Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine's Day

Chris, Naty, and Wendy working on cards with Alfonsina's help
John 15:12-15 "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."  

At Puebla Christian School, I have been spending class time during the days around Valentine's Day to try to express to the students what love really is.  So many times they have the idea that love is an emotion or a mood.  How many passages in the Bible refer to true love!  My prayer is that the students will learn that love isn't what Hollywood normally presents.

In the same way, Abraham preached on Sunday at Dios es Amor about God's love as shown in the book of Hosea.  The love story there is an awkward one.  How many people would want to accept God's command to marry a prostitute?  Hosea did, and through his obedience and the message he gave to Israel, a clear picture of God's unconditional love (which includes discipline!) is painted.

Abraham also spoke about Hosea to the children in Huejotzingo.  He emphasized Hosea's love for his straying wife which represents God's love for his people Israel and also His love for us.  

We have heard that in Huejotzingo there is a plague of prostitution, including of children.  Please pray that this darkness will end and freedom will come to the people there.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Outing at the park

After a great deal of planning and after two garage sales to raise money, we finally took some kids from Huejotzingo to the Parque Ecol√≥gico.  Abraham and I left home at 7:30 in order to pass by Puebla Christian School to pick up some things for games and then get to the church by 9.  Janelle, another missionary, had agreed to drive us in her van, since the church van still had not been returned from impound after the accident in the summer.  We set out for Huejotzingo, arriving a little after the time that we had told the children.  How exciting to see that the six children and one adult were outside, waiting impatiently, ready to go for their first time to the park.

Abraham and I visited a few other people that we had invited to see if they could come, but no one else could join us.  Zalma, Naty, Cris, Pedro, Liz, and Wendy along with their mother, Imelda, climbed into the van, and off we went.

It was noon by the time we reached the park, and the children immediately scattered.  We had to hurry to gather them again.  They are accustomed to taking care of themselves and wandering where they will in Huejotzingo, but in the enormous park, it isn't safe to let them.  We split into small groups, and I accompanied four of the kids to the playground for awhile.
We gathered back together for lunch, and then transported the various paraphernalia nearer the park's lake, where a young man was renting time in Zorb balls.  At first the children were wary, eager to try out the floating balls, but anxious over whether they really would stay closed and float on the lake's surface.  Finally my brother-in-law Ken had to go first to prove the balls were safe, and then the kids were ready to take their turns too.  They had a marvelous time, all but one boy who couldn't overcome his fear and sat teary-eyed, watching everyone else have fun.

Ken felt badly for the boy, so when we all finished playing in the zorb balls, Ken paid for almost everyone to go on the lake's paddle boats.  Soon the boy was laughing and shouting again, enjoying the paddle on the lake with his friends and family.

When we first arrived at the park, the kids' attention had been riveted by a gigantic slide.  They had to wait to go on it, however, since it wasn't open in the morning.  After finishing the time on the paddle boats, they ran to the slide to check; it was open!  They abandoned themselves to flying down the undulating slide on cushions, squealing and laughing the whole time.
By the time they ended with the slide, it was after four o'clock, and Janelle was on her way to pick us up.  Even as everyone piled into the van, they began asking, "When are we coming back?"  "Where are we going next time?"  Maybe ice skating?  To a pool?  To another park?  We'll have to decide.

Please pray that next time even more children and adults come.  Pray that the parents will have confidence in us, that we aren't trying to kidnap their children, and also that through outings like this the people can learn that God loves to give us joyful time together.