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Members of Edison Park Lutheran Church visited their partner congregation of San Lucas in Grand Bourg between April 30 – May 10, 2014. The following are some reflections from their visit.

Jennifer – The people of the San Lucas congregation were the most welcoming, friendly, gracious hosts. It was amazing how well we could communicate in spite of the language barrier. Pointing and gesturing was useful, and we could usually find someone who was bilingual in a pinch. There were some people who came and went, but at least one family was with us every single day. What I learned from this trip is that we really have more similarities than differences in spite of the many miles between us and the language and cultural differences. Before this trip, having a partner congregation was just an abstract idea in my mind. Now that we have been here and met them and walked beside them, they are now friends.

Betty – Though the miles are far, the people and the experiences will always be near and dear to me. From the moment we walked into San Lucas until the day we left, I felt welcomed and loved. As we walked side by side we learned that we share many of the same experiences, hopes, and dreams. Christ’s love is truly the factor that unites us. Our trip may be over, but our journey alongside the people of San Lucas is just beginning.

La Verne – Traveling to Buenos Aires, Argentina, on a mission trip was like no other travel experience I’ve ever had. I found myself immersed in a culture unlike my own. I shared meals with the San Lucas people, participated in their daily lives, partook in their worship services, ate meals with them, and received their generous hospitality. I learned from them and they learned from me.

Matt – How often do we take time out of our schedules to show Christ’s love to others? It was quite a revolving door during our stay with people coming in and out, but they still took time to show us their love. Some came for a few hours, others stayed for a whole day. Some even gave us their entire weekends. They spent Friday, Saturday, Sunday and some even part of Tuesday to greet and welcome us. I’m sure some of the youth would have enjoyed being at home playing video games or at the park with their friends. I’m sure the adults had things they could have been cleaning or fixing at home. They didn’t though. They opened their hearts to us–making sure that from the moment we walked through those church doors to the moment we left, we felt welcomed and loved.

God created for us a way in the wilderness and a river in the desert. Despite our barriers between us and the Argentine people, new things were created. New friendships that crossed over the divide, even without spoken word. New songs that despite not knowing the words or the melody, drew us together. A reminder that outside our small personal worlds there is so much more. More people to connect with. More love to share. More light to shine. More of God’s new things.

Author Naomi Staruch

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