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Archive for September, 2012

Something I read. . . .

With what shall I come before the Lord
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6: 6-8

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El Diente. . . . . not El Dente

Viva Mexico! and the never-ending adventures this wonderful country offers.

September 16, 1810 Miguel Hidalgo rang his church bell calling Mexican’s all over the country to fight for their independence from Spain. Although this event took place on the 16, most places celebrate with reenactments of his speech on the 15th. Having already experienced a Grito, myself and four other girls decided to head outside the city for some good ol’ fashioned nature.  About 45 minutes from where we live is a mountain, it’s more of a boulder outcrop, that is known as a great place to hike and spend day.  Since we have a long weekend, we decided that it would be fun to try to camp there for a night as well.  So we loaded up a few processions, food, and cameras and headed north.

WE ARE NOT EXPERIENCED HIKERS.

We began our hike with our backpack but didn’t have a plan about where we were going to camp.  We hiked around and finally found a grassy knoll on the top of the bolder mountain.  It was beautiful!  The problem was that it was pretty much the furthest we could get from our car, up at the top of the mountain while our tents, water, and food was still in the car. Fail. While we were searching around for our perfect camping spot, Shelia and Chelsea were having a good conversation with another hiker. He happened to be hiking up a similar direction and chatted with us while we walked. Initially we didn’t really want a random guy coming along with us, but as we stopped to have a drink the conversation turned towards experimenting with marijuana and explaining why we don’t use drugs. Shelia was doing a fantastic job talking in Spanish and so we decided to leave Chelsea and Shelia together; while Ginny, Abby, and I descended the mountain to retrieve the remaining items for our camp site.

The descent down the mountain was strenuous. We left our packs hidden in some tall weeds, and carefully scaled down the rock faces. When we got back to the car, we realized there was no way we could carry everything up, and since we had left our packs in a hidden place we didn’t have appropriate bags to carry up the stuff. Fail a second time. To top it off we left a couple of our empty water bottles with our packs. Using a trash bag and the fantastically large bag Laura gave me, we carried up the remaining supplies. By the time we had returned, Shelia and Chelsea had finished their conversation and we set up camp.  We enjoyed a favorite Chiapas meal of can beans, salsa, and tortillas while watching the sun disappear behind the clouds and mountains. We started a fire and simply enjoyed the conversation and distant rolls of thunder. What a perfect ending to our hike or so we thought. Fearing it may rain and potential animals during the night we packed everything up and hung it in a tree and looked for a safe place to run in case a flash flood happened upon us. At 10:50pm it began to rain and continued to rain until about 5:50am.  7 hours! Without much-needed explanation I’m sure you can imagine our conditions.  There were three of us in my two person tent and trying not to touch the sides was impossible.  Needless to say, we all ended up soaked, cold, and completely unable to sleep.  The hours passed slowly, but morning eventually came. After a long night, we were ready to pack up our soaking things and get down the mountain, into the car and to the nearest place with chilaquiles.  I wish I had a camera as I opened the tent flap.

Need I say anything? We ended up staying put for a few hours to give the sun time to clear some fog and dry the ground. The wait was breathtaking.  I could sit and enjoy that view every day for the rest of my life. I just wandered from the group, found a rock and sang worship songs for a while. I even made up my own.  It wasn’t long before others joined me and soaked in rolling and wisping waves of fog.  After packing up camp we descended, choosing each step very carefully. It was a beautiful walk down, if not a little stressful.  When we reached the car, we couldn’t have been happier to take off our soaked shoes and drink a huge glass of water.

Here are just a few pictures of our scenic adventure. Despite the cold, wet, sleepless night I could do this every weekend. Really, my heart already aches to go back to our boulder mountain already.

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All you need is LOVE…..

“Even in the dark you can still see the light”-What happens if the people who are supposed to be the light don’t look any different from those who are in the darkness?

“Love will hold us together to weather the storm”-But what if I love myself more than I love anyone else?

“I’ll be my brother’s keeper, so the whole world will know that we’re not alone.”- Even if looking after my brother means I have to confront them about sin?

It’s easy to sing a song, but not so easy to live the lyrics.
__________________________________________________

On another note, tonight I went to a memorial party for a friend’s mom who died recently. Death is something that I’ve so little experienced and yet feel so at peace with. I’ve recently thought a lot about death and if dying here in Mexico is something that could happen, but whenever and however it happens I know that someday I will die. Someday I will be united with my creator, provider, comforter, savior, father, my God. I long to really know him and that makes me wish this life would pass, but at the same time cling here knowing that there are so many people who don’t know the peace and joy I experience.

I want them to experience the forgiveness and goodness of my God, and my heart is torn knowing they don’t.  I can come up with excuse after excuse why I don’t and haven’t boldly shared my faith, but ultimately one day we will both start before God’s judgement seat.  I see their faces looking over at me and asking, “You were my friend, why didn’t you tell me about your faith?” “Why were you content to let me suffer this eternal punishment?” Will my Christian friends look at me ask similar questions? Will I ask my closest friends, “Why did you allow me to continue in this sin? Why didn’t you confront me?”

