thanks SO much to all of you who prayed. the mountain pass between chile and argentina (between santiago and mendoza) opened today, and despite a massive wait caused by 1700 trucks who’d been waiting to cross, over 700 (!) chilean youth workers made it to the convention! i did a critical concerns course today on “leading change”, and asked how many were from chile. when i told them hundreds of american youth workers had been praying for them, that the pass would open, they broke out in cheers!
the opening session was tonite. surprise — i cried. i just can’t get over the energy and excitement in the general sessions at these latin conventions. about 2/3 to 3/4 had never been to anything like this before (even though we’ve been doing them for 5 years). tonite, lucas did a “fly in” affirmation like we sometimes do at the YS conventions — he called a youth worker in chile who’d been saving for a year to come to the event, but at the last minute, had to use the money for something else and couldn’t come. he’s a volunteer, who spends much of his little resources as it is on youth ministry. lucas called him from the main stage of the first general session, and told him we were flying him in tomorrow morning. he didn’t believe it. a friend of his had to talk to him for five minutes afterward to convince him it wasn’t a joke. can’t wait to meet him.
juan carlos ortiz is here also — what a gem of a man. this is the third time he’s flown down (he’s from here, but lives in orange county now) for this event. i love how he just walks around wearing jeans talking to everyone, not hiding away like a superstar.
mendoza is beautiful. it’s not so much in the foothills of the andes as it is up against the andes. it’s still very flat here, but the andes are right next to us — shooting up as massive snow covered peaks. of course, it’s winter here, so it’s quite nippy!