a profile of this place

This is a little video about the state of things here. I’m not holed up in a hut somewhere, teaching illiterate people about a mysterious Jesus they’ve never heard of before. We’re working on creative ways to reach people here. The people here are hungry; they just don’t know quite what will satisfy.

This stack of paper is a month of work.

I’ve probably explained it to you already, but my research here involves doing surveys in the streets with people here to gather statistics about the religious beliefs of porteños. The city of Buenos Aires is broken up into 15 comunas (like districts)and in order to have a good representative sample, we need about 400 surveys from each comuna. We’ve set a goal of finishing one comuna a month.

This stack of paper was my August. Surveys #1570 through #2027. That’s 457 surveys, folks. 457 conversations with strangers about their faith in August. I’ve always considered myself an extrovert, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect this much human interaction on a daily basis, especially not in another language. As a job, I have to say that overall I enjoy the work. I meet new interesting people and have interesting conversations every day.

But this stack of paper represents more than just my work and more than just my August. This particular stack of paper represents 457 people in this city. Of 457, only 13 people classified themselves as evangelical Christians. The stats in the video say that only 20% of the catholic population here are practicing, but from the conversations I have day to day, I’d guess less than that. It’s not my place to guess at the heart conditions of people, but I can’t help but feel how heavy this stack of paper is with signs of unfulfilled lives. Holding a chunk of these in my hands and realizing, each one represents a life. Each one is a face and name and somebody that I talked to and who (whether or not they realize it) desperately needs the hope of Jesus Christ.

A few weeks before I got to Buenos Aires there was a terrible train crash in which 49 people died and over 600 were injured. This is the vision plastered in my mind. Sometimes this work feels like watching a train wreck. And nobody believes the train is crashing.

Yes, I know, horribly heavy stuff. But the last thing we should do is avoid it.

I’m just one person and there’s no way I can make a dent in this massive lostness. All I can do is be obedient and diligent in the things that matter. There is no earthly success or achievement that will have any eternal significance if it doesn’t contribute to the salvation of others. Consider this:  if God has a plan for your life, don’t you think his plan for you is big enough to have eternal significance? In what ways are you helping deepen the dent in the lostness around you?

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4 thoughts on “a profile of this place

  1. Kelsey, you are such a great writer. Thankful you are blogging about your experiences. God has so much He wants to tell through you! So glad you are here!!!

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  2. Wow Kelsey, this is good. You did a great job communicating the situation here and the stack of paper gives me a better appreciation of what you do and the burden you carry. May the Lord bless you while you are here, you are such a blessing to us.

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  3. Well, Kelsey……what a great communicator you are! Your commitment to continue and complete this task is encouraging. Blessings to you!

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  4. Pingback: singular shrines, collective cowboys « Faith(,) in Words

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