I was really keen to use what I was learning on Relay about grace and the gospel to go and help the church spread the gospel in a Latin American country. Relay was such good preparation for going; the truths I learnt over the year sustained me and helped me to make decisions whilst I was away.
I went to the city of San Salvador de Jujuy in northern Argentina to support a university-based Christian Union group in their growth and outreach. As I became more familiar with and involved in the local evangelical church I attended, I helped with the teenagers' Sunday school group and outreach theatre group. All these activities actually involved a lot of time simply sitting and getting to know people whilst drinking gallons of mate (Argentinian tea) with them!
When I managed to lose my mobile, then my bank card on a journey (by myself) back from the south of Chile to the north of Argentina, and without anywhere near enough pesos in cash to get me there, prayer was my only hope! At 2am, at the border control somewhere in the high, cold Andes, I prayed that God would somehow help me get home to Jujuy… and through various amazing provisions he did. I know he wanted me to learn to trust in him and not my bank card and mobile!
I learnt that ‘the British way’ is not necessarily the right way! In fact when working for the gospel in another culture, it’s really important to respect and listen to the people of that culture in order to know how to do things well; and perhaps even when our way still seems best it’s good to be accepting and adaptable to the culture in which you work. I went there with an attitude of ‘I have so much to bring and teach’ and left knowing that nearly all of the time God wanted to teach me through the humble people I met. I also learnt that people and not projects are the most important to the Lord; he cares about them and wants us to too.
I know now that we have the same faithful, good God here in the UK. Since I’ve been back I’ve seen that whatever I’m doing each day and whether I stay here or go back to Argentina in the future, his will for me is to love and obey him each day in very practical ways like caring for others and telling them about his Kingdom, so that they can see his love for them too.