Posts Tagged With: cordoba

Just A Glimpse of Doves and Moving North

Just a Glimpse video from my last days with Christ for the City, time in Chile, dove hunting, and last few days back in Cordoba. Hope you enjoy!

Five more weeks to go here in South America, but there is a whole lot of traveling and activities packed into these next 35 days.  Thankfully, I have been blessed to have spent the past few days in La Paz, Bolivia with the Farfan family. It has been so refreshing to spend time with this family! I have been to La Paz once before for my cousin Jordan’s wedding to Bernardo (this is how I met the Farfan family). Last time, my Spanish was very broken, so it was hard to really get know the whole family. Now, it is wonderful being able to converse freely with them without any setbacks from a language barrier.

IMG_1742This has also been a great break after my travels to Chile and back to Cordoba, Argentina for dove hunting. Dove hunting was an absolute blast and the opportunity of a lifetime to do so in Cordoba! Ended up shooting 1,000 doves in 4 hunts. I was very proud of how I improved and was amazed at the amounts of doves there were! Literally covered the skies. Truly the trip of a lifetime as I had the whole outfit to myself, delicious meals, massive king size bed, and all the doves I could ever dream of.

My favorite part of the trip occurred the last morning while I was hunting over a corn field. There was a fog settling over the corn which partially blocked out the sun in front of my vision. I stood with my shotgun and watched as these shadows emerged from the mist. As the birds flew in towards me, they were illuminated against the foggy backdrop and were so clearly visible. My sunglasses added an amber tint to the scene which made me feel like I was in an old western. With my ear plugs in, I could only hear my own breath and felt the peace as the quiet morning settled around me. Many times, I didn’t even want to shoot as I desired to soak up the moment. I would watch the birds fly in and be in awe of what a great blessing it was to be there. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if my dad could have been there as well, as he has an incredible ability to fully soak up the blessing of the moment and pass on this infectious joy to those around. Thankfully, I have experienced this Nirvana many time while fly fishing with him and will get to again when I return home! I hope this massive picture below justifies the scene I was standing in that one morning.

Last morning view over the corn field.

Last morning view over the corn field. The dot above the sun is a dove far off flying towards me.

Marcello (dove guide) and me at La Estancia hunting lodge.

Marcello (dove guide) and me at La Estancia hunting lodge.

After my time dove hunting and one soar shoulder, I spent a few days in Cordoba hanging out with old friends and enjoying the last days of the city. I was able to see the Ricca family again and we had a wonderful lunch the day of my departure. I also went to an american football game of a team my friend Scott Jackson started. I loved watching this sport! Part of my high school football spirit was sparked up and made me want to play agin. Maybe someday I can come back and join the Cordoba American Football league for adults (wish we had these adult leagues in the states).

I spent that night with Scott and his family before he took me to the airport very late in the night. Scott has been a missionary in Cordoba for over a decade, so he has so much experience with this culture and the missionary lifestyle. We were able to get together a few times during my time in Cordoba and they were so enriching for me every time. For muster or a birthday cookout, he was a great friend and mentor to have in Cordoba. We actually got in touch as he was the old youth leader for the Bible study I was apart of in high school. He just left to Cordoba before I joined and my friends in there always talked so highly of him. I now know why as he is an amazing man of the faith. He and his family will be in my prayers often!

Now in La Paz, I am continuing my journey and in 2 days, will head to Cusco, Peru to start a bike ride up and around Machu Picchu. So excited for this trip, but going to soak up my time here in Bolivia. Will post before my bike trip about my time in Bolivia (which will probably be in the hostel the night before my bike trip). Till then, hope you enjoyed this post and thank you always for your thoughts and prayers!

Dios te bendiga!

-Justin

ps- check out my instagram and flickr photos to see more pictures!

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Categories: Argentina, Travel, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Last Few Days with Christ for the City

As I reflect on the past 10 weeks, the time truly did fly by! I feel as if I have just gotten adjusted to the late dinners, relaxed pace of life, and the “Cordobeis” style of speaking Spanish. Yet, in five days, I will be moving on Chile. My time here has been a great blessing to my life in growing in my walk with the Lord, being humbled and making life long friends with the Ricca family and the CPCI team.

