Hannah Watson is spending a year in Argentina as part of the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program. To support Hannah, go here. To support another of the more than 240 ELCA missionaries in the global church, click here.
“Tranqui” means, relax, no big deal, it’s all good, don’t worry about it.
I am told this a lot; when I have to text my supervisor that I’m running late because I had to wait for the bus for over 40 minutes, when I’m frustrated because I can’t find the Spanish word for something, or when my site-placements all have something going on the same day and I’m not sure I can make it to everything. I am often too hard on myself, so it’s always great to hear.
During the summer, much was tranqui. Both CreArte and Petisos, two of my placement sites, took vacations for the summer, and many of my friends also had time off. My community told me time and time again to “disfruta el verano,” to enjoy the summer, especially the gorgeous days. I spent New Year’s Day at the beach with my madrina, Laura, and her family. I drank mate at the beach with friends. I read books. I went to a youth camp with my church in El Bolson, an hour and a half drive from Bariloche. We participated in theological discussions, went on hikes, and led a service with Pastor Reiner near the Rio Azul on the Sunday morning of camp.
I’ve been learning “to be” more than “to do.” This is accompaniment in my placements. While I can’t tell you that I’ve built houses this year, I can tell you that when working with CreArte, I hold some of the students hands while going up and down the stairs so they feel safer. I lead the adults who are physically able to in running, and I love when some come up to me afterwards and tell me how much they love running, and that we share a hobby. I play guitar for church services even though I’m still incredibly shy about playing and singing. I sit with the kids at Petisos, and hope I am helping them make even a small progress on their reading and writing skills, as it hurts my heart to see them struggling.
Accompaniment is out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it is seeing the intense hardships of others and making myself more vulnerable than I want to be. “To be” is also to give a part of myself. I know that when I return to the United States in five months, I will not be the same person that left, and that’s OK. I will only truly be “tranqui” by trusting God – letting go and putting all my joys and brokenness in God’s hands.
I want to share with you a quote about faith that I’m finding even more to be true throughout this experience:
Wonder is that feeling we get when we let go of our silly answers, our mapped out rules that we want God to follow. I don’t think there is any better worship than wonder. – Don Miller, “Blue Like Jazz”