I have received various requests for STORIES, STORIES, and MORE STORIES. Here's one from our earlier days in the ministry.
Only days after giving away nearly all of our possessions, we boarded an airplane, baby (and diaper bag, and stroller, and computer, and camera, and backpack, and car seat) in arms, and headed to South America. Nineteen-ish hours later we landed in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.
We were met in the airport by three young men holding a white piece of paper with the word "LUSK" on it. Although we were exhausted, they seemed like fun people and I was excited to meet them. The only English they spoke however, was catch phrases from the highly popular reruns of "Mork and Mindy" and "Alf". Go ahead, say "Nanu-nanu", and "Cats are tasty." out loud in your best latino accent. You get the picture.
They guided us to a white van with the famous "praying hands" custom painted on the doors. We had no idea we had FIVE MORE HOURS to drive before reaching our final destination. About half an hour into our journey, we stopped at a gas station to use the potty. I had been waiting for this moment for years. "Ok Christina," I said to myself, "you are finally south of the equator. When you flush, find out if the water really does swirl in the other direction." The toilet was a powerful one though, and with one mighty woosh, the water just went straight down. I was kinda miffed about it.
Walking back out to the van I saw our three guys at a vending machine. It didn't dispense sweet and salty goodies though. You put a coin in this machine and it dispenses boiling water. The guys filled a thermos and we loaded up again. Curious about the whole hot water thing, I pointed and asked (with my eyebrows) what the hot water was all about. They were only too happy to show us. They took from a backpack a "mini-mug" with two handles instead of just one. "Aww, that's a cute little tea cup.", I thought to myself. My thoughts of cuteness vanished when they took out a metal pipe straw and filled the cup with crushed green plant leaves. I, being rather sheltered and innocent as a teenager, racked my brain with all the paraphernalia terms I had heard tossed around back then. Was it a "bong" or maybe one of those hookah things? One of the guys poured water from the thermos over the green stuff in the mug. Then he passed it to one of his buddies. They kept filling it and passing it between the three of them, then the unthinkable happened. They filled it up and INSISTED we drink from it too!
"Ok, Michael. What do we do?" "Uh...well...we don't want to offend them, but obviously we're not going to ingest drugs. Especially you, breastfeeding the baby." In that split second we silently begged God to give us guidance. Both feeling peace about it, Michael went first. Poor guy, the water was so hot tears ran down his cheeks. Sensing it may be too hot for the unaccustomed Americans, they added some bottled water to mine to cool it down some. This was our first taste of Mate (mah-tay). No drugs in the Argentine version, but you might not want to drink it in Peru.
Whew! There's a lot more story to tell here, but it may have to wait for another posting.
Seriously, I love you for being interested.