Tonight at the party, before they released balloons they sang a few famous Beatles’ lyrics, “All you need is love” and I couldn’t help but think that those words are so true, but that the people couldn’t be further from the truth.  We need and are offered the best and only satisfying love. It isn’t our love for those who died, or our love for those who remain with us, but Christ’s sacrificial love.  His love that lead to his death, which allowed for our punishment to be fulfilled. His love that redeems’ my life and offers forgiveness.  His love that allows me to experience peace, joy, and the freedom to love.  His love. His love, that I’m suppose to reflect. Would anyone there know the hope I have from having a conversation with me?  I know many of the people there tonight would not claim any relationship with God, and I can’t stop thinking about them.

So I agree with the lyrics tonight. “All we need is love,” but it’s a very specific love that we need.

John 3:16-Do you believe it? Than I encourage you to do something about it.

 

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Driving in GDL – Level Two

It was about a year ago that I first experienced driving in Mexico.  Thanks to a gracious friend, she allowed me to take her trusty van to Tonala. I still remember what the thrill and fear of driving out of the safety of Las Fuentes and around my first glorieta. At the time, I thought we might actually die, but after making it there and safely back my confidence grew in leaps and bounds.

My second opportunity to drive was on our Chiapas trip, and I couldn’t have asked for better learning experience. Through mountains, steeps roads, failed brakes, ah the excitement was endless.  Sadly Peg the Egg (Charla’s van) was driven back to the States and sold to a lovely family.  My driving career, to my parents probable pleasure, was over.  That was until my dear friend Shelia purchased a used stick shift.

Although she had offered to let me use it any time, I was not sure I wanted the experience of  driving in a city.  About two years ago, while my dad and I were working at the same school, he insisted that I learn how to drive his stick shift. Since all of his driving is on lonely back country roads, I figured it was the safest place to learn.  I did not learn easily.  There is simply too much to think about when driving a stick shift!  My poor father, his poor car, the poor people who had to wait for me to restart the engine.  After that spring I thought I had put driving a stick behind me, that was until yesterday.

Shelia was feeling ill, but Chelsea and I really wanted to go to a memorial service for a friend’s mom. She offered to let us use her car, but I wanted a practice session first.  After we had agreed on a practice session we discovered we miss understood the date of the memorial service, but since it is likely that I will have to drive her car at some point; we decided to make driving to Bible Study our practice session.

Oh what an adventure we had. We were driving along fine until someone in the car began singing, “Jesus Take the Wheel” and “Driving on a Prayer.”  Then we missed getting off on the lateral and had to go a way to turn around. Then once we had turned around we take a wrong reterno and ended up going the wrong direction again.  The worse part of the whole stick driving adventure was when we finally were turning around for the second time and I stalled the car in the turn lane. I was trying to quickly get it started so we could make the light. I kept turning the key and nothing was happening! I kind of freaked out at that moment. I was just kept saying, “Guys, the car’s not starting! It’s not starting, I can’t get it to start!”  I kept taking the key out and trying again and again.  I was just laughing at the ridiculous situation and at a point of panic when I accidentally turned the key the other direction and the car started right back up……. I couldn’t believe it. Although all of this probably took 30 seconds, I just sat there and laughed.  I’m 24 years old, and I forgot which way you turn a key to start a car. Ay. We finally made it to church 30 minutes late, but we made it alive! Driving home was not nearly as exciting and I stalled it maybe once.

I’m not afraid of driving in Mexico anymore, and I’m eager for what Driving in GDL- Level Three might entail. Bring It On! This confidence comes not from my ability to drive (as was demonstrated last night), but my assurance that the prayers in the backseat were what kept us safe.

To God be the glory in all our driving adventures!

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Written August 30th

Despite my long absences and failure to post any pictures of my new classroom or current living arrangement, I hope anyone still checking this blog will extend me a little grace.

This year is underway and I’m still trying to get into the grove. Currently teaching a class of 20 and living with a fellow teacher at our host “mom’s” apartment, life would appear to be going smoothly.  I’m appreciating a year’s experience and pre-made lesson plans, but still acknowledge the drive for changing reading or improving writing.  My first Spanish lesson was Saturday and I’ve really enjoyed the time in our apartment and talking with Marie-Elena. She’s more of a “grandmother” to me than a mom, but I’ve enjoyed getting to know her and being forced to practice Spanish.  If only it were possible to download the Spanish language into my head, life would become so much easier. In many ways the last two and a half weeks have felt like I’ve striving towards an undefined goal, but things just don’t feel right.  I’m tired, unmotivated, apathetic.  Simply stated, striving towards something, but not thriving in anything.

Have you ever really tried to pinpoint something, and yet the more you try, the more it seems to escape you? The last two days I’ve struggled to figure out the strange mood I’ve been in.  It wasn’t until tonight when I thought to put some thoughts down that It occurred to me. I’m certain Mexico is where God has called me, and I’m certain that I must learn Spanish before I understand what’s next in this finite life of mine.  I think I’m making a similar mistake to King Asa in the OT. Towards the end of his life, he chose to put his trust in he’s human allies, rather than relying solely on his God. Although I read his story this morning, it hasn’t hit me until now. Am I trusting in my own ability to plan activities that will allow me to practice Spanish? I am trusting in my own ability to manage my classes and lesson plans? Maybe this is the reason day in and out I’ve felt like I’ve survived and strove to make it though each day, but haven’t really experienced the joy of thriving in anything I’ve put my hands and heart to.

Just some thoughts. No real answers.

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