Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mexico -- In All.

I kept a journal throughout my whole Oaxaca missions trip, so I'm just gonna post the entrees with pictures that were taken of the trip. If you go to the GFM (Global Frontier Missions) channel on YouTube, you can watch what the trip was like. Just click anything from Group 3 '09, and you'll see us!
Anyway, read and enjoy (^_^)

Day 1, July 14th, 2009
Yesterday we got to the church at 5:50 am and left for the airport at six. It wasn't really horrible or stressful because we were still in Denver.
We were all scaattered all over the plane on the first one. Caleb and I were the only ones together on the trip. Kristen sat directly behind me, and Alex was behind her. This one guy tried to switch seats with Caleb, but I was like, "No...! Stay..." so the guy's wife was like, "Let the kid sit next to his sister!"
So we kind of just played along and laughed later.
The plane started to take off and we saw crop circles. Evidently, people plant their fields in circles so they can water them that way.
I wrote for a while on the plane and read a bit. Then before we knew it, we were in Dallas.
We ate lunch at Fuddrucker's and stood in line forever at the ticket desk because Doug and Michael (Michael Anderson) decided to make confettii out of the tickets. So we had to get new ones. And waited in line for a long time, and then when we finally got the tickets, they printed two of Kristen (my sister)'s tickets, so Blacklock and I had to wait a bit longer to get one for me.
And then when we got on the plane, I was in C14 (Mexicana Airlines! Woo!), so I had a asle seat next to people I didn't know. The people across the asle had two cute little Mexican boys.
And I got airsick during the sucky landing.
When we got off, we ran through the Mexico City Airport so we could get past the immigration lines faster, but by the grace of God, there wasn't a soul in them! So we were like, "Wah-hoo!" and ran through it.
We had about an hour to kill, so we hung around. Kristen and I got a mango frapp from Starbucks. Why don't they sell those in America??
I had a seat between an girl Daniel's age and an old guy on the way to Oaxaca City Airport. The girl was drawing, so I started to draw, too. It turned out pretty bazzare.
The flight lady came and gave me el jugo de naranja with ice, but then I remembered Blacklock had said not to eat the ice so I didn't get sick from teh water. So I started diggin' in my cup and the nice Mexican dude sitting next to me kindly offered me his barf bag to stick them in. Isn't he the charmer, hahaha.
The landing was rocky, again. So I got sick, again. I didn't puke, but still, sucky landing skills on the captain's part.
From the airbort we met some guy from GFM (I think his name was Jordan) and we took a four hour van ride into the mountains. We played "What's Behind The Green Glass Door?"
I'll give you a hint: You can take puppies, but not dogs. You can take kittens, but not cats.
Shells, but not the sea. Gazelles but not antilopes (altough you can still take a deer).
See if you can figure it out.
Oh, and you can giggle, but not laugh.
I fell asleep the last hour, and Alex got carsick. I also jacked Caleb's hat.
We got to the base and was greeted by rain, interns, and missionaries -- like José!
We got to bed soon after that.

Day 2, July 15th, 2009
We got up early this morning and ate breakfast, and then a few of us helped out with the dishes. It struck me how well everyone works together here. Nobody was fighting.
Then we meditated ont he Word and learned about unreached people groups. (The 10/40 Window and such.)
I am dumbfounded by the senery and how beautiful God has made it. I am reminded that he is amazing, astonishing, incredible, and that I am humbled that the one who made these beautiful mountains cares about me and loves me. He answers my prayers and watches over me. And today he has revieled to me how privalaged I am that he has chosen me to follow him -- of all people. And to know that I love him.

