Tuesday, July 21, 2009
First Journal Entry Upon Arriving Home

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We drove through the empty streets of Buenos Aires under a bright grey sky along street lined with grey-brown tree trunks with grey light coming down through brown leaves onto the pavement. There is a paleness to the city in winter. It's not unpleasant o unattractive, just somehow muted and reminding me of bones (structure without life).

[Note: I think I want more color on our apartment walls]

I was still zoned when we got off the plane. I had my eyes half-closed on the ride from the airport. I walked into the house, crawled under the covers and slept for 5 hours. Now I'm here in the stillness before life gets going again - the place in between the trip and the start of the institutes in 13 days. And life here is good - peaceful knowing that God has been so faithful to Raíces - doing more than we could ask or imagine through it - and confident that the institutes don't depend on us.

Thank you, Father, for all that and please help me live in this knowledge.

Monday, July 20, 2009
How to Invest in Latin America

We just got back from Costa Rica where we spent 9 days helping lead Raíces III training program for Spanish speaking youth leaders. Level one is basic principles for youth work; level two is how to train others in those principles and level three combines a look at "new challenges in youth work" with personalized mentoring for people who have proven faithful with the first two levels.

The invited leaders were from 11 countries and amazed us with the creativity and faithfulness with which they have applied, disseminated and improved on what we taught them.

For example, Raul and his wife Elcy have trained 800+ people in their home country of Colombia. His life is a tremendous return on the investment made by a couple who sponsored him through Compassion International during his childhood.

The event was a rich time for us to re-connect with old friends and make new ones with people who work with youth in the Spanish-speaking world but more importantly it allowed us to give fresh insight and encouragment to help them keep going. One of our friends who grew up in rural Mexico in a house with a dirt floor and a cardboard-roof and is now a professor and administrator at a seminary, a church planter, a youth director in both California and Mexico and a youth ministry trainer, said, “Sometimes I wonder about my call to this work. I ask myself if this is really what I’m supposed to be doing or if I’m just filling a spot someone else should be in, but through [my time here] I see that God has been guiding me to this work my whole life. I think I came to Raíces III so I could see that.”

When life get's tough, that's the kind of clarity that keeps you going and we're grateful to have been able to be a part of that process.

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