Friday, February 26, 2010
Day three in Mexico
I am not sure if it is the time change, the amazing energy and enthusiasm or the power of the Holy Spirit but each day our group is up early and ready to go. Yesterday all of the men were up and in the kitchen by shortly after 5:00 a.m. I shouldn’t say this but we took bets on which of the women would be up and out to the dining hall first. It has become a bit of a tradition on these trips where all or most of the men are up and out while the women sleep in a few minutes longer. Of course it helps when you have people like Mark Kane, George Rezendes, and Mark Salomon cooking up big breakfasts for the group. Yesterday Michelle Chaffee took the prize. Of course Andy Scheuermann fixed the contest. After picking Michelle as the first lady to enter, he went outside until a few of the women were up and then he found a way to delay the others and get Michelle to walk through the door first.
It’s a good thing I found my cholesterol pills because bacon seems to be the comfort food of the cooks. They start cooking and the bacon begins piling up on the plate. We had pancakes the first morning here and toast and bacon. Not everyone eats what they cook, but those of us who do, are completely satisfied. At 7:40 a.m. we gather out in the courtyard to check in and do our morning devotional. There is always something to think about I’ve tried to get others to think about taking turns. Last night, for example, the devotion was a simple one. We all had a chance to reflect on where we had seen God that day. This morning I encouraged everyone to be thinking about the fact that each of us were called to be a part of this team because we had something to share. With that thought we prayed and left for El Buen Samaritano.
With a good understanding of what we were called to do, the group went right to work. I like this team because they know how to have fun. The friendly banter between Roger Mainville and Randy Sargent seems to get everyone laughing and joining in their fun. Randy has lots of multi colored shirts and Roger has plenty to say about them. Roger is the old man on the team and we get on him good about that. Every night so far, the guys have played cards. I’m not sure what they are playing but they sure make a lot of noise. They seem to be having a lot of fun too.
The walls of the restrooms at the church are going up slowly. Each cinderblock has to be laid in place with cement to bond them to the next one. The metal rods that run up through them every feet are also cemented in place to give the wall strength. The blocks are staggered and the room I starting to look like a fortress already. Michelle Chaffee, Erica Corbett and Lisa Lapointe were mixing cement and running it over to the guys. Mark and Matt Salomon were working on one side and Roger Mainville and Mark Hopkins were working on the other. Randy Sargent was cutting blocks and they had a pretty smooth operation going.
Upstairs in the church Jake Shanks, Amanda Duntz, Carol Calkins, Doreen Mainville and Melanie Scheuermann were patching and sanding again. That was a messy job. Dust was everywhere. It is almost too much for any one person to be doing for any length of time. Fortunately, most of the people know their limits and only do a bit more than they should.
We quit for lunch at 12:30 p.m. and headed back to the seminary. Lisa, Erica and Michelle ran the two miles back while the rest of us traveled by van. Today we planned to take the afternoon off. That bothered a few people because they really wanted to keep going. I tried to explain to them that we needed the break and so did the local folks. For example, Pastor Ramon works full time as a police officer on the third shift. On the days we work I understand that he skips sleep and stays with us. That means that on the full days he gets little or no sleep at all. Yet, he is so excited to be with us that he counts it as joy.
We also take the break and use that free time to get a taste of the surrounding culture. Our mission trip has at least a two fold purpose. We come to do work and to accomplish something real. We also come to get an understanding of the people and the culture in which our missionaries work. Yesterday a group went up to the mountains to one of the newer churches that Rick and Mercy work with. The La Rumorosa congregation was started by a retired pastor and it is doing quite well. We got a chance to meet the pastor and hear about his ministry. The two vans also got an hour long drive to talk with Rick in one car and Mercy in the other.
Another small group went shopping in Mexicali. We got to see the local merchants and were able to barter with the people to pick up a few souvenirs. Michelle Chaffee was amazed at a pinata store where four foot piñatas in all shapes and sizes were hanging from the rafters and barrels of candy were placed underneath. I got three tee shirts for my girls and a mug. I almost bought a Steelers poncho but I couldn’t get the girl to come down on her price.
The group that went up the mountains got back late and missed the start of vacation Bible school but the five of us who stayed behind got there on time and enjoyed the singing. Michelle and Erica even went up front and helped with the motions on our favorite new song, “Jesus is better than Superman.” The other group did get there just in time for the classes to begin.
Although we tried to prepare for every scenario, our motto appeared to be working. “Be flexible” was our charge and for the second night in a row things did not go as planned. The kids came streaming down in two groups. The first group went to the craft table and the second group came down before the adults had cleared out of the sanctuary. So we had a balloon race in the street. We also planned a balloon tag and stomp game for the sanctuary but the kids were popping each others balloons even before we had the chance to tell them how to play the game.
In the final analysis, the kids all had fun even if things didn’t turn out quite how we planned. When we asked Alma and Ram on if they were happy with what we were doing, they replied with a great big smile and a resounding “Yes!”
We got home (can you believe I’m calling it home now?) by 7:30 p.m. and had dinner and a devotional. Michelle Chaffee gave us the thought for the night. She told us about the way she just happened to run into a candy store that had ice cream bars called devotions. Then she pointed out that this is the way God works. He guides us to the places he wants us to be.
After Michelle finished I told the group that a devotion as something you offered up to God. Then I challenged the group to look for things they could offer to God the following day and we broke up for the night.