Saturday, November 26, 2005

Cirio and the Tarascans

Wow, am I tired!!! We got home this morning at 5 am!

We started out yesterday at 9:30 am...well, that was the plan anyway - remember, this is Mexico. I thought we were doing good when the truck showed up at my house at 9:20 or so to pick up the bags of clothes. We loaded up and headed over to the church. There were about 20 or so people, and about 40 more bags!

We loaded up the truck with as much as we could while the other ladies and myself got the rest of the bags tied up. The kids were playing around and having fun. The pastor said he had to go get the other trucks and off he went. Apparently one of the people who had a truck got the days mixed up so we short one.

So, we waited. And we waited...and I reminded Sierra we were in Mexico and we laughed. We played tag with the kids, keep away and other games. Sierra ran back and forth to the house at least 6 times.

A couple of hours later, they showed up with one old van. How on earth would we fit everyone plus the band equipment and remaining bags in the van??? It was impossible. A few people volunteered not to go. A few more people showed up, ready to go. We started loading the bags and the band equipment in the back...there was a seat missing so we had a bit more space. We put things under the seats and between the seats and against the doors. Next we started loading people...first a young woman and a little girl on her lap. Next another young woman and a boy on her lap. Finally me with Sierra on my lap. All six of us on a seat for 2. Then another kid climbed up on top of the bags in the back and made a space there. Then another kid came and stood next to me with his head out the window in the 2-person seat. Then the driver, then a woman and her baby and finally the pastor. counted correctly - 12 people in all! We squeezed another 3 in the truck and off we went. I'm sure you can guess...but nary a seatbelt among us.

The little boy standing next to me is a handful and he wanted to hang his head and hands out and wouldn't listen about bringing them in. This was a common theme throughout the day, which made our trip a little harder to bear. We sang songs and did the Spanish version of "There's a hole in the bottom sea" and the kids fought over the Gameboy until I finally took it and put it away. The truck was having a lot of problems losing oil and overheating, so we stopped frequently to deal with that and also to use the restrooms and get food.

As it started to get dark we pulled off the highway onto a dirt road and began driving up. The further we went, the more the road resembled a dry riverbed. The van kept bottoming out. At one point Sierra and two of the boys hopped out of the van and road the last 1/2 hour on top of the bags in the back of the truck - boy, did they think they were something!

We passed several people walking, and a few burros - one poor burro had 4 kids of various sizes on it, with the mom walking alongside! The houses were made of wood, and the wooden slats were spaced apart so that they didn't provide very good protection from the elements...but probably had good ventilation!

We finally pulled into Cirio at around 8, I think - it was dark and we were hungry. We quickly unloaded everything from the vehicles and the band began to set up. Sierra really pitched in with unloading everything and everytime I turned around she was there to grab another bag! I started to introduce myself to some of the women and admire their babies and to make friends with the kids.

This is an area that is significantly colder than where we are at in Tepa - it's up in the mountains and let me tell you, it was freezing! The women had a fire going and so we huddled around the fire while the the band tuned their instruments. Sierra, in her usual good form, had a ton of kids playing tag within minutes. They all watched her with a mixture of amusement and awe and giggled at everything she did - she has certainly found her element here in Mexico, as far as being the center of attention!

Soon enough the band was ready, so we all went inside and began to worship. There were about 75 of us all together. Sierra and I were dancing and clapping and jumping around. People were enjoying the music, and as some time went by they began to really worshp and get into it. There was one young man - I would guess he was in his early 20's - he was really going for it, jumping and praising and dancing. It was so great to watch. After worship we had a short service and the pastor shared his past with drinking and drugs and I think that was really powerful. They talked about how Jesus doesn't look at what you do or what you have, but at your heart and that all he wants is for us to do is love him with our hearts. After the service many people went up for prayer.

Afterward we visited with people a bit more and then we got dinner - it was about 11:30 by the time. Dinner was great - meat, beans, tortillas, avocados, nopal, salsa and sodas to drink. Michoacan is the place where all of the avocados are grown, so we had plenty of them! They gave us all a huge bag to bring home, too. Nopal is cactus - it's really tasty, as long as you "de-slime" it first!! It's got this slimy stuff in it and that kind of grosses me out...but the taste is yummy.

We finally loaded up and got going about 12:30 in the morning. Two of the older boys decided to sleep in the back of the truck, so we were down to 10 of us in the van. The younger kids were sleeping, so we laid them on the floor in the back of the van and the mom, baby and one of the young women also. I shared the back seat with one of the young men and Sierra slept on the floor against the sliding door. Then of course we had our driving and the pastor up front keeping him awake. Sierra slept a bit off and on, but I wasn't able to sleep at all so we just sang a bit and visited a bit.

We finally pulled in about 5 am and off to bed we went! We're both still pretty tired - late nights (all nighters!!???!) don't work well with us - but we're so happy we did it. When we got home, Sierra said "that was fun, I want to do it again!" which sums up how we both felt.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Today is Thanksgiving in the family are going different directions to celebrate the holiday, but we are all together in heart - for this I am thankful!!

In a short while Sierra and I will be going with our church down to Michoacan to a very poor community. Remember all that laundry I did? Today we will see the fruition of our labor as we hand out clothes to the poor and introduce them to Jesus, have music and food, and generally join together with them in fellowship. I'm so excited! I'm really disappointed about not having my camera.

As I'm getting all the clothes together by the door to make it easier to load them on the trucks, I'm thinking about all the time and effort it took to do the washing, hanging out and folding and I'm glad I was able to do it. I think the Lord wants us to give good gifts, like He gives to us...and having the clothes clean and smelling nice is my way to make this gift good.

I'm reminded of how the kids pitched in to help, and they had so much fun racing up and down the stairs, trying to out-do each other on who could take the most clothes upstairs to hang them out to dry...laughing and egging each other on, begging me to give THEM the clothes so they could be the one to take them upstairs. What a blessing!

The other day I walked to the grocery store and after shopping, took a taxi home. As I drove up, Sierra came running up yelling "Mommy!!!!!" and all the other kids (about 6) came running up also...all of them asking "do you need help, Senora?" and they all grabbed a few bags out of the taxi and brought them inside, giggling all the way, with Sierra in the lead. What a blessing!!

This week, at the pre-school, I made those little handprint turkeys with the baby's hands for their's such an easy project and yet everyone was so impressed! The kids here don't get much in the way of art projects (read: nothing), so they had a good time and the teachers liked it too. Then, at the orphanage I had the kids do the same project...they were so great, and had so much fun just getting in there with color crayons and paper. The kids were ages 13-23 and most of them had not used crayons much and they all were having a blast coloring - what a blessing to take part in bringing them joy in such a simple way.

Yesterday, I showed them how Snow White signs her name at Disneyland and they all wanted me to write THEIR names like we spent a lot of time doing that as they wanted me to do it over and over - all curly Q-ish and pretty.

I have so many blessings to be thankful for, and I'm glad that we have this holiday to remind us to focus on our blessings...things that make our life better and more fulfilling and bring us joy - things we should be remembering every day and living with an "attitude of gratitude"...that's how I want to live.

Happy Thanksgiving to All...and thank You Lord, for all of my many, many blessings!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Our God is an Awesome God!

I am not a person who holds things close to my I feel is generally right out there for anyone willing to know - meaning I don't just "emote" all over the place, but if someone wants to know whats going on with me, I will tell them.

I grew up learning that not telling the WHOLE truth is the same as lying, so I am compulsive about telling all that is on my heart...this is not always good, I've found. A lot of people simply don't care and a short "I'm fine" will suffice! As for myself, I feel like I'm being dishonest with people if I am not trasparent. I guess this is why I'll never be a great businesswoman!

Okay, now I'm starting to sound pathetic...I'm not...really!! Well, I probably am, but not in the desperate way that is coming through with this little confession! I'm sure my sister is laughing at me right now...she is a "processor" (along with my mom) and they always are asking me what I think about stuff, but I am not a processor so my answers are kind of short...haha! I guess it's all about perspective...I'm just not as deep as they are!

But back to the point...I've got some ideas running around in my head about what comes next for me and I wanted to wait for the "right" time to share them with my family...but I was beginning to feel dishonest because I wasn't sharing it NOW. I know there is some timing involved with sharing things in your heart, and with getting things put together in your mind and researched out and all that...but sometimes it feels like that window of opportunity is only open for so long and if you go beyond that it feels contrived and manipulative.

Well, with some things going on for me, I was beginning to feel that way...that waiting was contrived and manipulative. It's funny, but the deeper you dig, the deeper you feel the need to dig! I once heard a very wise person say....when you find yourself in a hole - stop digging!