Day 3, July 16th, 2009
Today we had an amazing worship service. I've gotten over my fear of putting my hands up to praise the Lord, and I find it feels so much more personal.
Then we went upstairs to pray. It was a darkened room, and lit with candels, and there was some soft, acoustic Christian music playing.
There were a few Questions projected on the wall:
-God, what kind of fruit am I bearing for your kingdom?
-God, what have I been unwilling to sacrifice for your glory among the nations?
-God, what kind of kingdom steward are you wanting me to be right now?
-God, what roll are you calling me to play in making deciples?
So I have this friend that God's really been putting on my heart to bring to Christ, but the whole complication with Newman has kind of skewed my focus on him.
But in this dark room with so many people just...praying, God spoke to me.
Something I did not understand about what people mean when 'God speaks to you' is that it's not a voice. It's a thought. A really, really strong thought that just resinates in your mind. And you can tell that it's not your own thought. I heard him. He said, "Get on your knees."
I was a little bit hesitant, but I eventually slid to the floor and fell before God on my knees.
And I began to think about my friend again.
So I was asking God, "Well, what should I do? I don't know what to do, where to begin..."
Then I felt the comforting, warm arm of Abby wrap around my shoulder, and a voice just said simply, "Love."
And, no, it wasn't Abby's.
Day 5 , July 18th, 2009
Last night was our first night in Tidaa.
We are staying in a host lady's house. She is really cute, but can't really walk very fast becasue her feet hurt her. She has a little pig -- actualy, two -- and they're both so cute! I petted one, and he was really dirty.
Today we (Me, Amanda, Kristen, and Olivia [the intern]) walked down to the church and ate this huge breakfast of tamales. Doug (Diego) ate fifteen. It was intense.
There's this kid, Erick,
This is Erick, but he refuses to smile for the camera for some reason.
and he's totally my BFF. (Aside from Alex, that is, haha. Inside joke.)
Yesterday Erick asked me to draw him "Un lobo," a wolf on his peice of paper. Then he took it and drew some hills and the sky and a smiling sun with the lobo on it. Then he wrote "con amor" ("with love") under where I'd written his name, and then folded it and wrote "para ti" ("for you"), then gave it to me.
He's so cute.
I thought he was, like, eight, but I guess he's twelve. He follows me everywhere and wants to know what things are in English ("¿Como se dice 'preguntas' en Ingles?" "Questions." "¿Cooestions?" "Questions." "Cooestions." "" *laughter*)
We're painting a school, and he was helping me the entire time. Oh, and another thing, I hardly understand a word he says. I always have to ask Tenisha what he said.
The school looks totally cute.
I kept dipping the wrong brush in the oil-pased paint. Which wasn't good...
The food is really good. The first meal, not so much. The Mexicans get offended if 1) you don't finish the food, and 2) if you don't ask for seconds. So chow down, chubby.
The church we're using is cute. Dirt floors and scrapped together with scap metal and soda bottle lids nailed down.
It's the coolest thing. The kitchen is equipped with a wood stove and a table, and a bucket to wash dishes in.
*dishesdishesdishesdishesdishesdishes* -Erick
Erick le gusta los tongue-twisters. He's hilarious. We think he has a little-kid-crush on me. I hope not, because I'll cry (and he probably will, too) when I leave.
Day 7 , July 20th, 2009
Yesterday we hiked up a really steep mountain to a clearing about two miles up. We were going to have church in a cave, so when we got up, we were like, "Where's the cave?"
Well, evidentally, it's another three mile hike uphill from there. So I thought I was totally gonna die, because I totally almost died on the first hike to the clearing.
But the second hike, evidentally, was a heck of a lot easier, even though it was really, really steep. Like, 120 degrees.
But I had my magic stick that helped me make it up.
But we all made it.
We took a breather at the top, and then proceeded to rock climb (with the help from the lime green rope and Benjemon's expertise) to the cave.
Caleb climbed first, and I climbed second. The cave just kept going. Miguel (Michael) said it ended into a tiny passageway that your hand could get stuck in.
Anyway, when we get back down, BFF (Alex) and I used machetes to wack off the outter part of our walking sticks. Then everyone went to the BAT CAVE and into the back cavern. There were bats everywhere! It was like:

(O = Bat)
A total myriad of bats, and they would offhandedly fly around your face.
It was cool.

Day 7 , July 20th, 2009
I almost cried. Every else did, too. We all stood in a circle to share a few words, but I couldn't do it. Erick was standing in front of me and we made faces at each other. (because we can't really communicate any other way, even during normal curcumstances.) He was framing me with his fingers like a camera, and then closing them; ca-click! Then I saw this look cross his face like he'd gotten an idea, then he makes a heart with his hands and puts it over his chest. Then he points at me.
I love you.
I smiled at him and started to tear up. He is so sweet. I loved him, too. My little hermano.
I know exactly what I would have said in the circle. "Thank you for opening up your homes for us and feding us your food. It was very good. Thanks for letting us hang with your kids -- I love them. I love all of you, and I will never forget you. I hope I see you again someday."
When we were done and prayed, everyone went around and hugged, saying goodbyes.
I hugged Sochil all thoughout prayer, but hugged her again. She was so sweet. I hugged little Estar, picking her up and holding her tight. I hugged Pedro, the pastor. I hugged Abuelita Ofelia, our host mother. I hugged Maria and kissed her cheek while she cried and said something nice that I didn't understand. I hugged Erick, ignoring how culturally weird that was, and held him close to me. I hugged Andrés after shaking his hand. He was crying. I hugged Sochil again. And then Erick, one last time.
We took a bunch of photos and piled into the van. Erick and Estar stood by the chain-link fence, tears in Estar's eyes, Erick's face stoic, but his eyes shined wetly. Estar blew me a kiss, and then one for Kristen. Erick motioned for me to come back, biting his lip, but I sadly shook my head.
The van pulled away and I saw him with all the things I'd drawn him, and the cranes I had folded.
I wish I had told him I loved him, too. My little hermano.
Day 8 , July 21th, 2009
Now that we're back from Tidaa and away from all that, and that we spent the day reflecting on the trip, I really think that God brought Erick into my life there to teach me through the eyes of a child. Erick doesn't even live in Tidaa, he was visiting cousins from Mexico City where he lives. So it's really a God thing that he was even there.
It's so humbling to think that a little twelve year old boy could teach me so much.
First, I think that God taught me patience through Erick. Even though he didn't understand a word I said, and knew that I didn't understand him, he just loved me.
Most of the time he'd say something, I'd be like, "¿Mande?" So he'd say it again, and I'd have to tell him, "Mas despasio." So he'd say it slower. And then I'd have to ask Amanda or Tenisha what he said, and by then it'd lost its charm or whatever, but he didn't leave my side. He kept trying and trying to communicate with me. Erick was just so patient.
Another thing about him is that he wanted something so bad that he didn't give up. He wanted to talk to me. It just shows me that if I really, really want something, that I shouldn't give up on it. Work for it, and not drop it when it gets too frustrating.
Something else was that he was always so happy. All of the people there were. It didn't even really dawn on me that they were poor until I got home and saw how much we had. It didn't even seem that they were poor, because they weren't. We are the ones who are poor. They were happy with whatever they had because they had each other and they had God. What do we have? We have big houses and cell phones and iPods and laptops, and we still want more. But what did I hear when they prayed?
"Thank you for the stars so we can look at them at night." That's what they said! They said "Gracias," over and over and over again when they prayed. It was the only word that I understood when they talked, but that's what I kept hearing! They aren't always asking God for things, they're thanking him for what they have!
I just need to remember, all of us do, that we have a lot. And I know I don't always realize that.
When I gave Erick something I had made, he would take it and make it even better, and then just give it right back to me because he wanted me to have it. It just struck me that that is the attitude I need to have more than anything. God has blessed me with so much, and I need to make it better, then give it right back to me.
Never in the Bible does it ever say that God says "Thank you" for anything. He will say "Well done" or "Good", but he never says "Thank you" because it's your duty to do good things. Anything that God entrusts me with, I need to make it beautiful and worthy of this King so that I can give it back to him and have him say not "Thank you", but "Well done, thy good and faithful servant."
God has shown me more of His heart through this little boy. Erick has done more for me than he will ever know.
Thank you, brother. I love you, and I will never forget you.

The next day we debriefed, and then the day following, we drove into Oaxaca City to do some shopping. (And one of the interns at the base, Jordan, blew up Doug's pillow with dinamite before we left.) The markets are full of anything you could ever want to buy. Literally. They have anything from dried grasshoppers (to eat, of course. I bought some for my brother), baby turtles, purses, Oaxacan sweatshirts (cooler than they sound), all the way to black mole (moh-lay).
I bought a lime green wool woven backpack, something for Sara, the bag of grasshoppers, a liter of vanilla, a Oaxacan hammock, and a luciador mask (like the one from Nacho Libre. Actually, that movie was filmed in Oaxaca City. Random fact).
We spent the night in a hotel (nice as far as Mexican hotels go) and I finally got a hot shower. Did I mention that the showers at the base are only two minutes long in freezing cold water, and that I didn't shower at all in the four days I stayed in Tidaa? Nope? Okay.
And the window for some reason lead out to the hallway. So we were like a gringa museum. Click on the link and you'll know what a gringo is. ("¿Donde esta Casa del Gringos?" -Blacklock.)
The next morning we were up at 4:30 am so we could get our junk packed up and downstairs by 5:00 and eat a light breakfast, then be able to catch our plane by 7:00. Hence sleeping in the hotel.
So we all pile in the van and I fall asleep, and then we all arrive and pile out, grab our junk, and get in line. Caleb and Michael had bought sombreros the day before and were wearing them, Caleb was wearing his Oaxaca sweatshirt, I had my gifts compiled into my woven lime-green backpack slung across me, and my other one on my back. Kristen had her pretty purse that would have been sixty dollars back in the States with who knows what in it.
My liter of vanilla was in my bag, and the guy searching looks at it and was like, "¿Vah-nill-ah??" in a thick Spanish accent. I nodded, and he warned me that I'd have to throw that out once we got to Mexico City, because they'd take it away.
So we get our seats for our plane. Doug and Amanda I know had seats together, Michael I think was with them. Alex was in the middle of nowhere, and Blacklock and Abby were behind Kristen, me, and Caleb, who were in a row. Kristen had 4F, I had 4E, and Caleb had 4D. F-E-D.
The plane ride was reletively short. I read my book, Kristen read hers, Caleb twitched for a while and fell asleep.
At the Mexico City Airport, I tried to figure out a way to smuggle my liter of vanilla through security. Kristen helped me stick it at the bottom of my non-woven backpack in a bag I bought that looks like a woven blanket, and then we put all my books and Curt over it. We hoped that would keep them from finding it during the searches.
Amanda, Kristen, and I went to Starbucks. Apparently they sell these really yummy sandwiches at the Starbucks in the Mexico City Airport that are all melted and panini-ish and so freaking GOOD. I got one for lunch and ate half, and stuck the other my woven backpack.
Us girls met up with the guys and Abby and sat at Gate 38 waiting for our plane to be called. I ate half of the half of my sandwich waiting. Doug bought a apple soda to smuggle.
Our plane got called and I stuck my bag on the table to be searched. The guy who was looking through my junk wasn't really paying half of his attention, and casually looked through my woven bag, then the first pocket of my non-woven bag where the vanilla was hiding under everything. Nothing. Then he opened the pocket where I had a few pads and a tampon in and he looks -- and then quickly, quickly zips it and gives it back to me.
I almost died laughing in the terminal.
And that's how I smuggled a whole liter of vanilla into America!
Kristen, Caleb, and I were in the same row again. Same seats, different asle. So I was still in the middle seat with Kristen on my left and Caleb on the right with the window seat.
I started reading my book (House by Ted Dekker and Frank Parelli) again as soon as we took off, and Caleb started reading over my shoulder, and then kept reading for, like, ten minutes. I got up to pee, and he was like, "Can I read that?"
I just look at him and was like, "Yee-aah...I've got another one. Go ahead."
So when I get back I dig through my green woven backpack and get The Truth About Forever out and start reading it while he's speeding through the pages.
The flight attendants handed out earphones and then after a few shows on the fold out TVs, a thing about how they make dentures comes on. So the three of us watch that. So. Weird.
Then we keep reading.
Three hours later, we're back in Denver, and I turn my head to see how far Caleb got, and he's like, almost done with the book. Dead serious. I'd read 90ish pages in three hours (note: easily distracted on planes) and he was, like, 300ish pages in.
Everyone piles off the plane and we go through immigration, read a sign about not smuggling parrots in, don't tell anyone about the vanilla, and we spit to drive back to the church (one and a half hours), Kristen and I with Amanda's mom and Amanda and Doug.
Then we go to Red Robin and I get a freckled lemonade, my parents come pick me up, I hug my mom, I hug my dad, and I'm home.

And that was my Mexico Adventure.

Sidenote: My brother has the swine flu (we think, because he had to come home from camp late last night sick, and the camp had one confermed case of H1N1), and I miss Erick.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Philippians 4:8

Made this for Mexico homework. It's pretty cool.