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Chris Jarvis – Young Adult in Global Mission

Buenos Aires, Argentina

This Argentine Life
Stories and reflections from a year of accompaniment and adventure in one of South America’s largest cities February 2010

A time for reflection
Both of our retreats in February were opportunities for individual and group reflection. We could look inward at ourselves and our communities, evaluating our commitments and seeking new ways to engage with God and serve the people around us. We closed our YAGM retreat by washing each others’ feet as a reminder of how Jesus served his followers and how we are called to do the same. In this picture, members of the San Lucas congregation are discussing how we can better serve our community.

This month:

February is the last month of summer vacation in Argentina. During the first half of the month, I spent a lot of time at the central church office—taking advantage of the Wi-Fi (and the air conditioning!) to work on an English-language blog for the church. Then, near the end of the month, it was time for not one, but two! retreats. The first was with my fellow YAGM volunteers and country coordinators at a campsite about 400 km south of Buenos Aires (check out pages 3-4); the second was at a nearby retreat center with members of my local church congregation (see pictures on page 2).

Keeping in touch
Chris Jarvis Chacabuco 1449 1615 Grand Bourg Provincia Buenos Aires ARGENTINA skype: christopher.r.jarvis phone: 011-54-911-3054-6056

Chris Jarvis – Young Adult in Global Mission

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Sitting in a circle, sharing our faith stories

After taking this picture, I schooled everyone in soccer. Nope

Getting our hands dirty with mass quantities of pizza dough

Me being rather helpful with the onions, I must say

Joaquín and Rubén, two very talented young musicians

Serving each other communion in our sending celebration

Chris Jarvis – Young Adult in Global Mission

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Venturing downriver to reflect on our journey so far, having to lean on each other more than once for support

Our brave group of hikers on our way back down from the mountain. The sign says, “The descent is DANGEROUS; move slowly and in a zig-zagging motion.” We had fun with that.

Sierra la Ventana
At the end of February my fellow volunteers and I ventured south to Sierra la Ventana, about eight hours south of Buenos Aires. We left in the middle of a downpour, and at one point I removed my shoes to wade barefoot through the flooded downtown streets. But despite the complications our bus left on time, and when we got to the little town the next morning, Kate (our country coordinator) was there waiting for us. She took us to our campsite, where she and her husband David had already begun to set things up. Kate and David had been in the United States on home assignment since early December, and it was great to see them again and catch up over a good cup of David’s camp coffee. For the next few days, we enjoyed the challenges of nature, the beauty of the English language and—especially—the good company.

Taking down what was left of our tents after their tenacious battle with the unrelenting mountain winds. At this point, we didn’t know Rachel was still in there

Fortunately, the campsite also had a shelter with enough bunk beds for everyone, including Emily and Matthew—Kate and David’s incredibly fun children

Chris Jarvis – Young Adult in Global Mission

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Climbing toward a new window on the world
On Sunday morning, we set off on a day hike up a small mountain near our campsite. Aside from being a great time (and a good workout!), the climb served as a metaphorical halfway point for our year in South America. As we made our ascent, I thought of how our first few months here had indeed often seemed like an uphill struggle—following a rocky, sometimes unclear path along which every step required extraordinary focus and energy, and moving toward a place that we knew would be worthwhile but that was yet unknown. Slowly but surely we climbed— helping each other over the rough patches—until we finally arrived to behold la Ventana, a natural rock window that sits at the top of the mountain and gives the place its name. Looking down through the window, we could see the entirety of the path we had ascended; the many steps (and missteps) of our journey finally made sense once we had reached our destination. We could also look out over the sunflower-drenched plains and contemplate the vastness of the world spreading out before us. From this height—and at this point in our mission year—the landscape had a certain peace about it, and I was both humbled and inspired by its greatness. A few fellow hikers pointed out that the form of the window was eerily similar to a map of Argentina, and the significance of seeing the world from an Argentine point of view was not lost on me. Although the drizzle made the way slippery and our steps unsure, the knowledge and intuition we had acquired on our way up nevertheless served us well on our way back down. Rocks that had once seemed foreboding now served as landmarks, and the signs that had counted up from one to ten now accompanied us down as friendly faces along a well-worn path. Being familiar with the terrain made it easier to appreciate the beauty around us. More and more, I can also feel this coming true for my other ‘landscapes’ here in Argentina. By evening we arrived back at the same place where we had started—our campsite—but we now saw it with new eyes. It was still our home, but because of our journey we could better appreciate its position in relation to its greater surroundings. It was just a day hike, but I hope that our rapidly approaching return to the United States will likewise live up to the words of T.S. Eliot:
With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.

We didn’t have much time at the top, however; as clouds gathered and rain started to fall, we barely had time to catch our breath before it was time to make our way down again. And if you haven’t had enough metaphors already, this leg of the journey was literally dripping with significance!

The Sacred Summit by Max Lucado
You’ve been there. You’ve escaped the sandy foundations of the valley and ascended his grand outcropping of granite. You’ve turned your back on the noise, and sought his voice. You’ve stepped away from the masses and followed the Master as he led you up the winding path to the summit… Gently your guide invites you to sit on the rock above the tree line and look out with him at the ancient peaks that will never erode. “What is necessary is still what is sure,” he confides. “Just remember: Truth will still triumph… The victory is yours…” The sacred summit. A place of permanence in a world of transition. —A note on Guidance, from God’s Promises for You

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