Sunday, May 31, 2009

good byes, syncretism, Vivaldi's Gloria

Friday the children cleaned out their desks, scrubbed stickers (and germs) off the tops, and loaded their back packs with a year's accumulation of school work. At eleven in the morning, the final bell rang, and the 2008-09 school year ended. What a year it has been! While preparing the Powerpoint that I will be sending out in June, I reflected on how different this presentation will be from last year's. This summer I will be one of the few American missionaries not returning to the States. Instead, on June 21st, I will be marrying my best friend, and the two of us will be staying somewhere in Puebla - although we still don't know exactly where.

Both on Friday and on Saturday, we had farewell meals. Friday was a hamburger barbecue at the PE field, and Saturday we met for a buffet brunch. Each staff member received a Puebla team jersey to remind us that this year's focus was team building. Five of the team members will be gone next year. Two of them will hopefully return the following school year, but three of them are leaving permanently. Saying good-bye is never fun. There are other missionary families also leaving this summer for home assignment or permanently.

Saturday after the brunch, Abraham and I took a bus downtown to take care of some errands. While walking past one museum, we noticed it advertised free entrance. Since the place is rarely open, neither of us had been inside before. We decided to enter, and enjoyed the tour of the mansion. The family had been extremely catholic, and many art pieces showed their religion. Curiously, they also had a Buddha and several Zeus busts. When Abraham pointed out the incongruity of the beliefs, the guide didn't understand. "They gathered art from many cultures," he agreed. Not exactly what Abraham meant.

In the evening, we had the wonderful opportunity to see a free performance of Vivaldi's Gloria at a Baptist church downtown. The Puebla Symphony and choir played and sang beautifully. They opened with Pachelbel's Canon in D, one of my favorite classical music pieces.

Because of a comment on the blog - Where I was standing with my husband and a friend, we didn't even feel the earthquake that happened recently here. The only way we knew it happened was that people came out of the school asking, "Did you feel that!?!" No, we didn't.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Spring Concert

Last Thursday evening, after many months of hard work, all the students of PCS performed their spring concert, entitled The Root Beer Barrel Cafe. The theme was movies and musicals, so the children sang a variety of show tunes, and my little munchkins had a Three Little Pigs skit which I narrated. For the final song, the students and staff sang "Resplendent in Your Glory" in praise to the God who gives us voices to sing.

Today we began our last week of school, and then several of my students and most of the staff will leave to the US for the summer or, for some, permanently. I will not be returning to the States for the foreseeable future. Abraham's and my church wedding is fast approaching, and we have plenty still left to do to prepare. Many of you should have received your invitations in the mail during this last week.

We need your prayers as we prepare for the wedding and plan where to live. We had thought we would live in apartments near the seminary where Abraham attends graduate school, but two weeks ago, the woman who had been renting Abraham's tiny house abruptly decided to move out. It would be best if we didn't have to live in the house, because it is more than an hour away from here, but we cannot afford to make house payments and pay rent at another place at the same time. If you would like to begin financially supporting us, you can make checks to Newport Mesa Church and include an insert or letter explaining that the money is for Rachel Greenlee. The address for Newport Mesa is 2599 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92627. Any amount would be a great help to us as we begin our new life together. Thank you for your support and prayers.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Love in the Time of Influenza

Not that I recommend the movie of almost the same title, but it did seem an appropriate title for this blog. We've got a lot going on here. I'm sure everyone has heard all about the swine flu, but it's another story actually living where it's changing our every day lives.

It is so hard to know what is really true. Are hundreds dying? Thousands? A handful? One report says one thing, another says another thing. The reality is, we don't know, but people are panicking. All public places are closed, by order of the Mexican government. Anyone in public service - bus drivers, taxi drivers, etc. - have to wear face masks and latex gloves. Of the few people walking around outside, about half of them have masks as well. All schools, churches, government buildings, museums, and theaters are closed, as well as some restaurants. The plan is for everything to reopen May 6th, but that will only happen if the ministry of health believes the flu threat to have diminished enough.

During all this brouhaha, the date for Abraham's and my court wedding arrived. We were concerned that the court would be closed, since it is a government office. Abraham called the day before and then again in the morning of April 29th. The office was open! Therefore, at 10 a.m. a 'great cloud of witnesses' gathered with us at the court, and we began signing and finger printing a bunch of papers. Our four legal witnesses also signed, and then all of us went into a back room with the judge. She looked over our papers, and then, with solemnity, read the vows. Abraham and I said our 'I dos' and the judge declared us married. Just like that!

We returned home and the party began. There was plenty of good food and more than abundant laughter. The guests stayed until late afternoon, and then in the evening, Abraham also left. We are continuing to live in separate houses until after the 'real' wedding. Kind of a bizarre arrangement, but we did the court wedding so early in order to avoid last minute snafus.

Please pray for Mexico and for the flu to end. Pray for wisdom for the authorities to know how long to continue this virtual quarantine of the entire country. Pray for Abraham and I as we continue preparing for the church wedding and as we begin married life (although not together yet).