Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving


I have so many things to be thankful for. First of all, I'm thankful for my wonderful boyfriend. We started out as friends last year, and over time spent together talking, serving at church, and just hanging out, we grew closer. At the beginning of this year, Abraham asked me to be his girlfriend, and for awhile now we've been talking about our wedding, honeymoon, and marriage (all this though we're not exactly engaged).














God has blessed me with a first and second grade class at Puebla Christian School. This year is challenging, and I am thankful for the one-week vacation we have for Thanksgiving, but I am still grateful for the chance I have to teach these kids. It's a privilege to be here.

I am thankful for the supportive staff family at PCS. Not only do we work together to teach the missionary kids, pastors' kids, children of business people, and children of Mexican nationals, we also spend time together relaxing and having plain old fun! My roommate Bethany and I celebrated Thanksgiving Day (our third Thanksgiving meal) at our apartment with one of the staff families, plus her boyfriend and mine. We fit eleven people in our place, and everyone had a wonderful time together. Now I'm enjoying the many left-overs.

My thankful list could go on and on: returning health after two weeks of a fierce cold, the opportunity to move with Bethany and another PCS teacher to a bigger house where the rent is cheaper, my friends here and in the US, my two churches - Dios es Amor and Newport Mesa Christian Center, my "family" here and my family in the US, the chance to go back to the States over Christmas, the unraveled tangles involved with renewing my credential, and much, much more. I'm thankful for the prayer and financial support that many of you provide. Without you, I could not be here. May God bless you!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Jesus is dead

The last two weeks were very busy. My friend Jessica visited from the States for a few days, and we went to many of the must-see spots. I enjoyed seeing two places I had never been to before, but a few of the places we went brought home to me just how necessary missions work is here. I had been to the cathedral before and had shuddered at the very dead Jesus in the entry way. This time around, after visiting an extremely dark ex-convent, I really noticed the cathedral's mutilated Jesus. What hopelessness is represented here. The Jesus of these cathedrals, convents, and chapels is dead, horribly dead. Why pray to him? Mary and the saints, on the other hand, are alive and well. No wonder people chose to light candles to them - to pray to them.
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The cathedral in Huejotzingo is one of the oldest monuments in Mexico. On the outside it looks like a castle. The stone and wood on the doors and archways is beautifully carved. Entering the cathedral is another story entirely. It was almost completely dark, and even beyond the physical dimness was a suffocating spiritual darkness. The requisite dead Jesus hung suffering on a cross surrounded by bouquets of flowers left by the congregates. In a more prominent place, the archangel Michael brandished a sword and appeared far more capable of answering prayers than Jesus. As we walked in the semi-darkness, a man began to pull a long rope that dangled near the back of the room, over the stones marking the interred remains of dead priests. The sound of the bell peeled out, calling worshipers to enter for mass.

Another day, Jessica and I visited both the ex-convent Santa Ana and the ex-convent Santa Monica. Santa Ana is the place where mole was supposed to have been invented. The kitchen is covered in beautiful talavera tiles, making the place look lovely. Living there as a nun however was anything but lovely. The nuns slept on beds of wood and wore crowns of thorns to bed to prevent dreaming. They ate one meal a day of vegetables or fruit. They were never allowed outside, nor were they allowed to see anyone outside of the convent. Many of them did not enter the convent voluntarily, but were left there by family members.

In Santa Monica, we saw many religious articles and paintings. No explanation was offered for the articles and paintings, but the significance of several, such as this one, was obvious.

There are many missionaries working here to bring the true Gospel to this nation, teaching that Jesus not only died for our sins, but he also rose on the third day and intercedes on our behalf in heaven. I am part of the missionary team as I teach the children of Puebla Christian School. Thank you for your support and prayers that make this ministry possible.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

a quieter week


This week was quite calm. One of my students was out sick until Friday, so I just had five students. In science, we continued learning about bats and then also began studying spiders. On Tuesday the kids made cracker, peanut butter, raisin and spaghetti spiders.

The two part-time teachers at PCS who were going to begin working at a hotel decided to stay with PCS. When they went for training the first day, the terms of their work were completely changed, so they said 'no thank you' and came back to us. Hooray! Jenna came through her surgery well and should be back in the 5th and 6th grade classroom on Monday. Thank you for your prayers! Please keep them coming; Mike's hip is hurting him a great deal. Abraham took over teaching PE, which is a new adventure for him. My finances are still in a bad state, and now there is an added complication with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and renewing my credential.

This weekend most of the junior high and high school students, along with several teachers, are camping. After freezing (literally) at last year's camping trip, I didn't hesitate to stay home rather than go this year. I'm sure they'll have fun, but I'm happy to sleep in a warm, comfortable bed and do virtually nothing this weekend.

I was glad to be able to spend time with Abraham every day this week. The fact that he is now a part-time teacher at PCS brings him around here even more often than before. I don't mind at all!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Spa night, Thanksgiving, and Huejotzingo

The school week passed normally with the day-to-day adventures that one first and second grade classroom can expect and the two ESL 'classes' (or English practice) that I have taken on. The weekend came and went rapidly, chock full of activities.

On Friday, after my flute lesson, I walked over to the Blakey's house where soon almost all the female PCS staff gathered for our annual spa night. What fun it was! One of the PCS moms had gathered spa-related gifts for us, Jenna had made or bought chocolate-y desserts, and she had also prepared various natural ingredients for us to make face, hand, feet, and hair masks out of. We passed the evening laughing, talking, and coating our skin with different ingredients.

On Saturday I spent the morning grocery shopping, lesson planning, and making waldorf salad. A Canadian friend of Bethany's came from where she's living in Cuerna Vaca to spend the weekend with us. Although Canada already celebrated Thanksgiving in September, she hadn't been able to because she is in Mexico for the year. Bethany decided to prepare a Thanksgiving meal and invite some friends. We each brought some Thanksgiving food, and Saturday night we feasted.

I spent Saturday afternoon over at Abraham's house watching part of The Fellowship of the Ring. Abraham hadn't seen the whole movie before and still hasn't because we ran out of time, but we'll finish watching it tonight.

Finally, after many weeks of wanting to go, but not being able to because of other commitments, I was able to join the church group that goes out to a mission in Huejotzingo every Sunday afternoon. Abraham is in charge of the mission work. The group gathers children, teens, and adults in the neighborhood in Huejotzingo and teaches Bible stories and songs each week. Because it was the day after Dia de los Muertos, many of the normal attenders were not in town this week. I hope to be able to go regularly from now on.

PCS needs your prayers. Two of our part-time staff members are looking into starting work at a hotel. If they decide to work at the hotel, they will be leaving PCS which will mean that art and beginning Spanish and office work have no one to do them. Another PCS teacher, Mike Contreras, has been suffering from terrible hip pain because of a surgery he had last year. The roads and sidewalks here are rough, so his hip has not healed the way it should. Our 5th and 6th grade class has substitute teachers (parents) all week, because Jenna Blakey has to have surgery today to remove her gall bladder, because she has been passing gall stones. Right now we're teaching with a 'skeleton staff.' It's possible that Abraham will take over the Spanish classes, but for PE, art, and office work, we're very short handed.

I also need your prayers. My finances are tight, and I'm going to be sending out letters and emails asking for more support. I've begun paying off my student loan again, and some supporters have stopped giving. The result of this combination is that I'm low on funds.