So, of the things I want to do (drum role, please) is go to missionary training for 6 months starting in January 2006. I think I've shared how I feel God calling me to go deeper in my faith and deeper with Him and I want to respond to this call. As I've served in various ways here in Mexico, I've come to realize that I want to offer more - I want to offer people the eternal hope that is only in Jesus. And I feel totally unprepared for that!!! It's SOOOOOOO uncomfortable for me, let me tell you! This is NOT where I would have seen myself, but here I am.

I've been filling out applications and asking for references and all of that, and need to raise $7,000 in support to go.

Anyway...more on that later! As far as my heart, I was feeling like some of the things going on for me weren't being put out there, and I was waiting for the "right" time to share it...but, as I wasn't feeling good to wait. Yesterday I was feeling really down, sad. I was having a lot of self doubt and not sure whether or not I was doing the right thing, or if our time in Mexico has been well I living life on Purpose?? Has our time here, particularly our time here in Tepa, been beneficial? If we were do to it again, would we have stayed in Tepa after the disappointment with the orphanage? Maybe not...we both have a real heart for Chiapas, and perhaps we should have stayed there. But the thing is...God uses it all. He has us here for a purpose...maybe not the purpose we originally thought, but it's for something. And if we heard wrong and should have been somewhere else? Well, praise God...he works all things to the good of those who love the Lord! Either way, we can trust Him! Yeah God!

So I prayed a lot yesterday and through the night. This morning I decided I would try to put it down in an email to my I wrote a long email to my dad and you know what...I feel SO MUCH BETTER!! All my sadness is lifted and I'm feeling hopeful and excited again. Sometimes we just need to get it all out on the table, to be transparent. I am so thankful that I come from a family that encourages transparency and honesty and we all can truly support one another in many families live with secrets and lies and don't share with each other.

I'm feeling great now...and don't you worry...I will tell you all about YWAM and the other things going on my heart and mind in due time!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Decepcionada is the word for disappointed...although it looks much closer to the word deceived. And that's how I feel right now - disappointed and deceived.

My girls at the orphanage have been working so's been almost three months now that they've been working every single day. I wanted to give them a treat and so I asked the nuns if I could invite them to my house for dinner and a movie and to have a "girls night out" of facials and fingernail polish. They told me no...just plain no. I asked why and they said it isn't common, so no.

I'm so disappointed...the girls are really disappointed, too. I don't know if they don't trust me, or think I will start shoving Christian propaganda down their throat, or what! I'm trying to see it from their point of view, but it's still hard. I had had such high hopes for our time at the orphanage, but it hasn't happened.

This makes me sad for the kids there, and especially for the girls in my class...they are older - from 14 to 23...and I so wanted to give them a special time. I'm not giving up, though...if I can't bring them out of the orphanage for something special - well, by golly, I'll bring something there!

I still dream of someday living and working in an orphanage...on a full time basis, not just an hour or two a day. Those kids can use all the loving they can get! Well, I guess that's true of all of us, isn't it?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Dia de los Muertos

A few weeks back we went to Mexico City again. As you might recall, I spent a few days in the hospital there...well, when I was admitted to the hospital I was required to put down a $20,000 peso deposit (roughly $2,000 dollars) until my travelers insurance paid the bill. So, I had received word that my insurance had paid the bill and I could come to Mexico City to collect my deposit.

We happened to get there on October 31, which as you all know, is Halloween in the States. Halloween is not really celebrated in Mexico...although it is making some inroads in a few of the bigger cities. We saw a few kids in costumes, but that was about it.

What is celebrated with fervor, however, is Dia de los Muertos...Day of the Dead, on November 1st and 2nd. This is a huge holiday for the Mexicans. It's a mix of all sorts of things...honoring loved ones who have passed away, paying homage to pre-hispanic tradition and also a nod to the Catholic traditions brought over by the Spaniards when they came for the gold and silver here in Mexico.

People make altars to the deceased, and decorate the altars with purple and orange marigolds...these are supposed to have the smell to bring the dead to the altar. Also on the altar are food, drink, alcohol, cigarettes, and all sorts of things like that. The idea is to put all the things that the deceased would enjoy on the altar. There is also the skeleton dolls that are pretty famous for Mexico...they are doing all sorts of things...everything from taking a bath to riding a horse and anything else you can think of. All over they sell candy skulls and bread with "bones" on it (made out of dough). It really is actually beautiful, but I felt uncomfortable with it in many ways. For many, it is only a symbol of respect for the dead...for others it is a way to communicate with the dead.

