“There’ll be no sadness, all will be gladness, when we shall join that happy band.” One of the hardest things in life is saying goodbye. Sadly, we have to do it so often. We say goodbye to places we love visiting and people we love dearly. For example, tonight we said goodbye to our brothers and sisters here in Buenos Aires. The hardest goodbyes are the ones where you aren’t sure if you’ll ever see them again. While so many of us have set our minds on returning next year, practically, not every one will be able to. My heart aches to return here because if I do, my goodbye is more like a “see you later.” I didn’t want to say “Adios” instead I went with the “see you next year” because it’s so much easier. The truth is one day, we won’t have to say goodbye or see you later. For me right now, the greatest reason to strive for an eternity in Heaven is for the assurance that I will see these people again. It makes me wonder how people who don’t have Christ in their life can ever say goodbye to loved ones without their heart being broken in two. If it weren’t for Heaven, I couldn’t bear to say goodbye to anyone here on Earth. So many people come in and out of our lives throughout our lifetime: family, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ. I can’t even imagine how a “goodbye” to them could mean forever, and that’s the end. We have a gracious God who has a place prepared for us to all meet again one day so there will be no end!
Today was fantastic. In my opinion, it was our best day here, but then I say that because my day was made by getting to see and hold a beautiful baby girl. I even had a conversation with Erica, a young Christian girl from a nearby city, about how we love children. She told me, “I see God in children.” I could not agree more with that statement. Kids are the most beautiful gift from God I have ever seen. They are a blessing in so many ways. VBS has been so enjoyable because we work with kids who sing with such fervor. I often think that children are able to understand God and His love so much better than we adults can. Why else would Christ have told us become like them? All the more reason we have been trying to reach these children at their schools and encouraging them to learn more about God.
Our activities for the day consisted of two VBSs at two schools which we had already visited, but this time with different groups of kids. We also did our third skit and activity tonight during the gospel meeting. Everything went great and they all seemed to love participating in singing songs and learning more about the Lord. We hope that they remember one of the repetitious phrases in one of our skits, “concentrate en Dios” (focus on God). Since we’ll be retreating soon, I will work on editing pictures and posting lots from our VBS. I have over 500 pictures to go through so I’ll try to pick the best ones.
The men’s and women’s classes continued today as well. They will wrap up tomorrow morning and the leaders of those classes, Larry and Linda Moran, will be riding with Daniel and Meribel to meet us at our volcanic destination. There were also some bible studies going on this afternoon. The Morans went to pray with a man who just recently discovered he has cancer. He has never been to church or shown interest in it, but given his present situation he is more receptive to hearing the Word and we hope this visit will help to get him interested in getting his life right with God. Vidal had a study with two women, I assume a mother and daughter. They discussed what the Gospel really is and she also asked questions concerning the differences in the church of Christ and other churches. She agreed to another Bible study so I took that to be encouraging.
The best surprise of the day was the arrival of Kimberly to the church tonight with her sister Katherine and her two children, Ian and Kiera (family picture below). Katherine was baptized last year during our trip and gospel meeting so we were all so excited to see her before we all left. Her adorable children were also a bonus. We all concluded our night at Giovanni's pizza here in Buenos Aires. It was a nice opportunity for all of us to sit down and visit with each other without having to worry about cooking/serving food, or doing dishes. We were all able to spend time with each other before hesitantly saying our "goodbyes" and getting on the bus. While there were many tears shed, I have faith in knowing that our God is good and He has allowed us all an opportunity to meet again. He's even allowed you the opportunity to meet these wonderful people you keep hearing about. Just think about being in Heaven with every single Christian brother and sister who has ever walked on this earth...what a fantastic place it is going to be! I hope we don't have to wait much longer.
For tomorrow, our plans consist of traveling all day. We're set to head out by around 8 AM and drive through until we reach La Fortuna and our buffet dinner at the hotel. Please pray for safe travels for all of us, and also for the church here in Buenos Aires that they may continue to thrive. They may be small, but they are strong in their faith.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled...Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
Matthew 5:6, 8
Dios les bendiga,