“May I help you with something?” the clerk at the store asked with a smile on his face as he approached the potential customers.

“I certainly hope so.  I am looking for a washing machine.  Do you have any models that are top-loading and agitating?” was my quick, well-thought-out and planned response.

“No, I am sorry, we don’t carry that style of machine.  Most of our machines are European-style front-loading washers.”

I should have just hit the replay button instead of looking all over Cordoba, Argentina, for a top-loading, agitating washing machine, because the reply was always the same: “No, we don’t carry that style of machine—but you should try one of our front-loading washers!”

I really did not want to try one their nice front-loading European-style washing machines.  I wanted my Maytag, or something similar, something that would wash clothes the right way!  I was looking for something that was familiar, that would do the job right.  After all, everyone knows that Maytag is the best!  Look at all those lonely repair men—surely that means that Maytag is the one to choose.  I would have even settled for a Brazilian model—at least it was top-loading and would wash clothes the way they were meant to be washed.  I was facing enough changes as I moved after 24 years in Bolivia to Argentina; surely I could at least stay within my comfort zone when I washed clothes!  Unfortunately, my quest throughout all Cordoba and the small town of Alta Gracia soon revealed that top-loading washers, be they Maytag or Whirlpool or Brazilian, just were not to be found!

Finally, after befriending all the appliance sales clerks in the two cities, I realized that I would just have to step out of my comfort zone and plunge right into using a front-loading washing machine.  Finally, after days of searching and researching, my front-loading washer arrived!  Hurray!  Now, to put it to the test.

Front-loading washers are not made to facilitate meddling.  No adding clothes after the cycle has started.  No pulling out those blue jeans to see if the grass stain is coming out or if it needs an extra scrub.  One must simply set it up and let it go, trusting the machine to do the work.  And…much to my surprise, it did do the work without my meddling.  The clothes were actually cleaner—old stains my Maytag had not touched seemed to disappear in the longer tumble-wash cycle.

Imagine that—I discovered something better than my way!  I found that the new and different actually worked!  My personal comfort zone and my way of doing things is not always the best—I learned that sometimes I just need to take the plunge and trust the new and the different, allowing God to bring something better into my life.

Hmmmm…I wonder what kind of stove I can find here in Argentina…?

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