While we were in Mexico City, we stayed at the Moneda Hostal...the place we were at when I got so sick. Everyone of the staff remembered us! They were all happy to see us and glad to know I was feeling was great, and a real testament to their staff. The cook, the woman who offered to keep Sierra while I was in the hospital, was there and was really happy to see us. We spent a lot of time visiting with her...turns out she's a Christian! She wanted to invite us for dinner, but we had to leave before she could have us over.

One day we went to Xochimilco, on the outskirts of Mexico is a place where they have all these water canals and you can rent a boat to go through them. It's known as the Venice of Mexico. We rented a boat for 2 hours...these boats are pushed along by a guy at the back with a long pole...all the boats are decorated beautifully with flowers and painted bright colors. They take straw and fashion it into designs and paint it. All along the byways of the canals are people in other little boats and they are selling flowers and food and candy and all manner of things. Other boats carry mariachis and other types of musicians who will play for you. It was beautiful and relaxing. Sierra tried her hand at pushing the boat along and it was a lot harder than she thought! She had to balance on the edge of the boat and maneuver a pole that weighed as much as she did and was about 20 feet long...all the while keeping the boat going in the right direction! A few times she almost lost the pole, but our trusty conductor was able to get it.

Another day we went to Six Flags, which is also in Mexico City. We thought it would be real quiet because it was a Tuesday, but it was a little crowded by school groups. We had fun, though! It's a lot like any other Six Flags in the States, although they did have some fun rides..Superman and Spiderman. We were disappointed that several rides were closed for refurbishment. While we were standing in line for the Spiderman ride, we talked a bit with the people in front of us...a young girl and two young guys...they were probably in their early 20's. We all rode together and then after the girl gave Sierra her bracelet as a memory of her new friend and her time in Mexico. It was so sweet! We ended the day with a water's one of those kind where you are on a giant wheel/inner tube boat and it's "white water"...we got SOAKED!! Not only was it white watery, but they also dump water on you at every chance. The first was going by some ceramic kids squirting us in various ways...holding a hose, a watering can, etc. One of the "kids" was "peeing" on us!! And they actually had his little private out there doing it, for all the world to see! We couldn't believe it! We also were taken under a waterfall, and by sprinklers...let's just say we were totally soaked. It was getting cold by this time, so we ended up buying matching Superman sweatshirts.

Back at the hostel, Sierra was making friends with everyone. Ricky, the guy who was so into lime juice as the ultimate cure for all ills was there and he gave her a little doll...also as a memory of her time in Mexico and her friend. They were supposed to be having a costume party, so Sierra spent all sorts of time trying to put together a costume, only to be disappointed that she was the only one to dress up (well, besides me in my old standby Pippi Longstocking braids). One of the other guys who worked there fell in love with Sierra and they had fun playing dominoes with the other travelers from all over the world. He said when she is 25, he will be waiting for her! NOT what a mom wants to hear! Haha...he meant it in good fun.

Of course, Sierra being Sierra...she was cartwheeling her way through the city and causing all sorts of commotion as other kids were trying to get in on the cartwheel action. A few of the vendors by the hostal would yell out at her every time we passed by..."more cartwheels, more cartwheels!" This has been a very interesting little phenomenon here in Mexico...everyone is absolutely fascinated by her ability to do cartwheels and backbends...and she has an endless supply to give them! Not to mention high kicks!

We now love Mexico City and are no longer afraid of it...and I have to say - the Metro is awesome!! After Mexico City, we decided to go to Guanajuato for a few days before returning to Tepa. We took a long bus ride...they do seem to be getting longer and longer...and ended up staying at a youth hostel there in town. Guanajuato is a beautiful little city. It was made rich by the silver mines, so the architecture is beautiful. Now it is a college town, and the college is known for it's Arts program. It's a very romantic little place, built up the sides of the hills so it sits in a "bowl" of sorts.

We walked around a lot, just looking around. We also went to their famous mummy museum. There is something in the soil that mummifies the bodies that are buried's very weird. The people have to pay "rent" on the burial sites because there isn't much room. After a few years, if they don't pay rent anymore, they exhume the bodies and if they are "good" mummies, they put them in the museum...the others are burned. It is creepy but very interesting!!

