Sunday, October 01, 2006

Facing the Giants

"We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there." But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, "Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it."
Numbers 13:32-33

Difficulties in our lives are allowed by God. What we do in response will either make us give up and turn away from Him, or draw us to Him into closer fellowship, drawing strength from Him to get through those difficulties.

On this note, I would like to recommend this movie "Facing the Giants." It is a wholly Christian-produced film with overtly Christian content. Unfortunately, it's not playing in any theaters in all of New England, but for my readers elsewhere, if you can find a theater playing this movie, by all means go see it!

Mexico: Part 11

Half a year since going to Mexico, and I'm not quite done with the account!

Friday, March 17 (St. Patrick's Day)

Another perfectly beautiful day. We were scheduled to travel to Lagos de Moreno and enjoy the day at a swim park, so Marshall and I had to get to the Landrums' house promptly today. Despite Nancy's gracious offering to cook us a hot breakfast, we had to bow out and opt for cold cereal. I felt bad having to turn down her offer, but if we didn't we would be late!

Nancy said she would do what Josue did Tuesday——skip work and join us at the swim park. I thought she was joking, especially if she meant to arrive late to work and would be locked out! Josue got permission to skip school today and all three of us took la oruga again to the Landrums'. Marshall and I insisted on paying Josue's fare, since earlier in the week he paid ours.
When we turned down the Landrums' street, we saw some well-equipped police searching a man and his car. I have no idea what the situation was, but, well, take a look at the picture (sorry for the purple haze—a minor problem with the camera).In addition to all us gringos at the their house, there were also Oscar and Alberto, and from Ken's host family Alejandra (mother) and her boys Alejandro (11) and Fernando (7). She had driven Ken, Ryan, and Willie over.

Scott produced a huge sombrero which he had bought at some point, and we all got some laughs out of it, especially when Marshall put the hat on Fernandito, who was clearly dwarfed by it!

While we were waiting for a few of the others to arrive, I got to play a Mexican guitar duet with Alberto. That was very much fun.

Once everyone had arrived, Craig announced that we could drive to Lagos instead of taking a bus, since enough people had cars. I went with Marshall, Scott, Ryan, and Josue in Oscar's van.

Mexican countryside

Admission to the water park was only 40 pesos, about 4 dollars. The grounds were well-kept and the flora tropical. We had our team time there under a thatched pavilion, and again sang some songs in English and Spanish. The few Mexicans with us wanted to hear us sing Maravillas in English, which we were happy to do.

I don't remember what the devotional was.

After team time, some believers from Lagos de Moreno showed up, among whom was Memo, a young man who had attended Emmaus Bible College, and knew several of the American students.

Meanwhile, I was in the pool with Alberto, Josue, Willie, Emily, Amy, and Ryan, playing two-team keep-away with a frisbee.

There were two of water slides in this park as well, which were fun. Actually only the one was fun, because the other was too shallow and slow. The small pool at the ends of these slides was as warm as a bath, since it was fed by hot springs!

Just on a side note, it was interesting that immodesty in public swimming situations is not as much a problem in Mexico as in the U.S. Many men and women were wearing shirts and shorts, which I was grateful to see.

In the early afternoon, several people from the East Leon church showed up with a lot of food for lunch. Among those were Nancy, who, true to her word, had taken off from work, and Edit with her two children (Edit and her husband Beto were hosting Amy and Emily for the week).

Eventually it came time to change and pack up and leave. I rode in Oscar's van again, and I don't remember who all else, but I remember Ryan was taking a nap on the floor of the van as we arrived at the Landrums' house.

Ken took a picture of the mesa on the way back

While still at the Landrums' we saw several of the host families again as they were saying goodbye to the students. Luis and Yola left us his e-mail address so we could sent him information on origami. Alberto also left us a business card with his e-mail address on it.
There were many tearful hugs as everyone said goodbye.

Edit, Beto, daughter, and son Betito (little Beto) with Amy and Emily on the last evening

I remember very well when Oscar said to me and Ken, "No me olvides," "Don't forget me." How could we ever forget Oscar, Alberto, Fernando, our beloved hosts and all the brothers and sisters we met in Mexico!

The flight for all the Emmaus students was to leave the next morning very early, so they were all going to sleep at the Landrum's house that night, while Ken and I would go back to Nancy and Cuco's, since our flight was to leave a little later.

It was sad to be leaving everybody, knowing this might very well be the last time I would ever see them this side of heaven, for in a week we had gone from not knowing a thing about each other, to working together and knowing each other fairly well. What a comfort it is to know that we have that Eternal Hope of salvation in common and the promise we shall all be in the presence of the Lord someday. And certainly since God has given us this love for one another here on earth, we shall also enjoy one another in the ages to come.

As we left we said hasta luego (see you later), instead of adios!

It was so late that the buses weren't running, so Josue hailed a taxi, and he, Ken and I got to his house that way. I had told Nancy and Cuco I wanted to take them out to dinner some evening, and it just so happened that this night worked. While we were getting ready to go, Nancy was talking on the phone with her brother Miguel, and she invited him and his family along! He was going to drive over in his little Jeep Liberty or something and pick us all up. In true Mexican style, Josue and his dad squeezed into the rear cargo area while Ken, Nancy, and I sat in the back seat, with Miguel's wife in the front holding their toddler son. Thus we drove to their favorite taco place for supper (of course it was about 9:00 at night).

The restaurant, like so many, was on a small, gravel lot, covered by a large tent like we might use in the U.S. for outdoor event or "tent revival" meeting. It was about 20 x 40 feet. The furnishings were plastic tables and chairs. There were only a couple of people there, and the atmosphere wasn't really like Tacos Don Luis, but the food was just as good! Miguel knew some English, andproceededd to tell us a joke, first in Spanish, then in English, just to make sure we got it:
A Mexican, a Guatemalan, and a Honduran were all traveling towards the border in a Ford Explorer. Who was driving?
Miguel explained that a Mexican who heard the joke would pridefully expect the Mexican to be driving, the Guatamalan would expect a Guatamalan driver, etc. But who was driving? The American border patrol officer! (i.e. to deport them. ...Or so we Americans hope!)

When dinner was over, I offered to pay for everyone, but because of Miguel's insistence, he and I ended up splitting the cost.

We drove back to the house, and thanked Miguel and his family for coming (and for driving) and said goodbye. Then we got ready for bed and the next day's trip home.