Dirty little faces of shoeless children and big brown eyes peeking from behind the trees were waiting when we arrived in the small Wichi community in Northern Argentina after a 30-hour bus trip.
For the past several years, Ruth Armagno, director of the Brindarse (Spanish for "to offer to do something") Foundation and wife to David Mastronardi, pastor of the Piran Church of the Nazarene in Buenos Aires, has asked me to join them on their annual trip to minister in the Wichi community.
The Wichi community received missionaries more than 100 years ago who told them about Jesus. The three chiefs of the tribes decided that from then on the Wichi community would be a Christian community. So, if one is born Wichi, they are considered to be born Christian. Unfortunately, many today do not know what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The purpose of my trip was to train the Wichi community in radio. The Argentine government had put a radio station in the community several years ago, but never trained the people in how to operate a radio station. Most of the equipment has since broken, but they still broadcast with the basics. For three nights we trained 20 people from the local radio station staff and 20 Nazarene brothers and sisters in many aspects of production and programming.
Today, Pastor Rene Victorino and the Dios Wukwe (House of God) Church of the Nazarene broadcast team can be heard every Saturday afternoon teaching the Wichi community what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through their program "Santidad A Jehova" (Holiness Unto the Lord).
The Brindarse Foundation group shared their responsibilities and completed many projects during that week including Vacation Bible Schools for hundreds of children in the La Esperanza, El Portrillo, La Paz, El Silencia, El Tronquito 1, and El Tronquito 2 neighborhoods. Isabel carted her tools and bag of seeds around the neighborhoods teaching gardening and giving away bags of seeds donated by the Argentine government. Carla led discussions with teenage girls during several afternoons.
Two public restrooms complete with showers were built directly behind the Dios Wukwe Church. The Dios Wukwe Church celebrated its first anniversary that week. Nearly 1,000 people gathered from the neighboring communities to hear God's Word and celebrate.
The Wichi community is the poorest people group in Argentina, but they praised God for His faithfulness. God calls us all to brindarse. He blesses us in order to bless others.