I’m not really sure how to start something like this. Maybe I should begin by saying that I am honored to be remembered by the BAICA family and and to be asked to give a reflection and update. As simple as the task sounds, my heart and my mind are instantly flooded with memories and emotion. God only kept me at BAICA for a short time, but that is a time of deep and lasting formation in my life that I will never forget.
My want in going to Argentina was to prove to myself and, to some degree God, that I was willing to place aside everything I knew for the sake of his work. I honestly expected to be in a lonely place. I expected to go to the school, do ministry by teaching, and return home wanting for my friends and family. When I arrived, I learned something about the person of God. God is the giver. The Hebrews called him Jehovah Jireh which means the God who provides. St Gregory of Nazianzus said that God is complete and lacks nothing. If this were not so, what good would he be as God. My broken view of God was that he needed me to provide something for him. Over the course of my two years at BAICA, I came to realize that there was an offering being made, but it was one being given to me rather than by me.
At BAICA I found family and friends and even my bride. I long, even now, for the relationships that were formed there. I long for those echoing hallways that were too cool in winter and too warm in summer, and stairs whose spacings were just off enough to not allow for a smooth descent. I long to pass mate amongst friends, and I long to greet their smiling faces with a kiss. I miss the diversity of the students and the teachers. I miss the struggle to bring all of these moving parts together into something that works. And it does work; it works beautifully.
When I first arrived back in North America to stay, people would say things like, “I bet you are glad to be back.” It was true, to a degree, there was a lot that I was happy to return to, but that didn’t mean that my heart wasn’t wanting for the life that really felt like life. That is how I would describe BSAS and that is how I would describe BAICA. I would never call them perfect. I struggled often while I was there, but it was only for the passion of my heart and the want to see the beautiful thing to continue and to thrive. There was, and honestly still remains, in my heart a want to invest, not in a school or a cause, but the people. The students, their families, the teachers, the staff, and the city. I loved them all; I loved you all.
Now, Argentina seems like a lifetime ago. I have little things on my office shelves and around our home that remind me that it was all more than a dream. There are days when these things are just things on shelves, but there are other days when these things take on life. There are days when they usher in a cloud thick with memories of the sights and the sounds and the smells come rushing back with profound familiarity. On those days, I see your faces and I hear your voices and I smile.
God has blessed me greatly. He has blessed our family more than I even feel comfortable to admit. Lindsay and I now live in Canada. I am Senior Pastor of a growing church with deep roots. We have two girls (Annalia and Miriam) and a son to be born in April. I am on the board of directors for a school in Mexico that provides a US based education to children of low-income families. I just cannot believe that God has brought even me to such a place as this. I wouldn’t trade it for any dream, but, if it could somehow be made so, I would love to walk those halls once more; I would love to see your faces once again; and I would love for you all to know and be known by our growing family. “Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubt if I should ever come back,” and I know that if I did it would not be the same. So, it remains a dream. A good dream. One that I give myself to from time to time.
If ever you, any of you, feel the whim to call or write or even visit, know that I have been eagerly awaiting just such a reunion, and hearing from you would make my day. I’m thankful to God for having placed me at BAICA. I’m thankful to you all for way you loved me through my faults and accepted me for the contribution I was able to make. Press on. Fight the good fight, and run as one seeking the prize. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and we will meet again. When our Savior brings all things back into his glory, I pray, we will meet again.