max and i are in LA, almost home (one more short flight). what a great trip.
last night, we had dinner at the host pastor’s home (the aguayos), and the 25 argentines who’d flown in for the event joined us. they spent some time sharing how much the weekend meant to them. they spoke of being changed forever, of sensing such a clear calling to youth ministry now. interesting, lucas had shared with me that this church (where the 25 came from) are from a very conservative pentecostal church, and haven’t come to the convention in argentina because it was likely too much of a theological stretch for them. but the host church here in peru was one they could trust, so it created a bridge for them into a broader world.
they also shared the story of getting their passports – it was amazing. they’d filled out all the paperwork, and assumed they would go through fine. they’d purchased their flights — at about $400 each, some of them had to take out a loan that they’ll be paying back for two years. and if the passports didn’t come through, they would have lost this. the day before their flight to peru, the passports still hadn’t come through. so several of them went down to the office of the police agency that has to approve their applications. they ended up speaking with the top guy in charge, after waiting a couple hours. he asked them why it was such a big deal that they go, and they told him about the training and that they were sure god had called them to this. they also told him that they sensed that god was going to use HIM to make it work (he didn’t know how to respond to this, and was just silent). they told him there weren’t leaving with the approval, and would just go back to their seats and pray. he left them there for two hours, and the whole time they were praying. the police chief came back out near the end of the day and said, “well, i can’t go home with you here, and i can’t bring myself to kick you out, so i guess i’ll approve these.” he pulled out a stamp and approved all of the applications. but there was no time left to actually get the passports made. at that moment, a man who is in management in the dept that makes the passports came in to talk to the chief. the chief explained the situation, but all the offices were closing, and their flights were at 6am. the other man said, “i’ll handle these myself. come in the morning with your luggage, because you’re going to peru.”