IMG_1345I am excited for the next stages of my trip, but going to miss this one. From being called “Tio Jusitn” by little Pedro or being introduced at church as a “hijo” or son to Graciela, it has truly been such a great blessing. Looking forward with this cultural experience, it makes me cherish and love my family at home even more! I see how close and welcoming this family is, and I want to pursue the same thing with my Cardenas and LeMaster (mom’s side) family. With 8 weeks left in South America and a few days left in Cordoba with Christ for the City, I am going to soak up this time and enjoy every minute of it. Last night, we had a get together to watch a futbol game and boxing match. Today, we have church and an asado for my going away after. I also made my favorite walk again to search for bread, milk, and cheese on a Sunday. Took five stores to find them, but it was a beautiful day to visit the different “tiendas” in search for lunch food.

Yesterday was my last day at the Galpones, the underserved area of town. I am going to miss those children a whole lot. Some may be hard to deal with at times, but all need to just be loved with the love Jesus can provide. I feel hopeless at times when I see their situations, but Jesus can bring them out of it! This faith can be hard to have, but He is above my lack of faith and has raised my spirits to believe in change. So many great memories of playing soccer, drawing, and getting to hold the kids and just love them. After my time with them, I think I could be a pediatrician and work with kids as a doctor, as it has been such a joy to do so here!

On Thursday, I will head to Chile for 5 days and spend time with friends in Santiago. After, I will return to Cordoba for a few days to do some dove hunting, as it is the best in the world. So excited to go to a dove ranch and do some good ol’ Texas hunting!

IMG_1346Thank you all for your prayers and support throughout this trip. Don’t forget to check out the video from the past few days (at the top of the page).

Chao and nos vemos!

-Justin

ps- I highly dislike Justin Beiber even more so after being here, as everyone associates my name with his. I am okay with Justin Timberlake, so I point them towards that method. No problems with my Hispanic last name 🙂

Categories: Argentina, Jesus, Travel, Video | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Video Project

Hello friends and family!

I am excited to let you all know that the video I’ve been working on for Christ for the City Argentina is finished! Check it out below and I hope you are inspired by it!

In other news, German has left for the states, so it was the last time I will see him for a while. Although it was sad to part ways, I am so thankful for his friendship and the time we shared together. He has a huge heart for the Lord and his life reflects that. I am excited to see him again soon (in this life or the one to come).

Me and Scott Jackson during our Muster here in Cordoba.

Scott Jackson and I during our Muster here in Cordoba.

This week, Texas A&M had Muster’s all around the world. Here in Cordoba, me and Scott Jackson ’99 had our very own Muster celebration. I cherished getting to catch up and talk about A&M and the Aggie Spirit. Very refreshing to have had this time!

The past few days I have been sick with a sinus infection, but am improving with rest, herbal tea, and this medication called “Qura Plus”. Pastor Ruben gave it to me and it is doing wonders! I wish we had this Qura Plus in the States.. I may have to bring some back.

As my time here is winding down in Cordoba with Christ for the City, 2 weeks left, I am in a state of great reflection. Life has been so simple and relaxed here, very refreshing. The people I have met have been great blessings as my friend group here is a supportive group of strong Christians. Life long friends in whom we can keep up wherever life takes us. Also, the Ricca family has been so special to live with. They are such a close family and so welcoming of me. I am greatly thankful for them and the countless delicious dinners, in depth conversations, and exchanging of cultural practices.

Pastor Ruben and I after Easter Church service.

Pastor Ruben and I after Easter Church service.

This past Easter service was fantastic at my church here! This church has such a radical and passionate way of worship the Lord, which is highly energizing. One of my friends, Alejandro, asked me to edit a video for him. I worked on it last week, while thinking it would be shown at youth group. Then on Sunday, they showed it on Easter in front of the whole church! The video ended and they finished acting it out in real life. It was a fantastic service and an Easter, or Dia de Pascuas here, to remember.

One of the best friendships I have had has been with Pastor Ruben (the head of the house I live in). He devotes so much time to pursuing the Lord and encouraging people in the church to do the same. He stays up late in the night discipling others or learning about the Lord. He has a contagious personality full of joy, joking around, and a strong spirit. He will be visiting Dallas in September and I look forward to seeing him over that visit! I highly respect this man and am thankful for his hospitality and being able to learn from him every Sunday and every day living at his house.

Tonight is the second to last Friday Street Ministry I have here, so I am excited to make the most of it! This is one of my favorite nights as I get to just spend time with the homeless here and love on them.

Besos y abrazos!

