingnorance and indifference are active responses.

All that to say, I truly hope to write more and have this journey that I am on be one that is shared and that brings growth to our greater community. Please feel free to respond with any thoughts or questions.

Lord, thank you for this food...

Brrr! Buenos Aires cannot make up its mind. Winter. Spring. Hot. Cold. Yesterday we sat in a park jammin on the guitar in flip flops and t-shirts, today it poured down rain, and tomorrow they are predicting a low of freezing. Laying in my warm bed, I remember my friends from Retiro. I think of how cold they are. I think of their babies and the danger that this weather presents. I am here in Buenos Aires, among many things, attempting to live in solidarity with the poor. With full understanding that my power to choose radical identification with those who are poor inherintly disables me from fully comprehending poverty.

This morning in Sunday school at church, someone made a comment about how they gave thanks for God´s blessing that they had food to eat each morning. This comment struck me as problematic initially, as half of the people at our church live or have lived on the street while the other half have homes. I thought to myself, I believe it to be good and right to thank God for food, but if we say that it is God´s blessing that we have food to eat, are we not also implying that these two men two my left and this woman to my right who live on the street are in fact are not receiving God´s blessing because they do not have food to eat?

I was so troubled by this idea. How can I look at my brothers or sisters, knowing that they are such beloved sons and daughters, creations of a mighty God, yet claim this blessing of food for myself, while they go wanting? I cannot claim they are not blessed, I cannot claim they are not beloved of God. They are.

So, this person that made this comment happens to be my host dad here in Buenos Aires. Convenient for discussion´s sake, over hot lentils and tea this evening. "How can we claim this food as God´s blessing without implying that the other is not blessed?" I asked boldly. The response went something like this, (but much more rhythmic, Argentine, Spanish-speaking middle-aged male sounding) The situation is like this- it is a blessing from God that the earth produces food to nourish humanity. On this planet, there is enough food for every single human being to eat. If food were distributed, everyone would be fed. When we thank God for having food to eat, the blessing is that the earth produces food. God does not micromanage the world, giving some people food and not allowing so many people to be fed. It is the greed of humanity that impedes everyone being able to take their share in the blessing of food. In the Old Testament, we see God commanding for a portion of the crops be left in the fields for the orphans, widows and foreigners to come and glean. It is God´s heart and desire for everyone to be provided for, particularly the marginalized, yet it was not God´s actions that directly provided for them. It was people living out God´s desires that we would love our neighbor as ourself.

In conclusion, God has blessed the world with nourishment for all humanity. There is reason to be critical of those who claim excessive prosperity and luxury as God´s blessing, as their greed blinds them from seeing their hungry neighbor. Yet, it is good to thank God for the blessing of food. As we grow nearer to God´s heart, it is impossible for us to not desire that our neighbors know the blessing of their basic needs being met. It is impossible for us not to fight the injustices of this world that institutionalize greed and breed poverty.

James 2: 14-17 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


A beautiful scene in La Boca, right across the street from Jen & Jer's home.
So much growth is taking place here in Buenos Aires.
Reflecting, living in the moment, and looking forward.
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After lunch this afternoon. This is Pablo's mama, sister, neice, and wife. Pablo's sister's name is Margi! The only other one I've met in person, so neat. They can all say my name perfectly, and we get confused who their talking to, which has never happened to me. So great.
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Fruit for dessert

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Rosa is a phenomenal cook, she's from las islas canarias, spain
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Walking to Abuelitas house for Saturday lunch
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Family Din

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Super typical meal, breaded meat, this time chicken, and mashed sweet potatoes.
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Hackey Sack!

Hack, or Fuchie, is one of our new favorite past times during game time at the Dean's every other Wednesday night, or kind of anytime we are at their house, which is often. Jen & Jer are champs, we are kinda still learning.
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The first live performance of the new and upcoming Buenos Aires Cuarteto, singing Hallelujah, Salvation and Glory.
We already have gigs booked at a church, on the subway line, and on a main tourist area. I kinda wish I were joking, but we've gotten some outrageous requests.
All that to say, we actually love to sing, and sing any time the four of us are alone, just walking along, or anywhere I suppose. It's been one of my favorite parts of being down here.
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Jer loves curry

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Jen loves curry

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Tina loves curry

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Amber loves curry

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Twice a week we pair up and cook a meal at Jen & Jer's house. Megan and I seem to have the most similar taste in food, but all of the meals people have cooked have been incredible. This is the Argentine version of Thai green curry. It did turn out pretty good. A staff member, Adriana had brought back some spices that made it happen. Missing Thai food, so this was quite the treat.
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Only the necessary...

An aspect of the servant team experience here in Buenos Aires is washing our clothes by hand, as part of radical identification with the poor. My family has a washing machine, so they just think it's super weird, but I have benefited from it. This photo is an expression of what is most important to wash. This was after two weeks of being here. After four weeks, I did finally wash my three pairs of jeans, five t-shirts, and pajamas. I'm not necessarily a super clean person back home, but I think my standards are reaching an all new low.
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Metegol, or fusbol, in the garage. Amber is the best, and I'm terrible. Pablo said that playing with me was worse than playing with a blind paraplegic... I'll stick to truco, the argentine card game that I happen to be pretty good at.
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Feliz cumple!

Maybe the best birthday cake I've ever had. Dulce de leche with a chocolate mousse. Alejandra thought the trick birthday candles were hilarious. Pictured are my host sister Ana Belen, Dad Pablo, and Bro Joan (pronounce Showann). They have been so hospitable, and are extremely entertaining.
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Asado Time

Host mom Alejandra getting some help from Boogie
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I Love Asado

This one's for you bro!
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Argentines love meat. This is the famous Argentine asado, a bbq of beef, sausage, & pork. It's typical to have lots of family come over on a sunday afternoon for an asado. Pablo was the chef of this one for Amber & I the day after my birthday. Pablo likes to call vegetables grass, and says it is best to be left for the rabbits. I am pondering becoming a vegetarian upon my return to the states.
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Thai Peanut Chicken

Amazing birthday dinner made by Jen & Jer.
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Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Birthday Song...

I had a wonderful 23rd birthday in Buenos Aires. A big party at church happened kick off at midnight, so I danced salsa, merengue, and kumbia all night long. To my pleasant surprise, I started out the day with this beautiful, and oh so original, serenade. Written and performed by servant team members Megan, of Wisconsin, and Tina, of Florida. The day went on to be filled with 90 degree weather (in winter), pool party, Thai food dinner, and dessert with a Tango show. So much thanks to the awesome community here that made one of my most memorable birthdays.
Touching lyrics, sung to a nice Mexican ranchera guitar rhythm, and filled with funny stories and little details specific to life so far in Buenos Aires.

"Margarita, Margarita, Margarita,
You are hot and fresh like a pita,
though you can´t eat much wheat-a,
we are still very glad to meet-ya.

Margarita your voice is like honey,
you are trying to live with not much money,
you cook yummy food for the bunnies,
you love it when outside it´s sunny.

You are sweeter than 10 peso Alfojores,
you bring the world zesty sabores,
We sing wishing you the mejores,
if we had time we´d buy you some flores.

Margarita you turn 23,
you get to have a wild pool party,
Muchacha don´t fiesta too hard,
Margarita, we love you so far"