He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

One of my favorite songs to sing in the 3rd grade choir was “He’s got the Whole World in His Hands” (only after “We are the Presidents, the Mighty, Mighty Presidents” of course). I never quite understood what the song meant until recently. He (God) really does have the whole world in his hands. Over the past month I have had the opportunity to meet people from all over the globe.

Each day I enter into the cathedral, unlock the gates, turn on the lights, gather my informational pamphlets, and wonder who I will meet that day. Since the New Year, I have encountered people from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Thailand, Canada, the US, England, Wales, Germany, Holland, Italy, and people from right here in Uruguay. I have met people who attend an Anglican Church back home, and those who have never been in an Anglican church until right then. Each of these people has a story. Some are traveling together with friends staying in hostels or are on business trips; others are on cruises and only have a few hours in the city while others live just a few blocks away but have never been inside the cathedral, and some people who simply want a quiet place to pray for a few minutes in the midst of their hectic day. Some days I answer questions about the building itself, some days I answer questions about what Anglican’s believe and how it differs from other denominations, and sometimes I end up answering questions about where I am from and how I ended up in Uruguay. As I open those doors each day, I am opening a window into the Diocese of Uruguay, as well as to the Anglican Communion as a whole and letting God’s light shine in.

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A few other things that have been going on:

IT’S CARNAVAL SEASON. I’m in love. It’s fantastic. Seriously, the more glitter and sequins the better. And the music and the dancing, I want it to last forever. This past week I attended the “Llamadas”, one aspect of the Carnaval festivities, and perhaps my personal favorite. It consists of a lot of dancing and drumming (specifically Candombe). It’s impossible to capture in a photo or video the feeling the drums that enter through your feet and leave through your head.

Carnaval Parade on 18 de Julio

Carnaval Parade on 18 de Julio

-I got the worst sunglasses tan line possible in just over an hour. It was rough for a few days.

-I moved again !

-Sometimes your favorite knock-knock jokes just don’t work in another language

Lastly, just a bit of reflection:

I had a light bulb, an “ah-ha” moment this week. I’ve been on short term mission trips before (granted all within the US but still away from “home”), and I was so eager to love, and continue to love, everyone I met, and just as eager to return home and share my stories and photographs. It was incredible because it wasn’t in my own backyard. It was different.

What I realized this week is that Uruguay IS my backyard (and just as incredible), and loving people in my backyard is different (not easier, not harder, not more important, not less important, just different). I am learning to love the good, the bad, the sweet, and the grumpy. It’s another one of those continuous learning processes. It also made me think of my previous backyards and all the people I never took the time to love (believe me, it’s a lot easier to love a child who is reaching for your hand than to love the man who is reaching for your purse). Starting now and Uruguay, and wherever my next backyard may be, I want to learn to love everyone in it.  And I think with Jesus as my teacher of loving people (and I think he is pretty stellar), I’m on the right path

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

—Mark 12:30-31

143,

Kirst.

P.S. Backpack does NOT like taking the bus. Last week the door also bit Backpack, and he doesn’t fit well when the bus is crowded. Other than that, he has been enjoying some beach trips with me !