-Justin

Categories: Argentina, Jesus, Travel, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Easter Weekend Reflections

I feel as if I just arrived Cordoba, but it has already been 8 weeks! Between learning Spanish, serving with Christ for the City, and enjoying the Argentinean culture, time has truly flown by. The relationships I have met here will last me a lifetime and I am going to soak up the rest of the time I have with these friends! Late night dinners, futbol games, and daily adventures through the city have grown relationships with many friends here. My Cordobian family (the Riccas) have been so hospitable and make me feel so welcome in their family. Thankful for them everyday!

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Out of the many lessons I have learned this trip, humbly serving has been the greatest thus far. A verse that has been a reminder of Christ’s attitude on service is Matthew 20:26-28 “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many”. Summed up, leaders are servants and to be first, one must become a slave. This seems like a paradox at first, but Christ proved the opposite. In John 13, Jesus served humbly in washing his disciples feet. Back then, I doubt they had nice Nike shoes with footies to cover their feet and protect them from the muddy and rough terrain. Not the case with the disciples. Their feet were more than likely terribly smelly, filthy with dirt and grime, and overall the dirtiest part of the body. They traversed all over with some worn sandals through mud and waste. Yet, Jesus (the king of the universe) decided to wash His disciples feet. He served them to be an example on how to serve and states in John 13:15 “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” His raw and simple display of service is an example I have tried to pursue during my time here and desire to do so for my life.

Serving is the key to leadership; no one did this better than Christ. He made the ultimate sacrifice in humbling himself to human form, taking all of our sins onto his blameless soul, and paying the price in full for all of them. He was rejected, despised, and deserted by all for our sake; the very one’s whose sin had put him on the cross. This level of service (in pursuing service and slavery rather than leadership or winning) is humility. What great humility he showed in the greatest act mankind has ever seen! He set an example for us all to follow and pursue. Christ’s example and words give me strength as I wash dishes, clean up yards, or love on people whom the world has rejected. In doing this with humility, I desire to keep acts of service between me and the Lord so as to not fall into a prideful attitude of service. I have been humbled through many interactions and have thanked the Lord for every one of them as I need to be humbled every day.

Thankful for Christ’s sacrifice 2000 years ago so I can live this life with the hope and promise of a perfect life to come! He is the definition of a servant leader in his sacrifice on the cross. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”(2 Corinthians 5:21). That is the greatest act of service, act of love, and story that has ever been.

 

To close, here is a video from the past 2 weeks to show you a glimpse from my days here in Cordoba! Enjoy!

Just a Glimpse Part 4 from Justin Cardenas on Vimeo.

Categories: Argentina, Jesus, Travel, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Just a Glimpse and Updates

Here is the video from weeks 4-6. I made the clips a little longer so one could get a better grasp of the shot. Hope you like it! Read after for a short post about life here the past few weeks!


Cordoba has been wonderful the past few weeks as I have been improving my Spanish, cherishing time with my Argentinian family, and soaking up the whole experience. Every day looks different as the ministry is evolving and adapting to new projects and people. About a month ago, a new missionary came to Cordoba from Colombia and his name is Diego. Diego and I have become great friends as we both live in the same house and generally have the same schedule. He makes me laugh so much with his little dichos (sayings) and overall humor. He is studying to be a dentist and we have talked about one day doing missions together in the Amazon area! Who knows what the Lord has for our friendship, but I know we will be life long friends.

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Diego and Me hanging out after dinner

Every day looks different here, but the typical day is as follows. Wake up around 9am, have some breakfast (bread that is called criollo with a carmel-like substance called dulce de leche) and a cup of coffee. Thankfully, the Ricca family loves coffee as much as I do! I normally read, write in my journal, and spend time praying the hour that follows. Then, me and Diego will head to the office down town (which is about a 30-50 minute trip depending on if you get the bus at the right time). There, we work on anything from PR work, planning, cleaning, and brainstorming ideas to further CPCI. Currently, I am working on a fundraising video and have loved having the time to film and edit!

