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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

Before I begin this blog, I want to put a little note here to make it clear that in now way, shape or form do I spoil the movie. So if you haven't seen the movie and you are reading this blog, rest assured that I'm not giving away anything. I know the movie just opened this weekend and it's been one the most highly anticipated films and all I can say is that you will not be disappointed.

But have you ever had a moment in your life where you watched a movie and you feel like you were meant to see it right in that moment. That was what it was like today for me seeing the movie. The film holds so many parallels to this journey I've been on here in Argentina. I feel very much that I was meant to see this movie in this country and at this time where I am closing the chapter to my first trip here.

I'm only going to brief you very vaguely on the story. Basically, before her trip to Wonderland, Alice is in the real world and she is feeling pressured to embrace the lifestyle that everyone expects her to and is typical of that society and culture. Then she ends up in wonderland where she goes on an adventure and goes through personal growth, finds out there is a purpose for her being there and then when she's fulfilled that purpose, it is time for her to go back to her world. Because there are lessons for her to learn there and work for her to do.

There could not be a better movie to parallel my story of my journey to Argentina. Living in North America, I felt the pressure to conform and do what everyone else is doing. Get a good job, settle down, have kids, make sure you have all your bases covered. There is nothing wrong with that. But sometimes in North America they get so obsessed with "Take care of yourself! Look out for number 1! You are the only person you can trust!" But I chose not to conform and instead, decided that having one life to live, I would never be afraid to take risk and live the adventure. And I would also never hold back from the opportunity to give my life to help others and make a difference.

So needing a life change, I came here for a rest. Like in the story of "Alice in Wonderland", I stumbled down a rabbit hole into a strange new world where everything is different. And just like in the movies, little did I know that I had a purpose and a destiny to fulfill right here in the city. Just to recap the story here, I attend Centro Cristiano Nueva Vida. A church network with more than 30 000 people all across Argentina and with a church branch right here on Florida Ave in Buenos Aires.

I have been attending the church on Florida since October and things were going along quite nicely. It was only around January that it began to hit me that something was missing. The church is in the busiest city in all of Argentina, Buenos Aires. and not only that, they are on the busiest STREET in all of Buenos Aires.....Florida Ave. They are surrounded by more tourist and foreigners from the first world than any other of their church branches but hardly any of them can speak english. The people have big hearts to want to touch the world but at this point, they cannot show their love to people that do not speak spanish.

Along I come, noticing this very important thing that is missing. One day, I innocently write a note to the pastor and introduce myself and say "Hey, I'm an english teacher and I have a passion to teach the people english". He jumped on it right away and immediately gave me the email addresses of his co-pastors and asked that I contact them to begin arranging things. I was like "Wow! This guy doesn't stand on ceremony"

It was only much later after multiple meetings with the co-pastors and coordinators that I realized the reason for the pastors reaction. They explained to me that one year ago, the pastor had tried to encourage the people to learn english.....without success. It didn't go much of anywhere and the pastor ended up putting the dream on the backburner, until I came along. It was like one of those movies where the people say to the hero "You're the one! You're the one we've been waiting for!"

It took a long time for it all to sink it and for me to come terms with the fact that I was "the one" I was the one they have been waiting and hoping for. This is why I was brought here, to help see the realization of this dream in the heart of the pastor and the people. And the pastor and all the co-pastors knew it the entire time from the moment I sent that first email to tell them that I would like to see the people here equipped with the language of english.

Last Sunday, the pastor made the announcement that we were going to have a program to get english lessons started. Remember what I said about the pastor not having success last year. I found out through the coordinators at the school that they have easily 8 people that are interested and more people that they have to make confirmations with that they wish to enroll.

Whether it's Alice in Wonderland or the Chronicles of Narnia, they all have one thing in common. A stranger visits from another world, discovers they have a mission and a destiny. Upon completing it, it is time to go back to their world. But though they have to go back to their world, they are never the same again nor are the people of that world.

Whenever I am having chats now about our program to get english started, there is almost a glow that I can feel from others as we work together on it. It is the energy and vibe that you feel when a dream is being realized. And we are so blessed that we are living it! There are others who I have taught personally and whom I will be teaching personally outside the courses of the school. For them too, english is a dream come true.

Now I got back to my country with the sense of accomplishment. I didn't just come to this country to enjoy all that it had to offer. I actually am giving something back to the people. And I am equipping a church that is already at the forefront for making change in Argentina, Latin America and the world. So it isn't now just about making a difference in one person, it is about making a difference in people who are already making a difference. It's the domino affect......

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas