Grayson H., a volunteer from Michigan, joined the Heart’s Home community in Argentina in July 2010 for a 14-month mission. Below is an excerpt from his first sponsor letter.
“Today is day 42 of my life in Villa Jardin, a barrio of Buenos Aires some 30 minutes outside the city center. Six weeks ago, after leaving the stifling summer heat of New York City, I landed into an overcast and blustery Argentinean winter day and was greeted at the airport by two members of the Heart’s Home community, Juan and Enzo.
After taking two bus trips from the airport, we arrived at the Villa, walking through streets of uneven and broken concrete with scattered trash and the occasional droppings of the many stray cats and dogs here. We ducked into a narrow street, barely the width of our shoulders, turned into another narrow pass which opened into a wider street and we were suddenly there, facing the Heart’s Home with its turquoise front and yellow wiring protecting the window.
After settling in and dropping my bags off, I ventured out into the Villa with Juan and Rebeka to meet some of our friends. This is perhaps my strongest first impression of the life of our Heart’s Home in Villa Jardin: in my first few days, time and time again, I saw the signs of the trust, friendship, and love between us and the people of the Villa. Walking in the streets or visiting our friends, I saw face after face light up upon seeing us. Greetings and kisses are always exchanged, normally followed by an easygoing and natural conversation. Many times, invitations are extended for lunch, dinner, tea, coffee, or mate – the traditional Argentinean drink, a bitter herb blend served in a small, gourd-like container, sipped through a bombilla, a metal straw that also serves as a strainer so you don’t directly ingest the herbs. The kids in the neighbourhood run up to us for kisses and hugs, jumping into our arms and ofte n asking to be spun in circles.
The source of this friendship comes from the fact that the life of our Heart’s Home is rooted in prayer. Stated simply, this is a recognition that our love for the community, our Villa, is not something that we create of ourselves. For love to be given, it first has to be received. This is something that is becoming more and more concrete to me as the weeks pass.”