Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sometimes You Have to Eat Goat Soup and Ride a Donkey :)

Sorry it has been so long since I've updated my blog. Time has just slipped away. It's not an excuse I know....I will try harder to do a better job of keeping you all posted! Where to begin....??? A little over a month and a half ago Erika and I bought food in bulk to make dispensas (little bags of staples foods). Your donations have helped to feed 18 families. With our home visits, we have a two week rotation and visit 18 different families. Each time we visit we also bring a dispensa. We still have enough food to last us for one more month. Thank you so much for your generosity.Sorry for the messiness in the picture above. This is only a little of the food that your donations helped to buy :) Again, thanks! So, skipping over a lot of time and jumping into last week. We had our first short-term mission group since I've been here in General. It was a group of seminarians and two priests. When I heard that they were coming, I thought this should be interesting. Only being re-Catholic for a year, I haven't spent much time talking to priests or seminarians so I had this preconceived idea that they were really boring serious people who only talked about theology and things that were way over my head. Boy, was I wrong! The guys arrived on Saturday the 9th and were already speaking Spanish. Such a blessing! The first night we just relaxed, ate dinner and got to know one another. The next day started bright and early with mass at 7:30 and then visits to different Ranchos following. What blessed me most on that day is one of the seminarians Tim. He handed out balloons to the kids and played with them. When it was time for us to go to mass someone commented saying, "I hope the kids put the balloons away for mass." My thought was, "Are you kidding?? The kids in Mexico run up and down the isles during mass." I must admit that it is very distracting for me when the kids are loud and run around in mass and I've had very negative thoughts in the past, but Tim said, "Let the little children come to me..." quoting Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Wow! That convicted my heart! The kids did bring their balloons in mass, but it didn't bother me this time when they walked around or played, I saw things a little differently. After mass some of the little ladies asked Father Tony to bless their houses. Several of the ladies also asked Father to pray for rain. When we got in the van and started our journey home, the skies opened up, it rained and hailed. We asked Father if he prayed for rain yet but he said he hadn't. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we had retreats in two different ranchos. My group went to San Fransisco. Father Jos accompanied my group, so each day we had mass. I soon found out that Father Jos loves to tell jokes, but they are very hard to understand. You see, Father Jos is Indian and English is his second language with Portuguese being his third and Spanish his forth. A lot of the times his jokes were a mixture of all three languages. Even though I couldn't understand the jokes, they were still hilarious. Father Jos has a contagious laugh. Father Jos also did some bird dancing to get the birds out of the Chapel in San Fransisco and it worked almost every time! Each day that we went to the ranchos, Father offered confession. On Tuesday we followed Father as he blessed the houses in San Fransisco. On the last day there, after mass, we had a small little party. After the party, one of the women from the Rancho invited us to her house to have goat soup. I can honestly say that goat soup was quite an experience and I am very proud of each person in my group for eating what was set before them! Did I mention right before the goat soup that I got to ride a donkey??? Pictures will be up soon of that!In addition to our rancho visit to San Fransisco on Tuesday, we went to Guadalupe on Tuesday afternoon for mass. Before mass we were able to play soccer with the kids and also Martino (one of the seminarians) played the guitar and we sang praise and worship songs in Spanish with the kids. It was super blessed. I think what blessed me the most in that visit to Guadalupe was that one of the little girls that I normally have a really hard time with wanted me to hold her the whole time during mass. She is only two years old and so precious. Several times during mass she would give me hugs. It was the sweetest! After mass was finished, she grabbed my water bottle and wanted water. I told here there wasn't any more water, because I had just finished drinking the rest of it. She said yes there is more water and took my water bottle and left the chapel. She returned shortly with my water bottle filled with water. It wasn't purified water so of course I couldn't drink it, but it was so sweet. Thursday we had our pilgrimage day to Saltillo. Once we arrived, we headed straight to the miracle chapel and cathedral. Before entering we spent a little time with my friend Hugo at the gate of the miracle chapel. I am still amazed at how beautiful his smile is.Friday we had our desert day, and this year it didn't rain in the desert or dessert for me. I also didn't pray for rain, so that might have had something to do with it :) When we arrived at Tejocote, the place we had desert day, we had mass, outside. It was amazing! We had to build an altar out of rocks, and I just completely felt like I was in the old testament!After desert day, we returned home and had about an hour or so to rest before several of us set out to climb a "mountain". James was our leader and pretty much ran up the "mountain" in his flip flops and shorts. My journey up wasn't quite that easy. I got stuck on a few thorns and about half way up was thinking, "What have I gotten myself in to? I think I'm ready to get down now!" Once I made it to the top of the "mountain" the view alone was worth all the work it took to get up there. It was so beautiful! We even got to watch a rain storm rolling in. It truly was breath-taking. We decided we needed a "special" picture on top of the "mountain", so I hope you enjoy it! If this picture doesn't show that the seminarian group was special, I'm not sure if anything can! Throughout our week of serving General Cepeda together, there was a lot of crazy miscellaneousness going on. They completely joined in to our lifestyle of simplicity and it shined through with the games they played. One day they played toss the frisbee to hit the bell, another day the game was hackey sac baseball with broomsticks. Another game was who can get the hackey sac into the window first? One day while it was raining they took soap to the concrete slide and made it extra slippery to fly down. There were also many games of the Great Dalmuti with weird accents.

All in all, my week with the seminarians was extremely blessed. Each and everyone of them challenged me by the way they have devote themselves to the Lord and by doing the work that He has for them. They each lived out their faith so beautifully and it challenged me to make sure that I am living out my faith each and everyday. By the way, did I mention that when the group left on Saturday it stormed so much so that it caused 150 kids from Saltillo to have to spend the night in our house?? They were in General Cepeda for a vacation bible school and had plans to sleep outside in a camp. I think Father Tony finally prayed for rain!!!