We may come back to our house for lunch or stay at the office, depending on the work. Afternoon work depends on what needs to be done, but I am always looking to go on an afternoon run to the nearby park while listening to a podcast. These have been some of the most relaxing times for me! Nights also vary, but we have plans Wednesday-Sunday night normally. They include “Street Ministry” which is a time to fellowship and feed the homeless people in Cordoba. I look forward to these reunions every week, as I am humbled through my interactions with them. Being friends with them and respecting them is one of the best ways to share Christ’s love with them. They are no different from me, just have had some unfortunate life circumstances that have put them on the street. Even if their sin put them there, I could easily be in their shoes had the Lord not graced me with knowing Him and saving me. He is the only reason I have the life I do (shelter, food, and security), so I have learned not to take pride in anything of me or what I have done. Such a humbling and rich experience to have spent so many great nights with my homeless friends enjoying some coffee and talking about faith.

Time has flown by here and I will make a greater effort to frequent more to this blog and write about the experiences down here and what the Lord is teaching me! Look for a post at the end of the week with more photos and stories (didn’t want to overload this one).

Chao!

-Justin

Categories: Argentina, Jesus, Travel, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Just a Glimpse- Part 1

Created using my Iphone, this video captures 2-3 second every day clips from my time in South America. The raw videos and audio will hopefully portray my experiences in a creative and quick way. This video is over the first 15 days and cover these days living in Cordoba. Videos will be coming every few weeks! Hope you enjoy!

Categories: Travel, Video | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Settled in Cordoba

Hello friends and family!

Today is my eleventh day in Cordoba and I have been soaking up every minute of being here. From late nights, great steak, perfect weather, to a diverse culture, I could not be happier. The first few days were spent with some visiting Chilean missionaries. It was such a pleasure getting to know them, even though they speak the fastest Spanish I have ever heard. We stayed at a mission and over the course of a few days helped lead a church service at a prison, played with kids at the Galpones (poor area of town), and walked around at night praying and talking with people in Cordoba about Jesus. We also went to the mountains last Monday and it was gorgeous! These Chileans have a radical faith that has inspired me and challenged me to grow my own!

Chilean Missionaries

Chilean Missionaries

Oscar (chilean firend) and me at La Montana de Cordoba

Oscar (chilean friend) and me at La Montana de Cordoba

They left on Tuesday night and I will miss their company as I had some great talks with them about life, faith, and future goals. They all have dedicated their lives to telling others about Christ and I am very thankful for the short time with them… I am now living with Ruben Ricca, who is the pastor of the church I attend here. An amazing man with a deep voice and passionate way of preaching the Gospel. He is the father of German Ricca (the head of Christ for the City) who is my “boss”. His family is wonderful and it is a packed house with his wife Graciela, son with wife and little 9 month Pedro, uncle, and the abuelita (grandmother). Meals are so fun as we all eat, share matte (a type of communal way to drink hot tea), and have an intriguing life discussion. I am learning great amounts of Spanish out of necessity as no one in the house speaks English. I love the challenge as after 3 months, I hope to have a strong grasp on the language. Meals are typically bread, potatoes, and some type of meat. Also, their time clock is very different from the States as they eat dinner at about midnight, stay up later, and wake up around 11. I kind of like it, but it is hard to not feel lazy waking up that late. That is not the case as the day picks up from there.

The program I am with, Christ for the City International, has been great so far. Two times a week, we go into the city and give coffee or food to the people and just talk with them. We tell them about Jesus, have a short Bible lesson, and pray. It has stretched my comfort zone as I approach strangers to strike up a conversation and trust the Lord will guide me to bring Him up. Most people here are non practicing Catholics, so they know they Jesus, but do not live for Him every day. Each conversation and interaction I have with someone else is another opportunity to show them Christ’s grace and love. These opportunities are all around, I just need to seize them every chance they come up.

We also visit the Galpones (poor area of town) on Saturdays. It breaks ones heart to see the conditions they live in and I pray they can find Jesus as their Savior, not drugs or what the world wants. Other than those plans, my time is fairly flexible. I plan to fill my days with studying Spanish, God’s Word (with my Spanish/English Bible), and heading to the city to talk with people and tell them about the Jesus. Very simple, but I am excited for the times of solitude and times of pouring out into people.

The city of Cordoba is unique with 17th century buildings that look very well-kept. It has such rich history and at night, it is beautiful with all the lights! I am going to enjoy living in this city, spending time with the Lord, and telling other’s about Christ’s love. Also, I am going to buy a bike to go into the mountains when I can and spend some time riding around. Would be a shame to not take advantage of them!

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Thank you for you prayers and support. I will post this week a video update of the trip so far, as I have clips from each day to make a monthly video of my time here.

Nos vemos!

Categories: Jesus, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

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