Jo Hamilton a 22 year old from Lurgan has just returned from working for a three month period as a volunteer with the Red Box Project.
Argentina has impacted me in a way that I pray I never forget. I only hope that I can pass on the lessons and blessings that I have received. I came from Northern Ireland to serve through the Red Box Project and in return I was served by others in ways which went beyond my imagination.
Salta in the North of Argentina is beautiful and it’s rich with Gods amazing creation. The weather is changeable during the winter, one day you have multiple layers of clothes due to the cold, to wearing a light top the next day. The food is delicious, especially Dulce de Leche and Milanesa. But the thing I found most beautiful was the openness of the people. They are amazing and as westerners we have a lot to learn. The hearts of the people in the church are hearts of kindness, generosity, love, devotion and complete trust in God. I want to share a few experiences I have had here to demonstrate how special my friends are here.
From my first day in the church I was warmly welcomed with a loudly sang Bienvenido (welcome) alongside hugs and kisses. The warmness of everyone was amazing and the time when the youth just came up and wanted to give hugs was in abundance and it was a pleasure to return these embraces. On a couple of occasions when I mentioned that I liked something that they had they immediately wanted to give it to me as a gift. These gifts will remain special – special gifts of love and unselfishness.
I have certainly learnt so much here about materialism. In this country money may be a struggle for people but when I see my friends here they are rich in ways that I want in my life. God is at the centre of everything here and most importantly in the centre of the hearts of the people. Everything is completely surrounded in prayer and Gods provision has been evident. Life is not about striving to be in the best career, with the best clothes or the best house etc.
In Salta and through working with the Red Box Project I have learnt the meaning of life. It is about unity and support for one another in hard times. It is about showing love and generosity to the unloved. It is about serving others even if you are not being served. It is about having a passion at all times to follow the will of God even if it may not be what you desire. But most of all it is placing your life in the hands of God with a heart of dependency, dedication, trust, faith and love. We have a lot to learn from the people here in Salta and if you come to work with the Red Box Project you will have your eyes opened to another way of being.