Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tamales for Haiti

At Puebla Christian School, the third and fourth grade class made and sold desserts in order to donate money to Haiti relief efforts. My students also wanted to help and suggested making desserts too. We decided, however, to take a field trip on Friday to my mother-in-law's house so that she could teach them how to make tamales. I asked the kids if they'd ever made tamales before, and not one of them had.
Our only snag was that the school suburban broke down over the weekend and still wasn't repaired by Friday. One parent volunteered to drive us, and I talked with other parents after school on Thursday to find one other driver. At the last minute, we had our transporation.

We arrived later than we had planned to, so the kids went right to work. There was plenty of veggie chopping, chili cleaning, onion peeling, and corn husk inspecting for all of them to do. They worked steadily until noon when finally the tamales were ready to cook. At that time the kids ate their lunches, and then they had a short language arts lesson.

Fortunately, the tamales cooked faster than we had thought they might, and they were done just when one parent returned to Six's house to take us to school. The kids spent the half-hour before school let out making posters to advertise their wares. Parents began buying immediately, and within 15 minutes, all 60 tamales were sold. The fifth and sixth grade class raised $51.14 to send to Haiti. On Monday they will vote on where to send the donation.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

the month of January

Nine days ago, we had hail: unseasonable and unexpected and cold. Now we are back to Puebla's generous sunshine and dry, dry, dry.

In December, Manuel and Ruth asked Abraham and I if we would be willing to take over the intermedios at church on Wednesday night - the group of kids approximately the same age as my students at PCS. We agreed to give it a try and started at the beginning of this month. Our group has six members at this point. We are taking them through the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes to study Solomon's choices, our choices, and how to wait for everything in its time. Soon we'll have them over to our house to watch the movie El Estudiante, play games and, of course, eat.

At school, I showed my students two brief news items about the earthquake in Haiti, and asked them, "Where was God? Why did he let this happen?" They concluded, with little prompting from me, that God had not lost control but that there were many reasons why he could have let the quake happen.

On Friday we will be driving to my mother-in-law's house to make tamales. This will be the kids' first time making them, and they are excited. Their excitement is also because they will be selling the tamales after school and sending the money to Haiti.

Please continue to pray for Dios es Amor. The pregnancies of the two young women continue to sadden the people of the congregation, and the young women themselves are struggling. One of the couples married in a civil ceremony on Saturday.

Pray for Abraham and I as we are looking into buying land in Huejotzingo. We would like to live there permanently so that we can work more than just on Sundays. There are so many needs among the people.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Our two and a half weeks of Christmas vacation end Thursday. It will be difficult going back to an early wake-up alarm, especially since the weather is quite cold, and crawling out of a warm bed at 6:15 isn't fun. It's always an adjustment for the teachers and students.

In the weeks before Christmas, Abraham and I went to Huejotzingo on Saturday as well as Sunday to help the kids make piñatas and practice their reader's theater of A Christmas Carol. The actual performance on Dec. 20th was far from professional, but it was the first time any of the kids had done anything like a reader's theater. The man who had agreed to read Scrooge didn't come, so Ken read his part. A few other more minor characters also didn't come, but Abraham and I read their parts.

After their performance, we read the Christmas story from Luke 2, and then it was time for breaking the piñatas. We had four small ones, and every child had the chance to beat on them. Every time one broke, there was a mad scramble for the candy and tangerines, and everyone collected a satisfying stack of sweets.

On the 24th, Abraham and I went to the home of his sister and brother-in-law. It was the first time for either of us to participate in a posada, and actually, we only semi-participated. The custom is to carry a plastic Jesus to different houses and sing at the doors, asking for a place to stay. When the singers reach the final verse, those inside the house open the door, letting everyone enter. Once inside, they sing another song to the plastic Jesus, recite some 'Hail Marys', and then they kiss the plastic doll's feet. Abraham and I stayed outside, along with a few others.

At 11 p.m. we returned to Nora's house to eat the Christmas feast. Very late at night, we drove home. On Christmas day, we woke up late, talked to my family via skype, sang some carols, and drove to my mother-in-law's house for dinner. Again we stayed out late, returning after midnight to our home.

We learned some sad news that night. There are two unmarried young women in the church who are pregnant. Because of who they are, their pregnancies have the potential to cause problems in the entire church. Please join us in prayer that this situation will end up bringing only good to Dios es Amor.

We welcomed New Year's at our home, hosting my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, a friend, and her son. We ate a late dinner and then settled down to watch a video. It was a few minutes after midnight when we finished the video, so we missed the official transition, but we each ate twelve grapes anyway. Our guests stayed the night in our living room and left late afternoon Jan. 1.

May God bless you in this new year!