December 27, 2010

[The first of what I hope to be many installments.]

I have written very sporadically in my journal over the past many months. But of the little I have chronicled, all entries point toward antsiness, a great impulse to escape, the ever-present longing to run away to Latin America. To be honest though, these inner callings are not a recent development so much as they have been cultivated since the first time I stepped foot in (or was carried into, really, since I was only five months old) Honduras, the land of my heart and soul.

Sometime around the end of October, I met with one of my pastors to discuss the progress of my Life Group, the women’s Bible Study I lead Tuesday mornings. I happened to mention, amidst other things, what a toll social work was wreaking on my life and how my ideal situation was getting the hell out of there and here. Coincidentally, our head pastor’s wife’s father (ha!) is the Regional Director of all of Latin America for the Christian and Missionary Alliance. A few days later, S sent him an email on my behalf, effectively starting an email exchange that might very well change my life.

Within a flurry of days, I had sent along my resume and a brief description about myself, my current predicament, and my future dreams so to speak. I received a prompt response that BM would be embarking on a trip to Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay for the next few weeks, during which he would talk to his peeps and get back to me in a month’s time.

Meanwhile, my one-year mark as a Family Advocate with Center for Community Solutions passed (finally and with much ado), and B and I embarked on our long-awaited vacation to Buenos Aires. I was determined to disconnect from reality in all its glory while I reveled in the land of juicy steak and dulce de leche, and pledged with myself not to have anything to do with internet, Gmail, or Facebook. It was a fantastic week.

On our last day in Argentina, we found ourselves waiting for our airport lift and killing time in the lobby of our hostel, mindlessly watching NASCAR racing and eavesdropping on the Skype conversations of other tourists. I figured that since the week was drawing to a close, it wouldn’t hurt to take a peek at my emails. As I waded through a bevy of spam and advertisements, I clicked on one strange-looking email from a certain BB. Since I was not expecting to hear anything from CMA until after Thanksgiving, I was particularly caught off-guard opening an email with few lines, but sentences that sure packed a punch.

“Hi [Lo]. BM discussed with me your interest in serving in Latin America for a year or two and we believe you would fit well and have great ministry in Paraguay.  I would like to discuss the opportunity with you at length, however […] Would it be possible for you to change your ticket to visit Paraguay on the way back [from Buenos Aires]?  We would be glad to cover the costs of changing your ticket and possibly the additional flight Buenos Aires-Asuncion-Buenos Aires.”

I nearly screamed. I waved B over to confirm that he was seeing and reading the same thing, and then panic set in. I was leaving for the airport in two hours, slated to make my way home to California, and suddenly this unexpected offer to jet set off to Paraguay was messing up my plans without giving me so much as a fortnight to mull it all over. I am a strictly methodical planner by nature, so acting on impulse and taking leaps of faith are not my forte by any stretch.

But somehow, while I was in the airport a few hours later and confronted with the fact that there was an easily accessible flight to Asuncion and I really wanted to see the opportunity through, I convinced myself to buy a $500 ticket to Paraguay. It was the most spontaneous, exhilarating moment of my entire life. Unfortunately, scheduling a delayed trip back to the US did not work out quite as easily, so long story short, I never made it to Paraguay.

But the story doesn’t end there. Continued correspondence with BM and BB has been a journey of divine appointments. From what I can tell, the need for a team member is great and based on the particular ministry needs, God has made a space whose shape shouts Lo. It has been a solid two months of wild dreaming about the prospects of life and love and ministry in Paraguay.

I am expecting a call any minute now from BM, who is here in San Diego for the week, to set a time to meet. I am on the cusp of a new season, and my heart is waiting, hoping, and praying for a door to fling open.

Pray with me, my friends.