The famous artist Diego Rivera was born in Guanajuato, so we went to the museum in the house where he was born and looked at some of his paintings...that was really interesting and Sierra enjoyed looking at the different techniques he used.

There is a gondola tram that will take you to the top of one of the is probably at a 75 degree angle! We went up that to see the view and also the statue at the top. It is fun to ride, but scary to look down! Boy, it is steep! At the top we found a museum of the "legends of Guanajuato" so we decided to check it out. It scared us!! It was all dark and we were the only ones there! It was one of those animated ones, where you see one scene at a time. Man, the Mexicans love gory, scary stuff! We were freaking out and were real glad when it was over.

One of the legends is actually true, though, and pretty one point the Spaniards were taking over the city and they had taken control of a big building on a hill and were shooting all the Mexicans who were fighting. Finally, this one guy took a huge slab of rock and tied it to his back and was able to get to the door of the building and set it on fire. The rock protected him from the bullets, while the door on fire smoked out the Spaniards and gave the Mexicans a chance to come in and take back the city. It didn't turn out well, however...eventually the Spaniards got it back, and they took the heads of all the leaders and hung them out on hooks at the four corners of the building. Ugh!

After all this excitement, we were happy to return to Tepa and relax for a day before getting back to work.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Random Thoughts & Observations

A few weeks ago, when we still had a car to use, we drove to work at the orphanage. Upon driving home, I noticed there seemed to be some confusion in the street ahead...a couple of guys were running around pulling cable or power lines or something, from the power lines overhead. We slowed down and noticed that another couple of guys were holding a ladder while a third guy climbed it...the ladder was leaning AGAINST the power lines, in the middle of the street! Some other guys were trying to set up a similar situation on the other side of the basically we had to drive between these two ladders that were precariously perched against the power lines while the guys were trying to climb them....we laughed all the way home, saying "only in Mexico!!"

Then, the other day we were walking home from work at the pre-school and this big, shirtless, hairy man with a cigarette hanging out his mouth came running after us! We were thinking "what on earth!" when he approached us with a handful of oranges...he wanted to give them to us and to tell us how he had picked them himself from a tree in Oaxaca and how they were really sweet! Again...only in Mexico!

There is this older couple who live down the street. They must be in their late 80's. The woman is quite debilitated and bent over. Every single day the old man takes her on walks to get her moving a little bit. Sometimes he takes her out in her wheelchair, and they ever-so-slowly make their way around the block. Sometimes she walks behind him, holding onto his belt for support as they (even more) ever-so-slowly walk up the street and back. It is the sweetest thing to see them together and makes me sad that I have no one to grow old with. Sierra says she'll take care of me when I'm old and debilitated, and that's such a sweet thing for her to say! She really does have a heart of gold.

Right now Jazmin is asleep on the couch next to me. She loves to come to my house and just hang out. Sometimes she throws her hat in the air and catches it for entertainment. Sometimes she just sits on the couch on watches. Sometimes she likes to take naps. She starts to throw a fit sometimes when her mom or grandma come and tell her it's time to go home...but I tell her

if she wants to spend time with me she has to obey her mom and grandma; then she bucks up and puts on a brave face and obeys. She's so cute.

Sierra has started to collect stamps...they are Disney stamps and you put them in a little book. you get a pack of stamps for 3 pesos. She does this with her friend Samadi...they are having lots of fun going to the centro for the packs of stamps, and then coming home and going through their stamps and putting them in their books, bartering and trading with the doubles. Sometimes Sierra gets mad at Samadi because he is always trying to get her to pay for his stamps. We talked about being able to set boundaries and saying "no" without feeling like a heel...a hard thing for us!

One thing we really like here in Mexico is the can go to these juice shack types of places and for about 7 pesos they will make you any concoction you want. And they do have the concoctions! We like orange, strawberry and lime with a little bit of honey and vanilla. They use every kind of fruit imaginable, plus vegetables and herbs. All made fresh for you.

One this we really DON'T like here in Mexico is the's terrible! And they don't sell cream! So, I don't drink much coffee anymore. Sigh. I miss it.

Another thing we don't like is how EVERYONE uses their horns for EVERYTHING!!! It's a regular horn cacophony! We still jump at the sound of horns, but everyone else just tunes them out.

