This past weekend I spent the majority of my time attending a youth conference held at a hotel here in Mendoza. It was certainly the most challenging thing I have participated in so far. I went only having become aquainted with a couple of the people there & still struggling to hold a basic conversation. I left, however, knowing the majority of the people & able to hold indepth conversations with many. I feel like pounding my chest & yelling for victory! My favorite line this weekend was, without a doubt, "despacito, por favor!" basically meaning, "speak more slowly, please!" As my comprehension & speaking improved many people would forget to speak slowly & clearly to me. Towards the end of the weekend, my phrase become a joke & many people would exclaim, "I only speak quick spanish, sorry!" As if it were hopeless.
Two of the girls I spent a lot of time with were 15 & 17 years old & utterly boy crazy. I enjoyed following them around, learning about their crushes, taking pictures with them & translating the titles & lyrics of American songs they listen to on a regular basis. At the dinner table one night they asked what the song title, "Ass Like That," meant. They had absolutely no understanding concerning the song title or its lyrics but loved it all the same. I also found it amusing when a guy wearing a Quik Silver hoodie asked me what "Quik Silver" meant. I'm sure in both cases they found it equally amusing to listen to me trying to explain something that is nearly impossible to explain in broken Spanish.
Sunday night all of us at the conference packed into busses & went to a local park with the purpose of witnessing. On the weekends the park is packed with people either lying on the grass, playing sports or music or selling random products. The tactics used to draw crowds were word games & drawings done on a large easel. The games & drawings related to the love of Jesus & his sacrifice. During the games/drawings they would preach. Afterwards any one who was interested was given a track & spoken to one on one about accepting Christ. Because of the language barrier, participating was difficult for me, but I enjoyed watching & learning. Although I've never completely agreed with the "touch-&-go" witnessing tactic as I like to put it, the Christians here are extremely sincere. It was very encouraging to watch people as young as 15 preach the gospel from their hearts.