On the Other Side (AR09)

by Eugene Park

Spending this past year in Argentina going to school really opened my eyes and helped me understand many things. One of those things was what life is like for a translator on a campaign. Before LBC came down to Argentina in July, I had the opportunity to go on two separate campaigns as a translator with other churches, one from Missouri and another one from North Carolina. There were obviously similarities and differences in the way they did campaigns.

I was also heavily involved with the LBC trip, but on the Argentina side, which meant taking care of transportation and the translators. In previous years the translators were randomly chosen. But this year, since I was there, I was able to hand pick the people who would come on this trip. As time went on, the translator team started to take shape and I was getting really excited because I was good friends with just about all of them.

Another advantage of me being in Argentina is that I was able to conduct meetings with the translators. This is something that’s unheard of. On the other trips I went to, all I knew was when and where to show up for the bus. I knew nothing about the church, where we were going, where I was staying, etc. It’s the Argentine way: show up and they’ll figure it out. But having meetings with the translators before the trip was beneficial because it gave me the opportunity to share about the trip, what they could expect, LBC’s missions philosophy, and what some of the team members were like (Yeah, I shared some funny stories about team members).

So things were going great until the “piggy flu” (“Swine flu,” coined by Pablo the translator) came to town. This caused a huge mess and scare because it was an epidemic that the Argentinean government tried to hide until after the recently held elections. Because of the flu, Word of Life told the student body that no one was allowed to leave campus during the winter break (which was when we were going to Tucumán) unless you were Argentine and/or going home for good. That stressed me out because that meant that about half of the translators I lined up couldn’t go and I had to scramble for replacement translators who were either Argentine or not students. But this drove me to God in prayer and pushed me to trust in God’s perfect plan. In my eyes my original group of translators was “perfect.” But obviously God had different plans and the group of translators that eventually went to Tucumán was the group He wanted there.

The translators (some of whom I met for the first time that day) left campus one cold morning to pick up the LBC team at the airport and then enjoy a lunch together. It was great having lunch together and seeing the interactions between the team and the translators. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought that everyone had known each other for a while judging from the warm and friendly interactions I observed.

After lunch we dropped the team off at the airport and then headed off to the bus station for our ride up to Tucumán. I’ve heard of the famous 16 hour bus ride form Buenos Aires up to Tucuman, but to experience it was another thing – and something that I hope to never experience again. Sleeping was very difficult because the seats were uncomfortable and didn’t recline very far. They also didn’t serve meals on the bus, or even stop for meals. We only stopped at one place for breakfast, which, as team members know, isn’t a very substantial meal. Fortunately I had my care package from the LBC Home Team and over the course of the trip the translators all devoured the contents. That experience made me appreciate the translators even more because they were willing to go on a 16 hour bus ride to serve as translators. This trip wasn’t about their agenda; this trip was about them being a part of the body of Christ and serving. However, I’ve made a mental note to explore upgrading transportation for the translators on fuure trips.

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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