Seatbelt laws do exist in Mexico, but they are not enforced and most people do not pay attention to them. It is not at all uncommon to see kids 2, 3, 4 years old having complete control of the steering wheel! Our neighbors taught their daughters to drive at 12 so they wouldn't have to drive them all around...although the legal age to drive is 18.

It's very common for people to approach us and ask if we are from the US...and they love to share their stories about how they lived and worked in the States (usually California), and how they were deported...they love to practice their English with us and everyone wants to learn to speak more!

Well, those are all my thoughts for I'll be completely empty-headed for the rest of the day! Haha.

Monday, November 14, 2005

You versus You

I have to say that learning a new language can really give you such a depth of understanding of your own language, as well as life in general. Knowing Spanish has expanded my English vocabulary and provided for interesting insights into words and phrases commonly used in my speech.

It is interesting to note's so strange, but often when I'm speaking in Spanish and can't think of a word, I'll totally forget what the word is in English - it's like I have an image in my mind of what I want to say, but I can't formulate the word in either language. I have done some research on language acquisition and it appears that when we learn our mother-tongue as children that language is stored in one area of our brain...if we learn another language as adults, the new language is stored in another part of our this explains the difficulty of going back and forth between the two, as they are stored in different "rooms" (so to speak!). The really cool thing is that for kids, when they learn multiple languages, they are all stored in the same part of the brain, making it easier to go back and forth between the two (or more) things like translating are much easier. Isn't that fascinating?

I've heard that once you have learned 2 languages, other languages become much easier to learn. I'd love to learn more languages...French, Italian, Portuguese...language is so fascinating.

But, that's not really what I wanted to write about today. I wanted to write about You versus You. In English, we have one word for "You" can be singluar or plural, it can be formal or casual. How are you? How are you (all)? How are you (boss)? How are you (child)? You are my...friend, lover, parent, pastor, group of buddies, etc. It's used universally in speaking to one or more persons.

In Spanish, there are a variety of ways to communicate "You"...and they each indicate a different relationship. "Tu" indicates friend, close relation, peer, child. "Usted" indicates someone you don't really know, someone of higher station than you, a title of respect. "Ustedes" indicates "you" plural...and can be used both formally and informally.

What is amazing about this is that when we speak of Jesus and of God to one another, and when we speak TO them, in church or on the street....the form of "You" that is used is "Tu"...the casual, friendly, close relationship form of speaking to someone. I think this is so cool, and so awesome, and indicates a depth of the word that is absent in the English language.

You are God. You are my God. You are with me in times of need and in times of plenty. Pretty drab, right....but consider this....TU eres Dios. Tu eres mi Dios. Tu eres conmigo en tiempos de necesidades y en tiempos de plentitud. Look at friend, my close companion. The relationship is so much deeper. I just love that!!

That is the magic of understanding languages...I remember one of my favorite lessons in church. We were looking at some passages in the Bible and going back to what they said in the original our English Bibles, it looked like this (John 21:15-19)...

15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
16Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
17The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
18Jesus said, "Feed my sheep...and then he said "Follow me!"

When you read this in the English language, you're like..."man, why is Jesus being so repetitive? Simon Peter SAID he loved him!"'s so easy to miss the point. But when we looked at the original text and the nuances within the original language, it was more like Jesus was saying "Peter, do you truly love me", and Peter responded..."Lord, you must be able to see that I love you. Again Jesus asks and again Peter responds the same...the final time Jesus says to Peter "do you love me as a friend?" and Peter responds "you know (as the exalted one) that I love you"....there is such a difference in the depth and nuance of what is going on here than is properly communicated when translated to English...the different types of love being discussed, as well as the different types of knowing of one another. It is so fascinating!

At any rate, I am so glad to call Jesus "TU"...Tu eres mi Senor!

Sunday, November 06, 2005


There is a young woman at the orphanage where we are working. Her name is Rose and she is 23 years old. She comes every day to my English class and is my best student. She is a little thing, and as sweet as can be. Last week she shared her story with me.

She grew up in a small village about an hour outside of Tepa. She has 5 brothers and sisters and her family is quite poor. Since they lived so far out of town, she never went to fact, no one in her family ever did. When she was 17 years old, she decided that she really wanted an education, so she enrolled herself into elementary school...imagine being 17 years old and going to school with 5 and 6 year olds!

