After a month in the mountains of Patagonia, we were happy to get to the city and be surrounded by people. But we had no idea how absolutely spoiled we would be by great connections and great friends in Buenos Aires.
First, after searching the internet for some churches that would feel like home, we found that Saddleback Church in California had recently started a campus in Buenos Aires. We walked in, sat down, and looked obviously like gringos so the pastor came right over to introduce himself. After learning we were from Boston, he said, “Oh! Our Worship Pastor John is visiting from California and he used to live in that area! I’ll introduce you after the gathering”. Something clicked in our minds and Nate and I realized we had multiple mutual friends in common with this guy and that he supported our church as it began eight years ago. When we finally met him after the gathering and made all these connections, big hugs and excited conversation ensued.
John graciously introduced us to the worship team and staff at Saddleback Buenos Aires and even invited us out to dinner with them all that night. We had a great time getting to know them across the three weeks we were in BsAs!
We were able to attend Sunday gatherings at Saddleback four times. Although the weekly messages were incredible and challenging and gave Nate and I a lot to talk about, the peak of every week for me was singing. The worship team is incredibly energetic and most of the songs we knew, except they sung them in Spanish.
But the experience was so invigorating for me because it was the collision of familiar and new. Familiar song. New words. Familiar sense of Christian family. New people. Familiar sense of welcome. New language. It made me long for our church home at REUNION but left me in awe. Singing these words with 100+ strangers from a different culture thousands of miles from our own left me with tears coming down my cheeks.
Mas de ti
Mas de ti, Jesus
Mas de ti
Quiero mas de ti
For those of you who don’t identify as Christian (and even for those who do), let me put it this way. It’s as if you stumbled upon a huge room full of strangers shouting these words into the night of a world that desperately needs to hear…
Brings tears to my eyes and chills up my spine every time.
He really does have the whole world in those hands of his.
Shortly after discovering Saddleback, I got tagged in a comment on Instagram. My awesome friend Caroline in Atlanta had noticed that I and another friend of hers were both in BsAs and suggested we meet. After some emails, Nate and I waited on a busy street corner one night, looking for Dan and Genevieve. We went on a double date and learned that they just moved to Boston and were in BsAs celebrating their one year anniversary. It was awesome to share a bottle of wine with new friends and gush over everything we love and miss about Boston. Boston friends, we are super jealous that you get to hang out with these kids. They are freaking awesome, have stellar book recommendations, and fabulous taste in wine. Oh and they’re going to change the world.
Now. The true reason we came to Buenos Aires at all?
Last winter these guys stayed in our spare room that we rented through AirBnb as part of their vacation in Boston and New York. We had amazing luck in our renters while we were AirBnb hosts but Gabrielle and Gabo (who refer to themselves as The Gabis) took the cake. We shared meals and went out together. They’re some of the most interesting and wise folks we know. As we parted they said, “Hey! You should come to Buenos Aires on your trip next year!”. And as time went by and plans got made we thought, “Yeah. We really, really should”. So our time in BsAs was spent with these friends a lot.
They drove us around and shared all sorts of interesting history with us. They schooled us in the ways of BsAs and kept us out way past our bedtime. They got us into a tango studio and didn’t even laugh too hard at us while we tried our hand at it. They are some of our favorite souls and we feel super lucky for all the time we got with them!
And so Buenos Aires with all of the sweet friendships that came with it is in our rearview mirror and we’re now a few days into our adventure in Bolivia. And adventure it has been. More on that soon…