I asked her what the hardest thing to learn was...reading, writing, what? She told me that reading came very easily to her. She finished elementary school in 2 years and at the age of 19 entered into secondary school (which is like middle school or junior high). After a year, she had completed her studies there.

She wanted to continue her studies, but was unable to because of finances - that is when she came to the orphanage and asked to live there. She has been there a year and is her 3rd year of prep school (like our high schools). She is 23 and is in classes with 15 and 16 year olds. She graduates in another year.

I think it is so amazing that this young woman had the dream, desire and will to get her education. She overcame so many obstacles...age, finances, family order to become the person she wanted to be. She is quite an inspiration. I told her she should write a book and inspire others! Right now she lives in the orphanage and works at a laundromat. She's not sure exactly what she wants to do next, but she would like to come to the US someday.

I think it would be so fantastic to find a way for her to come live as an exchange student to the States...somewhere she could attend Jr College and learn English. People like this, who work so hard with so little, are truly an inspiration and make people want to be better themselves...and also makes us want to help them and give them a leg up.

I'd love any input on how to help Rose along her path to success!!

Blessings 101

One really nice thing that we have here in Mexico is the ability to have a woman come in and help me with the house once a week. For 70 pesos, she comes in and scrubs this house from top to bottom! I've become very attached to Mari and her family. She is a single mom with 3 kids - Samadi who is 11, Jasmin who just turned 4 and the baby. They live with Mari's mom a few doors down.

Mari cleans a few houses a week, for whomever she cleaning jobs aren't very easy to come by. She generally makes less than $200 pesos per week...that is less than $20! Can you imagine living on $100 per month or less? Her brother pays for the rent of the house (about $100 per month), and she uses the money she makes to buy everything else....water, gas, electricity, food, clothes for the kids. As you might imagine, they don't have a lot.

Sierra and Samadi play together all the time. He is a nice boy and they have a lot of fun. Jasmine has become my little shadow, and is over at the house all the time. She loves to follow me around, helping when she can, but mostly just watching what I do.

One day Mari told me that another woman in the neighborhood told her that she should give Jasmin to me!!! I couldn't believe that someone would say that, but knowing the woman who said it...well, unfortunately I believe it. Of course, Mari said she could never give her children away.

The kids eat dinner with us occasionally, and I love this because it feels like a big family, which I've always wanted.

At any rate, one day Mari was over and we were talking and she mentioned that Jasmin had wanted a Barbie for ever and a day, but she just didn't have the money to buy one. She was upset because one of the families who she works for hasn't been paying her, and there have been some other problems with them (this is the same lady who told her to give Jasmin to me). This family is quite well off and they have a girl who is an older teen...apparently the girl had all sorts of Barbies that are just sitting up in the attic, but she won't give any of them the Jasmin.

The next time Sierra and I were at the Mercado, we found these Barbie knock-offs....four of them for 95 pesos. We decided to buy them for Jasmin. That afternoon we went over to Jasmin's house and hid the Barbie's behind a couch and I told her that I'd heard from a little birdie that she had wanted a Barbie. She just looked up at me like, "yeah...but that'll never happen". I told her that there was something for her behind the couch. She was confused, so Sierra pulled them out. She still didn't quite get it. Her face looked like "oh, look...Sierra has what I've always wanted...great". Sierra held them out to her and said, "no, these are for you"....all of a sudden her little face lit up and she was jumping up and down and screaming "I love them, I love them!!".

It was always dream of making someone so excited and happy with a gift that they jump up and down in excitement. Unfortunately for those of us from the US, our kids are generally so accustomed to getting the things they want that we rarely see this kind of joy exhibited. Her excitement made me so excited and happy that I kept on talking about it for 3 days. Sierra grew quite somber and thoughtful, and this led to a great conversation about how much it means to be appreciated for the things we do for one another and how when we feel appreciated we want to do more for each other. I noticed her really trying in the next few days to show her excitement about small things...this is an area of struggle for her and it is a source of disappointment for me when she takes without gratitude. It's an area we are working on and could use your prayers!!

For the both of us, it was wonderful to be to be used by God to bless Jasmin and her family. It was so cute...literally 15 kids from the neighborhood all came running to see what the fuss was about and all the girls immediately began playing together with the Barbies - it was truly a blessing to us to be a part of the excitement!!